Throughout my life – I have conquered things—from small ones like climbing a monkey ladder to big ones like marrying a foreigner or acing a test to win a competition. I have written books, choreographed dances etc. The list of accomplishments is never-ending.
Even at work in my roles as a software engineer and project/program manager – I knew when I had done an excellent job! There was a sense of satisfaction. And this also gives a subtle hint of the need for control in my personality type.
Now, cut to my current job as a technical product manager for several product suites. I used to and still continue to harbour a desire to become a company’s CEO someday. But, as we all know, life is unpredictable, and if I were to die tomorrow – I would die knowing that at least I have played the CEO role at a much smaller level. I lead an organization, maintain my P&L and have accountability for my products.
Despite knowing that I will die peacefully – there is a question that I have struggled with in my current job. No clear marker says I have mastered the job – I could do it for decades and still not be able to win it all. I am beginning to realize that, like life, this job is not meant to be viewed from a filter of – have I done it or not? Instead, it is a river flow – you wake up every day and see where the river takes you. And unlike a ship headed for a destination, you go with the river’s flow, trying to keep afloat.
Since you are not headed for a destination – each day is a surprise. You have no idea what’s going to come your way. Some days are a breeze, and some you struggle to keep your head above the water. You know you have to catch rainwater, but you are so busy plugging away leaky holes that you have no time. And the ship’s captain is asking you why you haven’t captured our rainwater. For a doer like me – this is a fascinating role. And as Prof.Rao would say – Universe does not make mistakes. This role is exactly what I need right now – and if I had got this role even a few years ago, I would have been frustrated because I hadn’t learnt the art of just focusing on the journey without the need to get a high from accomplishment.
And if you have good crewmates, then the journey becomes more palatable, and who knows, these may be the memories or mental screensavers that I keep returning to for the rest of my life. And it is an experience that the true inner north is more important than any destination I will ever reach.
And as most of you know, I meditate and am on the spiritual path where there is no destination at the end of the day. NOW is all there is. And in the NOW, there is nothing to do, nothing to achieve – only BE. This is my practice.
What is your practice?