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Thoughts about things that matter

300

Earlier this week I published my 300th post on this blog. I missed the momentous occasion entirely, something I would’ve never thought possible when I was typing out my first post. Or my 30th. Or my 100th.

I actually can’t tell you when they all started to blend together and I started to forget about the next milestone. What I can tell you assuredly is two things:

I didn’t start out that way.

Somewhere along the way, it happened.

My writing habit didn’t start out feeling like a habit, it was more of a grind. One was forming nonetheless, and day by day, it grew a little stronger.

It can be daunting to think about sharing 365 blog posts in a year. Finding the time to write today on the other hand feels quite attainable. The value then is found in showing up consistently.

Make that one choice, and it’s amazing what can be possible. You might even miss the fact that you’ve accomplished it 🙂

Anchors and sails

The stories we tell ourselves are powerful forces.

Like an anchor they can hold us from moving, and like sails they can propel us forward.

When we feel weighed down or stuck in place, it might be worth getting curious about the stories we’re telling. And how a different one might free us out to sea.

The great discoveries of our world, after all, were never made in a harbor.

High self opinions

There’s two broad flavors of high opinions of self — one fraudulent and one legitimate.

The fraudulent one, arrogance, isn’t actually a high opinion of self. It’s (over)exerted that way, but really, the roots are all in fear and insecurity.

On the other hand, there’s confidence. Confidence, at its source, is freedom from the outcomes. In this case, our identity, value, and worth are solid regardless of how others treat us. The roots of confidence are in love — both for ourselves and others. Our legitimate love for ourself frees us to more wholly love others. It’s a generous cycle.

Sadly arrogance has shed a bad light on having a high opinion of self, when really, it’s an incredibly generous act. So what can we do?

See arrogance for what it is — fear.

Recognize that we’re afraid too — choose empathy, without judgment.

Celebrate confidence — the real, generous kind.

The more it’s celebrated, the more it will spread.

Untitled

If you’re stuck on the title, what if you shared the project before you had one?

If you’re panicking because you only have 8 hours, what if you shipped the project in one and spent 7 hours making it better?

If you’re unsure of what to do next, what if you tried something that might not work? Or asked for help?

We bring frames with us into every interaction and every decision in our life. Frames are helpful. They can also be limiting.

If you find yourself stuck inside your current frame, what if you were to step outside of it?

In search of perfec

You may be looking for awhile. You certainly won’t find it reading this blog.

Yet, more often than we realize, it’s what we hold out hope for.

It’s why we never launch that project we’re still tinkering away on. Or even, why we never start it.

It’s why we avoid apologizing to the loved one we hurt, or share with them the pain we carry. We just can’t seem to find the perfect words.

And it’s why we continue to stay in the midst of our current miserable situation, because we simply haven’t found the perfect way to change things yet.

Perfect is a mirage. Here’s a better thing to go in search of — our best.

Our best is something we can find. It’s something we can give. And it’s something we can be proud of, even when everything isn’t perfect.

Kudos if you caught the imperfection.

How do you eat an elephant?

The popular answer is — one bite at a time. But that’s only half right.

The second part is — keep at it.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. An elephant isn’t finished in a day either. As important as it is to start small + start now, it’s equally important that we show up consistently with purpose. This is the work of professionals.

It’s also how change is made. One bite at a time, keeping at it.

The star of the work

When it comes to our work, we can be the star if we want.

If it’s remarkable work that we’re after, being the star is also something we’d be better off to let go.

That belongs to those we seek to serve.

They won’t demand it from us. They’ll simply go elsewhere, choose otherwise, connect another way. We make them the star, we give them the spotlight. And because trust is something that is earned over time, and can be lost in an instant, we don’t do it once. It’s the way we show up every day.

On purpose. With intent. Seeking to generously serve. Drip, by drip, by drip….

That’s how we make remarkable change.

Yes, but why?

There’s a fascinating human phenomena that occurs often, and yet mostly goes unseen and unnoticed.

As we ask each other what goals and projects we’re working on, there’s usually an answer that immediately comes to mind.

Here’s the fascinating part — if anyone were to ask us why the goal matters to us, what’s often quickly revealed is that in reality, there’s a goal behind our goal. One that goes deeper, and matters more to us than the initial goal we were so quick to share.

Even more interesting — if our friend were to continue to ask us why, we frequently find that there’s even more layers to peel back; each one deeper, richer, and more meaningful than the last.

There’s many smart people out there that would suggest if you repeat this “Why?” exercise 5x time in a row, you’ll get to the heart of the matter. I’m not sure that there’s an exact number for every scenario, but I do know that five is certainly better than zero. So is one, and two, and three, and four.

However many times we ask the question, one thing is for certain — it’s worth asking. We may be surprised by what we find, and it will certainly be worthwhile as we seek to understand how best to invest our time.