Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Why do we do what we do?


I don't want you thinking that I spend all of my time at Home Depot, but it just so happened that I had a bit of a moment there last week. I was actually on my way to Princess Automotive in Whitby to find a pump to pump water mixed with Miracle Grow out of a large storage tank that I had purchased for the back of my truck onto my little seedlings hoping that this bit of nourishment would encourage them to grow just a little faster. I know, that was probably a bit of a run on sentence, but please overlook that fact, as using a run on sentence in my blog supports the gist of the point I'm trying to make. As I was making a rather long trip for a very minor purchase, I called my brother and asked if he needed anything at Princess Automotive. He gave me a list, and another friend gave me another list, so my trip ended up being very productive, or so one would think. As I was pushing my brightly coloured orange cart up the electrical aisle, hunting for some obscure fitting, I thought, is this really the best use of my life - shopping at Home Depot. As I was mulling this over, and still searching for that obscure part, I hearkened back to a conversation I'd had with a fellow innkeeper, and newly elected president of an association to which I belong (Ontario's Finest Inns & Spas). My friend Michael was coaching me on how to get results from other people in an association setting. He praised me for my passion, but suggested that sometimes I am misunderstood by others who may not share my passion. I think he was suggesting that I tone things down a bit. At one point, he asked me why I do what I do. Why do I get so passionate about the industry and my desire to see us work together to our mutual benefit, i.e., to make Ontario's Finest Inns & Spas a more successful group by working more cohesively (my words, not his)? I had to stop and think, and ultimately I didn't have an answer. That night, I tossed and turned as I considered Michael's coaching and questions. Perhaps I should just focus on my own business, and if I see something worth participating in, join on it's merits, as opposed to joining to make a contribution or to help it reach it's full potential. By dawn, I had concluded that the best thing for me, for my business, and for the associations to which I belong, would be to resign my board seat, and adopt a "whatever will be will be/live and let live" attitude. My awakening in the electrical aisle of Home Depot reinforced this thought process. Since then, I've been building on this thought process with ideas like; sell everything and move to Paris so that I could learn to speak French (and live in Paris), travel to India to find my guru, do charity work in Africa, move to a warmer climate and just enjoy life, do something meaningful that only involves me, myself and I. And then I got to thinking, why do we do what we do? Why have I allowed email and other forms of technology to take over my life, why do I go to work every day, why am I so caught up in this material world, why can't we live a simple life free of obligations, regulations and feelings, why, why, why!!! Do you you ever have these thoughts? Maybe I should stay out of the electrical aisle for a while.

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