I have been under a lot of mental and emotional stress lately, and did not know the reason. But with a lot of introspection and a couple of very good reads, I was able to find the root cause of this and am in a much better state of mind. Ask my wife I will like to share this to spread the good words that helped me.
So, what was wrong?
Personal Mission Statement
When I entered formal work life, my HR helped me frame my personal mission statement, or in fact how would I like to be remembered when I leave the world. It came naturally to me: “The Guy who made a difference.” and I try to live my life towards this goal – “Make a difference in every role I play”
Let’s first speak of the roles we play in life. Typically one plays several roles in life. A few play more, a few play less.
- Family person – Child, Spouse, Parent, Relative
- Learning – Student, Teacher
- Working – Sub-ordinate, Co-worker, Boss, Mentor
- Society – Friends, Community member, Citizen
And the challenge is to maintain a balance between the roles; otherwise one of the roles dominates the others. This is called the ‘Work Life Balance’, which according to me is a misnomer. It is about balancing the importance you accord to each role.
The reason for discontent was that I was doing a good job at work and had been struggling to think of a way to make a difference in the community. I was trying to increase my circle of influence and was having a difficult time doing so. But more importantly, I was neglecting my other roles in pursuit of this singular role, especially the roles which got added after I started my career. I was not making a difference as a husband and later as a father. This caused a lot of internal turmoil and stress but I did not realise the root cause. Which in hindsight is obvious, I was not fulfilling my mission statement, my goal, and my reason for existence. When I realised this and also realised the many things under my control that I can do to make a real difference to my family, I was suddenly at peace.
I now have renewed energy, a renewed sense of purpose and actively looking at ways to justify my role as a family member.
Community will come next; meanwhile I am working at growing my circle of influence to get to a position to be able to make a difference to the community.
So let me ask you this:
- What roles do you play?
- Are you justifying all the roles or is one role far bigger than the rest?
Would you like to be remembered as?
- A great worker
- A great spouse
- A great parent
- A great child
- All of the above – and above all, a great person
- Are you spending your time to achieve the above?
This article greatly inspired me: http://steveblank.com/2009/06/18/epitaph-for-an-entrepreneur/