I was sitting opposite Robbie at a favourite local coffee shop, waiting for it all to sink in. It had been two weeks since I had left AIG, and three days since I had arrived to stay with Robbie in South Africa.
In our time together I had explained different parts of my future, what I wanted to achieve and most importantly why. I had explained how all the parts would fit together, how they layered in. I had laid it out from start to finish as best I could. I had told him that I want to positively impact the lives of many and not just superficially, but in a fundamental way. I was passionate, but at times disjointed in articulating my vision, dreams and goals. This was why I was sitting there in front of Robbie, someone knows me well enough to piece it all together.
A comfortable silence followed. Robbie then repeated back to me my core values and principles. He sketched out each aspect of my plans, drawing up a grand design incorporating most, but not all, of my ambitions. It’s uncomfortable to discard an idea in which you have invested your time, energy and heart in, but it was clear that those were sunk costs and any further investment would be at the expense of my greater goals.
Robbie then asked me to colour in the outline we had created. I haltingly began. To help me along Robbie asked me to explain how and why I started my personal transformation. I told him how I was motivated by seeing my grandparents retire poor. I began to read extensively on financial planning, which opened up a whole new world. It led me to explore to the psychological elements of behavioural economics, then mindset shifts and an understanding of the mind-body connection. I was consuming 1-2 books per week, complemented with podcasts and more meaningful conversations with my friends. I didn’t just read the theory, I applied what I read. Some of my new habits had an immediate impact, others took time to exert a compounded effect. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t come across these concepts earlier in my life, despite 20 years of “education” and a decade of work. A decade I had given away cheaply. My experiences turned me into an evangelist for personal development and growth. Now it was time to figure out how to get my message across.
Robbie knew I have always been a problem-solver. I had been top-ranked in every role I had held since missing out in my first year of corporate in 2009. I see solutions quickly, often well before the problem has finished manifesting. But more importantly I act quickly and decisively.
Robbie asked me, ‘What it is going to take to reach your ambition of achieving this goal, to reach your aspiration?’ At this question the common thread lacing through all aspects of my vision became clear – aspiration. It was at that moment that Reaching Aspiration was born.
“The true measure of a man is not what he dreams, but what he aspires to be; a dream is nothing without action. Whether one fails or succeeds is irrelevant; all that matters is that there was motion in his life. That alone affects the world.” ― Mike Norton
I am still on this journey towards reaching my aspiration. But now I awake each morning with a purpose, my purpose. And with this knowledge, I repeat my daily mantra with conviction and joy:
Today I choose happiness. To be alive is grand.
I am excited about everything, as it is all in my control.
What is not, is of no concern to me.
I have ten thousand futures to change.
I am focused and will succeed.
Life is short, let’s do this.