I just broke up with Hollywood. Ok, so it wasn’t a bird in the pocket – no official offer had been put on the table. But we were certainly on our way to a long-term relationship – what looked, on the surface, like a dream come true: fame and fortune (relatively speaking), my creation paired with the rich and famous. All I had to do was produce a viable plan with numbers and commit to it. I could do that. Any half-wit could do that. So why, on the eve of engagement, did I break it off?
I realized, I prefer peace to power.
Starting your own business is the American Dream – it’s how one escapes the oppressing sensation of “working for the man”, of sacrificing one’s unique gifts for a steady paycheck. In a sense, it’s what I’ve been after for my entire adult life. The closer I got, the more I began to question what I really wanted in life.
Sure, it would be very glamorous to have my own mezcal brand, and even more so with the backing of investors with big connections. But after weeks of pouring over a business plan and tweaking spreadsheets, I began to understand that starting a brand in this way – with a load of money, little knowledge of the US industry, and investors to answer to – would mean that my years ahead would essentially be filled with stress and bureaucracy.
Is that what I wanted? The veneer of a successful life, with the mass of days doing something I despise?
It’s interesting that the common view of people is that when a golden opportunity presents itself, it should be snatched up immediately. Most of my friends would congratulate me and encourage me to jump on such a chance. But I suppose that’s because they’re not required to inspect said treasure to see if it’s actually 14 karat gold, or simply gold plated.
It took giving myself a taste of that stressful lifestyle to understand that what I want is to work with mezcaleros, educate others about mezcal, and have a satisfying, enjoyable lifestyle with a steady income. I don’t need to make a name for myself, I don’t need to get rich or to party with the famous, I don’t need to own my own brand. Hell, I don’t even need to export! Those things may eventually come to pass, but better they do so naturally as I focus on creating an authentic storyline, and building a business at a pace I’m prepared for.
One of Noel’s favorite psychological games to play with confused people is to ask the simple question: “What do you want?” Usually, the questionee fumbles around with a story of answers, none very clear. So Noel asks again, and again, and again (to the point you want to slap him, laugh out loud, or break down crying),
“What do you want?”
It’s such a simple, yet profound question, and in most cases, we forget to stop and ask ourselves that question – really ask ourselves. Instead we spin circles in attempt to navigate the waters of the future based on what we think is possible, and what we think makes sense.
What happens when I throw all those limitations out the window, and ask myself simply, “What do I really want?”. What is the essence of what I want? What does it feel like? How do would my daily routine be? What would give me that?
After writing this blog, I came across this video. Vishen Lakhiani suggests a new way of setting goals and living a fulfilling life. Watch the video and then ask yourself, “What do I want?”. What are your end goals? Share them with me in the comments!