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Life By Invitation

David Sherry
3 min read
Life By Invitation
via Death to stock

No one is successful alone.

Everyone is interconnected and interrelated.

The majority of our modern lives are supported by others. The grocery store is a cornucopia of interconnected supply chains, deliveries, crops grown...It's only now that it's breaking down that we're seeing how much comes together to make our modern life operate.

Our infrastructure, our health services, our institutions...these were all built without you putting anything into their construction. Previous generations put thought into them, as did those who put in hard work.

So, life is abundant, despite how it might feel. When we're pressured to compete for a fixed pie, we forget about this fact.

Part of this view may be cultural. For example; Western religions,  born out of the desert shaped a deeper basis of our cultural views.  If you grow up with surroundings that are barren with resources that are scarce, the hot sun and the open desert, it will shape how you see the world and life.

If you are born in the Rainforest, you see life completely different. The rainforest is overflowing with resources, so much so that you couldn't fathom life not supporting you.

On a smaller scale, your family and the upbringing you had, as well as access to resources then will shape your view.

Despite your cultural lens or your circumstances, abundance and scarcity are lenses to look through, rather than fixed answers about the world.

Life today abundant, it's is more like the Rainforest than the desert.

We have access to incredible diversity, opportunity, connection, and information. There is an overabundance of information, opportunity, and people to connect with.

Because of that truth, there is a constant supply of opportunities and resources around you. All you need to do is pay attention.

I see these resources and opportunities as "Invitations" because an invitation is something that is offered to you.

Invitations can be direct or indirect. Obvious or subtle. Invitations allow you to accept or decline, it's your choice. And the choice is freedom.

Here are some example invitations...

  • A path by a river is an invitation to go for a run.
  • A swing at a playground is an invitation to have fun.
  • A water fountain invites you for a drink.
  • Someone's eye contact is an invitation for a greeting.

When you see everything as an invitation... you will begin to notice how much is offered to you without doing anything on your own.

Beyond the invitations of life, at work, too, we're surrounded by invitations.

To test this, I recently started keeping a list of all of the work-related invitations I received this week.

Here is an example of invitations I received, just last week:

  • An invitation to a group dinner (accepted)
  • Three text introductions to new people (scheduled time to meet)
  • A DM from an old friend to reconnect (time planned to get coffee)
  • An invite to go to a workout (done, felt great)
  • Meetings that ended with more opportunities than they started with (plans for the future emerged)

By documenting these, I'm building the muscle of receiving, and I'm building the skill of working with what comes my way.

Not every opportunity I see needs to be accepted, and in fact, you start to realize there are too many for me to accept. This is what makes up part of the craft of building your own career.

You move forward in your career by aligning your unique skills with what the world wants and needs.

You move forward by accepting and declining invitations, by sifting opportunities for paths forward. And when it's done right, you also will provide opportunities and invitations for others in return.

This is the way that we all your service to others is returned, and how we give to others in this mutual abundance. We get to create opportunities for others.

It's painful to see the world as scarce, and it's even more painful to see your role in the interconnectedness as trivial or unnecessary. We're all sharing in the abundance and your contribution only grows the pie...

This week: See if you can notice the invitations that cross your path at work (or at home).

As a bonus, notice which of those invitations you choose to accept, and prefer to decline. Like a compass, see where those opportunities lead you to, in just the span of a week.

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