A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to interview Darryl Edwards – fitness explorer, author, coach, and founder of Primal Play. The interview was part of podcast series on real Wealth. Real Wealth is defined as having the freedom to live life the way you want to live it. The interview was a slap in the face and wake up call; all this time I was saying do what’s right for you, but I had a clear personal definition of what “right for you” should look like.
The Quintessence of real Wealth
Darryl’s story is exactly what one would expect to hear in an interview about real Wealth. After a 20-year career, this investment banking technologist turned coach made the choice to leave a successful and lucrative profession to pursue a new passion and lifestyle, one which more closely aligned with mid-life needs and values. He went from a big money, high paced, technology driven, sedentary life to one in which self-care, health and living in synch with one’s body and environment were his focus. I presented Darryl’s choice as one to aspire to, after all, it fit the bill for what most life coaches and inspirational speakers stand for. Then 2/3 of the way into the podcast Darryl said something that made me consider the small mindedness of my own beliefs. We were discussing fulfillment and, in passing, he noted that toiling away 80 hours a week at a desk in investment banking had been extremely fulfilling to him when he was younger…OF COURSE IT HAD!
Life coaches and inspirational speakers talk a big game about living life fully, being true to yourself and, in my case, making choices that are right for you. Often underlying this rhetoric, however, is the assumption that the right choices will reflect a return to more mindful, organic, natural states of life; lifestyles in which human connections trump work interests, being unplugged is better than being in front of a screen, and slowing down is more noble than living a fast-paced life. We are wrong of course, or at least I was wrong.
Remember that what you consider wrong or unwise, might actually be the exact, right choice for someone else, and that what is “right” may really not be right for them.
Doing what’s right for you vs. doing what’s healthiest or noblest…
I founded Life in Focus around the principles of real Wealth and making choices that aren’t just right, but right for you, the individual. Darryl’s interview made me realize the vastness of the concept of “right for you.” He was not making a mistake by throwing himself into his investment banking job heart and soul. Those were not lost years or missed opportunities. He didn’t suddenly wake up to his needs in his 40’s, he was simply able to re-evaluate them, then identify and respond to new ones. Those earlier years were spent doing what was most fulfilling to him. I am sure there was a price associated with his choice, certainly he speaks openly of the health cost, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t right for him at the time.
There is no question that in terms of health and stress management slowing down, unplugging, increasing one’s human connections and simplifying life are all great choices. But what if health and longevity are not someone’s priority? I stand by my principles of real Wealth and making the right choice for you, however, I now have a better appreciation for the broadness of that concept. So to all the life coaches and inspirational speakers out there who talk of fulfilling your dreams, being true to yourself, and doing what’s right for you I say, take a close look at your own assumptions. Remember that what you consider wrong or unwise, might actually be the exact, right choice for someone else, and that what is “right” may really not be right for them.