Blog Post # 276 – Our Unrecognized Fear

Unrecognized fear.

Sometimes, our fears are obvious.

Danger.  Threats.  Scary situations.

We see the fear right in front of our eyes.

We know it is there and we react.

Some other times, however, our fears are buried.

Deep down.

In a place that makes them hard to identify.

We may be acting strangely and not know why.

Our fears may be playing on our emotions.

Making us angry, resentful or just plain mean.

We may not know why we are acting that way.

Unrecognized fear can be a dangerous thing.

Our job, therefore, is to locate that fear.

To keep asking ourselves why.

Why did I act that way?

Why did I feel that emotion?

What is really bothering me?

Until we recognize the source of what is bothering us – our unrecognized fears – we will be unable to address those fears.

For today, let us sit quietly and see if we are worried about anything.

Fearful about anything.

Obsessing over anything.

It may all be going on in the background.

Our job today is just to identify it.

We can deal with overcoming the fear later.

For today, let us simply name it and own it.

Blog Post # 275 – The Pain of Starting Over

Sometimes, we fail.

We lose.

Come up short.

We slip.

Lose our way.

Become adrift.

Once we become aware of our misdirection, we have a choice.

Continue sliding.

Or make a change.

This is our choice.

A choice available to us each and every day.

Will we rise?

Or continue the fall.

Strive?

Or slide?

We always have this choice.

For today, let us stand, turn away from failure.

Chart a new course to success.

The choice is ours.

Today.

 

 

Blog Post # 274 – Extraordinary Greatness

What does it take to lead an extraordinary life?

Hard work? Yes, hard work for sure.

Perseverance? Definitely.

A little luck? No doubt.

Can someone choose to lead an extraordinary life?

Yes.

For sure.

The stories that get to me are the stories of people overcoming amazing obstacles to lead an extraordinary life.

Nelson Mandela.

Jackie Robinson.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mother Teresa.

It is the struggle that leads to extraordinary greatness.

The determination to make things better.

Being unwilling to accept the status quo.

The amount of effort it takes to bring about change can be daunting.

Mind-boggling really.

In 11.22.63, Stephen King’s hero goes back in time to try and stop the Kennedy assassination.

With every step that he takes to prevent one of our nation’s greatest tragedies, the forces of nature and the universe conspire to slow him down.

I believe this to be true in the real world too.

Takes great focus, enormous will power and internal fortitude to bring about change and lead a life that is extraordinary.

For today, can we humbly acknowledge our greatness and strive towards building a life that is remarkable?

Blog Post # 273 – The New Leader

When we are asked to lead, we are probably not ready.

We may feel that we lack certain qualifications to lead.

Too young.

Too inexperienced.

Too temperamental.

But oftentimes, we grow into the leadership position.

We figure things out as we go.

Surround ourselves with smart people.

We read as much as we can to make us the most effective leader possible.

We strive to improve each day.

We try to listen to others more than we talk.

And we take and consider all of these inputs – our own experiences, the things that we have read, the opinions of others – and we make decisions.

We lead when we chart a path for ourselves and our team.

It may seem like we are in unchartered territory.

But if we don’t lead, who will?

Blog Post # 272 – Pain of Uncertainty

The pain of not knowing.

Not knowing what comes next.

The pain of uncertainty.

So hard to live without clear answers.

Directionless.

Befuddled.

How do we center ourselves in unclear times?

We need a bedrock.

A foundation.

A way to process new and uncertain information.

We need to remember who we are.

How we got here.

The things that have worked for us in the past are often the things that will carry us through.

We did it before and we can do once more.

When we get confused, we forget ourselves.

We dig in, ready to fight, but we forget where we came from.

For today, let us find a bit of time to examine where we are.

To check in.

To ask whether this new situation is really all that different.

And then we act.

We move.

We take a step towards where we want to be.

Blog Post # 271 – Snapshots & Souvenirs

Take a mental snapshot.

Of the good things that happen today.

Maybe even take a real photograph.

A snapshot of your son or daughter.

A quick selfie.

A mental image of a single moment in your day.

Do not forget today.

Do what you can to stay aware.

Stay awake.

Keep a souvenir of today.

A talisman, a memento, a reminder.

Something, anything so that you do not forget.

Our time on Earth is fleeting.

Made up of moments.

Grab onto something to help you remember.

Do not forget.

Take snapshot, keep a souvenir.

Of this day.

This day right here.

Today.

Eventually, it will be just these memories that remain.

Blog Post # 270 – In Gratitude. Today.

Stop.

Take a breath.

Pause.

Look up.

Look down.

Look around.

Today.

See all that has been given to me.

Embrace it.

Rejoice in all of life’s blessings.

This is my world.

This is my life.

I only get one shot.

Today.

Maybe tomorrow, maybe not.

Be kind.

Be gentle.

With others.

With myself.

Be a positive source in the lights of others.

Strive to improve.

Accept the things I cannot change.

Be still.

Be present.

In gratitude.

Today.

Blog Post # 269 – One Day More

One day more.

“The time is now, the day is here!” – Les Miserables.

What if today is our last day on Earth?

If our time ran out at the stroke of midnight.

How would we act today?

With whom would we connect with?

How would we spend the rest of the day?

You know it might just be.

That might be all we have left.

One day more.

Thinking about death too much can cause problems.

But a healthy understanding of our own mortality should help instill gratitude and a sense of being present.

Even at this relatively young age, I’ve had friends who died pumping gas at Quik Trip, hiking in the mountains, getting crushed under a car.

I have had several friends take their own lives.

So, honestly, you just never know.

For today, let us all take the time to check in briefly with our shadow.

Our mortality.

Of course, we most likely will never know when death comes for us.

But the one thing that we do know for sure is that one day, it will.

Blog Post # 268 – Happy or Right

“Do you want to be happy or right?”

This is a question that I come back to again and again.

When i find myself in conflict with another, I tend to fall back on this question in helping me assess how to proceed.

But not always.

Sometimes, my anger is righteous, vengeful and deep.

So I don’t give a hoot about being happy.

I just want to prove myself “right.”

Some folks go through life wanting to prove that they are right about everything.

Or, most things.

And that may work well for them.

It certainly gets things done.

But I find it helpful to return to this question time and again during conflict.

I sit back and take a quick, deep breath.

And I ask myself whether I would rather be happy or be right.

Every now and then, we may achieve both – being right and being happy.

But far more often, we have to abandon our intention to prove the other wrong in order to be happy.

Stated differently, do we really want to surrender our happiness over this fight?

Do we wish to cede control over our emotions to another?

Is it really worth it?

For at the end of the day, it is our perspective on the dispute that governs how we feel much more than the outcome.

For today, let us not cede control over our happiness to another.

Let us ask ourselves if this fight is worth it.

And to choose happiness over righteousness any chance that we get.

Blog Post # 267 – Lesson from Little Yahya

Last week, I went to a client’s home for dinner in Columbia.

We had a very nice meal of roasted chicken, an Iraqi vermicelli side dish (delicious) and, in a nod to my favorite pizza place, a cheese Shakespeare’s pie.

I got to “break bread” with not one, not two, but three of my Iraqi asylum-seeking clients.

We had an illuminating discussion regarding the current realities in their hometowns of Tikrit, Fallujah and Mosul.

All three of my clients have very real fears of returning home.

The meal, and our discussion, served as a reminder of how our clients often have so much riding on the cases that we handle.

But the highlight of the meal was one other attendee, Yahya.

Yahya, who just turned three on Halloween.

He had a little iPad with a bunch of one-minute kid videos on the device.

One video was about elephants, one about monkeys and one about horses.

Yahya was a master of maneuvering around the various videos and, as each one started, he howled with glee.

“Look …. Look … El-ef-ant!”

“Monkeeeeee”

I tried to get him to use the Arabic words for each of these animals, but he strictly stuck to English.

This went on for at least 45 minutes.

Such unbridled joy.

Such excitement.

Each time that Yahya got another video going, he was ecstatic and said the name of the animal at least three times.

Simply adorable.

Such a gift.

For today, let us find the joy in all things.

Let us find that wonderment that Yahya exhibited all evening long.

And let us be grateful. For all of it.