If you ever visit Kandooma Island in the Maldives, bring your running shoes.
Not because there are wild animals with sharp teeth (tourists at the buffet table don’t count), but because the running is excellent. The sun rises at 5.30am, so you get to have an early start before photoshoot-taking couples in flowery shirts invade the beaches.
You roll out of bed, put on your shoes, and run.
You don’t have a place to go: the great thing about running on holidays is that there IS no goal. There’s no IPPT to train for, no timing to meet, and no destination to reach. Try the scenic route – the one by the beach, with the crashing waves to your left and coconut trees to your right. There’s a light breeze blowing, the sunlight is bright but not burning hot.
Meander. When you pass a path that looks interesting, you take it. For example, there’s a long boardwalk that stretches out into the sea. Along the way, a passerby motions to you to take a look at the water: There’s a stingray swimming close to the surface.
You continue to the end of the boardwalk, where there’s a magnificent panorama of the sea all around you. You stop, do some push-ups, and savour the breeze. (I was gonna say, “feel the wind in your hair” and then I realised it was totally unrealistic because my hair is shorter than some NSFs).
Take a deep breath, marvel at the view, and catch yourself saying, “How did I get here!”
It’s Hard To Plan For The Big Stuff
When I started the blog, I didn’t plan on speaking at conferences or selling ebooks. I didn’t sit down in front of a big war board in my room and chart out my expected trajectory. “Okay, in 2 years, I’m gonna reach 3,000 subscribers. And in 4 years, I’ll be selling 2 products. And in 6 years, I really need to be speaking at international conferences, ending off with two cannons shooting champagne into the audience.”
Nope. Instead, I kinda just started writing, and took it from there. And while I was prepping to go up on stage for this year’s Personal Finance Investment Conference, I suddenly caught myself thinking, “Woah. How did I get here!”
The same way most people get to things: By taking a thousand small steps, with dozens of detours, and sometimes getting hopelessly lost.
When it comes to the Big Stuff – like our careers, our marriage, our families – we may think that we have it all mapped out: Get a job by 25, apply for a house by 27, get married by 29, get promoted to VP by 35, etc. But it rarely pans out that way.
This sounds scary, but it’s really not. Especially when you give yourself permission to NOT stick to some arbitrary long-term goal or net worth.
10 years ago, my version of awesome was to be able to pop bottles at clubs three times a week and be worth 10 billion dollars by the time I was 35. And then I realised that I didn’t need 10 billion dollars or bottle service, but I do have a heck of a lot of fun writing this blog.
So don’t worry if you don’t have your purpose/career/life “figured out” yet. Those things are gonna change along the way anyway. It’s like there’s a thick haze (haha) in front of you, and you can only see a few metres ahead.
Don’t Stop Running
No. That’s lazy. When you run, the number one rule is: Don’t stop running.
Take a slow jog, wander off to side paths, amble leisure through the beach, but whatever you do, don’t degenerate into laziness. Laziness will keep you in the same job, the same unhealthy habits, and the same cycle of average.
You don’t wanna be average; you wanna be awesome.
As Jon Acuff pointed out in his book “Start”, you don’t wanna wake up one morning to a life you hate and regretfully sigh: “How did I get here?” Said with a “?” and not a “!”.
Just one punctuation, but it’s a world of difference.
Start Moving Today
If you’ve got a vague idea about where you wanna go, get out the door and take that first step. Open a Word document and start writing. Reach out to a VIP and start talking to them about your next job. Take that programming or songwriting course you’ve been putting off. Go for meetups, tackle small projects, read.
Yes, you can’t predict the future. Your goals will change. Your path will meander. But that’s okay. As long as you keep moving, you’ll stumble upon something that lets you become your version of awesome.
So start. Put on your shoes and start running, and don’t be afraid to take detours as long as you keep moving. I hope that you’ll stumble upon a secret location with a beautiful view, and ask yourself:
How did I get here!
Note: The inspiration for this post came from reading Jon Acuff’s excellent book “Start” (aff) while I was holidaying on Kandooma Island, Maldives last week. I highly recommend it (both the book and the holiday).