Michael Wright is a fellow member of Free Agent Academy and also one of my dearly important Accountability Partners. He kicks my butt and keeps me on track!
I wish you could hear this post as a spoken-word presentation. Just imagine the friendly honesty and slightly bashful politeness in the drawl of this Southern Gentleman as you read. Universal and self-reflective, this gueSTARtist post by Michael Wright, speaks to my heart. I think its a Must-Read. Please remember to comment, and show some appreciation for Michael’s open sharing of himself, with us, here at weirdforgood!! Enjoy!
The Walking Dead
“There’s a lot of things that can kill a man
There’s a lot of ways to die
Yes, and some already dead that walk beside me…”
Ray Lamontagne, song “Empty”
I’ve loved the soulful voice of Ray Lamontagne since the first time I heard him sing “Trouble”. This guy consistently busts out some amazing lyrics that really speak to me. The line above from “Empty” really hit me as something so true, so valid – that there are so many “walking dead” that have given up on life. I don’t mean they are depressed, suicidal or any of the like, but they have lost heart, are going through the motions, following the masses and walking a path that they unknowingly chose or was decided for them. Their thought is that life is hard and thus are satisfied with working a job that only pays the bills, having a little fun on the weekend and never looking deeper into why they were put on this earth to start with. And so, my question to myself has been – Am I one of them?
Growing up in a small, rural Georgia town, there was never any talk of your “calling” or purpose or anything of the like, much less the idea of following your passions. Many from my town would follow the career path of their father or work in one of the local textile mills or car lots because they paid a decent wage for an decent day’s work. Because my father thought all of his children should go to college, that’s what I did right out of high school. However, there was no career counsel from him (he didn’t go to college) except to tell me that “computers are the future”. I was 18 years old and on my own to choose a career that would set my work life in place for many years to come. Pretty scary decision when you think about it for such a young naive guy.
In fact, my career path as an engineer was ultimately put in my head by a well meaning older man of our community who, unlike anyone else, actually gave me some career advice. “Young man, you should be an electrical engineer. My son’s one and he does really well. That’s the way to go.” or something to that effect. Unbeknownst to this gentleman, I was great at math, problem solving and science so getting into an engineering school and “making the grade” was not a problem. But was that where my heart pounded with excitement, where I flourished and stayed up late wanting to know more about the latest developments at NASA or getting an Amateur Radio license and learning more about electromagnetics? No, it wasn’t.
I loved music. I’ve always loved it and flourished at it. I was my school’s lead trombone player pretty much every day I sat in that class and I wasn’t even trying my hardest to do that. I was always finding myself beating my desk or knee with a rhythm of a song I was thinking of or creating. I still find myself doing it almost every day. But my thought at age eighteen was that a degree in music turned you into a music teacher – and they for sure didn’t make good money. So…Hello to not one, but two Engineering degrees!
So now, some 20 years later I find myself searching, longing for something more than the 9 to 5 paycheck that I was told back in college was the goal for all my hard study and efforts. I believe firmly in the eternal life, but did I have to wait for heaven to find joy throughout my entire day? Was being “alive” at work even possible on this Earth? I mean – didn’t God curse the ground back in the Garden of Eden so all work from then on would be burdensome? Well, not exactly…
I began to hear of people that actually got excited in their professions, those who enjoyed getting up in the morning in order to see what opportunities the day offered them, and what they could offer the world in return. I saw people who searched and found the calling and driving forces that made them come alive. What made these people so ALIVE? Well, first and foremost, I discovered that they KNOW WHO THEY ARE. In short, they have looked inside and thought deeply about how God wired them, what they excelled at and what kinds of environments they enjoyed the most. Then, they took a step of faith and walked on the path that was made just for them. Not that they had all the answers, but they knew enough and wanted to live in freedom at work enough that they kept on asking, seeking and knocking while the walked. I envied these folks and I wanted what they had – a life of joy in my work!
But I knew if I tried this alone I couldn’t make; I’d done that before. I needed a gathering of like minded folks and that is where Free Agent Academy (www.freeagentacademy.com) is changing things for me. It was here I found seasoned experts in the areas of Calling, Wired-styles and Business Ideas that were in such a progression that it is helping me understand myself FIRST, before I just try to go “make some money”. It really focuses on helping a person find their “why” first instead of looking for “what”. It is here I have found support and encouragement for my current work life and career calling that is spurring me onwards to a deeper level of awareness of why I’m here to begin with.
I ran across a passage from Psalms 89:17 today that I’d never noticed before and it reinforced that God is in our work and we are not alone – I hope you meditate upon it and know that every part of our life (work included) is ordained by God as part of his beautiful plan for us as we journey together.
“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us-
yes, establish the work of our hands.”