We may not be where we want to be in life, but we are probably right where we should be. As difficult as this may be to comprehend, especially when we are in the midst of challenges, there is a certain amount of comfort that comes with acceptance.
I used to spend a lot of time getting wrapped around the axle on minor daily incidents that disrupted my schedule, like a cancelled meeting, a delayed flight, or a call that I was waiting for that never came. My lack of flexibility in managing life's daily hiccups made dealing with major life changes almost unbearable. That is until I changed my thinking and realized that I may not be where I want to be, but there is probably a good reason I am right where I am. Instead of feeling sorry for myself during these disruptions, I started looking at them as opportunities for growth.
Maybe the cancelled meeting was an opportunity to spend more time preparing. Maybe the delayed flight was an opportunity for me to work on my patience. Maybe the phone call that never came was an opportunity for me to hold back my urge to jump to conclusions.
As we go through each day, we are bound to come across things that throw our well laid plans off kilter. Some of these may be minor changes that impact our day-to-day schedule. Others may be hurdles that impact the path to achieving our personal goals or plan that we had for our lives. It is easy to fall victim to these situations and wonder "why me?" Maybe the better question is to ask "why not me?"
Personally, I believe that life isn't full of coincidences, but rather golden opportunities for learning along our journey. We rarely see them at the time but afterward we often look back with gratefulness.
Do you believe you are right where you should be?
I have spent the past week having a very large pity party for myself. I came down with shingles over a week ago, on my face no less, and every time I look in the mirror all I see is a "mug" clearly made for radio. Trust me, I would have been happy to milk this situation for all it is worth, but then this video was sent to me, which gave me a lot of perspective. When it feels like life is just too hard, this is exactly what I need. I hope you enjoy the lessons from this little boy like I did.
For what it's worth, here is what I think (not that I wouldn't share my opinion anyway). I believe that sometimes we all take ourselves just a bit too seriously, especially when it comes to work. Don't get me wrong, work is serious business. But there comes a time when it is important to lighten up, be vulnerable, and allow people to see the fun side of you...the real side.
Today, we hear the word "extremist" and most of us immediately conjure up a negative image. This is especially evident in light of terrorism and the loss of innocent lives, all for the sake of a "cause." But what about those who were labeled as extremists in the history books, who suffered for the sake of compassion, not hatred? People like Jesus, Amos, Paul, Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela. And of course this week, let's not forget Martin Luther King, Jr.
I had this wordle made up from MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech, and in doing so, the points of his message became crystal clear. These are not words that represent evil. Rather, they are words that should remind us all of that which is most important, caring and loving one another as equals. So, if this is what it means to be an extremist, I am behind it 100%.
I know that I dream of making a difference, do you?
So, you may have noticed that the blog has been changing a bit over the past few weeks. Some weeks, I post a full blog, and other weeks, I opt to post just a simple phrase that has been stuck in my brain and requires little explanation. To be honest, after seven years, I was ready to change things up a bit (heck, I can barely stick to anything for seven months, or in some cases seven minutes!)
I realize some of you may be uncomfortable by this shift. However, I also realize that there may be some of you who like the new very-simple-to-read approach. My hope is that this year will bring some fun changes in the blog that will keep all of you reading (or listening, or viewing) for weeks to come.
At the end of the day, here is what I do know...
Well, it's that time of year again. Along with a little "Auld Lang Syne" and forgetting "Old Acquaintances," I will close Wednesdays with Susan's year with the best posts of 2014 (which seems a little odd since I am the only judge). Here it goes!
1. The Two Pizza Rule
We can thank Jeff Bezos for this one.
Bezos uses pizza as a metric for choosing the size of his teams. Basically, if a team can't be fed by two pizzas alone, that team is too large. The brain can't handle a lot of people, so it's no surprise that smaller teams tend to work better.
2. Innovate Like Edison
Here's what it takes:
Persistence / Limit Self-Inhibiting Behavior / Take Risks, Make Mistakes / Escape when Necessary / Write Things Down / Find Patterns and Create Combinations / Be Curious
3. Are You Gathering or Developing?
Take the test and find out!
a. Leaders who gather followers need to be needed; leaders who develop leaders want to be succeeded.
b. Leaders who gather followers focus on a person's weaknesses; leaders who develop leaders focus on a person's strengths.
c. Leaders who gather followers focus on the bottom 20%; leaders who develop leaders focus on the top 20%.
d. Leaders who gather followers treat everyone the same; leaders who develop leaders treat people as individuals.
e. Leaders who gather followers spend their time; leaders who develop leaders invest their time.
f. Leaders who gather followers ask for little commitment; leaders who develop leaders ask for great commitment.
g. Leaders who gather followers impact this generation; leaders who develop leaders impact future generations.
4. Shoot for 80
If you are 80% of the way through the process of working toward fulfilling your vision, you have already tackled the issues you can control. The rest is up to faith.
5. Possibilities Over Limitations
This was my acronym for 2014, which is to move from "Yeah, but," to "What if?" In other words, start with the possibilities, no matter how grand, and then work backward toward possible limitations.
6. Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
All the Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
Layin’ in the sun
Talkin’ ‘bout the things
They woulda-coulda-shoulda done…
But those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
All ran away and hid
From one little did.
- Shel Silverstein
7. You Are Not the Manager of the World
Sometimes life brings about some pretty messy stuff.Sometimes, we are responsible for the mess and we need to clean it up; sometimes, we are just simply witnesses to the mess and there is nothing we can do to fix it. The problem is, we don't always understand the difference.
8. Buckets and Business (the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge)
To me, this goes back to the very simple adage that referrals are the best source of business. If people love the cause (product), they will go to great lengths to promote their beliefs by posting on sites like Google+ and Facebook (displaying the brand) for the entire world to see. Their passion doesn't stop them from opening up their wallets (buying), because they see themselves as being part of something bigger and making a difference (value).
9. What's Your Come From State?
Unfortunately, life doesn't happen when we focus only on the easy stuff. Life requires us to deal with both good and bad. However, it is not just the events we need to consider; an equally important factor is our "come from" state. In other words, we need to start with a close examination of our frame of mind as we approach each situation.
10. All or Nothing
If you can't do the good you would, do the good you can."
- Charles Swindoll