Winning is a big part of my alma mater’s ethos. When I started university in 2003 Pete Carroll was USC’s football coach and we won the national championship twice (eventually revoked and/or ending in controversy).
USC’s motto? “Fight on.” While ‘SC battled to get and keep its titles, for me the battlefield was my work and the competition, myself. For me “fighting on” meant:
- Doing things I didn’t love, and avoiding or limiting things I did.
- Equating the value of something with how hard it was.
- Failing to see much less capitalize on my strengths.
- A hawk eye for weaknesses and absolute determination to fix my flaws.
To “succeed” I fought my instincts almost instinctively. And what a joy kill it was! I alternated from a military work ethic to coasting and noncommittal. Fast forward through years of career woes, therapy and personal development and my motto today goes something like “Do what you love” (even if it’s scary, and occasionally sucks). Also do your best to live what is for you a great life, because you only get one.
Both of these mottos, by the way, require heaps of self-love.
Everyone has “mini mottos” for what they do in this life. They usually fall into one of three categories:
1) What they think they should do, or be.
2) What they do as a matter of habit.
3) What they actually value and want.
More often, we operate by some combination. Because unless you discovered your passions and strengths very early, in a supportive environment, you likely didn’t escape #1, and #2 comes with being human. It’s the gap between our ideals and best selves, and what we actually live out.
What mottos go in #3 for you? Are they clearly reflected in what you’re doing? How so? How not?
Reinvention starts in one of two ways:
1) Attraction: When we’re directly called or compelled to do something.
2) Pressure: When we’re faced with pain or potential for loss, and what was once comfortable becomes anything but.
Sometimes reinvention has a “fight on” ring to it.
Others times it sounds like bliss ON—and fight off.