Over the last year or so I’ve been an an amazing journey of discovering and addressing a variety of things I can change or improve about the quality of my life. They aren’t necessarily mistakes. They aren’t the result of errors or stupid decisions. They weren’t bad things that happened to me. They aren’t even character flaws or weaknesses.
They were simply accidental aspects of my life. These are things that I’ve just never intentionally made a decision on one way or another. They just exist accidentally. I guess you could say I’m just getting more intentional about my life. Here are just a few examples.
If you asked me 3 years ago if I read often, I would have answered: “Yeah sure, of course I do. everybody does.” But really what that meant was that I had a few books I had started, maybe a chapter or two in, but didn’t really have any discipline or process to ensure that I was constantly fueling my mind with great books. I didn’t decide to read. I didn’t decide not to read. I just didn’t do it intentionally. Now I do. With vigor!
It was running, or more specifically training for a 10k that started the whole transformation or awakening of Johnson Cook. Just like reading, if you asked me if I “workout” 3 years ago, I would have told you that I do. What that meant was that I would run until I got tired, then walk home. Usually a mile, two on a big day, three if I was crazy. There was never an intentional decision to run a certain distance, a certain quantity of days in the week, set on certain goals. It was accidental workouts. Now it is certainly not.
Meeting people has always just been part of life. I accidentally made friends and great industry connections over the last decade of my career. I wasn’t really seeking them out unless, admittedly, I had something to sell them. I wasn’t trying, with discipline to meet new people just for the purpose of meeting new people. In the last 12 months, I have changed that and been truly amazed at how deep and amazing most people really are if you just try to get to know them without any agenda.
As I’ve worked on addressing this one, I’ve been pleased that I wasn’t that far off where I would put myself, but there are still some areas where I had accidental directions. I did not have an intentional one-on-one vacation with each kid once per year. I didn’t have the intentional goal of having at least 5 day vacation twice/year with my wife with no kids. (Disclaimer, except when she’s nursing a baby… which takes entires 12-months out of that routine!) Now I have these things, and more. Intentional short times with the boys with no phone. No meal. Just fun focus.
Here is the most exciting area of life where being intentional can accelerate everything. I always found accidental ways to align what I believe is important to me, my legacy, my mark on this world with how I was making money. I would say that “my company is a vehicle that allows me to do what really matters.” After meeting enough truly aligned and successful people, I can now realize that this answer was justification of an accidental situation. Something that requires as much time and energy as growing a company shouldn’t be anything but 10000% in alignment with what you want your legacy to be. Neither your legacy or your career will thrive as remarkable accomplishments unless you have this passion alignment. And of course, this means being on FIRE.
I hope you’ll reflect on this and try to determine if you have any accidental areas of your life. Where have you not yet made a real decision on how you are going to live?
Bonus tip: For this process, I recommend finding a forum, coach, or accountability partner. Outside input is often the only realistic way to truly wake yourself up.
Would love to hear your comments and discussion on this topic… let em rip!