Are you ready to get on with the challenges that you face in your life? Your mouth says yes but your attitude and body language are saying no.
Now let me give you and me credit… we are doing a lot of hard stuff, everyday. Good for us. However, we live better than 95% of the people on the planet so let’s get to the heart of the matter. We’re soft.
If we’re soft… then we’re lousy role models and unimaginative workers/parents/business people/community leaders.
So pick one… any one of these and commit to stop doing it— even just for one day… today.
1) Blaming — what difference does it make who’s fault it is? What are you going to do about it? Sticky wicket relationship? I gotta do my part. Change my attitude. I’m not right. Who cares?
2) Judging – focus on yourself. Let others do what they need to. Live and let live.
3) Tilting at Windmills – when I get all upset over something I can’t change… it slowly dawns on me that I am wasting precious energy. I could be laughing. What the heck?
4) Defending – try listening instead.
5) Being afraid. What’s the worst that can happen? I can tell you that many people have lived through MUCH worse. You can do.
Here’s a good article on 10 things to stop doing. I believe in you.
Photo credit: broken glasses 1 Photographer jfg
“Life is like a ten-speed bike… most of us have gears we’ve never tried.” Charles Schulz (creator of Charlie Brown comics)
I’ve led a rather colorful life. I had the advantage of growing up in a difficult family environment. Why do I consider that an advantage? Because I can empathize with people — in fact almost everyone. Pushing myself is part of my DNA and my life circumstances.
So what’s that go to do with the 10 speed bike? Well, because I know what it’s like to be hungry and scared… I’ve probably used a few more of my gears than others. Would I wish difficulty on anyone – no. But I can tell you that it made me the person I am and I am happy that I have challenged myself in almost every aspect of life.
So how do we figure out which gears we’ve used and which gears we ought to try? It’s a matter of understanding where we’re comfortable. Trying a new gear has to do with making a conscious choice to do things differently.
Here are my energy gears:
- before I’ve had my tea BUT I wake up everyday in a great mood. (it’s truly annoying to those around me)
- reading, skimming, thinking, meditating
- making art in my little studio or creative writing
- at work, talking to folks, making sure I’m present in my day
- starting something new or pushing through an existing project
- talking in front of a small group – less than 50 people
- talking to a big group > 50 people – energy needs to be really high
- going into a room full of strangers and talking to people (takes everything I’ve got)
- Not sure what this is..
This is only one measure of the gears that relate to the amount and kind of energy I need to summon. What are your gears and what pushes you use new ones?
Photo credit: Snowed In Chris Metcalf
People close to me… ok, my husband and my daughter specifically… told me I should get a dog.
“You love dogs… you’ll really enjoy having a the unconditional love…. they’re so much fun!” They said it to me often enough and I finally relented and here she is. Her name is Gildie (means ‘celebration’ in Icelandic) and she’s an Australian Terrier.
I call her a terrior’ist’ because she attacks the world with a quiet ferocity. She doesn’t bark a lot… she just waits until the time is right… sizes up her opponent..(right now that’s often a two liter soda bottle rolling around on the kitchen floor) and then in she goes for fun and exercise.
I’m exhausted from all the up and down and in and out. It’s a relentless schedule of training, positive reinforcement and the occasional distraction/accident/discipline.
I can see why my family wanted me to have a little companion. She reminds me of the basics of life…
– Don’t sweat the small stuff.. and it’s all small stuff
– Be here now. Wherever Gildie is… that’s where life is best. Be in the moment
– Love is the answer
– Curiosity is a wonderful thing
– Remember to play, rest and make friends
There will likely be more updates from the puppy front. In the meantime.. what does your pet teach you? I’d love to hear.
My kids favorite book was Professor Wormbog’s Gloomy Kerploppus.
What did they love? the silly pictures? the way I did the voices of the various characters? or simply the comfort of snuggling and reading the same story over and over – completely predictable in an unpredictable world. As children we are naturally attracted to what interests us. We are open. Life is compelling and fun. Do you still feel that way?
Check out one of my favorite bloggers – Julien Smith - his post 19 Thoughts on Finding Your Purpose. There’s a little something for everyone here. I particularly like…
“Go through your childhood and find what interested you. Combine those things and add a trend or two. Do it right and you’ll have a great business.”
What did you love as a kid? Do you still do it now?
If you can’t remember what you loved as a kid– think about how you can remember? Smells and sounds can be evocative so remember those childhood foods and songs and see if that helps. Ask someone who knew you then how they remember you.
What book, stuffed animal, cartoon, movie, friend, house, toy -do you remember? See what you can learn about yourself today.
As I kid I loved to read and write. I had a very difficult and unhappy childhood but I still remember sitting in an orange wing chair (oh the 70′s!) next to a window where birds chirped all day. Those books and that chair took me places where I felt safe. Now I look to find ways to help others “find their way.”
What did you love as a child and how might it help you be happier and more fulfilled today? You can do it!
Choices, do you have too many or not enough?
People without food, homes, jobs, health. self-respect, family, etc. don’t have many choices. Most of us have a ton of choices (like the cereal aisle – 100 kinds of cereal – really?)
We’re so invested in our comfort and conformity that we literally say… we have no choice but to… work a job we hate, stay in relationships with people who harm us, believe things that make us hate other people.
Here’s a little inspiration by Liz Strauss. I don’t know Liz except for her twitter posts. but I really loved this.
Be a treasure.
Start a quest. Create and conspire.
Be a mentor, a leader, a teacher. Inspire.
Be a beginner, a learner, an adventurer. Aspire.
Shine at being you.
Shine because being brilliant is what you do.
Do it because YOU have decided you’re living up to being a treasure.
– ME “Liz” Strauss
Do you understand that you are a treasure? Do you know how much you can influence the world? Start with yourself. If you’re not sure where to begin– try being quiet; the answers will come to you– I promise.
Photo credit: Nightgaunt Graphics
Do you know when you’re stuck?
Sometimes it takes me a while. But when I’m crankier (than usual), finding fault in the people I love over small things, am afraid to try new things and so on… I realize that I’m stuck. Here are a few things to think about… You’re not the only person who is stuck, you just need to be brave and reach out to someone else.
Remember, ” When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”
Symptoms of being stuck include, thinking you’re…
- always right
- always wrong
- the only person who has money troubles (really you lived below your means? … hmmm)
- married to/in partnership with the wrong person (without fully examining your part in it)
- in a job that you’re too good for (but you haven’t kept up your skills or networking)
- in a job you hate (but you don’t haven’t even looked for a new job in years)
- unemployed for several months (and still scoff at… social media, networking, building skills) unable to remember the last time you learned something new that took real effort not helping other people
- a drip… you don’t even want to be around yourself
I understand. The reason this post was so easy to write… this is me. But I’ll tell you this…I stopped doing it as soon as I could.
Please tell me, what are you afraid of… go on, explain it to me or someone else. Get unstuck. It feels so good. Take one little step. You can do it!
Photo credit: CHUD.com
This past week, I had the fun of being a mentor for the first Rochester Start Up Weekend. Start Up Weekend is an international non profit organization that helps communities run a weekend ‘create a company’ marathon.
In 54 hours, teams work to build a company idea. By Sunday night, the teams pitch their company ideas and the winning team gets cash and prizes.
This is why I feel like I’m a 20 something trapped in a boomer body. I loved the idea of spending hours hanging around young entrepreneurs who are so excited about their ideas.
But more than that, I am excited about change. I’m excited about the revolution that’s taking place across the world– people telling their governments what they want.
I see tremendous power in the social enterprise and the way customers are telling companies what they want.
I am thrilled to see so people involved in changing the world for the better.
Here’s how I am contributing:
- teach as many people and organizations as possible about the power of social media
- teach college student where I learn more from my students than I teach them
- lead a small non-profit that helps people who live in low income communities
- speak for free for any non profit that asks me
- mentor entrepreneurs through SCORE
- support and encourage people of all ages to live life fully
- respect every person I meet for exactly who they are
I hope that I am also a loving wife, mother, in-law, sister, friend, etc. Let me know how you are making your life as fun and vital as possible. It’s great isn’t it?
When I was a young mother (back in the last century), there was a lot of talk about work/life balance and how “women” needed to work harder to ‘find’ it. The only thing I needed to find was a few hours sleep and someone else to plan dinner and drive the kids all over the place.
It’s better today because both men and women are looking to balance their responsibilities and my observation is that they are doing a fine job. Their bosses and workaholic colleagues might disagree but the truth is, they understand that it’s about balancing themselves — not their work/life. They only have one life and work, family, play, learning are all part of it.
If you look at the younger generation and think they don’t get it… take a look in the mirror. My friend Hannah Morgan (Career Sherpa) was telling me about “helicopter” parents. These parents who think it’s perfectly ok to go to a career fair with their college senior! A College CAREER FAIR!
My kids would barely let me review their college applications never mind go with them to a job interview. Michael Jackson wrote these great lyrics from The Man In The Mirror—”Take A Look At Yourself, And Make A Change”. Yes, please.
Photo credit: Believe in you
Each of us has something important to do in this life.
I believe that with all my heart.
When I say important, I don’t mean big… I mean significant. These are 2 very different things. The cool part is that each of us gets to find it. No one else can tell us what it is.
Some of us will find it and rise to the occasion and many of us will recognize it but will let fear or judgement keep us from it.
We can learn a lot about living today from, the Top 5 Regrets of Dying People.
1) Be true to yourself. This in itself is an act of courage.
2) Don’t work so much. (Millenials already get this and we Baby Boomers criticize them for it instead of understanding their point.)
3) Express your feelings. I know it’s hard, but there are substantial rewards for saying things that you feel deeply.
4) Stay in touch with friends.
5) Give yourself permission to be happy. Even though the pain of changing seems to outweigh whatever we fear we’re facing, we continue to do the same things over and over. Be brave and be happy.
If you don’t know what is holding you back, talk to someone. Reason things out. Avoid gossip and criticism. These are just ways to hide from yourself.
Truly great people don’t think less of themselves… they think of themselves less.
Photo credit: One step at a time
Billy Joel has song called Second Wind…here are some lyrics,
“We’re only human, we’re supposed to make mistakes –So take it from me you’ll learn more from your accidents–
Than anything that you could ever learn at school”
The reality is that we reward people who are ‘successful’ and think that ‘failure’ is bad. If babies thought that, they would never walk!”
In an excellent article titled, “Success: A Breeding Ground for Complacency“, John Kotter reminds us…
“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” Bill Gates
I live in Rochester, NY, home of Eastman Kodak; another great American company that has filed for bankruptcy. Why? Because we (yes I worked there for 17 years) became arrogant. We stopped being hungry for change. Success spoiled our drive.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com CEO has a mantra, “every day is day one.” In other words, whatever we did yesterday isn’t enough to ensure success tomorrow.
Look at your organization or your job search or your family goals? Is there a sense of urgency (that’s different from desperation, exhaustion, hamster wheel running)? Be clear and energetic. It’s contagious.
Photo credit: http://fashionrunher.com