@RichardAPacheco: A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when You have forgotten the words.
My old buddy and former colleague speaks truth in this gem of a quote (thank you, Twitter) but I’m going to start off with a hard dose of reality: you may not have any friends who actually care about you. In fact, most don’t really give a shit about anyone but themselves. Get over it and move on.
Now, before you think I am merely making a bold statement for “shock jock” purposes, I reveal this to create urgency. As I write this, it is Memorial Day 2011. Many may be out BBQing, swimming, or just plain having a good time, shoving their worries and problems aside, if only briefly. We all need to escape sometimes.
On the flip side, this Memorial Day may find others remembering the tragedies and travesties in their lives or the lives of others. All that is fine and dandy but let’s make this Memorial Day something truly special to YOU. Go on, you’re allowed to be selfish.
While no man is an island and human interaction does indeed matter, what I’m here to discuss with you all is the stuff that holds us back. I’m talking about the loose ends, failures, shortcomings, and doubts that lead us to self-destructive behaviors, bad habits, and pesky insecurities. Here’s another simple reality check:
You have issues.
…And that’s okay: here’s WHY!We are all broken. There’s good reason that self-help books, training seminars/workshops, and professional conferences are big money makers. We want to be more complete individuals. We all seek answers and solutions to some degree.
On Memorial Day, we remember the deaths of our fallen, those that died fighting for our country and what they believed in. They saw their passions to the end and, regardless of our feelings about the military, that should speak to all of us.
Have you died recently?
I believe it was Orson Welles that said we must all die a little death before we can be reborn. While this concept has been around for quite some time, it may be new to some. Those little deaths we die represent letting go of the thoughts that limit our full potential and true fulfillment in life.
Let’s do a little digging with ourselves…
What’s a mistake or failure you often go back to? What have you done to avoid repeating it?
If you don’t stop and think about these sorts of things, you’ll die a slow, painful death instead of being reborn into a more motivated, focused person. Don’t let such monkeys jump around on your back! Monkeys fling poop around. No one wants to be around that (well, maybe some people do, but we won’t get into that).
The steps towards where you want to be (or at least where you SHOULD be if you pull yourself together) start with YOU. Don’t wait for someone else to create the urgency for you. If you have dreams, do something about them. Whining and belly-aching don’t get you anywhere.
Let’s look at some things you can do TODAY to remember all the good and bad, then do something about it!
It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times
Ever look back at the best times in your life? Perhaps you catch yourself often reminiscing about “the good ‘ol days”. Maybe you wallow in self-pity, remembering the worst of times instead. Both ventures in thought have their place, in the right doses.
I suggest looking back to the worst point in your life. Rather than focusing on the wrongs done onto you or external forces beyond your control, consider what you could have done better. Where did you go wrong?
Promise yourself never to go back to those days.
Set unwavering determination in motion in your life. Vow to yourself that you won’t look back; instead, do the things today, and every day, that bring you closer to where you know you should be in your life. Believe you can do it and don’t give up.
Failure, I Scoff At Thee!
From the moment we learn to understand the human beings around us, we are conditioned to fear failure or just simply be afraid. Scary monsters fill our lives in different ways, even in our older years, but do we let horror stories make us or break us? It all depends on your attitude, determination, and passion. Fill your head with high-value thoughts so that you may always persevere.
I laugh at failure. In fact, I embrace failure, and you should too! The only way we really learn is by failing miserably. Formal education can only teach you so much.
Take The Plunge (Just Do It)
I don’t know about you, but I learn the most useful lessons by just doing stuff. Sometimes we get caught in analysis paralysis, thinking about all the things that can go wrong, how difficult the work will be, and fearing the inevitable failure to come. Just take the plunge!
Although I find him rather over-rated at times, I love Chris Brogan’s concept of Launch And Learn. Keep plans simple, launch your thing, and learn as you go along. It should just be common sense but most of us get caught up in worries and junk that only break us down further. Kill that unproductive mess!
You have to start somewhere. Why not today? Stop procrastinating and freaking yourself out.
Examine Your Ultimate WHY
Your ultimate driving force, your WHY, should not be something that can change on a whim. It probably shouldn’t be a material thing either. It should be tangible and attainable but, most importantly, it should illicit strong emotion within yourself.
If your WHY doesn’t make you cry, it isn’t strong enough.
You’re not the type to cry, you say? Why is that? Maybe you’re afraid to show your emotions or you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’m not a psychologist (thank goodness for that), but that’s something you want to figure out for yourself.
The point here is that you have to vent somehow. Our life’s work is often the best outlet there. Of course, you can only get to that good stuff by focusing on your end-game, the WHY that keeps you driven and unrelenting, regardless of what happens around or to you.
You have to take baby steps to maintain a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment along the way; otherwise, you can easily derail. Your WHY is not necessarily a fixed point in time, though it can evolve as you grow stronger as a person. It’s something that will always keep you driven in the face of adversity.
Show Your Warts (We All Have Some, Believe Me)
Warts are those things that people tend to hide. We’re all embarrassed or insecure about something so why hide it? I say embrace and show off your warts. It’ll make you relatable. Be REAL.
Heck, you might as well be forthcoming with your flaws and quirks because the Internet puts your stuff out there and they’ll eventually surface somehow, regardless of how anti-social or introverted you may try to be. I find that many professionals out there try to wow us with all these credentials and accomplishments, as if to over-shadow their more human qualities. I may have said this already: we are all broken and that’s okay.
While I am trying to drive home the thoughts and behaviors that make us more self-sufficient and self-motivated, the beauty of showing your warts is that you’ll attract REAL people (usually). So many of us try to impress people by projecting an inaccurate or artificial image of ourselves. Why bother? People will like us for who we are or not. Investing time and effort to create a fantastical image of ourselves is such a waste.
Call me crazy, but I find that most people are full of crap. They’re stuck in their own over-zealous ways, silly biases, and ignorant beliefs. Value yourself more. Instead of finding ways to impress people, make sure people earn your trust. Believe me, I’m all for winning friends and influencing people, but don’t hurt yourself in the process; conversely, maybe there IS something you really need to change in yourself…
Remember what drives you most makes you who you are. If you are passionate about your core values and principles, others will follow. I find that the most passionate individuals have convictions that even make me re-evaluate my inner self and motivations.
Be yourself and make no apologies about being authentic.
Your Odyssey Starts Today
Surely, this is yet another stream of consciousness piece that could have been several other articles. I hope that sharing these key points will start you thinking. Appreciate yourself more and realize that we all have something to bring to the table.
Start your journey to a better, more fulfilling tomorrow TODAY. To a degree, you really have to live in your head. Stop comparing yourself to others or worrying about how you could have been part of that success story or the other. It’s never too late to become the change you want to see in the world.
Creating the urgency is simple: the sooner you start, the sooner you can share your inspirational story and help others pull themselves out of emotional, mental ruts. Make this Memorial Day about remembering all the good we’ve brought to the world and all the bad we’ve been through. Then take those memories and build upon them!
- What are some of your warts or best/worst memories?
- What has kept you from reaching the success and/or fulfillment you seek?
- How do you define success/fulfillment?
- How do you keep yourself driven?
- What is the WHY that drives you?