In that short span of time, total strangers will work their way into our hearts and become household names. And in the years to come, we’ll long remember them, just as we currently recall past winter Olympians who left their marks on Olympic history—the heart of the Jamaican Bobsled Team, the US Hockey Team’s iconic victory, Shaun White’s snowboarding skills—even the Kerrigan/Harding scandal. And on the list goes. [Read more…]
Where I’ve been, why I changed course, and where I’m going
People say we all have an inner knowing. A small voice inside that guides us along the way. That nudge that says “you really should be nicer to your brother” or “offer a smile to the person across the room”. All we have to do is tap into it. Easy, peasy. Right?
On one hand, I have to confess that my inner voice seems to spend half its time on vacation and the other half blaring rock music through a set of JVC headphones. Or maybe those are reverberations from my teenage years…
On the other hand, maybe it’s not the inner voice that’s missing in action. Maybe it’s not enough to hear that voice, but a matter of tapping into its presence and following through on the wisdom it provides. That, my friend, is not always easy peasy. [Read more…]
Have you ever thought about how handy it would be to have a GPS to navigate life?I sure have! What could be easier than turning on the ol’ GPS when racked with uncertainty in life?
Having said that, you’d think plugging in the GPS would’ve been a no-brainer when my youngest child and I recently headed to Maryland. But I had another idea: instead of relying on the GPS, I thought, “Hey! We should use a good, old-fashioned map to get us to our destination!”
I reasoned that A.) since Colton is weeks away from getting his driver’s permit, he could act as co-pilot while honing his map-skills, and B.) you never know when said skills will come in handy. Like if all the satellites suddenly fell from the sky, destroying all GPS capabilities. (Stranger things have happened. I think.)
So it was that we began our trip, with maps in our hands and confidence in our hearts. Because life is always perfect in theory—and in the land of GPS navigation. Have you noticed that?
The first six hours of the trip were without incident. In the interest of full disclosure, the only turns required had been turning off the interstate for food and gas to this point.
The last third of the trip, however, was a bit more challenging, requiring us to leave the comfort of the interstate and hit the backroads.
Trepidation set in without much delay. Road signs and markers had all but vanished—the gas stations and fast-food restaurants that dotted the interstate were nowhere to be found. Conversations with my co-pilot nose-dived from “This is a breeze!” to “Are you sure we’re going the right way?”
Oh how much easier to have relied on a GPS at that point. A quick entry of our destination into our smart phones would’ve allowed us to sit back, relax and enjoy the rest of our drive as SIRI guided us along:
“Turn right at next four way stop.”
“In 200 feet, turn right.”
“Turn right, now.”
“Wrong way. Make a U-Turn, ASAP.”
For whatever reasons, the SIRI option didn’t occur to us. Maybe we were determined to figure things out for ourselves. (Or maybe we were too headstrong to admit we needed help. Nah. I’m sure it wasn’t that.) I’d like to think we realized the drive wouldn’t be as much fun with turn-by-turn directions that leave no room for error.
In fact, the whole experience caused me to question my desire for a GPS with which to run my life. Because while a GPS may make clear-cut and immediate decisions, it also eliminates any sense of adventure and personal discovery that would otherwise occur.
Sure, without a GPS, there will be times when fear rears its ugly little head—like when the path we’re on becomes a dead end. At other times, we may find ourselves at a crossroads in our lives, relationships, or careers, unsure of which way to turn.
But no matter where we find ourselves on the road of life, we can always turn around, pick a different path or decide on a new destination. And if we’re lucky enough to have a co-pilot who can read a map, all the better.
Until next time,
Is it just me, or are TV commercials for prescription drugs among the most off-putting in existence? It doesn’t matter whether it cures nail fungus, lowers blood pressure or prevents strokes—the basic commercial formula is consistent regardless of the medication—and typically begins something like this:
Beautiful everyday people appear on the screen, explain their problem, and how it was solved.
“That’s when my doctor told me about llama spit.” (I’m making this part up.)
Having been healed by the llama spit, the patient returns to everyday life, hopping into a bath tub in the middle of nowhere, or catching a record-setting catfish as happy music plays in the background. Meanwhile the voice-over prompts action from the viewer.
“Ask your doctor if llama spit is right for you.”
And then the bottom drops out, as the list of side effects begins: May cause drowsiness. May cause rapid heartbeat. May cause uncontrollable bleeding. May cause itching. People with unexplained weight gain or weight loss may need to discontinue. May cause death while taking, or at any time in the future. On and on it goes.
By the time the commercial is over, I’d rather take my chances than take the medicine. (Don’t get me wrong. I know there are a lot of powerful and effective drugs out there. But that’s hardly my point. 🙂 )
I wonder if sometimes we all feel that way about trying to live a more remarkable life. That perhaps it’s easier to take our chances with what we know instead of dealing with possible side effects.
Let’s face it. Attempting the remarkable could find you re-examining your values and priorities. It could cause you to re-visit painful past experiences. The search for a remarkable life could convince you to ditch a bad habit (or forgive someone else’s 🙂 ). It could prompt you to sport a better attitude, or streamline your daily activities—to be present and intentional, instead of trapezing willy-nilly through your day.
So maybe the real question is this: What are the side effects of not seeking a little more remarkable in your life? Are you prepared to live with them tomorrow or next month or next year?
As a mentor of mine once remarked, no matter how we spend our time—whether we’re starting a new business, mustering our courage, or worrying about the future—time will continue to pass.
Much like those blasted prescription drug commercials, the side effects are unavoidable either way. But we can choose which side effects we’d rather live with. Even if there is some llama spit involved along the way.
And wouldn’t that make for a remarkable story 😉
Until next time,
P.S. When you consider adding a little more remarkable to your life, what side effects worry you? Drop me a line at email@example.com and let me know. We’ll put our heads together to solve them!
When was the last time you thought about sitting down to write your life story? Maybe you’ve even put aside some time to get serious—to start the process of getting your life’s memories out of your head and onto a piece of paper or digital writing app. Perhaps you even went so far as to carve out a few hours on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Then it happens. You sit down in your favorite chair, a steaming cup of coffee (or tea) by your side, and as if on cue, your mind goes blank. You have no idea where to begin. So you start flipping through the cable channels in the hope that maybe something (anything!) on TV will jump-start your thinking process. Next thing you know, you’ve spent the afternoon watching reruns of The Wonder Years, and now it’s time to cook dinner.
Sound familiar? If you’re nodding your head right now, I invite you to try this 10-minute exercise:
- Grab pen and paper (or open your favorite writing app on the computer, cell phone or tablet.) Create three or more headings like: Childhood, Teen Years, Young Adult. Or use themed headings like School Years, Work Life, Raising Children.
- Come up with at least one memory for each category. That’s it. Just one memory to file under each category. This isn’t about writing the great American novel—at least not yet :-)—you’re simply creating a basic foundation that you can fill in as you go. Go ahead. Jot down a key word or two. Regardless of how many words you put down, limit yourself to 10 minutes.
- Don’t over-think it, just start. The magic in this process is that one memory often tips off more memories. Even if you just jot down one thing, you still have something to build on.
Keep in mind, not all of your memories will be sunshine and lollipops. Nor should they be. Sometimes the most impactful and transformational moments come from our darkest hours. So allow your mind to acknowledge whatever comes up: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
One last note in regard to today’s assignment: You may think this sounds waaaay too simple. And in a way, it is simple. Grab a notebook and do it anyway. We tend to think if we can’t design the masterpiece in one day, it’s not worth getting started. And that’s where we get tripped up. Every. Single. Time. Instead of making a little progress with a few small steps, we make no progress at all, putting off until tomorrow what should be done today. (And yes, I’m guilty as charged, thank you.) But tomorrow never comes!
Remember that old saying about planting a tree? The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time is today.
Today’s 10-minute exercise is your tree. Get to planting!
Until next time,