Journey or Destination...What's More Important?
I’ve been feeling torn over the past few days… the beautiful weather we’ve been experiencing in the UK is normally cause for our nation’s mood to lift, albeit temporarily, until we begin complaining that it’s too ‘close’ (just in case that's not an international term...it means we forgot to buy a fan, on the off chance of having just such a heatwave, and now the shelves are empty of fans, and the only place you can buy one is on eBAY where some clever b****** who bought them up, is selling them for the price of a package holiday, and therefore you can't sleep because you're too hot, even with just your skin on).
This time though, our enjoyment of the sunshine, has been tarnished by the tragic, and needless loss of life, that feels almost constant at the moment, (and not just in the UK), and which makes you consider how precious life is.
Coincidentally, the subject of life's fragility, came up in a podcast I was listening to this week. It was an old episode of the ‘Art of Charm’ with Jordan Harbinger, (this is a podcast which helps you with life, love and business), and he happened to have a guest on called Dov Gordon. Exceptionally, Dov didn’t have a new book out, or a program to sell…he was there to publicise his friend’s webinar. His friend was a British chap called Mike Seddon, and Mike had an incredibly important lesson to teach.
Mike was a Google AdWords specialist, who was part of an online Mastermind group, and one day the rest of the entrepreneurs in his group, (including Dov Gordon), received an email from Mike telling them that he had been diagnosed with cancer, that it was inoperable, and incurable, and that he had a matter of weeks to live. He told them that he had made peace with what was to come because he had no regrets, and that he was going to make sure the time he and his family had left was going to be one of the best times of their lives.
Now, the people who received this email were shocked and wanted to do something for Mike, one of those was Dov. He spent some time thinking about Mike’s situation, and came to the conclusion, that Mike may have felt that he had more to share with the world, and decided to propose an idea to Mike…to have a ‘last webinar’. He made the proposal, and Mike eventually came round to the idea, (because he was a modest man), after initially believing that he had nothing original to share. The pair of them worked on the webinar, and what they came up with is living on as Mike's legacy, and it has been helping people all over the world.
In his last webinar, bed ridden, and full of morphine, Mike shared the secret to his life without regrets. (I would urge you to take the time to listen to Mike himself, but I wanted to make sure you got the gift he gave, especially given everything that has happened recently).
Mike's view of why he was able to feel calm and at peace about leaving his life, was that throughout it, he had taken time out from the day to day to consider, and reflect on the answers to five key questions.
1) What’s my why? and Am I living it?
2) What does success look like?
3) Am I enjoying the journey?
4) Am I hanging out with the right people?
5) What would happen to my loved ones if I was no longer around?
As Mike and Dov, say in the webinar, these aren't new questions... we've all heard them before, but we rarely take a deep dive to check whether our lives are on the course we want them to be.
Here are some of the tips Mike gives for considering each question
1) Mike says that we start a business or career to build a life, not the other way around. Finding the right ‘why’ gives you purpose in your life. Often when we start we say we are doing it for our family, or it might be to get out of corporate life, but it's likely there is something more to it.
2) Mike says if you don't consider the numbers then you have a hobby, not a business, but equally success needs to be a combination of something that serves your 'why', plus the financials.
3) He was very clear that although he hadn't accomplished everything he wanted to, because he had enjoyed the journey, he would die a happy man. It's a mistake to tie all your happiness into the destination, because you put all the risk there too.
4) This is one we hear often...and Mike's view was congruent with all the best advice... expect some of your friends and family to be negative, they could be scared, jealous, or just don’t understand. It's imperative you surround yourself with the right people...who are like-minded, and who understand the journey you’re on. People who will challenge and stretch you.
5) Mike's advice here was firstly to try and build a business that can run without you, so the impact will be minimised if you do need to take some time out. Secondly, to make sure any gaps (will, life insurance etc.) get plugged, so that you can have peace of mind.
One of Mike's last wishes on the webinar was that people book in their own 'Seddon' day or session, where they can work though these questions for their own lives, and as the word spreads, more and more people are taking a 'Seddon'.
I haven't scheduled my 'Seddon' day yet, but I will. However, just reflecting on the first question made me realise that I had been completely neglecting my why. I love being a speaking coach, and seeing people fulfil their potential and spread their message, but my 'why' is to challenge prejudice and hate through my plays, and other creative work... using laughter and entertainment to bring about change...and I had completely neglected this to focus on building my business. I am now adding in some time daily to work on finishing my current play, and my soul is happier as a result. :)
Mike also wanted people to donate to the The Shakespeare Hospice, which enabled him to live out his last days at home. Here are the links if you want to listen to Mike's last webinar, join the Facebook community, or donate to the hospice.