Touring isn’t something that I’m good at.
I read this quote from Adele today in an article in which she discussed her desire to quit touring. For me her admission radiated bravery to buck a system and to develop a creative process that enabled her to remain true to herself. She showed an ability to look at what made her happy and what depleted her and in doing so exhibited a willingness to do what supported her gifts and strengthened her. And her fans would adjust; they would still hear her beautiful voice through her CDs or occasional performances on television but not necessarily through annual tours.
How many times in life do we “stay the course,” doing things in that deceptive way that tradition tells us works? How often do we step out of the box to say this works and this doesn’t and I’m not going to frustrate myself by continuing to do something that doesn’t work? Why do we tend not to discard mental and emotional tools that are broken? Silly, huh? Just like you wouldn’t keep using a vacuum cleaner that didn’t work instead of replacing it with one that did.
Know too that because something works for someone else does not mean that it’s what brings out your best. Someone once told me that I needed to be doing something with my business that others were doing and I informed the person that it just wasn’t my bag. (Completely throwing off this Gen X person. I had to translate.) We’re not cookies; we don’t need to fit the same mold.
Do you listen to your calling to do something out of the ordinary? Do you encourage those who ask for your advice to listen to their inner voice even though it may run counter to what our culture tells us is expected? Would you agree with your child if he/she wanted to take a gap year between high school and college? Would you be comfortable encouraging your young adult daughter or son to explore a non-traditional field of work that interested them or tell them to jump into the established workforce?
Paul Gauguin, the Post-Impressionist artist, realized that while he was good at being a stockbroker he hated it. It was too constricting. And much to his wife’s dismay, he quit a lucrative career that provided him with an income to live in a beautiful Parisian apartment and collect art to pursue his desire to create through paint and clay.
I’m not encouraging you to abandon your responsibilities especially if they include providing for a young family but I am encouraging you to either start or continue making decisions from a place of acknowledging your talents and how best to bring them to life. If Gauguin had followed his calling from the start (art) and not entered into a profession that did not bring him happiness he would have saved himself and a lot of people (namely his wife and five children) from some painful times.
As I continue to work with non-profit and for-profits businesses on leadership issues I am continually pulled to suggesting that these entities recognize that their businesses are comprised of people and that as such they are not static but ever evolving and changing. Research suggests that by 3pm most people working a traditional 9-5 job become unproductive especially those who have children returning home from school. Calls begin to go back and forth about homework and dinner until the closing bell at 5pm. The Danes have realized that workers are most productive if they work from 9am – 3pm at which time they leave to pick up children from school and daycare. They have five very productive work hours and one hour of lunch which they do not eat at their desks while working (it’s considered bad manners). Again, thinking outside of the traditional box. I realize that ideas like these are easier to bring to small businesses but I also know from experience that most small businesses are too apprehensive to even try a new approach to what a work day looks like and how a work environment functions (don’t eat at your desk and take a vacation that does not include checking in at work all day).
Back to Adele and you – I encourage you to embrace the unique person who you are, do things to support you, try things that challenge you (the only way Adele realized she didn’t like touring was to actually tour), and release things that deplete you and impact negatively on how you use your gifts in the world. No one knows you better than you know yourself. And no one is quite like the wonderful, unique person you are. You shine your light in the world first by being true to yourself and then casting that beam outward.
“This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Shakespeare – Hamlet
P.S. As I prepare for the launch of my book I have only a few openings for new clients who are interested in mindful leadership training for themselves or their employees (lunch-and-learns, professional development, one-on-one executive training). Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on my Facebook page, Anne Greco, Writer, if you think one of the remaining leadership training slots is for you.