Living in the world of abstraction, it is easy to think that making decisions about the direction of your business will be straight-forward and simple if you have done the hard work of setting life priorities, choosing a target market and creating a business plan.
Reality is much more complex.
Yesterday, I had a jolt of adrenaline which I would only imagine could be equated with the rush felt by crack addicts. I was asked to facilitate a meeting of high-powered female executives, politicians and movie stars all in support of a really good cause. It is the kind of opportunity that is the consultant’s version of a P Diddy video, except instead of vats of Cristal and scantily clad beautiful women, it is elbow-rubbing with Gucci-clad female executives, exchanging gold-plated business cards and magical phrases such as “you should really talk to …”
My social self, driven by status, power and external validation, was in overdrive as I considered the long-range implications of the experience. Then I learned that in order to do it, I would have to devote a big chunk of time organizing the event. And I would have to fly to Washington DC for two long trips. And that I would be in the ultimate support role for movers and shakers.
Thankfully, my essential self spoke up. None of the activities described above are related to my current life plan or business vision of helping oppressed corporate employees escape cubicle nation. Spending weeks of time away from my baby would not only be a logistical nightmare, it would make me feel like a crappy Mom. I didn’t wait 38 years to have a baby to spend it whispering goodnight through a phone. And taking time away from the current steps to build my business would just delay my goals and dreams. What I really needed to do was to back away from the crack pipe and take a big swig of wheatgrass juice.
Wheatgrass juice, for those who don’t know, is a soupy green liquid made by grinding blades of wheatgrass together. It is full of vitamins and turbo-charges your blood with oxidants and other life-enhancing nutrients. I love the taste, although I have heard others equate it to chewing cud.
Keeping clear with my life purpose and business vision, which I call drinking wheatgrass juice, will give me long-term physical, emotional and spiritual satisfaction. It is not a fast high, it is a lifetime of making smart, healthy choices.
Succumbing to the seduction of a high-powered consulting lifestyle, which I call smoking crack, will give me a short-lived euphoric high, shortly followed by a rapid descent into the meaningless pursuit of wealth and power for its own sake. I will lose touch with myself and my family and find my life spinning out of control. Not to mention losing my teeth and many other decidedly unpleasant experiences.
I have nothing against cavorting with interesting, creative and powerful people. I will be the first to organize a “Million Drone March on Washington” demanding to cut the shackles of our unhappy corporate employees and celebrate freedom at work. I will gladly speak and dance alongside (former Bain consultant — correction 1/19: he worked at The Boston Consulting Group, not Bain) John Legend as he sings on the Capital Mall.
But for now, from my corner of suburbia here in Mesa, Arizona, I am meant to be here writing blog posts, changing diapers and slowly chipping away at my dream business. Wheatgrass is good.
Be wary of a dressed up crack pipe.