Good bye… mediocrity

Good bye… mediocrity

I was talking with a friend about those things that hinder or make us hesitate or put off taking a radical decision to transform or reconstruct our entire life or only a portion of it, maybe our current career, an unhealthy relationships, a place to rest or a place to work.  

Failure after failure, with too little breaks in-between to sit around and to learn from them, continuously on the run... might generate this need in us, isn’t it? The need for reconstruction.  

 

Even more because lately I’ve met people with similar needs like me, probably on the verge of burn out,  who abandoned long and successful careers in big organisations, because they just wanted to stop running and start living. Living that kind of life when you are centered in your own life, in its core purpose. Giving up a safe and smooth retirement plan and going into unknown. Some people just freeze when they are about to plunge into unknown. But others just wake up one day and decide to finally press that kind of reset button, throwing away those safety bells and jumping into the unexplored territory, with passion, adrenaline and quite a big dose of conscious madness and unconscious incompetence...

 

I asked one of this crazy persons why he put an end so suddenly to such a promising career and his answer shoved me into a much darker confusion... „I simply said good bye...  mediocrity. I decided to live the life by my own and not some contrived goals set by who knows who. The consequence: being the best at what I can do and what makes me happy”.

 „How come”? I insisted...

 

  „I gave up unrealistic goals and nonsense in handling things, people or tasks, I quit  secret or obvious competition with my colleague, that insane pressure that pushed my boundaries and made me explode in front of my kids or my life partner. I always felt that  life is too precious and too short to be lived in non-sense and mediocrity. Doing what matters to me, living with a purpose was a sure way to excellence and success, since I did it with all my heart. I became congruent and resonant with my Self and with the world around me. And when I signed this peace treatment, I stopped running around like crazy. Now I’m prepared to jump into adventure, unexpected, unmeasured... I want to delete all the junk files and to load my energies other than chasing likes for my postings or snapshots or looking for hours into a touchscreen. I want to look again on to the sky. I forgot how the sky looks like. I want to stop being a machine and start being a living creature. But in order to do that, you need the courage to be different and follow your heart. The question is are you so brave to do that?”

 

Honestly, I haven’t found entirely this courage so far, but at least I started thinking about this...But he was right. Sometimes we need to say good bye to something in order to start a new chapter. Or we just need to change our perspective. Another time we need to replace a value, a belief or a principle. Some other time we need some distance in order to get closer… To us, to people, to life.  Or we need someone to simply be there, not to do anything in particular but just to be there, present looking into the sky and counting together the clouds. 

By the way, when was the last time when you have just been there for someone? Did nothing just be with and for someone? Including with your own SELF?

 

It is evident, at least for me, maybe for you too. Beneath our nationality, race, sex, look, IQ or EQ, we have the same basic needs. One of these needs is people need people. We need people around us to learn to do a job, to grow, to feel, to learn something, to overcome obstacles, to enjoy a morning coffee or an evening concert, to cuddle in the bed and feel touched and cared. We need people to find the courage  to reconstruct ourselves or at least to validate our intention for reconstruction.

 

Another human need is to find a purpose for our own existence. The need for purpose is probably one of the deepest and strongest human needs and is that energy that puts our principles, beliefs and values at work. It makes us brave and generous, open and friendly. Some people find it when they are quite young, other when they are quite old. And it does not matter actually when, because in the end, it is all about living our life with a purpose, whether we see ourselves as part of a bigger whole or... not, whether we align with ourselves and the with the rest of the world... or not. As I wrote in another article, it is only up to us what we leave behind us...

And is still up to us if we live our life like a non sense battle, pending between  who we are and who we want or pretend to be… or if we live our life as we want it.

 

I and my friend continued to philosophize for a while about purpose and reconstruction of life and at a certain time I realized something: one of the things I have been most afraid ever since my childhood was the fear of mediocrity. A mediocre life meant for me I could get trapped for years, paralyzed inside an alright existence. Keeping an “alright” job. Doing alright in general, not entirely comfortable, but not bothered enough to do anything about it or to promise myself “I WILL CHANGE THIS!”  Mediocrity represented living without a mission, a direction, a dream. Mediocrity was the same with failure.

  „How do you do?”

„Alright”...

 After all...

"Pretending you’re okay is easier than having to explain to everyone why you are not." http://lessonslearnedinlife.com/

 

Somehow, this fear fell silent inside me for many years or maybe I buried it deeply, out of a survival instinct! In this way the path towards building a normal and average life like all people around me was assured. I graciously killed all my childish and naive dreams, one of them being to save the world one day and to build an awesome family with inspiring holiday’s moments inside an adventurous life package…

 

I chose instead living a common life, doing a decent job and choosing a second-rate holidays destinations years after years along. And I became what I chose to be but did not assume actually: ordinary, uninspired and almost dead inside…Gradually mediocrity made me complacent.

 

But the good news is that sooner or later, you begin to reconsider!

One of the first thing I had to rethink was the continuous running away from my fears. I understood how fragmented, unhappy, bored, stressed, stuck and uninspired I was when running away... invariably.

 

Running, running, running. Running to the next deadline, meeting people or places, but not pausing enough to get to know deeply those people or places.  Living unprepared. Unprepared for sacrifices, for compromises, for unconditional love, for authentic relationships. Unprepared to make a relationship flow naturally and last. Unprepared to accept my failures and my vulnerability. Unprepared to stop and listen to my deepest silences and to my surface turmoil inside my mind. Unprepared for the unexpected mundane and the predictibility of a cosy moment.  Unprepared for living both mediocrity and authenticity in the same way, in the very same life.

 

kept running away so long and it was so normal to live this way that I did not even ask myself: why I was running? And especially: from whom or from what?

 

Melting the ordinary into the extra-ordinary...

So the only way to reconcile with these fears and put an end to this race was to find a meaning in everything I was doing or being, including in my ordinary life, in my mediocrityFinding a meaning in mediocrity, was pretty hard. But then everything has changed. It was easy for me to stop when I felt the need to pause and to run when I had to gallop.  It was even much easier to accept my life and find a meaning in my professional past as well as in my present career or in my past relationships as well in the current ones, no matter how ordinary or extraordinary they were to me. Giving them a meaning melted somehow the ordinary into the extraordinary. It made me finally find the courage to “write a mediocre article about mediocrity”, as someone told me a few days ago, however it still took me 10 days to publish it. But at least, I felt alive after I did this.  

 

Preparing for giving up... 

The second step was even harder. It was the moment when I decided to step out a comfortable life and career where I could have retired reasonably but where I was neither good nor bad. I was “meeting expectations”. The truth was that I did not like it much. That career never did feel right to me. It just wasn't consistent with who I knew myself to be, with my values, preferences, abilities. Something was not alright. Meeting expectations does not define me. It never did.

In the moment I realized that, I was prepared to give up and move on, stepping into a self discovery and self awareness process when I learnt that living a great life does not mean becoming a super star or the richest woman in the graveyard! Living the extraordinary and authenticity was actually about living in alignment with my values and dreams. Embracing the unknown. Doing something I love and find meaningful. Waking up enthusiastic every morning and going to sleep satisfied knowing that I’ve done a great job each day, each week, each year.

 

This fear of mediocrity turned eventually into a kind of friend or mentor who brought in me the need to reconnect to myself, to my values, desires, to act deliberately in ways that are consistent with my gifts. Being genuine and real, it revealed me step by step also how to connect deeply with others because it required me to be transparent and vulnerable.

There was beauty in my vulnerability, indeed, as much as risk and danger but all this gave me the power to start a new brand career from scratch at the age when others get promoted,  to change my family status and end up a perpetual circle of toxic relationships, to engage more and more in voluntary programs, rediscover old hobbies, explore different ways to expand my horizons, start writing on my blogs and accepting my fear to be laughed at or criticized, challenging myself to look at all sides of the situation, redefining my values, trusting my intuition and waiting for things to... just happen!

 

And for sure... finding a garden to plant roses and looking again into the sky and counting: clouds, birds and tracing airplane's paths because they leave behind a white streak across the sky which fades and disappears into thin air after a while.

At the end of the day all this gave me the power to be able to stand in the presence of my imperfections and failures, in the shadows of my mediocrity as well in the heights of my glorious moments, embracing my talents and engaging my creativity, simply stated... to accept myself. 

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