This pandemic may have changed us in some ways. But more than that, I think it exposed us.
See, we were covering up the things that weren’t working. We’d become masters of misdirection in such a way that no one could see the toxic and broken things in our lives. When relationships and habits can be covered up with busyness, nothing gets fixed. The roots only continue to grow deeper.
But when the busyness is stripped away and forced isolation becomes our routine, well… the things that are hiding in the dark begin to creep into the light (kind of like those super creepy zombies in Will Smith’s film, I Am Legend).
And in the last year I’ve had countless conversations with friends whose struggles and anxieties have floated to the top of their world an can no longer be ignored.
Wherever you are today, I hope you remember that your mess doesn’t invalidate you.
This isn’t the end of the story… it’s only the middle. And you’re not alone. Your gifts, your strengths, your insights, your passions, your creativity… everything you’ve been given is still valid. Your struggle is only one facet of who you are.
Like a diamond that has many, many sides, some may be perfect while others may be scratched and chipped. But when you’re standing in the Light, you’re beautiful.
Including the mess.
Everyone likes to hate on haters….
But maybe having haters means you’re on the right track. Maybe just thank them for their gift of attention and critique. If they’re right, you’ve learned something valuable.
Either way, just say thank you and keep building your life.
NINE years ago someone told me ‘just trust your gift’.
It took me a long time to figure out what that really meant… and how to actually do that. But he was right. And after taking lots and lots and LOTS of baby steps, facing fear in small ways, and learning to listen to the right voices… it turns out he was right.
Remember this: People aroundyou need what is inside you.
Read that again.
You’ve been given a gift. A talent. A perspective. A skill. An insight. A way of doing things that has been put into you by the Creator to do something no one else can do like you can do. It’s been put there in this time– not in the past, not in the future– but in the now. Why? Because we need it now.
That’s how this works. It’s there for such a time as this.
I’d just wrapped up the first in a string of back-to-back meetings when I realized all my coolant was sitting in a puddle in the parking lot. Grrrrr. Full transparency: I hate car trouble.
But rather than being angry and frustrated, I made two calls: one to my mechanic and one to a business friend. We shuffled some things around and made the rest of the day work beautifully. We moved my next meeting to a coffee shop where I was stranded and continued the next meeting at another local place on the same block while I waited for my mechanic.
Why is this important?
Because it was in the white space of waiting on my mechanic that helped me figure out some next steps for our business. In the random moment of having to slow down and wait, I had the opportunity to listen to my gut and spirit. I had the opportunity to think more clearly and define some of my vision a little better. And rather than spending the afternoon frustrated and feeling behind, I’ve gained a renewed sense of purpose.
Of clarity. Of vision.
It wasn’t the space I wanted, but it was the space I needed.
The more I talk with people, the more I realize how similar we are with each other. A lot of us merely accept the hand we’re dealt in life and spend our days trying to navigate what we’ve been given. But a few of us actively and intentionally keep pushing towards specific finish lines.
The past few times I’ve spoken to groups of business owners, I’ve shared my Not To Do list.
A To-Do list is a dangerous thing. If you’re not careful, it can become an out-of-control, never-ending, junk drawer monster that can overwhelm and paralyze you. Every time a boss or supervisor says, ‘put this on your to-do list’, things not only grow, but priorities become watered down and less powerful.
So, at the top of my To Do list, I’ve created a Not To Do list.
I don’t just want to do things right. I want to do the right things. I want to spend my energy and time doing what matters.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’m sure it will continue to evolve this year…
Knowing where you want to go is easy. The hard part is knowing what to leave behind. Your NOT TO DO list might be more important than your resolutions and to-do lists.
Do you have a clear list of things to stop doing this year?
I’m a firm believer that winning the day begins with winning the first hour of the morning. We’ve all heard the science and the studies and the anecdotes of famous and successful people who get up before the sun rises.
The struggle (MY struggle) is in living life everyday with a family of 5. To be honest, I love getting up early and taking control of the day, but living in 3D has it’s inconsistencies. You know, having kids and a business and being deeply involved in a community of people and their lives… it doesn’t always work according to my random, arbitrary schedule. 🙂
Nevertheless, here’s what the (ideal) first hour of my day looks like. My goal is to do it EVERY day. A lot of days I’m pretty successful at it, but sometimes I suck at it. It’s all about progress, not perfection.
I’d LOVE to know what yours looks like. What are you doing that’s working? How are you managing your day during these crazy times? Any tips?
However, don’t give up on your resolutions and aspirations to become your BRAVEST self. As our word gets noisier and more uncertain, double down on these 5 things (V.I.B.E.S.).
The very story of human greatness is one of so-called ordinary people who—in a one moment of inspiration and self-belief—made a right angle turn into what had previously seemed impossible. And went down a road that shifted their lives forever.
Every day I’ve carried this Daily Stoic coin in my pocket for nearly 4 years now.
Not out of some macabre death wish, though. On the contrary. Because every time I put my hand in my pocket, I am reminded that my time here is limited. I’m reminded that I am spending my one-and-only life like a coin. I can spent it any way I want. But I can only spend it ONCE.
Don’t waste your life today, friends. Do things that matter.
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