It’s Okay to Have Your Inner Compass Pointing in the Wrong Direction.
Over the past couple of days I have been attending a conference called Trailblazers. Its run by Google for entrepreneurs, here is an unexpected learning that came from it.
I sat during Bill Duane’s talk titled “Tools for happiness and accomplishing amazing things” in awe. This is a man who has self-taught himself to code, became a senior engineer at Google for 12 years and has come from telling hippies who meditate to “fuck off” to be one of the most engaging speakers I have possibly ever seen when talking about meditation and happiness in the workplace.
His vision and his mission are to help Googlers live and work in sustainable ways that allow them to be their most effective and happy selves, as individuals and as an organisation. And to ultimately, create a better world.
So for 2 hours on a cloudy north Californian morning, I sat watching a man talk about well-being in awe. I was transfixed. I could have sat there for 24 hours and still craved for more.
I personally feel like I am relatively in touch with my emotions, but when it comes to meditation and well-being, I am ashamed to say I would probably walk 1000 miles in the other direction, mumbling under my breath “fucking hippie”
So for me, this was surprising, I was engaged. Bill undoubtedly had my full attention and had just coached me through my first ever meditation.
What happened next, hit me like a train.
We did an activity that focused on “knowing your priorities and values”. I can’t remember a time when I have focused on something so internal and personal.
But I was open minded and willing to give it a go.
There are two types of priorities and values, Inner and Outer. Inner are feelings and outer a doing words
For example, inner might be love, health, wisdom, compassion and courage.
Outer might be time with family, working for equality, enjoying life and
forming deep relationships.
We were told to write down our top 3 in both. Here’s what I had come up with:
Top 3 Inner
1. Health / Fitness
Top 3 Outer
1. Being Fit
2. Power / Influence
3. Strong Reputation
If you’re struggling to put this into perspective in your own life. Think about these three questions:
1. How do you measure your life?
2. What impact do you really want to have?
3. What is really important?
After doing this there was a period of reflection and we moved on to the next activity, we will revisit my top inners and outers don’t worry.
The next activity was journaling and reflecting.
I’ve never kept a journal. I think in my own mind I’ve always said “I’m too busy to keep one”
The activity was to finish this sentence.
“In 5 years, to be truly successful and happy I will be……..
A challenge getting this is……..
And finally what would support me……..
Here is what I wrote:
In 5 years, to be truly successful and happy I will….. be financially stable, will have married my partner and building a family. I will have made an impact on startups in Australia and made Fishburners the cornerstone of our ecosystem.
A challenge getting there…..is my own motivation to succeed and to have the confidence to know that I can get there. Am I skilled enough to be the person I truly want to be.
What would support me…..A tight unit of family and loved ones around me.
Side-note — the technique we were told to use was “don’t let the pen leave the paper”
I didn’t even know there were different techniques to journaling.
Once I had finished. I felt conflicted. I sat there confused and slightly sad. It took me a few minutes to realise why.
Once everyone had stopped writing the mic went round and people disclosed how they were feeling, asked questions to Bill etc.
I decided I wanted to say something.
I got the mic and in front of co-working peers and in front of people, I have epic imposters syndrome against asked Bill “why am I feeling so conflicted. I’m looking at my inners and outers and feel like an asshole.
They are completely different to where I want to be in 5 years. I don’t want to be this person. Is it possible to change my inner and outer priorities?” I asked.
He told me I could and that I shouldn’t feel conflicted, your priorities will never stop changing and evolving he said. I’m probably not the only one feeling like an asshole. Phew.
I sat there stumped at why my inner and outer priorities and values were so selfish and how they were completely different to what my 5-year vision and goals were.
I re-read what I had written and felt sick that what was on the page was a polar opposite to what I wanted to be. I mean aesthetics……really.
My priorities at this present moment meant I would not achieve my 5-year goal. I would become something I didn’t want to be. I knew that I needed to think long and hard about what are my priorities. I am on the wrong path I thought to myself, how can I fix this?
So later that day I meditated. For the second time ever, I mediated.
I used some of the techniques that I had learned from Bill’s session, yes I am now acquainted with the term Neuroplasticity and sought to rewire my brains thoughts.
Here’s what I wrote down after.
Top 3 Inner:
1. Emotional Intelligence / Maturity
Top 3 Outer:
1. Impact others by service
2. Career advancement
3. Health and Fitness
Upon reflecting on these, I don’t think they are finished and Bills correct they won’t stop changing and evolving.
However, I do now feel more aligned with my own priorities and values and feel like this is the right path to get me to my 5-year goal.
Why have I written this blog, well it’s to feel accountable and I don’t think I’ve ever beard myself vulnerably in a public domain before and as I am writing it, I feel as though I am getting something off my chest.
Id love for this to inspire other people to look inwards and really get an understanding of what they’re own morale compass is and where it is pointing.
The entire conference had moments like this for me, I felt truly inspired to just be there. Upon reflection, these are my key takeaways from the conference:
1. In order to move forward with solutions, I first have to fix myself and my way of approaching them.
2. I have to ask for help more.
3. I am re-inspired to be helping entrepreneurs. Sad that I lost that feeling.
4. We all belong to something bigger. Be it ecosystems / cities / a global network. We are not alone in our journey, as much as we like to think that we are.
5. I have to reconnect with myself regularly as an individual and focus on what my values and priorities are.
6. Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.
7. My current values and priorities were completely different to what my 5-year goals are. That needed fixing and fixing quick.