What is it about tattoos? For me it is something about the black ink; the thin lines, the mystery, the uniqueness and the authenticity when the art is an honest reflection of the human rather than a mirror of our fickle, fashion driven society.
In a previous life running hard like a hamster, I dreamed of a tattoo on my right arm after every meeting with friends and fellow managers. It looked a bit like this: bird's wings (possibly an eagle or a swallow) stretched out fully in flight spanning from my shoulder blade all the way to my bicep. The bird is free. The thinly drawn lines of its feathers reflect its blissful life in the wind. In the centre of the bird, where its body would be, are two simple words: ‘I Care.’ Carefully concealed in the wings is the rest of the sentence, ‘I don’t care what you think’.
The idea is that the bird cares. Obviously. But what gives it freedom to soar and fly is not caring what
I would meditate on this sentiment while going through strategy meetings and financial reviews. “I care deeply, but I don’t care what you think. There is more to me than this…”
It might appear obvious, the nature of this idea, but I still think there is some deeper merit to it. The big idea is this – we work but are not work, we do but our doing is just a part of our being, it is not the whole. Our identities are not wrapped up in our 9 -5. We are humans and therefore there is a greater expression (or there should be) of ourselves than what happens within the confines of work.
The reason the tattoo idea was helpful is because I often easily forget this, becoming quickly wrapped up in what I am doing so that I limit the expression of myself to one thing.
It’s been my experience that as my hands begin to grip tightly onto that one thing (hoping it will somehow reflect all of me) I, soon after, find that I have strangled the life out of it, with joy and freedom seeping away as the life does.
What I am learning is that simple things like eating and drinking with joy are as important as what happens
at work. We are more than what we do. Our lives are meant to be lived in nakedness, with each daily moment
and opportunity to give and receive joy and love being savoured.
Amazingly, when I remember the above and open my hands at work - or in life - I somehow find the rhythm and rest that I strived to achieve when I was doing my best to force it along. A mysterious and beautiful paradox. In short then we want to be a fully faceted, human and present business who are always striving to enjoy the full spectrum of life’s beauty.