She’s 38. Beautiful, educated, successful family business owner, single. She speaks with passion about her work and all her achievements and how proud her father is to see her taking over the CEO role from him. She has everything she needs, well almost everything: she is lonely sometimes. I wonder why. She reads my mind and tells me: “there is too much to do, that’s the problem”. Her diary is full every day, including Saturdays and Sunday. It reminds me of me a few years back and same as my supervisor once did, I ask her “When do you rest? When do you chill out?”. She mentions her long lunch “breaks” for business meetings, her monthly massage and beauty session and her business trips which are “almost holidays”. From the outside it looks like an amazing life, but her eyes are sad and her voice is shaking a little when she talks about her dreams. “I’m approaching 40 and I wonder if I will ever be a mother… When I was little I felt so lonely as a single child, with daddy always travelling and mother busy with her events. I really wanted to be an actress and I used to create my own plays… I dreamed of having a large family, with children of all ages running around a front beach house and us parents playing with them… I would run my little improvisation theater and children would come over after school with their father and we would then take long walks on the beach at sunset…”.
He is 44. Tall, presentable, confident, lawyer, recently divorced. He is not a talker and seems uncomfortable to share his inner space. I remain quiet. He feels uncomfortable in silence too. Which way shall I go with him? Eventually he tells me the divorce disturbed him so badly that he cannot focus on work anymore. Three times this week he surprised himself “absent” in meetings with clients which he found highly embarrassing. “In 20 years, I never sat in front of client unable to listen to their stories. I am worried they have noticed it at the firm and that might jeopardize my promotion. I simply can’t afford that, I worked so hard to become a partner…”. Slowly he shares that he comes from a humble background, he is the eldest of 4 siblings and that he had to take over the responsibility for the family at 15 when their father left them. “I took care of my mother and my sisters for almost 3 decades, I cannot mess it now”. I mention that he puts a lot of pressure on himself. He feels the need to justify and explains how much he sacrificed already, including his dream to be a race car driver, only to make his mother proud and to financially support his sisters.
2 real life stories unfolding right now in 2 different corners of the world. 2 beautiful human beings touched by a common life struggle: living their lives by default, disconnected from their dreams and aspirations and what is really meaningful to them. Driven by duty, comfort, continuity and the fear of disappointing others.
These are not isolated cases. Many other people across the globe experience life the same way.
Are you one of them? Here are some question to help you find the answer:
☆Whose life are you living right now?
☆Why are you doing what you’re doing?
☆Why are you where you are?
☆Why are you with whom you are?
☆Whose ideas are you following?
☆What made you embrace them?
☆Who are your idols or heroes?
☆You’ve been inspired by their story, but what is your story?
☆What would your story sound like if you would voice it out?