This morning I hung out my freshly washed clothes to dry in the sharp, hot Mallorcan sun. After 3.5 years, I was struck by the realization that I actually enjoy this weekly act. Awaiting each batch of clean laundry is my funky royal blue clothes line strung between two orange trees. The process is so simple, yet it feels timeless and primitive.
I didn’t grow up hanging my clothes out to dry. We had a washing machine, and as an adult I had one too. But here and in many parts of Europe, this is normal. I now love folding my laundry and burying my nose in the fresh smell.
My decision to move to Mallorca was not an easy one. The San Francisco Bay Area had a strong pull, but myintense longing to slow down and simplify won out.
There have been tradeoffs, however. In order to reach out across the globe, my computer and I have developed a very special and intimate relationship. Connections with friends, family, colleagues are through Skype. I fly away to work and network. There are many, many things I miss about my life in California.
Yet, I continue to choose here and live in a way that is congruent with my vision. By my daily choices, I choose simplicity. Social connection is spontaneous. For human contact, a stroll to the plaza ensures a meet-up with friends and acquaintances. “Holas” to Mr. postman and Marga the banker, and a wave to the butcher Joan as I pass his shop. Some days I pop into the sporting goods store for a chat with Karen or Michelle. Inevitably, someone wants to sit down for a coffee. Drew called today to invite a few of us over for tapas and drinks.
For food shopping and errands, I strap on my saddle bags and hop on my trusty steed–my bicycle–and I’m off to the market! Some weeks, I may use my car just once.
I pick lemons, oranges, figs, grapes, and plums from the orchard to eat on the day and friends drop by to join in the bounty.
I keep it simple. Small, uninteresting car. No mobile phone contract — pay as you go. No cable TV. Shop at the indoor market every other day–no freezer. I only buy things I really love–no clutter and minimal shopping. You see, I found that things started to own me instead of me owning them. My weekends used to be spent in the care and feeding of my things.
How did I get here? Motivated by my desire to live full-out / no regrets, and through a process of self-reflection, I decided to press the reset button on my career and narrow my focus while expanding my playing field.
Lurking inside me for years was a wish to live and work internationally. My university studies reflect this: Spanish and Ibero-American Studies, undergrad and Social and Cultural Anthropology MA. I chose to study what I captured my attention and imagination. Finally, that wish became a reality.
Action follows intention and attention.
Many of us react to what is most immediate and in front of us. Take time to step back and look inside. What is your purpose? What is your vision? What are your priorities and will they move you toward your vision? How do you move through your day and does it reflect your purpose, priorities and values?
I realized that some of my long-standing patterns (habits, reactions, motivations) caused me pain and suffering. I became more transparent to myself and began, step-by-step, to shift my patterns. On my journey to grow and learn more about myself, to clarify my purpose and vision for this next era of my life, I spontaneously (truly) wrote a book: InsideOut Enneagram: The Game-Changing Guide for Leaders. The process of writing this book was life-altering.
I challenge you to ask yourself as a leader of your organization and as a leader of your life:
“Is my vision clear and do I keep it in front of me at all times?”
“Do the actions I take move me towards my vision?”
What’s your vision? Do you see yourself clearly in the picture? Do your words and actions demonstrate these priorities and do you offer clear direction to your organization and your team?
See Small Choices. Big Impact for a related post.