Written by: Craig Stanland, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Are you stuck on the golden treadmill?
The golden treadmill is a figurative device I conceptualized and coined to capture the essence of doing work that doesn't provide you with a sense of joy, meaning, purpose and fulfillment.
You step on the golden treadmill for two reasons:
You're chasing the joy, meaning, purpose, and fulfillment you desire through the superficial — materialism, money, status, and prestige.
When you run towards something, you're also running away from something.
You're running from your calling.
Your calling is the song that sings within your soul.
It's what you know you're meant to do, but you're terrified to pursue.
Writing, painting, sculpting, entrepreneurship, teaching, being of service, etc.
Chasing materialism, money, status, and prestige will never provide the meaning you desire.
It will only succeed in cultivating a success-sized hole in the middle of your life.
It's very easy at this point to fall into the trap of numbing yourself in Netflix, porn, affairs, addictions — anything to give just a twinge of excitement and meaning in your life.
The endless pursuit of the superficial is settling for breadcrumbs.
Much like a standard treadmill, you'll work hard and get nowhere.
The reasons the golden treadmill will never get you anywhere are simple:
No matter how fast you run, you'll never outrun yourself.
Nothing external will ever fill you from the inside. Never.
However, it doesn't feel that way when you're on the golden treadmill.
Achieving all those things feels fantastic in the moment, right? If only for a second, you fill that void, but you filled it.
But what happens when the moment passes? Quick highs fade quickly, and before you know it, you're turning the speed and incline up.
Escaping. Escaping. Escaping.
Chasing. Chasing. Chasing.
It's an exhausting way to live, but it doesn't have to be this way.
There are 3 options for stepping off of the golden treadmill.
1. You never step off of it, and you embody the top 2 regrets of the dying according to Bronnie Ware.
"I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."
"I wish I hadn't worked so hard."
2. Life knocks you off the treadmill. Death, disease, divorce, addictions, etc. For me, it was a 2-year prison sentence & losing everything.
3. You accept that what you've been doing isn't working and make the incredibly empowering, conscious decision to step off the golden treadmill and reinvent your life with joy, meaning, purpose and fulfillment.
Option three is the most rewarding and the most challenging.
So how do you boldly choose option three and reinvent your life with meaning?
There are 3 significant and recurring obstacles my clients face and why they engage my coaching services.
These are the Top 3 Myths of Starting Over and Reinvention.
Reinvention Myth # 1: The age myth. You're too old, and you've missed your chance.
If you think you're too old/missed your chance/can't pursue your calling, I invite you to find inspiration in these late bloomers.
Cezanne's works in his mid-60s are valued 15 times higher than those he created as a young man.
Anna Mary Robertson Moses (Grandma Moses) started painting when she was 75 and became a famous painter
Henry Ford was 45 years old when he began his third car company and created the assembly line.
Actor Alan Rickman, who played Snape in the Harry Potter films, got his first film role at 46.
I published my best-selling memoir, “Blank Canvas, How I Reinvented My Life After Prison” when I was 47.
Reinvention Reframe: Reinvention is not a function of age; it's a function of mindset.
Reinvention Myth # 2: The label myth. I'm a lawyer, doctor, accountant, C-Level Executive, sales executive, etc., and that's all I know how to do.
The fact is there are countless skills you've developed over the years in your given profession that can apply to whatever it is you want to create in your life.
These are the soft, micro, & macro skills that make you great at what you do.
Understand that just because you've utilized those skills in a very narrow and focused way, that's not the only way they can be used.
A screwdriver doesn't only turn screws. It opens paint cans, a magnet, a scraper, and in a pinch, I've used the handle as a hammer.
Reinvention Reframe: Your job title is what you do, not who you are.
Reinvention Myth # 3: The all-or-nothing myth. You have to burn everything down to the ground in order to start over.
I was guilty of this belief, and I actually burnt everything to the ground to support this belief:
FBI. Prison. Losing Everything.
I don't suggest this route.
If you desire to start something new or become someone new, it's very easy to fall into the myth that you can't do this without destroying what is.
This is an all-or-nothing mindset, also known as black and white thinking.
Essentially, you believe you can't walk and chew gum simultaneously.
This is patently false, and I invite you to explore this reframe:
Reinvention Reframe: Why think in black and white when somewhere around 18 decillion varieties of colors are available for your viewing enjoyment?
For context, that's an 18, followed by 33 zeros.
Myths can be crushing; they can keep you stuck on the golden treadmill in the constant pursuit of the meaning you crave.
But myths are just that, myths. They are not the truth, and you don't have to believe them.
A critical reminder as you take the journey of creating meaning in the second half of your life:
Just because you've always done what you do, doesn't mean it's the only thing you can do.
You can step off of the golden treadmill at any time, and I can help you.
I'm a Reinvention Architect & Mindset Coach, and I'm here to help you re-architect the life of your dreams.
Join me for your Free Coaching Consultation.
Together we'll get clear on what an extraordinary life looks like for you and the steps to get you there.
Craig Stanland, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Craig Stanland is a Reinvention Architect & Mindset Coach, TEDx & Keynote Speaker, and Best-Selling Author.
In 2012, Craig Stanland made a choice that would cost him everything. After exploiting the warranty policy of one of the largest tech companies in the world for almost a year, the FBI finally knocked on his door.
He was arrested and sentenced to 2 years of Federal Prison, followed by 3 years of Supervised Release, and ordered to pay $834,307 in restitution. He lost his wife, his homes, his cars, his career, and even his identity. He wanted nothing more than to die.
A well-timed prison visit from his best friend of over thirty years turned his life around.
Craig rebuilt and reinvented his life from rock bottom to a life of meaning and fulfillment.
As a Reinvention Architect, Craig leverages his experiences and personal reinvention to work 1:1 with clients so they can re-architect their lives with freedom, passion, purpose, fulfillment, and meaning.
Craig's mission is to help people cultivate the courage to pursue their calling so they can live meaningful lives.
His book, "Blank Canvas, How I Reinvented My Life After Prison" is available on Amazon.