A couple of days ago, I was invited to attend a Sharepoint seminar in London by the excellent Core.
The first I noticed something out of the ordinary, was when I entered the carriage in first class (I’m the UK head of IT now, there are some privileges to rank :). As I took my seat, I felt a little nervous, which isn’t like me at all.
The journey passed without event, I read a book, browsed my IPad and ate my ashtray sized breakfast.
The train arrived at London Euston. As I got off the train, the first thing I saw was the scene above. Suddenly I felt nervous and slightly afraid. I was in London, “far” from home. I remember thinking, what would happen if I got mugged, or lost my ticket ?, how would I get home ?. Whats going on I thought. I’ve landed in China with just my rucksack and didn’t feel this way, whats going on ?.
That’s when it hit me. Like physical fitness, your “adventure muscles” need to be exercised regularly. I’ve spent the last 18 months, doing things like hill walking. Although I’ve visited Bucharest and Lisbon in that time I’ve realized that although I’m experiencing adventure, I’m not leaving my comfort zone often enough and when I’m forced too by external forces I’m experiencing discomfort.
Everything turned out to be fine. On the train on the way back, I used the time to think about things. I’ve spent the last 18 months concentrating on my career, improving my home and spending time with friends. Things have been great, but I was reminded of a quote by Kahlil Gibran.
“Comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and becomes a host, then a master. And then it becomes a tamer, and with a hook and whip it makes puppets of your larger desires”.
I also remembered watching an episode of the TV series the Office. One scene features the receptionist (who is played by Jasper Carrots real life daughter Lucy Davies). She is being interviewed and says that originally, she worked as a children’s illustrator. She took a job as a receptionist to pay the bills. When questioned, she originally described herself as a children’s illustrator who worked as a receptionist, but over time just refereed to herself as a receptionist. A simple and comfortable solution, but at that point, she’s given up her dream.
Has that been happening to me ?. People I work with used to ask me about travel and adventure destinations. Now they just seem to identify me as John, the man who runs IT.
My bluelist (now completed) was all about leading a normal life, buying a house, building a career and spending time with friends but also pursuing adventure, without compromise.
I need to get back to that. I need to redefine myself.