For most of my life I have been a loner. I still value my solitude and I establish boundaries within which I can live my own life. I live my own life and I respect other to live their own lives. Being independent like this, I have a focused , purposeful ambition. I have a resilient work ethic in my genes; for me it is all about getting the job done, about the exertion of self-power. It is about trusting one’s own power. When you can trust your own power, you find you self-worth. Ultimately, the only person I can trust is me, because I find that most people are not so reliable; in my experience, a reliable person is the exception rather than the rule. However, when i have reliable people in my circle, I experience an interdependence among us, a balance to my independence. This does not mean that I have a need for group approval. I consider myself both a survivor and a warrior, and that will not change.
My earlier depressions were about starvation of love and attention. I attempted to someone I was not. I was a chameleon. I was like a cannibal eating somebody else’s time and spirit. Life is about honestly building one’s integrity. But was all have a “wounded child” with. So my question becomes, How do I take care of of myself without wounding others? I am not sure. Depending on the time, the place, or the person, I literally changed my persona to fit what I thought the other was looking for or needing. I assumed those expectations as my own. I did not know who I was. All I saw in myself was a miserable creature. If the knew who I really was — this insecure person — I felt that I would certainly be rejected.
Expectations can be a form of control. When I knew that the expectations placed on me were unreasonable, it became easier for me to become the whiner. This was common theme in my depressions; I would take on an attitude of self-pity over unfulfilled expectations. By expressing this self-pity, I was able to play the victim card and expect others to somehow magically take care of me. By turning around those expectations onto others, which I did, I became very manipulative.
In the past, I had no life vision. My life was reactionary. Any vision I might have had was clouded by false perceptions that I didn’t really own. From these false perceptions I created equally false belief systems. I had no identity. My life was defined by my surrounding and events. I thought maintaining control was critical and, mistakenly, that it was important in attempting to overcome my fears. I was so out of touch with my feelings that I did no even know what my fears were about.
Wisdom, however, comes from living and acting. I think the key question about vision now involves the sense of responsibility that I have not only for myself but for those for whom I am responsible, those who are impacted by decisions I make.
The reality of life is that there must be some kind of reckoning that allows the person — me –to accept rather than reject or control. There must be some type of acceptance of the situation around you, the environment you find yourself in, because it will change. Things will happen. People will say things — sometimes just plain evil things. But I do not have to agree or internalize anything; I just have to recognize what is going on inside me, what is going on right now at this moment. Nor do I necessarily have to change what’s happening inside me because of external events. By putting myself in a position where I am “comfortable in my own skin,” I can create a synergy that allows other to change. So there is no point living in the past or thinking to far in the future.
You cannot fight the “river of life.” You can, however, accept and purposefully act on matters that you have control over. Once you are able to do that, your vision, whatever that may be, will start to become more apparent. There are no results other than the process, and perhaps the process itself is the purpose. Personally, I think my purpose changes from day to day depending on what life throws at me. I feel I have to all that to happen. I know I am not impacted by fear anymore. I know that I can detach from fear if I make a conscious decision to do so. I think society puts to much emphasis on success and failure. Success is overrated. The end equation is all about how we act, and any judgment should be contingent on those actions.
I suspect that having that vision may very well alleviate some of the questions associated with what my purpose in life is. When you have an idea what that vision is, it is important to share that. Believing in a Higher Power has helped me in that I believe that people or events have been placed in my life at the time when I needed them. Things and event happen for a reason. There are no random circumstances. Everything is cause and effect. I understand now that I impact my immediate surroundings, which includes my family, my co-workers, and the woman who is accepting my money for Starbucks coffee.
Whit my later depressions, I began to realize that I am in control. However, I couldn’t see my purpose. Questions about why I am on this earth reverberated through my mind continuously. What is my suffering about? What makes me so unique that I have to suffer so much? I realized that there was no way out because there is another person that I am accountable for, that that is the expectation placed on me. I have talked with other who have attempted suicide — other survivors — and talking to them has made me realize that this expectation is real and genuine.
Much of my fear was created by rules and regulations. Some of these rules were realistic — some were not; they were rules I created in my mind, unrealistic expectations that I could not meet. I had a fear of not meeting these expectations and it became an excuse to be passive. Passivity and depression were synonymous with my experience.
Fortunately, I could say that I have overcome my propensity toward being a poser or a liar. Still, no one is perfect. We try to strive for improvement but not perfection. Today, I try to stay brutally honest with myself. Honesty is a function of being in the present. Being in the present, you leave what’s behind where it belongs and you let the future arrive when it does. When you life life in that fashion, it seems less obstructed and lows more, like a river. When you choose to live and let live, it is like choosing not be “stuck” or constipated anymore.
On the wall in my office I have what I call a “Vision Board.” This is something that my mentor suggested I incorporate into my daily life. I try to look at my vision board every day. And, depending on how I fell, I make changes to it.
For an entrepreneur like me, it is customary to create a business plan. This plan outlines certain goals, makes cash flow projections, and contain certain contingencies in dealing with unforeseen events. Oftentimes, the business plan outlines the entire support system. That includes my family. It should be kept simple and uncomplicated if you want anyone to be interested in reading it. By outlining things that are floating around in your head and giving them a written format, you are also creating a sense of commitment that goes along with the plan. However, too often people spend a lot of time preparing a plan and then never action on it. Sometimes, presentations are nothing but presentations — and excuses not to act.
When I look at my vision board, I see my business plan and my personal life coming together as a process. By allowing my vision to be a process, I can change and adapt to circumstances immediately. I hold the right not to be predictable or to read situations and act accordingly. Rather than using my head as much, I have learned to trust my gut and go with it. When one does that, business plans can be constraining. Often, the problem with these types of written plans is that we get stuck in the details, and nothing gets accomplished.
The “devil is in the details.” Business plans incorporate all the details. Focusing on the details often detracts from the overall goal or purpose. Most people do not get the big picture. You see this over and over when you read business plans or contracts, when you deal with politicians or attorneys. If you have a relationship that is genuine, you do not get lost in the details. We have lost track of what “character” is, and character can be as simple as honoring your word. If you do not have character, all the written words don’t mean a thing.
If I were to describe my professional identity today, I would say that I’m all about getting the job done and getting it done right. When someone deals with me, I make it my commitment to do my very best and put 100 percent effort in getting it right. I get more kudos and feel good about things into which I put my best effort and do with integrity. And the same holds true for my personal life. I am not going to try to impress someone, because I have no need to. I often come across as being blunt, but then honesty can be blunt. I strive for transparency and sincerity. I list these virtues on my vision board, and try to live my life in the present with these virtues in mind.
Next Saturday, April 25th, I’ll be participating in an overnight benefit walk for the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. This is a cause I believe in strongly. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and is linked strongly with depression. My personal goal is to raise $5000–and I’m almost there. I’ve got a week lift. I would appreciate your support. Every dollar counts. You can make a difference by going to this website: http://www.theovernight.donordrive.com. You will find out more about the AFSP, and if you click on the Dallas icon you will find a list of donors. My name will dome up on page three (possibly sooner). Just click on the Donate icon and make your donation. I appreciate you. And your donation–whatever the amount–will make a difference. Thank you