Letting Go and Following My Heart

by Kenneth Rayman on August 11, 2018

Listened to this yesterday as I was starting my day at work and finished it shortly before I was given the news that I was being let go. Prophetic? I think so.

Every time I hear a keynote from anyone I follow where they mention a story that, to a regular listener, may seem boiler plate because you’ve heard it so many times before, but they expand on it, I see light bulbs everywhere. The first here was his mother assuming he’d fail but he adds that she said, “I always assumed you’d fail but I never wanted you to ask ‘what if’.”

Maybe that’s why my mother always hovered and never let me even consider leaving for college (as a kid in Indiana, Purdue was the only option, once we moved to New Mexico, even though all I heard up to that point was “Purdue, Purdue, Purdue,” all the sudden NMSU was the only option). She was so protective of me that while I saw what he says, as humans, we (I) recognize that there is something we could do that is more than we see in front of us, but the path is not clear. My mother probably couldn’t see the path and that gave her fear for the son with a “limitation.” And when I saw it and wanted to take the step, her maternal instincts went into overdrive and forbid it, leading me to eventually give up and expect life to come to me.

On top of that, Dad’s view was to provide for the family so he taught work ethic, formality (I was not allowed to even ask for a job application without a shirt and tie), and hard work by, as Tom says, “keeping your head down and avoiding punishment at all costs,” and that worked for him through working his way to Production Superintendent from Floor Operator. I was forced by the environment to think school, grades, and hard work led to success, not skill acquisition, challenge, and continuous massive action.

What I learned when I hit rock bottom for the umpteenth time and thought to myself, “I’m tired of doing this every few years,” people I just discovered like Tom, Brendon Burchard, and Gary Vaynerchuk, taught me to how to take what’s already happened in my life and my interests and experience and pivot to find the direction to head, when before I thought it would just “happen.” I knew I loved to write, I knew I had a passion for senior care, and, I would find, I loved to talk about my personal passion on Russia. But how do I connect with people given my sheltered, “Jake Gyllenhaal-esque” Bubble-Boy upbringing which hindered my skill acquisition?

Goal setting was, as Vishen said in Tallinn, Means vs. End, Means goal often are “so” goals (I need to do this ‘so’ I can…) and make you chase rather than become. End goals, which I’m still working on but getting better at, start with the goal and you work backwards to achieve by seeing the steps you must take to get there and if you want it bad enough, you’ll do whatever it takes. Until I got a year into my growth, I didn’t understand what/how to do this exercise, I just knew I had a passion, but the steps backwards seemed like a leap of faith and hope something good happens. What I learned was the process of the steps was what mattered, and that leap was just a step. But my “why” is something I still struggle with, partly because I associate the “why” concept with an argument that made my limiting beliefs come back on fire and threatened to derail me, so I’m trying to understand the “why.”

Happiness, taught by Mo Gawdat, is the process of the event’s interpretation that YOU control. The event does nothing but how we react to it does. My brain does not tell me what to think about yesterday’s job loss, I tell my brain whether I’m going to wallow in defeat and let the exit interview advice fester and become part of me or that I’m going to be creative with this blog to show what I’ve learned about myself and my strengths and then go out on Monday and network my ass off either for my speaking events or another position. Fulfillment is what I get from what I’m doing now, sharing my knowledge of Russia and seeing someone whose been afraid of “Commies” all their lives, nod with a smile on their face as I disprove a construct through genuine interest rather than persuasion; it is writing this and being able to use it as a writing sample for companies to show style, creativity, and the ability to draw unique connections between ideas, similar and non.

These choices may have seemed like a leap of faith to some, but I saw the process within myself that I’ve worked the past two years to go through. I took myself from waiting for life to happen to me, being crushed by defeat/rejection, feeling hopeless, and being destroyed by the thought of being “let go” or “fired,” to shifting to providing value at every turn, professional, entrepreneurial, or personal, and letting that be my driver that leads me to the next opportunity. The process is the journey and end goal, nothing is ever “click” and it’s done. I can feel defeated or I can create and move because as Jason Goldberg told me in Tallinn, “Feel the fear and allow it to be irrelevant because is the fear helpful or is it “interesting” in helping to pass time?” The price of the journey means nothing but the growth shows myself and others what I’ve become, will become, and through me maybe they’ll think, “Wow… the kid who was depressed constantly and was unwilling to take the steps to better himself a few years ago can completely transform himself to be who’s writing this and focused on value to others… what can I do?”