What Gets You There

The other day, someone mentioned the book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith. I have not read it, so I’m not sure what it’s about (my apologies to the author) but the title really struck me. As I’m progressing through my yearlong sabbatical, it has occurred to me several times that all the things that got me to where I am now are not necessarily the things that are going to move me forward.

Without any specific plan for this year, I’ve been accumulating new skills and knowledge that I assume are leading me toward something, but I’m not sure what. It’s been awfully interesting to learn them, though. It’s amazing how busy you can be just following your own curiosity.

And while I’ve maintained some of my work, I’ve found that I approach it slightly differently now. I’ve simplified some things and done away with others. I’ve leaned into the projects I really want to do and said no to things I don’t, even if they’re things I can do easily and once enjoyed. I’m learning to listen to myself.

And that’s another interesting aspect to “what got you here won’t get you there.” Part of what got me here was a relentless sense of personal responsibility to the point where I never wanted to let anyone down in the slightest and always needed to go above and beyond. I’m discovering that the whole world does not fall apart if I sometimes have to change the plans. So, some of the “bad habits” I’d maintained for years are falling away, which leaves me wondering what doors in my soul that will open.

I think not just about “what” got me here, but “who.” I’m appreciating now my early mentors, my writer’s group, my first champions. All the people who built me up as a writer and speaker. Some of them are still in my life, some are not. But in the past few years, a whole new group of friends and advisors have emerged, and I’m learning so much from them! They will take me to the next level, and hopefully I will help them as well.

Everyone knows we’re not the same person when we are 10 as we are when we’re 20. Not the same person at 25 as 30. And yet once we settle into true adulting in our 30s, we tend to think we’re done changing. And others tend to believe they know who we are; that our identities and personalities are fixed. But it’s not so. I hope when I’m 64 I’m not the same person I am now at 54.

It’s kind of exciting wondering what’s coming next. I’m proud of all the hard work, passion, and commitment that got me here, and now I’m eager to see how my curiosity and intention will get me there.

By Teresa R. Funke

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