Imagine you have a blank canvas stretched before you in which you can "paint" your future. Picture this image in your mind as you reflect on the following questions:
What would you like to create?
How would you like that future to look?
What would you like to achieve?
What would you like to express?
What would you like to become?
What impact would you like to have on others, in your field?
What will truly fulfill your aspirations?
What would you like your legacy to be?
Those who allow others to paint their canvas are forfeiting their hopes and dreams. They're surrendering their aspirations and becoming derailed by the tyranny of what seems right, not what is right for them. These same individuals go through their careers seeking validation through external rewards, while in their souls, they are dampening the fires of their dreams.
Managers and workers in all fields of endeavor struggle between what they really want to become and what they are currently doing. They put up with a job that doesn't satisfy and or dread about new opportunities and conditions they can't stand, and rationalize their circumstances. It becomes easy to assign accountability and place blame outside of themselves, but the real answer to the malaise lies within.
An executive director at a Fortune 500 company pulled me aside during the break of a strategy session. He shared with me the news that he had been targeted to become vice president of the business unit. I congratulated him, But his mood and reaction were not celebratory.
"Tell me more," I said.
"I've seen what it's like at that level," he said. "It is quite bad for me as it is, and I cannot imagine increasing the intensity up a notch."