Blog Post # 80 – How Long is Too Long?

How long is too long?

How long are you planning to just sit here?

To refuse to move.

To deny yourself the experience of growth, change.

When will you decide that today is the day to work towards the person that you are meant to be?

Will it take days, weeks or years?

How much time must pass?

You are comfortable and settled.  We get that.

But if, in fact, you are struck somewhere that you don’t want to be, what is it going to take to get you to take action?

Real action.  Towards your ultimate goals.  You big picture stuff.

To change into the person that you were meant to become.

How much longer are you going to wait?

How many more times are you going to lay in bed, trying to fall asleep, wondering what it will take for you to begin the process of transformation?

How many more mornings will you wake up dissatisfied with one or more aspects of your life and still refuse to act?

I am asking myself just as much as I am asking you.

Enough of this waiting around stuff.

Time to move.

Blog Post # 79 – The Slip

Sometimes we go off the deep end.

Off the wagon, off our diets or over our budgets.

We binge, we overspend, we get full.

Then we crash.

For me, these things tend to happen when I am under an inordinate amount of pressure.

Or when I have been hanging on too tightly. Been to rigid.

The line between success and a lack of success is very thin.

Easy to slide back into old habits.

One of the best things about being alive is that we have the chance today to have a better day.

If we are alive, we can be better, do better and strive towards being the person that we want to be.

We can beat ourselves up over our slide (backwards looking).

We can project how we are going to be so much better 100 days from now (forwards looking).

Or we can be present in the moment and understand that the errors in judgment that I made yesterday do not rule me today.

Today, like every day, I am free to choose how I live my life.

And then build on that.

Blog Post # 78 – Full Throttle

How do we engage with the world?

Are we timid in our embrace of life?

Or are we full throttle?

Yusuf and I recently had the chance to hop on a jetski together in Florida.

The rental facility had recently purchased two brand new jetskis. The owner offered to let us use these brand new babies, but he cautioned that we would only be able to operate them at half throttle.

Yusuf shook his head back and forth. He confidently said, “No thanks. Full throttle.”

Like only a boy on the verge of his teenage years could say.

Keep in mind that the boy had never been on a jet ski in his life.

But full throttle was fine with me.

The instructor had some additional rules for us to remember.

For the first ten minutes of our jetski trip, we would be in a no wake zone and had to limit our speed to 1 or 2 miles per hour.

We had to stay in the channel with the green buoys on our right and the red markers on the left.

The other instruction was more of a reminder. There are no brakes on a jet ski. In order to avoid a collision, you actually have to give the jetski more gas, not less and turn out of the way of incoming traffic.

Okay, all set.

As Yusuf is only 12 years old, I served as pilot and he served as navigator.

The sun was a bright blue and white clouds gently littered the sky.

Once we reached the end of the channel, I pulled the throttle halfway towards me. The water could not have been any calmer. We glided across the bay at about 30 miles per hour.

Yusuf – a/k/a Mr. Full Throttle – held onto my shoulders. He liked half throttle so I gunned it harder.

Some other jetskis and speedboats were in the area. I decided to give Yusuf the ride of his life.

At first, we continued flying across the placid water surface. Yusuf held on a little tighter.

Then I began looking for the wakes of other vessels to jump. Yusuf couldn’t believe it.

Riding on a jetski at 50 miles per hour over mildly choppy waves is the closest thing to flying that I have ever experienced.

Mr. Full Throttle, on the other hand, kept begging me to slow down.

We were counseled not to go under the bridge. We went under the bridge and over to the other part of the bay.

Yusuf was yelling and laughing the entire time.

If there had been brakes on the jetski, we wouldn’t have needed them. The bay was basically ours.

About 10 minutes before we had to begin heading back to the dock, we had this 3 minute run across the glassy surface of the water at full throttle.

Sun out. Water splashing my face. My son holding onto my shoulders.

I thought, this is what happens when we live life at “full throttle.”

No fear, no regrets – a beautiful life.

We each control the throttle of our lives. We can lead small, timid lives or we can go all out.

Let me hear you gun that engine.

Blog Post # 77 – Plus One

Sometimes, the umpire incorrectly rules against us.

Other times, the umpire’s error is in our favor.

The umpire may be a real umpire, a judge, a teacher or a bureaucrat.

How we handle these errors says a tremendous amount about us.

When coaching sports, the players often get very angry at calls that don’t go their way.

We counsel them to brush it off, stay focused and, most importantly, not use the bad call as an excuse if our team comes up short.

Losers find any excuse for losing; winners find a way to overcome.

True in sports, true in life.

At the start of our last season coaching boys’ baseball this summer, we had a call go in our favor that probably should not have.

My co-manager Scott noted that – at that point in the season – we were Plus One.  In the theoretical column marked “calls that probably should not have gone our way,” we were one mark ahead.

Later, when a brand new umpire made a terrible call at second base, our team was back to zero.

Plus one, even, minus one – some calls go our way, some calls don’t.

An effective approach to heading into the challenges in our life so as to not let any momentary setback keep us down.

Many of us are plus one, two or three and we lose sight of it.  Here’s to paying attention.

 

Blog Post # 76 – Ruled, or Rule

Perspective matters.

We can walk through our day feeling sorry for ourselves.

We can stay on our pity pot.

This is our right.

Many, many people choose to do just that.

Angry at other drivers.

Pissed at our boss.

Frustrated at each and every turn.

Or, we can choose differently.

We can ask ourselves is today really that bad?

We can think about how people in other parts of the world have no running water, rampant disease and live in dirt hut.

What passes for poor in America is fundamentally different than the poverty in third world countries.

And while some may dismiss this perspective and outlook stuff as hogwash, they are certainly free to feel that way.

But I honestly believe that we have to find our own happiness.

We may have hurdles, obstacles and forces against us.

If we turn over our power to be happy to those hurdles, obstacles and forces, we will be ruled by them.

For today, let us remember all of the blessings that we have, al l of the gifts and the love that we share in this world.

Blog Post # 75 – The Hardest Word

“Sorry seems to be the hardest word.” Elton John.

When we get in an argument and act badly, how do we respond?

Sometimes, the temptation is to stand our ground and keep fighting, keep defending our position (no matter how ridiculous our position may be).

We seem to be hard-wired to keep the fight going.

We latch onto what the other person did.

We think of how they hurt us and give little mind to the pain that we caused.

It is so very tempting to focus on what they did or did not do to cause the conflict.

This approach diminishes our own culpability for the conflict and allows us to play the role of the victim.

Ah, the victim. Such a comfortable place to be.

Some people spend most of their lives playing the role of the victim.

When we get in a fight, it is just plain easier to act as if we were blameless for the conflict.

As if this fight materialized out of nowhere with no involvement on our part.

Is there another way? I believe so.

In the tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous, there is a simple concept about how to make an amends.

Note – simple, not necessarily easy.

AA teaches that when we apologize, we focus solely on our role in the dispute.

We don’t point fingers, we don’t repeat all of the ways that the other person hurt our feelings and we don’t blame them for the conflict.

We instead own up to our role in the fight.

We apologize for what we did. And then we say no more.

The analogy from AA is that we clean up our side of the street. When I think of this suggestion, I actually picture myself gently sweeping the sidewalk and looking across the street at the person that I fought with.

Turning over and letting go of the things that we did to cause or perpetuate the fight allow us to move on. It is a gift to ourselves as much as it is to the other person.

We let go of the result and we allow the other person to stay mad at us, if that is what it takes to make the peace.

Our apology may have to be given several times.

But if we avoid pointing out how we were harmed, the heat of the argument fades and forgiveness is allowed to take root.

These, of course, are just suggestions. I struggle with these things all of the time.

Peace

Blog Post # 74 – Coasting?

Average is fine.

Lukewarm effort might carry you for a while.

Doing the bare minimum and coasting through life is certainly an option.

Is that what you want?

What you really want?

Totally your call.

But is that why you are on this planet?

To be average?

Like everyone else?

If so, go for it. Or should I say “coast” for it.

We want more out of you.

We know that you have more to give.

We want your all.

We want your everything.

You are a champion. It may not seem like it at the moment, but you are 100% truly exceptional.

Get there. Dig hard. Get there.

The world doesn’t need your average.

We need your best.

You and I only have X number of days on this planet.

What are you going to do today – May 25, 2016 – to step towards your awesome self?

Your maximum you?

Blog Post # 73 – Fly

Perseverance.

Dogged pursuit of a goal.

Like a dog with a bone.

You cannot quit.

You cannot slow down.

One goal.

Keep going, keep struggling.

Up the hill and through the mud.

Shaking off setbacks.

Refusing to concede.

You got this.

You can’t be beat; You won’t be beat.

Go higher, fight harder, dig deeper.

Past defeats mean nothing.

Just fuel for your fire.

Motivation to help you overcome.

You have our permission.

Fly.

Blog Post # 72 – The Helpers

Is she a lazy waitress who didn’t bring my salad quickly enough or is she a single mom working two jobs and trying to make ends meet?

Is he some foreign cab driver who doesn’t know the absolute quickest way from point A or point B or is he an immigrant survivor with a master’s degree who is working the midnight airport run in order to pay for medical treatment for a sick child?

Is she a housekeeper that speaks with a funny accent or is she a hardworking grandma who is struggling to keep her extended family together under one roof?

The answers to these questions say much more about us than about the people who help us.

As with so many things, our reaction to this depends greatly upon our perspective.

We should treat everyone with whom we interact with the utmost dignity, compassion and kindness.

When I see people being rude to taxi drivers or waiters, it makes my blood boil.

Let’s say that we were at a lunch and someone was trying to get my business.  Before committing, I like to watch and see how my potential business partner treats the waiter or waitress.  If they are kind, it goes a long way in my book.

There is a power differential at play in these scenarios.  People who abuse those who help us make our way through the day are little more than bullies.

We can choose to go through life angry at all of the people who are supposed to be “serving” us or we can treat them as a fellow human being who is doing the best that they can.

And when the time comes when we are the ones providing service, hopefully we will get that same treatment from those that we serve.

 

Blog Post # 71 – The Legacy of Our Art

The blank page.

The empty stage.

The canvas devoid of color.

What shall we create today?

Our art can be a sculpture or a screenplay.

But it can also be a birthday cake made with love.

Or a work memo to subordinates.

What makes it art is our intention.

Do we rush right through our creations, mindlessly churning to get a task marked as completed?

Or are we centered, focused and present on the task at hand?

Museums house the art of our predecessors.

Shakespeare’s plays are regularly performed some 500+ years after his death.

The music of Prince will be performed now more after his death than it ever was before.

What will be the legacy of our art?

No one will ever know the art we keep locked inside.

Share it with the world.

Leave your mark.

Let’s create something today.