Mindy, who worked with me from 1990 through 2001, told me recently that she still refers to me as "the best boss I ever had." Since I'm feeling without clear purpose and direction, I asked her to remind me why she felt that way. (I was expecting that she'd shine a light on some skill or talent I now take for granted, which I could use again intentionally.) Mindy replied: It was because of how honest you were and how willing you were to really listen to the ideas and feedback from the people who worked for you. I could always trust that you really wanted to do the right thing for your people.
Oh. It wasn't due to my skills. It was because of my values.
It was the same with my son. While raising him, I didn't have words for what I was compelled to do. But I was driven from inside. I had a deep, relentless inner pull towards something - something I couldn't name but could recognize when I was on target. At the time, I only knew that I had to "do this thing" to protect my son from my dysfunctional thinking and my baggage, and get him through his childhood with his personal power intact. It was common to be told that I was obsessed with my son and should get a life. Yet I knew that what I was doing was vital to his wellbeing.
But who do I serve? Who do I get to grow with now?
Mindy's answer explained to me what had happened to my drive. I'm missing that precious, persistent motivation that comes from serving those who are on the same journey as me. I thrive when I spend time regularly with people who are growth-focused and seeking better ways to relate to themselves and each other. Everything I wanted to learn as a boss and as a mom, I shared with my employees and my son. I practiced with them. It was fun, rewarding, and benefited all of us. It also resulted in more fulfilling relationships for us.
I'm going to have to find a way to do this again. I need travel companions. People who count on me to guide and support them, and who enjoy returning the favor. People I get to interact with regularly and over a long period of time. People passionate about increasing their personal responsibility (and therefore freedom) for how they experience life. When I match up with the people I'm suppose to be serving now, my drive will take care of itself.
If you're wondering what has happened to your drive, maybe it's time to find travel buddies? The people you are meant to serve as you pursue what interests you.
© Vicki Nelson, Text & Photos, TrustingJoy.com