It’s personal. It’s always personal.

30 June 2022 Martin Cheetham

I’ve always thought that personal life should be (or simply is) separate from work life. I’ve now come to the realisation that it’s all one life. My work life is my personal life. One and the same.

There is no work/life balance. If you hate your 9-5 then you hate your life. You spend more time there anyway. It might be scary to quit or change direction, but what’s much scarier is staying there for 2, 5, 10, or even 20 years! Imagine realising that you wasted that time. Time you can’t get back. One of the biggest regrets you can have in life is spending your time in service of something that you don’t love (or even enjoy).

“You’re not tired, you’re uninspired” – The Rock

Find the thing you love doing and make a definite decision. A decision to not live life by someone else’s terms. A decision to spend what little time you have on this earth, doing something that really means something to you. Spend not another minute paving out a life of regret.

The man on the moon

There is a great story Jim Carrey shares about purpose. A story about his father that led Carrey to fervently chasing his passion:

“So many of us chose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that was possible for him. So, he made a conservative choice and instead he got a job as an accountant. When I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. Our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which is that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

That’s not to say that if you find your purpose, everything will be roses. There will be obstacles, there will be challenges that sometimes seem insurmountable. But the true indication of achievement is determination. Even if you’re following your passion. Living your purpose, you’ll have things you don’t want to do. Do them anyway.

You’ll have moments or even whole days that suck. But the grit and determination of the pursuit of your vision will carry you through it (and remember, the Rock is watching you).

I was trying to find a way to link this article back to Tenaka and experience design (this exists on our Tribalshare blog after all), but I guess the connection is more to our purpose and mine. It’s about making life better. And if you can make life better for yourself, you inherently make it better for others. You can make life better for your family, for your customers and for your employees.

It reminds me of the instruction airlines give in case of an emergency situation: they tell you to always secure your own oxygen mask first, despite your probable instinct to help others. If you can’t look after yourself, you’ll be in no state to help anyone else.

It’s your life. And you only get one. Don’t split it between work and home.

Make it personal.