How Do You Know You Have What You Want?


“One must pass through the circumference of time before arriving at the center of opportunity.”
-Baltasar Gracian

I am in the process of selling my car.  A wonderful side benefit has been in the  meeting of some incredibly interesting people.   One such person crossed my path just the other day.  His interest in the vehicle had to do with price point and type of vehicle.  We had a few back and forth conversations that resulted in his coming to see the car.

Now, understand that the vehicle that I am selling is a “sportscar”.  The particular brand appeals  mostly to young men who want low riding, option laden, fast vehicles.   Okay, so it appealed to me as well!  Unfortunately, it isn’t so appealing to my demographic, who prefer more practical and easier to access vehicles.   Hence, the reason for selling the car, no one my age will ride in it.

Imagine my surprise when my potential buyer turned out to be someone of my vintage.  It’s always good to know that we have “spiritual doppelgangers” in the world.  Through the course of showing the vehicle, we got to exchanging information about ourselves.  He was a high powered senior executive in a large fast paced company.  He was working harder than he wanted to and commuting a good distance from his house in country to spend a long work day in the city.  Hence, the need for a car that was fuel efficient, reliable, had some fun to it and was at a price point that made sense given the miles he was putting on the vehicle daily.

Over coffee, after a test drive, he spoke about his work history a little bit.  By this time,  he knew I was an Executive Coach.  He described a time in his life, some twenty years prior, where he had achieved incredible financial and business success.  He spoke wistfully about how he was riding high with all of the trappings that money and success could buy back in the day.   He said ” Boy, I had it all then, but I didn’t know it!” and continued with a bit of a sigh, “how do you know when you’re in the sweet spot….how can you see that you have all you need?  If coaching could get you to a place of really knowing that, how great would that be?”

We exchanged cards, finished our coffee and he went on his way.  That question of knowing the exact moment we actually arrive  in real time, has stuck with me.  I got to thinking, “Is knowing that we’re in the “sweetspot” really the point?”  While I don’t have a conclusion, I have lots more questions.

  • How do we know we have reached the peak unless we have a slope up and down for reference?
  • Is the journey about the ending or is it just about the journey?  I know it sounds cliche but there is often something anti climatic to the arrival  which leaves us searching for more.
  • Is the “sweetspot” really where success lives or is the true “sweetspot” in our willingness to risk failure to succeed?
  • If we are open to possibilities, which include the risk of failure and being wrong, can we ever really know when we have arrived except in post-mortem analysis?
  • Is the “sweetspot”  a moving target depending on life and experience?

In my opinion, that sweetspot can’t be targeted without the benefit of a past and future reference point.  The present, that “real time” place,  is fleeting and is part of our past in a heartbeat.  Arriving then is a continuous process.  It reveals itself only when we have a recognizable reference point.   At thirty, life experience is based on youthful optimism which includes moving forward, looking for bigger, faster and more.  In a sense, kind of like the car I’m selling.

Twenty years later, at fifty plus, hindsight and life have taught us to appreciate differently, to assess more clearly and to better understand when we might actually be in the “sweetspots”.    Still, we understand that time isn’t static, that moments are fleeting and that we are constantly changing, growing and evolving.

Isn’t the “sweetspot”  defined  as a result of all of the factors of time, distance, space and experience?  Isn’t it about how these combine and resonate within our constantly changing and evolving  lives?   If we’re lucky, moments in real time teach us how to live better  in future moments of real time.  This is how we progress forward.   Oddly,  but understandably, we will always have that tendency to look back to assess exactly how we’re doing!

Perhaps resisting the temptation of using a backward focus to assess current status is what ultimately frees us up to enjoy “sweetspots” in real time!  Just a thought.