This picture was taken in London by a talented friend of mine, Michal Dzierza. Check out the wonderful TED talk by the artist behind the original idea of a wall such as this. Candy Chang talks briefly and eloquently about the power of public spaces and how we can use them to encourage us to share more with each other.
And the wall raises a challenge to us all to dream ourselves a future.
What is it you want to do before you die?
And why does that matter to you?
What stops you getting on with doing those things?
Last week, I spent some time talking to an executive in a financial services company about his next chapter. He is highly thought of by people across the organization and also very well paid. He has all the power and money he wants but that isn’t enough. He’s bored at what he does despite of being good at it (sound familiar?). He is so tired and exhausted from the unfilled job that he struggles to put attention to what it is he really wants to do. He can’t begin to dream about a future because he’s running on empty.
This resignation to continue what we’ve committed to do is a common theme in my coaching clients. To me, it feels like a safe way of sleep walking your way to the time when you die. The money and power are compelling golden handcuffs that we come to love in a peculiar corporate form of Stockholm syndrome.
Our world has a definition success for the individual that is inextricably linked to the narrative of a successful economy. For our country to be doing well, then the economy must be growing. For that to happen, consumers need to earn more, and continue spending. And then the economy grows and the country is awarded a good credit rating. The politicians pat themselves on the back and we vote them in again.
So to define our own personal measure of success as money and power is hardly surprising, yet for many, deeply unfulfilling.
This is not the only way to exist. There are ways to reconnect with our hopes and expectations for ourselves and our loved ones. Taking time to reflect and reconnect on what matters to us should be our gift to ourselves. Let us not give up dreaming ourselves a future.
So what do you want to do before you die….?