Finding Your Port
We are knee deep in Oscar season and I started catching up on the nominated movies to see what the buzz was all about. Before you start judging me for coming late to the party, know that I have three kids under 11 years old and if we are going to the big screen it’s to see the Avengers (seen Black Panther 6 times, thank you very much). Other than that, I stream what I can.
My wife really wanted to see a Star is Born so we did. Awesome movie. Bradley Cooper is annoyingly talented, and you can’t help but be in awe of his performance, directing, singing… you get the point. Gaga is great too and my girls have been listening to Shallow every day for two months now. “Tell me something girl…” Damn it, it is in my head again!
Anyway, my favorite scene of A Star is Born is when Bradley Cooper wakes up after a bender on a curb and is taken care of by his friend played by Dave Chappelle. It is a great judgment free scene where instead of berating this poor shallow of a man, Chappelle sits with him, takes care of him, and provides him what he needs at the time. As they are talking Chapelle shares his wisdom with Bradley Cooper:
You know it's like, I dunno you... you float out... float out at sea then one day you find a port and say, "I'm gonna stay here a few days." Few days 'comes a few years. Then you forgot where you're going in the first place. Then you realize you don't really give a sh*t about where you was goin', cause you like where you at.”
This little piece of wisdom made a huge impact on me. You see, I am the kind of guy that always is looking for what is next. I have anxiety and living in the future is more often than not my reality. I am always looking for the next port. The next safe harbor before I set sail again.
It is hard to appreciate the now, when all you are thinking about is how to get farther, how to keep moving. This has been a constant for me in my professional life. I would start a job and immediately start working on the next step. What do I need to do to become a specialist? A supervisor? A manager? A director?
When things stagnated a bit (they always do), it would shake me to my core. I would only focus on why I was not getting any movement. I literally could not stand still because the anxiety of not knowing what the step was drove me insane. I call it the limbo of darkness. Not knowing the path, or what’s next.
This led me to some pretty hasty decisions. Sometimes I moved away from a job that fulfilled me just so that I could try something new. Sometimes I took jobs without thinking it through because I was not comfortable in waiting for a minute. I would say that in most of those cases, looking back, staying put might have been a better option. Not because of the security, or the comfort, but because I did not need to panic in the uncomfortable feeling of staying put for a minute. In fact, in some cases, I might have been further ahead if I just let the cards fall as they may.
Now I am not advocating for you to not take risks, to not push the envelope. I am the first one to champion risk taking if it is getting you closer to what you are looking for. What we forget, is that sometimes we do not know what we are looking for, and we need to keep our eyes open to ensure that we are not leaving something that makes us happy just to search for something we THINK we want.
This is no easy task, and more often than not you will have to take a few stumbles, like I did, to realize what is important to you in the first place. But when you do, make sure you hold on to it, because like Chapelle said in the movie, when you like where you are at, it doesn’t matter where you were going in the first place.
Find your port and appreciate it for what it provides you. If you need to move on, but if not, appreciate your port for the happiness that it brings you. And stay for a while.
Andre Mello is a Business Coach and loves himself some Wakanda. Andre has been in Marketing and Leadership for over 17 years. If you would like to connect with him, please visit www.wysecoaching.com.