I was talking with a friend recently about jobs and life... pretty normal stuff, or so at least I think. The conversation took all sorts of tangents, as conversations with me tend to do. : ) We connected on lots of levels and it was a really good time.
I did walk away with one main idea rolling around in my head and heart- lots of people don't really know what they are passionate about... lots of us don't really know what we even truly care about.
We certainly live and breathe in a privileged time even being able to ask questions about our passions... nevertheless, they are real questions that the majority of us are feeling more and more.
I've done some talks about prioritizing and simplifying. I've talked about chasing after your passions and what makes you feel alive. Now I am considering some talks about helping all of us discover those passions so that we can place them at the top of our priorities list. I hope that makes sense and gets you excited for some upcoming MTL gatherings.
My encouragement for you today is simply this- DO NOT LOSE HEART. You are not the only person trying to figure this sort of stuff out. Regardless of your age or stage, we all need to be intentional with how it is we live this gift of life. I believe that questions are a good thing that begin us down a path toward change and full life. Sometimes that path means embracing necessary endings... which are never easy. So again, DO NOT LOSE HEART! Rather, be open and honest about where it is you find yourself and the questions that linger... and let's dive into the difficult work of mystery and discovery to find that there really is MORE TO LIFE. : )
When looking at the year ahead, I get excited at the possibility and potential to live a better story… as long as I don’t get distracted. : )
SO many times I set out to be a better version of myself and lose sight of what that better version truly looks like. And before long, I am back to the same patterns and the same behaviors and no real growth seems to take place.
Can anyone relate?
So here’s what I am doing this year…
First, I’m taking inventory. Thinking back to 2017, I am literally writing down the people, the jobs, the hobbies, the events… I am writing down everything to which I gave myself… my head, my heart, my energy. Then, looking forward to 2018, I’m writing down any new things that I want to give myself to that didn’t make the list in 2017. By the end, I should have a pretty accurate list of all the stuff that could potentially fill my life based on the way I prioritize my time and energy.
Next, it’s time to reflect. I need to think about how much effort I put into everything… the level at which I engaged my head, heart and energy. Did I half-ass it? Did I B.A.M. it (did I offer only the “Bare-Ass-Minimum”)? Did I over-achieve? Once I’ve identified how I operated in 2017, I can reflect on how that all made me feel and appropriately ask the question, “What next?” Perhaps I want to kick up my intentionality a notch in certain areas because they really matter to me, and last year, my life’s actions and behaviors didn't reflect that. Maybe I have way too many things that I say “Yes” to and as a result, I end up B.A.M.ing more than I’d like… so I need to learn to say “No” to some things. I’ve found that I need to welcome more necessary endings so that I can begin to give more of myself to the things that really do matter to me. And then there’s also the chance that you might be the person who needs to take it down a notch in some areas. Perhaps you need to embrace the mantra, “it’s good enough.” My wife is a perfectionist and agrees that there are many categories that you can back off on because you are giving too much of yourself to them. It’s not just about identifying where you need to take it up a little. It’s also about discovering where you need to learn to accept the “good” work you’re doing and reserve going above and beyond for other areas.
Finally, highlight your top areas of change and transformation… and find a way to remind yourself about them. Zoom in on the specific areas that are different. Maybe they are new. Maybe they are significant changes. Maybe it’s simply the hardest area for you. You need to highlight those areas because they will most likely require more attention than others. Then you’ll need to remember them. Maybe you can share them with a friend or partner… someone you trust to help you stay the course... someone who can nudge you every now and then. Or maybe all you need to do is create some sort of list and keep it in your wallet or purse or put it on your phone. I have personally found that the things in my life that matter most to me don't have job descriptions. When I say I want to be a better dad to my boys, there is no clear outline handed to me that I can follow. We must create these pathways for ourselves. We need an idea, a picture, a vision of where we'd like to go so we can truly head in that direction... and then we need to be reminded of it.
Life can be pretty busy and full and distracting.
In the words of Ferris Bueller, “If you don’t stop and look around once in while, you could miss it.”
I encourage you to make the time to look back and to look forward.
Consider your life and what truly matters to you.
And be intentional to choose what to put your heart into this next year.
The New Year 2018 is your chance to decide what to B.A.M. and what not to B.A.M.
You’ve got this!
These posts offer further reflection on topics we tackle during MTL nights.