Getting Out of My Own Way

December 4, 2013 By Tom

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox, today’s prompt: “What was the wisest decision you made this year? Who did it impact? Describe your decision-making process, discuss the results, or just share a little learned wisdom.”

In a year full of dramatic swings that include lots of travel, finding a decent workout routine, ups-and-downs with work, divorce, dating again and a ton of other things, it all seemed to create a perfect storm of feeling pretty lost and frustrated with things.  On the surface I played it cool, but I was struggling with finding passion and vision and remembering to take my own advice that “it always sorts”.

And the wisest decision was to translate some advice I was given from a friend, without directly saying the words, he said, “Tom, you need to get out of your own way” and heed that advice to positively move in the right direction.

The back story?  Let’s call him “JK”.  JK and I got to know one another through the Twitter world bonding over bikes and beer.  It was a “Twittership” in the best definition.  And like most of those Twitter relationships, I figured that’s where it would stay.

The only direct interaction we had was an awesomely amusing run-in at Plat99 that involved discussions of my previous and current life without him knowing that there was a dividing line between those two worlds.

We hadn’t talked again until I got a direct message from JK the day I posted the first blog in 2 months talking about the split.  “Hey, let’s get a beer” was more or less the entirety of that message.

The following week I found myself at The Sinking Ship, drinking good beer and eating star shaped tater tots talking with JK.  We got to know one another a bit and then he asked about what had gone down–and for the first time I found myself talking about the whole thing in entirety with someone who didn’t have a vested interest in the situation one way or another.  It was a foreign and strange concept, but it felt great to vent and get it out to an impartial party.

And then he shared with me his story, living in Chicago and a breakup he had gone through.  How it was the best thing that happened to him given the situation.  That he quickly realized what he had to do to achieve his goals and what he felt was happiness.  The conversation was part pep talk, part swift kick in the ass, and part challenge.

The challenge that I took from that conversation was to make sure I wasn’t getting in my own way in terms of life and all the great things that are happening in my life.

…But wait, he never said, “Tom, make sure you aren’t getting in your own way”, so how did I get that from the conversation?  He talked about all the great things that happened since, all the things that most likely couldn’t have happened if the situation hadn’t dramatically changed like it did.

And that’s been my motto for the past two months,  make sure I’m looking forward and challenging myself to do great things.  It’s sorted out pretty well, personally and professionally things are coming together in unique and awesome ways and I’m making sure that I don’t let myself or those around distract me from the goals at hand.

So, the wisest decision made was to grab that beer with JK, listen intently as he passed on his wisdom and seize the opportunity and figure out the best way to make it all work for me.  It’s made me a better person.  And I got to eat star tater tots while listening.