When people ask me "What's new?" I have a standard answer: "Same house, same wife, same kids, same dog." Actually, now I have a new dog. But I've been married for 20 years, and I've lived in the same house for 20 years and the kids are doing great, thanks for asking.
My personal life is pretty boring, in that I don't have great stories to tell about it. But I love my house, my wife, my kids, and my dog. Great stories require conflict, and I'm extremely happy to have my personal life be as conflict-free as possible.
My work life, on the other hand, has always been chaotic and full of turmoil. This is common for entrepreneurs. The adventure of starting and growing a company is full of highs and lows. You have to enjoy risk and manage stress very well to be a happy entrepreneur.
This is the secret to my success: I have a boring life, and I love it.
Of course, what's right for me may be wrong for you -- and you also may not be of an age or temperament when 20 years of marriage sounds like the dream. But understanding the stability that anchors you and the places in your life where you thrive on chaos will help you, too, find happiness and success.
In my experience, people need stability in one part of their lives, whether in their personal or their work lives. I know lots of people who have huge turmoil in one or the other, but very few who thrive with constant change in both.
The trick here is to understand yourself. Sure, sometimes life is going to mess with you -- global recession, plane crash, winning the lottery -- in a way that turns a part of your life chaotic whether you like it or not. But beyond these bowling balls to the head, as a person, you probably have an affinity for either chaos or stability.
Figure out where your affinities lie. What's your sweet spot? Where can you handle a little turmoil? I find my tumultuous work life to be exciting and enjoyable. In what parts of your life does chaos equal fun rather than misery? Find those, and dive in.
Find your anchor.
I believe that humans need something stable to anchor their lives on. Same house, same wife, same kids, same dog: these are my rock.
Just as you need to find for yourself what kinds of adventures and uncertainties you enjoy, you also need to find your anchor. What makes you feel calm and whole, able to face new challenges? What do you do when you feel out of control, to pull yourself back together?
Identifying these anchors will help you not only return to them when you need them -- it will help you value them, so that you don't accidentally toss them in a fit of boredom, under the guise of shaking things up.
It's okay if everything goes crazy sometimes.
Of course, we only have so much control. There will be times when you feel stuck rather than stable. Alternatively, there will be moments when everything in life goes nuts at once.
These are, in fact, exactly the moments when knowing where in life you crave stability and where you enjoy turmoil comes in the most handy. If you understand these things about yourself, then you can intelligently strive to churn up some chaos to get unstuck, or where to seek sanctuaries of stability in the storm.