No. Really. How’s Life?
Sometimes when people ask how you’re doing they aren’t really asking. It’s more of a greeting. That’s okay. Maybe you have a preferred response…
“Doing good. Doing good.”
Many times we are answering from either a place of hiding or common courtesy. Most times we aren’t interested in being honest. Mainly because we are assuming the person asking isn’t asking because they want to know. Not really.
What if we started being more honest with more people. What if we found a space in our personal life where we didn’t mind being more honest with more people. I’ve been trying this out. Both being more honest and living as though I’m going to stop hiding.
A couple of months ago I had what I believe to be my first real bout with depression. Like, can’t get off the couch, don’t talk to me, I can’t function, work can wait, here’s a tablet kids kind of depression. This just isn’t me. Or at least it hadn’t been me. I’ve struggled with anxiety while driving long distances before. But nothing like this.
I decided the next day I needed to do something. Not anything big. Just something to help. I decided to tell people about it when they asked how I was doing. I decided to give certain amounts of info to certain people, and not hide in my depression. I was going to name it. My hope was to diminish its power by shining light on it. I think it worked.
This effort to answer more honestly didn’t just apply to the bad days or weeks or months. It had to apply to the good as well. It’s been great! For the last two months when people ask how I am I’ve been answering honestly, wonderful!
There’s more going on in each aspect of my life than I could’ve imagined. My wife went back to work (good for the whole family) and so I am spending more time with my children than ever before. This is wonderful! I’ve decided to view this as a plus and not a negative. I’ll never have this time again. Also, a book I worked on for two years (and even gave up on at one point) is in process to be published. The church is in a wonderful spot in so many ways. I was recently cast to act and write for a sketch comedy show here in Las Vegas. We will be filming at the Mandalay Bay. This is a life-long dream.
Everything seems to be in a good place and I love telling people. Not to brag. Not to diminish what they are currently experiencing. But to inspire people that you can have it all. You can be fully present to the people, the projects, and the purpose of your life.
The Japanese have a word for this…
I love Japanese culture. I spent some weeks there about twelve years ago and fell in love with the people. Their depth of community was contagious. Their effort to dream big and acheive big motivated me in several ways.
There’s a word in Japanese culture used to describe the idea of being perfectly present to your reason for being. Ikigai.
I feel like I’m experiencing Ikigai in my life right now. It’s a wonderful place to be. It’s a place I honestly never thought I’d fully be. But I noticed that I made some choices to get here. I’d like to share these with you in hopes that you will examine your life and make similar choices. While your “ikigai” might look different than someone else’s, I do think there’s some active steps we can all take to get there.
4 Steps Towards Ikigai
- Be Present. I feel like I write and talk about this a lot lately. I’m seeing just how important it is to life. The biblical book Ecclesiastes reveals the wisdom behind being present to the people and purpose of our life. My suggestion, write down what you hope to be present to, post it where you can see it, review it daily.
- Find A Partner. This may be found within your marriage, a friendship, or elsewhere. This is vital to success. For me, my wife becoming aware of her purpose and needs was huge in finding and enjoying mine. We are in this life thing together. Her success is as important to me as mine. And we need each other to be better to be better!
- Make A Plan. My life and leadership coach left a few huge imprints on my life, but none greater than the need for a clear vision for my life and a detailed plan for getting there. A life plan isn’t about dreaming. It’s about doing. It’s about discovering what you want to be and blazing a trail to get there. Fail to plan, plan to fail.
- Make It Public. Like I said earlier, let people in. I’m not talking about letting everyone in on everything. But I am encouraging everyone to find the community within which you can share. This is certainly part of the Japanese culture and I believe essential to living out this Japanese concept.
My hope is that you will be inspired. Motivated to move in the right direction. I believe I’ve followed Jesus into a difficult season of life, and in the middle of it found joy, purpose, success, family, love, and more. God has a plan for your life. The “sweet spot” for you and yours. It will not be easy. But nothing worth doing ever is.
Comment below if you’ve experienced Ikigai. Maybe you have a suggestion I missed. Join the discussion!