This past weekend I went away on a retreat with a business group that I have been meeting with for the last 5 years. We meet monthly and go away for a weekend once a year. We went to San Diego this time around and had a great time! On Saturday we listened to a speaker, went on a brewery tour and to a Padres game. They played the Dodgers – I had a hot dog and cracker jacks, knowing full well that on I would pay the price in extra push-ups at bootcamp – TOTALLY worth it!! Then Sunday we had our meeting and went to Cardiff by the Sea, SO beautiful!!
The highlight of the weekend for me was the speaker on Saturday morning. The father of one of the members in our group came to speak to us about his story. He and his wife immigrated to the US from the Former Soviet Union over 30 years ago. He started at a small electrical company that he helped grow and upon realizing that he would never make partner there he decided to start his own business. He risked a lot to do so – he left a really good job and had a family to support, but it was really important to him to work at building something that would be his own. Today, he is the owner of a large and very successful company – the same company that he started on a shoestring budget over 20 years ago. He took time out of his busy schedule to share with us lessons that he has learned along the way. While he had many important things to say, the one that stood out most to me was the simplest: There is no substitute for hard work. For some reason this really struck me. It got me thinking about how often I look for a short cut or the easy way out. Don’t get me wrong, I work really hard and love what I do, but it seems like as a society we are constantly surrounded by the message: It is ok to get away with doing as little as possible.
One of the things that I struggle most with in my daily life of being bipolar is focus and follow-through. [Side note: I am not saying that these things are unique to being bipolar. I am sure that people who do not have crazy brains struggle with this too, but all I can speak for is me and my crazy brain.] So often I start something with HUGE ENTHUSIASM – jazz hands a blazing, “I’m going to change the world. I can’t be stopped!” etc. etc. Then when something glitters in the distance and says, “Look at me, I’m shinny and new. Pick me! Pick me!” my attention is diverted in an instant. Each day the cycle starts again and it takes great effort on a daily basis for me to fight this tendency. I work hard to appear as if that is not the case, but often am disappointed when I fall prey to the cycle. His perspective made me re-evaluate the way I approach my days – rather than just being “busy”, I need to be focused, work on and finish one thing at a time (or maybe 2 things, but certainly not 50). By approaching each day as a new and simply working hard, I can overcome these things that make me so frustrated with myself. And who knows, maybe I will change the world, perhaps I can’t be stopped…only time will tell.