I’m sitting here on my family vacation, enjoying some time away with my wife and kiddos. Genuinely stress-free and delighting in an ocean of gratitude for my life. Such a great place to be. As I’m sitting here, I’m listening to my wife read a book to my daughters; it’s a book called Big Red Barn. The book is in rhyme, naturally, but it has a very peculiar swing to it. It’s written such that I notice the distinct differences between the way my wife reads it and the way I read it. We see the same letters on the pages, telling the same story – but it’s a different experience.
That’s because of a thing called cadence.
Cadence is the swing, the rhythm, the movement. It’s a term with both musical and storytelling connotations – but much like music and stories – the song and story of our lives have a cadence that we get to choose. I might have the same letters and pictures in my story as someone else – but because I choose to live according to a different cadence, a different rhythm – it’s really a very different story being told.
As I listen to my wife read this story in her own delightful way, as my daughter’s snuggle in to the comfort and familiarity of their mother’s cadence – it’s a humbling thing to realize I have a cadence all my own – one that is different, but complimentary, to my wife’s rhythm of life. Such a beautiful revelation.
I share all of this because it’s a concept that can bring a lot peace and encouragement – especially for business owners like myself, but honestly – it’s a good lesson for anyone. Once we realize that we have a song, a story and a cadence all of our own – we get to be free from the vanity of comparison. Once we stop comparing ourselves (or our kids, or our businesses, our spouses, etc.) to one another; we get to enjoy the privilege and honor that no one else on earth gets to enjoy. That is, the ability to sing our song and tell our story with the exact cadence that we were made for.
As much as this all might wax poetic, as a freelancer and business owner, this has incredibly practical implications for me. Assuming I make the conscious choice to define my cadence for myself and not allow the rhythm of my life to be defined by others – I can build my life in such a way that I experience and live in incredible amounts of freedom. I can’t imagine any greater goal of choosing the freelancing/self-employed lifestyle. The problem is, of course, that many in my position (including me, at times) allow the cadence of our work schedule, our lives, our boundaries, etc. to be defined by others, instead of intentionally defining them for ourselves.
Food for thought. For now, it’s time for “food for body” – off to enjoy some yummy Mid-Western fare!