There is a lot of pressure all around us to be someone other than who we are. The desire and need to be accepted and loved is powerful. We sometimes conform to someone else’s mold to capture that love.
What I’ve learned is that true love and acceptance in any form doesn’t ask us to change. It embraces who we fully are – the light and the dark, the beautiful and the ugly, the perfect and the imperfect. And if someone can’t take in all that you are, then they don’t get any part of you at all.
So don’t get in line. Flip yourself upside down and live out loud. All we have is a one-way ticket, and we need to make the most of the ride. Be who you are.
“Honesty is an expensive gift. You shouldn’t expect it from cheap people.” ~Warren Buffet
No one ever said honesty is easy, at least at the moment when it’s needed. Honesty is one of those things that grows in value over time. We get honest feedback and it can be tough to take. We scowl, run, and brood (or at least I’ve been known to do all three of these things when I hear something that’s less than a glowing remark.) But after I’ve had time to reflect and absorb that honesty, I’m grateful. I appreciate how hard it is to deliver honesty, especially when the stakes are high. It takes a lot of courage to be honest, and that courage should be honored.
“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” ~Joseph Campbell
This weekend, we will take some time to pause, reflect, and give thanks to the many men and women who have served in the armed forces and given their lives to keep our country safe. As we bow our heads and lift our hearts this Memorial Day, I also hope we can use the example of these brave men and women to consider how we can serve and how we can make the world we live in a little better every day for others. Let’s be heroes to each other. Happy Memorial Day and thank you to the many veterans who have crossed over so that life on this side of the divide can soldier on.
“The best way to do it, is to do it.” ~Amelia Earhart
I’m a planner by nature. I love nothing better than a good decision tree with many intricate branches accompanied by an extensive pro/con list and supplemented with a healthy dose of if-then statements. However, if I’m really honest with myself, 99.9% of the time I know exactly what I need to do. My head, heart, and gut operate in lock-step most of the time. The decision tree, pro/con list, and if-then statements are usually just reassurance. To do something, I need to just do it. I’ll learn from my mistakes. I’ll get up if I fall down. I’ll manage through the bumps, bruises, and disappointments. I’ll keep going.
In recent months, I’ve done a much better job of letting go. I’ve stopped second guessing myself. I’ve reminded myself, very often on an hourly basis, that I really am going to be fine no matter what. I’ve learned how to ask for and accept help and support. And perhaps the most amazing discovery is that if we bet on ourselves, really put all our faith in our abilities, the Universe comes through with a pair of aces. Every. Damn. Time. Once we decide to commit, once we really decide to go after something with everything we’ve got, the world rises up with us.
Trust—in ourselves, in others, and in the greater forces that have a hand in good fortune—is hard. The older I get, the more I realize that every once of the difficulty to cultivate it is more than worth it. And once we have trust, action naturally follows.
My friend, Inna, gave me this book for my birthday and this definition of fear really resonates with me. We can’t stop fear. It’s a natural and protective human response. We can move over, under, and through it in our pursuit of what really matters to us. Forget Everything And Rise. That sounds exactly like the kind of fear I can embrace and use.
So often we think that humility means self-deprecation or waving our hand when someone says that they appreciate something we’ve done or accomplished. I prefer C.S. Lewis’s definition. Let’s take it upon ourselves to use our many gifts and talents, not discredit them, to make the world better for all its inhabitants. Don’t spend any effort to dim your light. Spread it around. The world needs you at your best so serve it up.
Miracles start as difficulties. If everything in your life was great, you’d never change. You’d never evolve and grow. You’d never have adventures that lead you to become the best version of yourself.
Adversity is difficult and painful. It’s also what helps us find and fulfill our potential. I wish life were easier. I wish we could just evolve without being pushed to do so. But that’s not how life works. It’s not how we work as wonderfully complex and complicated human beings.
Next time life is throwing you challenges, and in my experience that happens every day!, take a deep breath and gives thanks for them. They are leading you along the path that’s meant for you. Choose to rise up, over, through, and beyond them. Choose to let them make you strong, courageous, and wise. Choose to learn from them and not be broken down by them. They’re there for a reason, and in time that reason will come to light.
A few times in our lives, we get the chance to take the long shot, the shot that seems improbable and the one we really want. Often we think about the choice between the short shot, the one that’s fairly easy for us to make and readily available, and the long shot. My advice? Take the long shot. The short shots will be there every day. They’ll even be there if we miss the long shot by a mile. There will be plenty of time for those short shots. When a long shot becomes an option, reach for it. Even if it’s a stretch, especially if it’s a stretch. Don’t think you can do it? Great! Go for it and find out. With the long shots, you’re going to learn. You’ll find out what you’re really made of and how far you can go. And those are very good things to know.
Yesterday I learned some tough lessons. I didn’t cause them, but sadly I’m the only who has to deal with the fall out. Once I got over the initial shock of the reality, I had to quickly gain perspective. And I did, and I will, because of one simple belief: everything that happens has the potential to make us better if we use it with that intent. Even the things that hurt. Even the things that disappoint us and make us want to crawl under our beds to wait for sunnier skies.
The tough circumstances we face won’t resolve themselves. They won’t magically disappear if we ignore them. If anything, they’ll get worse and we won’t learn the lessons that they have to teach us. So after a short breakdown I picked up the phone, devised a plan, and took action. I don’t know if that plan will work. I’m going to give it my best shot and file away this moment as an opportunity to learn that will someday serve me well. Sometimes life beats the heck out of you, and you might be down but you’re only out if you give up. Keep learning. Keep going.
“I like it when a flower or a little tuft of grass grows through a crack in the concrete. It’s so f*ckin’ heroic.” ~George Carlin
Plenty of businesses utilize biomimicry, the art of using nature’s adaptations to create superior products. For example, swimsuit material that replicates the skin of a shark as it efficiently glides through water. George Carlin gives us a different way of looking at biomimicry—replicating the bravery and courage of nature to grow and flourish in a place that seems unlikely if not impossible.
No one tells a flower it can’t grow in a crack in the sidewalk. No one tells a trickle of water that it can’t wear down a stone over time. Nature just finds an opportunity to spread its wings, and goes for it. There’s a lesson from nature we should all take to heart.