I am not looking to “test drive” anyone’s theory. I am not looking for happiness. What I am doing, through these 365 days of living and contemplation, is connecting with my inner world peace.
Can a person as neurotic, analytical, hyper self-critical, goal-oriented, and ambition-driven like me – when left to my own devices – reunite with my inner wisdom? . Now you see why something like this requires me to “test drive” none other than “Jane Chin herself”.
In these 40 weeks I have experienced a spectrum of feelings that I describe as discovering, falling in love with, and growing as my Self: an excitement and elation in self-discovery, awe and love in self-commitment, and a very conscious and continual act of experiencing one self in all its perfection and imperfection, its familiarity and discomfort.
You can say that what I am trying to do this year is to “find my way home”.
Week 1 “Clean Slate” Trap
Week 2 Familiarity Breeds Mind Trash
Week 3 Take Time
Week 4 Imbalance within Integration
Week 5 Two Universes & Talents are My Instruments
Week 6 Family, Friends, Faith & Letting Go
Week 6 Letting Go is an Act of Generosity and (re)-Generation
Week 7 What IS the Lesson?
Week 8 Even The Busiest Mind Can Become Quiescent
Week 9 More Certainty Less Analysis
Week 10 Falling in Love with That I Am
Week 11 Projecting
Week 12 Reconnect with Who I Was to Inspire from Where I Am
Week 13 The One I Catch
Week 14 Approval Addiction
Week 15 I Am Burning the Bridges
Week 16 I Have Nothing to Analyze
Week 17 (is empty)
Week 18 Ode to Modern Day Gurus Spiritual Teachers Philosophers
Week 19 From Separation to Surrender to Reunion
Week 20 Reuniting with Inner Wisdom
Week 21 Taking Credit and Giving Credit with Integrity
Week 22 Happy Blend of Head and Heart
Week 23 This is No Longer Fun
Week 24 I See Bit of Seabiscuit in Me
Week 25 Life is Not a Thought Experiment
Week 26 Halfway Mark, Inflection Point
Weeks 27 and 28 I’m All Shook Up
Week 29 Actions Speak Louder than Assumptions
Week 30 Ties that Bind and Keys that Free
Week 31 Problems or Decisions
Week 32 What Matters Most
Week 33 Follow Your Hunch
Week 34 Journey and Destination
Week 35 What I Didn’t Send to Google’s 10^100
Week 36 At Unknown’s Mercy
Week 37 Waiting for What May Never Come
Week 38 My True Regret
Week 39 Fortnight from Fruition
Week 40 The Key to Any Journey is to Start
Written August 2010
In 2008, I decided to conduct a “life experiment”. I had actually talked about this when I was invited as the keynote speaker for National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)’s Biomedical Career Fair that year.
My experiment premise was simple: I wanted to prospectively test whether success truly will follow if I followed my bliss. This meant that I would not do anything that I didn’t love to do, or at least really like to do. I self-imposed a business “sabbatical” because I was starting to feel burned out with the pharmaceutical consulting business, and having just given birth to a baby boy, I was simply too tired to pretend to enjoy anything I didn’t truly enjoy!
At the time of my keynote (which I agreed to doing because it was something I really wanted to do), I was only 3 months into my experiment. Hence, I didn’t have much to report yet, even though I was documenting weekly lessons learned. It’s been more than two years since my keynote speech: my 2008 experimented concluded in late January 2009, and the year 2009 was “where the action was”!
Here is a list of the outcomes as a direct or indirect result of my 2008 “Bliss” experiment:
- I was invited to write the introduction to a book about the different faith traditions of the world
- 40 Lessons Documented resulting in 9 separate “themes” that led me to create the “9 Pillars of Personal Leadership”. My 9 Pillars of Personal Leadership was presented to a worldwide audience on 090909 – the “World Interconnectedness Day” that I participated in.
- Wrote the MSL Careers book that I’ve been meaning to write for years, published this article in AWIS magazine, and this article in a European trade journal
- Gave 17 speeches (and got AC-S and another CC designation for my Toastmasters club AND Won a speech contest with this)
- Got involved with Leaders Cafe UK for 2009 and became a chairperson for this non-profit organization
- Quoted in the Wall Street Journal about MSLs and the pharmaceutical industry where I pointed out the problems of abusing this role. [The relevant quote]
- Got interviewed here, here, and here
- Made one of the MOST IMPORTANT DECISIONS IN MY LIFE to be mom first, entrepreneur/career woman/everything else second – this was one of the scariest, since I had always defined myself through achievements. Being a parent and primary caretaker for my child meant I would have to redefine myself and work in a very different way. Talk about the “should’s” working in my psyche for this decision.
- Approached by a publisher to write a pharmaceutical leadership book and I said yes.
- And I’m most proud of this: reached one of my business goals of breaking 6 figures with my business while honoring my commitment to family.
My conclusion to this experiment, and my personal answer to the question, “does success really follow if I followed my bliss?” was:
Success CAN follow when I follow my bliss, provided that don’t obsess over “how” the success was going to happen and when I take action for the opportunities presented that intrigued me.
February 2011 Update
Now, 3 years since this experiment, I’ve been thinking about my conclusion and came to this realization: I had accomplished things that can be viewed as “successful”, but somehow the time-frame was “off”. That is, I didn’t find success right away, within the year or even in the following year, the way that I had traditionally defined success.
Today, I’d realized why my conclusion never felt quite like it “hit the spot” for me. It was because when I followed my bliss, there may have been increased potential to blossom into new opportunities to succeed, but these opportunities served as a secondary endpoint on my path. Thus the list of outcomes were secondary endpoints that collectively gave me clues to the primary endpoint (that I wasn’t looking for).
The primary endpoint, and what I wasn’t prepared to find, was Personal Significance.
Thus, when I followed my bliss, I found personal significance, and with this, various opportunities for success.