Meditations on Mission & Journey

Monday morning.

Your email box is full and the double espresso you just had isn’t quite bushwhacking those mental cobwebs that accumulated from two measly weekend days off.

I’m going to take a wild guess that you’ve been inundated by destiny already this morning. I’m sure you can count the number of emails and solicitations you get from Robbins, Chopra and Brown & Co on the topic of finding your life’s work.

Delete, delete, delete.

There are parts of that journey that you cannot find in a self-help book. What they do not tell us — will not tell us, because most of us would promptly say, “nope”, and go on squatting in our cubicles.

Here’s what Keanu says:

 

And here’s a snapshot of what it looks like to “jump cubicle” and find your mission.

The crash in 2008–2010 wiped out my bank account and I ended up cooking. I don’t mean manipulating squeeze bottles with Mozart’s piano concertos in the background, I mean grinding out ten hours shifts behind a 110-degree work-line making pasta. From 2011–2014, after a decade in corporate strategy and ad-hoc research I had been “squeezing in” at 5 am on predictive analytics — I got funded and went all the way to DARPA. They promptly turned me down for being “too early in the space”, or maybe just in “outer space”. I started writing 1000–2500 words a day religiously. In 2015, I got hired to run a strategy division of huge agency in Southeast Asia and promptly ended up in a law-suit. By the end of 2015, I was named #8 in the world by LinkedIn for Management and Culture blogging and advice. In 2016, I authored the introduction to the curriculum for the Financial Times’ New York Institute for Finance Quant Engineering programme. My first novel “Capernaum” was released that July. I traveled to London to work on an Investment Fund. In 2017, I continued to write political commentary for Huffington Post and cultural analysis for Elephant Journal and Medium and a collection of essays on political economy entitled ‘Vague Apocalyptica’ was released in June 2017. Then I decided to run a non-profit for a time to see what that side of the fence looked like. (No comment) By fall of last year, I’d gotten back into graduate school to start chipping away at my doctorate and started another consultancy firm and started teaching. Now, I’ve been offered an opportunity to invest in a distribution opportunity for Cannabis in an emerging market projected to be worth 800mm next year.

That’s what it looks like. Chaos.

Whew. This might sound impressive or interesting, but in reality, it has been massively challenging.

  1. You are going to be broke at least once, for a time. Yes, doing your life’s work is going to mean that you will likely discover your mission might not be synced up with economic reality at first.
  2. You are going to be a hobo for a while — rent is expensive. My friend, the writer Olivia Semple has been a hobo for the better part of a year and writes on the challenges of that choice. Difficulty aside, she is writing and living, isn’t she?
  3. You will be ridiculed. Not to your face — but there will be numerous people who advocate for you to stay in your cubicle and STFU and a few shits who will tell you to grow up and settle down. F- them, seriously.
  4. You will be lonely. Finding one’s path is not easy — and with every pivot and iteration — it’s just you. Nobody is going to say “good job”, so get used to giving yourself pep-talks, out loud in the car or the elevator.
  5. You will be free as a bird. That’s right, you will not be on the clock or in the cubicle — you will quite literally out on your own. Takes a bit of getting used to.
  6. You will sit in your home office and think you want to go back, that you miss the bullshit…and you won’t be able to. Just when you think it’s rough — ask the universe to make it unbearable. Test yourself. See how far you can go. You will be surprised.
  7. You will fully recall having known that what you are doing is exactly what you thought about when you were somewhere between ages six and eleven.
  8. You will know exactly who encouraged it, and who discouraged it.
  9. You will realize both were equally good at encouraging you to do what you are now doing. That’s the paradox — it’s true that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
  10. You will realize everything you thought was completely useless is now very useful. All the ways you tend to give yourself a hard time are in fact your very greatest gifts. Acting classes=sales skills, rejection-immunity. Can’t stand being inside=energy and drive. Hate crowds and noise=Deep work and writing time. Spent years playing politics with corporate shits=negotiation and diplomacy skills.

I’m still relatively new to this — and it’s taken a few years to settle into the fact that I do not work 9–5, and will not be a corporate worker again in this lifetime. I have relationships and respect my clients and colleagues, not because I have to see them, but because I chose to work with them.

If anything here makes a light go off for you — say something!