All i want is to be able to sign my name on my work

The title says the message. Like this is literally all I want to be able to do in my life. Is to be able to do work that I feel extremely proud to sign my name on. I imagine my definition of proud has broadly changed over time. And I can probably trace the history down to what I thought was cool ish at the time — like what made up a cool person, and then my definition of proud probably stemmed from that or vice versa. But like…that’s it. Like that’s the thing. That is truly the mountaintop for me. There’s nothing more I don’t think. Just being able to sign my work proudly and say hey — I did this thing with integrity. Like I did it.

That will make me feel really good. I will have my best sleep when I do work that I actually feel proud to sign my name next to. I will have energy all day — in the shower, while running, while cooking, while sleeping. I will be radiating with life.

Until then…well until then nothing will really satisfy me. Not the money. Not the praise. Not the fancy things. Not anything. Truly, the rest of the stuff just makes me feel worse honestly. It makes me feel like people do not get it or perhaps they do but they do just not believe in my ability to get to the place I want to get to. They do not get the scope or perhaps they believe I will never be satisfied.

And this latter comment is one that I definitely used to believe. The chip on my shoulder has never seemed to go away. As I have climbed the levels of life. Won some games. Lost many more. I have always been hesitant to plant the flag and say that this is the mountaintop.

But I think…and I am still using the term I think rather than I know…but let me try that: I know that when I do work that I feel proud enough to really sign my name next to and say hey this is my work — I know then I will be radiating with LIFE.

Why do I have such confidence in this?

Well, there are very few things in my life that I feel extremely proud of. Truly. And when you start looking on year long even decade long time horizons — and you can boil it to down to just one or two things, you start to realize how scarce your energy is — how there is so much motion and commotion that drives your daily emotions but there is so little that actually gets in the way of the decades. You can achieve most anything in the longer view. And that freedom — so hard to see often in the moment — is so powerful.

So when I think about work I am proud of in my life (stepping away from my company, running a marathon, publishing an essay every day for 4.5 years — that’s basically my list btw), I do understand that my definition will change. But proud to me is really: “did I really implement all my values into this.” Not in a mechanical way — but in an alive way. In a way that’s like did I really go for this? Yes or no?

I talked to my friend about some of the above and he told me — well he told me that I won’t accept the simple answers. And that is my blocker.

To which I almost reacted but decided to sit on it. And sit on it I have. And this thought — the convective principle or the simplest solution is often the right one — that my friends (you’re not really my friends but I guess if you are reading this, still, then yeah you can be my friend) is the battle of my life to some degree. Finding the appropriate level of abstraction. My mind races through the tunnel. Generates 100s of permutations. Thoughts. Really quickly. And then I have to hold out a fork and hope I select the right piece, the right level of depth.

Because some people…some people perhaps do not generate all these permutations. They do not create a large variety. They just think and do and stop thinking.

I think and think and think and do and then think and think and think. There are pros to this. And cons for sure. The cons manifest often when I should think less and just do more. I should just accept the simple answers. The ones that I don’t know seem obvious.

Why can’t I do work I am proud of and will sign my name on?

I think it’s because the simple way for me to do that is just to sit in a library for 2 weeks.

Like I want a complicated thing. I want to be able to work with particular people or have my name next to particular people or impact particular people or etc. I want to outsource this.

Won’t work. I am sure of that.

I’ll feel like a charlatan. I won’t feel like me. I won’t be living up to my values — of being authentic and having integrity.

The thing stopping me — really the thing I am allowing currently to stop me — is just me sitting down in front of a computer and grinding for 2 weeks. Maybe it takes 1 week, maybe it takes 1 month (and maybe even a year). But if I just do that — and focus on a task at hand — is there any chance I do not end up with proud work?

Probably not.

If I just accept that no amount of money or fame or spotlight or anything anything at all. Anything!! Will give me the amount of aliveness I will earn when I earn it. When I do work I am proud of. If I accept that truly with my heart.

Then it’s game over.


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