“For years, I knew the traditional life wasn’t for me. But there I was, slogging along. Maybe I would dip a toe or two into the unorthodox, but for all intents and purposes, my actions didn’t match my thoughts. Internally, I felt inauthentic. Like a sellout. A sellout to my own thoughts. My own beliefs. But wait, what were my beliefs? What were my actual beliefs? Had I ever even stopped to think about them? Who was I?”-Benj Bostic
It took exactly 671 days for me to completely unwind and re-wind my life. From May 15, 2017 to today, March 17, 2019. It was hard. Man, was it hard. I was uncomfortable for most of every single day. But that was the point.
I was getting to know myself. Intimately. Like so many people, I had taken the time and interest to try and get to know family, friends, clients, prospects, and acquaintances, but I had subconsciously ignored the most important person of all: myself.
There were things going on around me that couldn’t just be a coincidence. A couple of major life events. Meeting new people. A friend writing a book about being your 100% self. A friend constantly in my ear using the term “borrowed beliefs”. The opportunity was swirling all around me, so I decided to go all in.
It was a massive risk. I could have lost everything. I was aware of that. But becoming vulnerable was the secret sauce. I needed to be free. Free from what? Everything, really. Most importantly, everyone else’s thoughts. I needed to be free from traditional thinking. I needed to find the courage to act on how I truly wanted to live. For once in my life, I was going to fully walk the walk. All in. Massive risk. Hopefully, massive reward.
Making the decision to move halfway across the country was no problem. Making the decision to sell the house was no problem. Making the decision to resign from my traditional job was no problem. Unwinding 34 years’ worth of “borrowed beliefs”? You know, beliefs that weren’t truly mine? That was a MAJOR challenge.
Would I alienate loved ones? Would I disrespect people from my past that I cared about and that cared about me? I put the blinders on. I HAD to do this. I got some fierce pushback at times. What are you doing? “Just relax. I’m on a beautiful journey.”
Pick a topic. If I couldn’t tell you why I believed what I did, it went under the microscope. Politics, marriage, religion, fatherhood, career, money, diversity, philanthropy, kindness, sexuality, spirituality, traditions, and so on.
This was an insanely tough exercise, so I had to make it fun. Hence, the travel. It was awesome, but what did you think I was doing at the airport, on the airplane, and on the long drives? Playing on Facebook? Nah, I was deconstructing and reconstructing my life. Intentionally. So I could live the way I wanted to live.
This exercise essentially saved my life. Not physically. No, it just saved me from sleepwalking through the next 30 years. It saved me from feeling stuck for the next 30 years. It saved me from living the life constructed by marketers for the masses, and instead finally persuaded me to follow my passions. Travel, sports, inspiring others, and even writing. Who knew?
I couldn’t live my life anymore not being 100% me. If you know me, you know I have two speeds: all in and all out. No in between PC nonsense. All out wasn’t an option, so all in it was. And I got so comfortable being uncomfortable, there is no chance I am ever going back.
So I’m starting over. At 36, I’m reborn, and I have never felt so alive. I’m living life on my terms, with intention, purpose, and passion.
Lots of people are telling me what I should do next. Job offerings. Ideas for abk. So on. Thanks, but no thanks.
Here is what I do want to tell you though. If you go see the world, if you leave your neighborhood, if you leave your tribe, you are going to meet people. Some really freaking incredible people. That believe the complete opposite of you. That have done something that you do not agree with. Or maybe you’ve done something that they do not agree with. Regardless, engage them. Smile at them. Their world may be completely different from yours, which is why they believe what they believe, and there is nothing wrong with that. Don’t shut them down. Don’t brush them off. Listen to them. Learn. Everyone is different. Everyone has different pasts. Everyone has different challenges. I certainly have mine. People generally are kind.
But for whatever reason, we get in our own way, overthink things, and talk our way out of amazing opportunities due to irrational fear within ourselves and fear of other people’s opinions. Not this time. I faced every fear that I had on this journey, all 243 of them, and I won.
What are my new beliefs? I’m glad you asked. I believe in travel, leaving your comfort zone, open mindedness, and using your unique abilities to help others. That’s kind of it. I now live in roughly 4 hour intervals, with limited concern for both the past and the future. I’m here. You’re here. Let’s be here.
So say goodbye to the Baptist-raised, apolitical, banking Vice President, MBA holding, Mars Hill and Wingate grad, All American soccer player, blah blah blah. What a riff-raff. What an absolute riff-raff.
And just say hello to Benj. I’ve done the work, and I’m going to keep doing the work.
I love life, and it’s a pleasure to meet you.
Final thoughts next week.-Benj
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