It's graduation season and everyone is terrified their futures aren't going to pan out the way they expected. Don’t worry - I’m here to assure you the rest of your life doesn’t have to be so disappointing, if only you’re willing to work on your expectations. The secret to unlocking our potential, creating opportunity for ourselves and finding fulfillment is to remember our attitude in the present matters more than the alignment of our plans for the future. When we're grateful we can grow up to be great.
I was once scared of the idea I might end up living a normal life. For as long as I can remember I wanted to embark on my own hero's journey and rejected any path not exciting enough. Yet I'm beginning to see how my obsession with adventure was distracting me from the opportunities in my presently ordinary life. I'm learning to love a regular existence, because a normal life is the meeting place for the circumstances necessary to launch someone reluctantly onto an incredible journey.
We're a strange species. It seems like we enjoy learning the same lessons over and over again. I've found it helpful to pause and reflect on the things about myself I know are true, the lies I tell myself, and what allows me to best navigate life. Though the past isn’t a place to live, it can be a great source of wisdom - an instruction manual of sorts for how to move forward. We'll never live our lives perfectly, but by now you probably know yourself well enough to create default decisions or mindsets for scenarios you frequently encounter.
We waste a lot of time looking at the wrong scoreboard. The lives and the accomplishments of others are none of our business. When we keep our eyes on our own scoreboard and measure the things that really matter, we're able to make contributions that transcend point systems and actually add value to others.
Many of us spend our lives waiting in the wings for an internal voice to give us the wisdom we need to move forward. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. We receive the gift of intuition from our internal guide when we’re participating in our lives with no safety net. Wisdom is not a gift received in times of peace.
Raise your hand if you spend time throughout the day thinking about what others might be thinking about you… Wait...you do that too? Crazy. For those of us who find ourselves obsessed with doing things right and live in fear of judgements people are probably making about us - we have some brain space and internal peace to reclaim. When we ground ourselves in reality and remember it's not all about us, we can find the freedom to do our best work and navigate life with more joy.
What do we do when our work just isn't very fulfilling? Well, we can keep searching for the next career path that might bring us satisfaction - or we can realize we're responsible for our level of fulfillment in our work. Learn how to make anything meaningful and you'll find the fulfillment you've been looking for.
The key to doing extraordinary work has nothing to do with the amount of work one can handle, it's the intention one brings to their work that makes the difference. Whether it happens fast or slow, how we do our work matters more than how much we do. And how we do our work is rooted completely in our ability to know and love who we really are.
How will we ever make our best contributions if we’re too busy adhering to rules and standards that don’t really matter? We’re free to do our best work when we give up the idea there was ever a correct way to approach our work or our lives. Peace and freedom come with the willingness to risk uncertainty and live differently.
How many times do you approach a challenge in life or work as if it's the first time anyone in the history of the world has ever dealt with that challenge? We waste so much time and energy inventing new problems for ourselves instead of realizing someone has been down this road before. When we navigate hard times or start something new we make real progress by seeing where the water is already flowing and jumping in that river.
What we're really afraid of has nothing to do with executing the task at hand. We’re actually afraid of claiming we can accomplish the work with excellence. We're afraid to go public with the belief we have what it takes - because what if we don't? What a fool we'll look like if we raise our hand or put our name on the list and proceed to blow it.
Do you ever find yourself wondering if you’re working hard enough? Do you worry that, to fully reach your potential, it’s going to cost you a meltdown in the process? It’s easy to fall prey to those mindsets - they’re everywhere. But I’ve discovered the real work has nothing to do with what's on our plate or our calendar or our life goals list - it has to do with where we find our identity.
I was once told my emotions were hindering my growth as a leader. After nearly a decade of trying to be someone other than myself it’s clear being an emotional person was never the issue. I now see it’s what I believe about my emotions and what I do with them that matters. Here are my reflections on that journey and a manifesto for those who feel deeply, and who deeply want to lead.
I love blogs. I write blogs. But if we’re not careful all these blogs will distract us from making our real contribution. At some point we must stop believing the next personal development article will finally reveal the secret to unlocking our potential and just get to work. So if you need a kick in the pants, give this a read. Otherwise - go do the things!
When we navigate our lives and our careers focused on ourselves we’ll never discover what we're looking for. By remembering our lives aren't about us we're able to find what we really desire. When we realize life is about others we're compelled to take action - and it is selfless actions that make up a wonderful life, not inwardly focused desires for control.