Last week, at Gray Hill Solutions, we had an all-hands where we wrote out and discussed our personal goals for the next several years and how we saw those goals intersecting with the company. How can we, as a group, grow Gray Hill in ways that not only support, but even encourage our future goals? What are our common goals, ethics, and culture?
I've always been pretty goal oriented and my list had specific things I want to achieve by the close of 2010. These goals were professional, artistic, academic and personal. My degree of specificity didn't surprise my colleagues, but the number and complexity of them did.
So my business partner William said to me, "Where do you get your energy?" Which is something people ask me all the time.
Since my self-concept is as a fairly inactive person, that question always amuses and confuses me. I have recently become comfortable with the understanding that my self-concept is baggage I'm still carrying around from the 80s. I've done my best to cast it aside.
But why is it there?
I'm reading Chris Noxon's Rejuvenile. (Rejuvenile Blog) I'm only about 40 pages into it, but it's already launched an epiphany. This is an epiphany that may support Noxon's hypothesis and explain the existence of baggage itself.
Rejuvinile explores the growing common occurrence of seeing middle-agesters like myself dancing at rock concerts, playing video games, or at skateparks.
As a kid I was always ostracized by my peers because I was a bit too "grown up". Everyone always talked about how mature I was for my age. They saw me reading Watership Down and War and Peace and The Haj, but they conveniently overlooked the massive Lego collections, the air hockey til 3 AM, the piles of comic books, and other obvious clues that I wasn't quite "grown up."
When I entered the "adult" world of consulting engineering and urban planning, I rose quickly through the ranks and was well compensated. However, I was often (like weekly) criticized for being "immature". Overly silly, overly demonstrative, overly talkative, and worst of all, overly familiar. Add to this the fact that I looked young (carded even at 38!), and it was no different than school. I was ostracized, for the same reason as in junior high, but in reverse.
But the thing is, I like being overly silly, demonstrative and most of all, familiar. It's a key, if not the key, to my response to William.
I get my strength from specifically doing things that don't drain my strength. If you watch kids on weekends home from the standardized-test-factory, they can go from 6 am to midnight with hardly a break. This is because they do things that they like.
As a kid, this is often a frenzy. Running from one toy to the next, only sometimes stopping for specific focus. For adults, we can do the same thing, but we also have some things called responsibilities. And if we're smart, we can make responsibilities a game.
So for me, I know I should exercise a lot, but I don't get the chance. So I went and got the pedometer that regular readers are sick of hearing about. It let me game exercise. That gave me impetus to exercise and a means to evaluate my progress.
For other things the modern adult doesn't like to do, we find ways of outsourcing. Personal accountants are downright cheap now. Those things off our plates means that those things are no longer a worry. Worries drain energy. Others doing the work means that we can focus on those things that energize us. Not only do you save the energy drain, but you get more energy!
Pipe that into your cost benefit analysis.
So what's baggage then? Why do I think of myself as slothful when everyone around me gapes open-mouthed at my apparent nuclear-powered to-do list? I think that baggage is something that so thoroughly stole your energy at one point, that it continues to suck energy away long after the event has happened.
This is why "adult" often means "serious". Because "adults" go through the first quarter century or so collecting existential freeweights that they never put down.
It's a lot harder to walk a mile of the present when you're carrying 500 pounds of past. Why do ya think they call it baggage?
Blogged at The Sai Oak in Ocean Shores, Washington using Windows Live Writer. Check out the deer with triplets in our yard last night!