So…I'm a recovering achiever. You know the type. The kid that sits in the front row in every class in high school and college. The adult that goes shopping for the perfect shirts and ties for work so the boss is impressed. The never miss a deadline type—even if it means staying up until 3am and getting up at 4am to get back to work. Some of you might have called me a kiss up. Whatever—I got A's and I got promoted.
I still think sitting in the front row is a good idea. I've got a kid in high school and a kid in college and I would definitely encourage them to sit as close to the front as possible. Why? Because when you sit in the front row you A) have to pay attention and B) you get a much better idea of what is most important to the teacher; we all know that only part of doing well in school is knowing the material—to get A's, you have to know what matters to the teacher.
Somewhere along the way though—I decided that sitting in the front row wasn't giving me everything I wanted in life. It certainly gave me nice paychecks. I got to drive a nice car, live in a nice neighborhood, have nice friends, go to a nice health club. All so very NICE.
The new question. The one that kept me up at night was this: What was it all costing?
It was costing me a lot more though. Mostly, it was costing me my days. I was spending at least 250 of 365 days per year inside and I absolutely adore being outside. It was costing me sometimes three hours a day behind the wheel of a car. I was helping corporations make money and making very little tangible difference in anyone's life. I certainly wasn't passionate about the work that my company did.
So, I decided to get in the front row again. This time though—I wasn't in a college classroom or a corporate boardroom—I got in the front row of my own life.
I started going to therapy. I started reading all sorts of books. I hired a coach. I started talking to my best friends regularly about what was next in my life. I wanted to figure out me. I wanted to take charge of my own life and my own future. So I did.
Right now, it's several years later and sitting in the front row of my own life is the best decision I ever made. There is definitely a cost to living my dream. A cost to doing what I most love. A cost associated with leaving the corporate world and starting my own business. However, for me, the cost is worth it to have the things that I most want for my own life. I want to make an impact on people every day. I want to spend time outside every day. I want to be creative. I want to be present for my children.
Here is my challenge to you: What is it that you want for your life? What cost are you willing to pay to have what you want? I have yet to meet anyone that has regretted the choice to get in the front row of their own life and do the work.