Monday, July 30, 2012

Have Fun

Here's a little secret about me: I love the Olympics. I love the competition and watching the athletes push themselves and the beauty of someone doing the best they can. I love the athletes' stories...knowing where they come from and why they do what they do. I love watching world records fall and I love seeing people having fun.

When I say I love seeing people having fun, I am talking about the athletes. Yes, they are competing. Yes, many of them won't even come close to winning. But, many of them really seem to be having fun. This is their job and they have put in way more hours of work than we could imagine. They train hard. They compete hard. Through it all, they really seem to be enjoying themselves.

Now, I realize these athletes are competing in sports and not filing paperwork or writing reports or managing a bunch of staff, but they are still working hard. The fact that they are are having fun, makes it easier to work hard. When we enjoy what we do, we are going to put in more effort and spend more time "practicing" to become great. We are going to want to show up every morning and do whatever we can to succeed.

If the athletes on the world stage, competing in the biggest event in their life, are having fun doing it, shouldn't we all strive to find something we enjoy? I know the vast majority of us are never going to do anything close to Olympics, but we have the ability to do what matters the most to us. We can choose to be miserable doing it or we can choose to have fun. Like the athletes in London, the best work is going to be done by those of us who choose to have fun doing it.

We all want to have fun. We want to wake up every morning and feel excitement about the day ahead. Like many of these athletes, we realize most of our days are going to be repetitive, doing the same things over and over. We can complain about this and be unhappy or we can find ways to make it interesting. We can look for ways to have fun. We can figure out what we need to do to enjoy our days. We can work hard, trying to become the best we can at what we do, but unless we are having fun doing it, is it really worth it?

While you are watching the Olympics during the next two weeks, figure out how you can have more fun doing what you do. The more fun we have while putting in the work, the better our work will become. Give it a shot...have some fun and see what happens.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Only Thing Stopping You...

Today kicks off the pomp and spectacle known as the London Olympic Games. No matter what you think of the Olympics and everything going on, you have to stop and think about many of the athletes competing. For most, this will be one of, if not the biggest event in their life. They didn't get to the Olympics by accident. They made it to the Olympics by working harder than the rest of us at what they do.

These athletes put in the work. They trained day in and day out, often for many, many years. They had a dream, but one that wasn't easy to reach. They had goals, but goals most of us wouldn't have the discipline to obtain. They perform in ways many of us could never imagine. They put in hours of work many of us can't fathom. These athletes shouldn't be put on pedestals based on what they can do, but instead should be celebrated for what they have done to get to where they are.

While most of us will never be athletic enough to even have a chance to compete at the Olympics, we must choose to emulate their dedication. It's not the fame or the glory that will last for them, it is the knowledge they chased and dream and grabbed hold. They didn't let "real life" stop them from chasing what they wanted. They don't make excuses to not do the work. They took whatever life threw at them and continued to chase down their dream. They believe in themselves and push hard to accomplish their goals.

Yes, some are gifted with genes to help them become amazing athletes. Yes, some are given chances many other people don't have. But, they still have to put in the work to accomplish their dreams. They have to focus. They have to believe. They have to dream big dreams. They have to put in more work than we can even imagine. They have to give up a lot of other things. They have to choose to be great. They have to have the drive to push through. They have to be passionate. They have to work their ass off.

What dreams do you have? How much work do you put in to reach them? What is your Olympics?

The only thing stopping you is you.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Don't Worry

Don't worry about proving you are right.
Don't worry about those who say you are wrong.
Don't worry about doing what society tells you to do.
Don't worry about what other people think.
Don't worry about what you can not change.
Don't worry about your fears.
Don't worry about the past.
Don't worry about the future.
Don't worry about making mistakes.
Don't worry about failing.
Don't worry about doing it wrong.
Don't worry about your doubts.
Don't worry about fitting in.
Don't worry about standing out.
Don't worry about making enemies.
Don't worry about making friends.
Don't worry about being perfect.
Don't worry about being awkward.
Don't worry about saying the wrong thing.
Don't worry about being different.
Don't worry about being strange.

Don't worry about anything except doing your best and being the person you are meant to be.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Be You, Glorious You

How many days do you have left to accomplish everything you want to accomplish?

If you really think about this question, it's quite scary. For many of us, we have procrastinated accomplishing things thinking there will always be tomorrow. We haven't traveled as much as we wanted. We haven't pushed ourselves as hard as we wanted. We've watched more TV than we should. We haven't spent as much time with friends and family as we would want. We've worked jobs we hate to pay for shit we really don't need. We've silenced our dreams to do what we think society expects us to do. We've wasted precious time doing things we don't remember or care about.

We can read all the blogs and books ever written about how to lead a meaningful life, but unless we make the choice to do something, we are going to continue to do what we have always done. This life is ours to do with what we will. If we choose to skate through life, then we won't really accomplish what we want to accomplish. No one has the goal to just get through life. We want to live fully and do what excites us. We want to leave a legacy. We want to be remembered.

No one is going to remember what television we watched or what work we half-assed. No one is going to remember the people who did little and made no waves. No one is going to remember the vast majority of people who live today. What mark are we going to leave on this world when we pass? What are people going to say about our life once we are gone? This doesn't mean we need to live our life just to please others. We want people to point at us as an example of how to actually live.

We don't have to do what we think society expects of us. We don't have to do what we think other people, even trusted people, think we should do. We don't have to get frustrated when people question our passion. We don't have to live our life pleasing anyone else but us. We don't have to live our life afraid to offend others. Some might say this is selfish, but this is our life to do with what we will. We don't have to buy the shit everyone else buys and we don't have to chase the same goals other people chase. We are individuals and should have our own beliefs, our own goals and our own dreams. We have to be true to who we are.

There will always be people who don't understand us. This is okay and we don't have to convince them of anything. If they stand in our way, then we'll go around them. If they can't give us what we need, then we'll find someone who will. We can't let the doubters hold us back. We can't let other people slow us down. We can't buy in to their bullshit and if we offend a few people along the way, then good. Maybe it will help wake them up. We have to forget about the status quo and not rocking the boat. Rock to your heart's content. Do what needs to be done to keep pushing forward. Don't ever give up and lead the life you are meant to lead. Be you, glorious you, in everything you do.

We all need to make the choice to live our life. We must stop putting aside our goals and dreams and start chasing them. We must stop taking things as they are and start making them better. We must forget what everyone else says and follow our heart. It's time to silence the fears in our head and start moving. It's time to get out of our comfort zone and risk failing again and again. Failure isn't bad. Choosing to not get back up is when we lose. If anyone tells us they haven't failed, then they are either lying or not trying hard enough. We can't listen to them. We can't listen to anyone who tells us something different than what our heart tells us. We have time, but we have to start doing what we need to do.

How many days do you have left to accomplish everything you want to accomplish?    

Friday, July 20, 2012

Stop Doing Nothing

Sometimes, we get caught up in not knowing what we want and we don't do anything. We spend too much time thinking and too little time doing. If you aren't sure what you want or if you aren't sure what your goals should be, start doing anything. The act of doing will help get you on the path to finding what you are searching for, even if you really aren't sure what that is.

Not knowing what you want to do can be stressful. You look around and see all these people who you assume have it figured out. They appear to be happy and doing what they love to do. Some may really know and have found it. Others are like you, not really sure, and are just doing what they always do. Still others aren't sure, but are trying new things, experimenting, taking chances and constantly pushing forward. This is what you need to be doing.

Just as in my last post, you are going to get it wrong sometimes. You are going to try things you hate. That's may not bring you closer to finding what you want, but you can cross one thing off your list of possibilities. Take classes. Talk to people about what they are doing and what they love to do. Do something new and different. Surround yourself with people who are constantly experimenting and you will find it becomes easier to do the same. If you surround yourself with people who aren't happy, who aren't sure what they want and who aren't doing anything about it, you will also find yourself doing the same.

Be bold. Say yes to more offers. Switch things up and just start searching for things you haven't tried. Don't get discouraged. Keep doing and things will start to fall in to place. You don't need to have your whole life planned out, you just need to stop sitting around doing nothing. Your life will never change unless you change what you are doing. Expand your horizons and just go. You never know what will happen until you try.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Be Decisive

There are going to be times when you are faced with a decision and you aren't sure what to choose. You are going to think about the pros and cons of each and weigh them in your mind and you are still going to be no closer to making the call. It's times like these where we have to learn to trust our intuition and just take a chance. Yes, sometimes you just have to take chances.

Sometimes you are going to get it right. Other times, it won't seem that way. The key is to make a choice. If you don't know which one to choose and choose neither, then you aren't really doing anything but existing. You will never know what is going to happen until you make the choice and start down the path. If you love it, great! If you hate it, make a choice to move in a different direction.

At times when you have to choose between staying the course and tryings something new, I would almost always choose something new. Staying the course can be the right choice, but if you are anything like me, you constantly search from something new and different. The only time I would consider staying the course is when things are going really well and you are completely happy and satisfied. Even then, I would always consider the new path. While making the choice to do something new can be intimidating, it also can bring things never imagined.

Don't hesitate. Don't procrastinate. If you have to flip a coin, flip a coin. I don't care how you ultimately make the decision, but just be sure to make one. We spend way too much of our time wondering what will happen if, but not actually doing something to find out. Be decisive and try something new. You never know what will happen unless you take a chance and make the choice.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Start Moving

For a lot of people, the scariest question anyone can ask is "what do you really want to do?". We have so many things we would like to try and yet, we don't know which to do. We worry about failure and not actually liking what we choose and if we are going to be good enough and what the future will bring if we choose this but not that.

We hesitate and end up defaulting to what we are doing without really making a choice. There is no moving forward and we continue to bitch and moan about how we aren't happy or we aren't doing something we are passionate about. Making a choice is hard. Changing our trajectory in life is even harder. Doing nothing new is easy and takes little effort, but it doesn't lead to anything better. When this happens, the only person we can blame is ourself.

Spend some time today thinking about what you want to do. It can be within the job you have now. If you could do anything within your company, what would it be? If you don't see anything within your company, start looking outside of it. Find something you want to try and then do it. You don't have to know what will lead you to happiness, you only have to know what you want to try. If you don't like it, then you find something else to try. Keep searching and changing and doing new things. Don't be afraid of the future that will unfold based on your choices...if you are bored or unhappy now, it will be better than where you are.

Not making a choice helps no one. Once you become frustrated or bored, you are no longer able to do great work. Yes, you can get by, but who are you really helping? You don't have to know what you want to do for the rest of your life. All you need to know is what things you would like to try. No one knows exactly what the future will bring, but if you have ideas, you are already ahead of many of us. If you start acting on these ideas, you will be doing something many of us only talk about. 

Really think about this. What do you really want to do? This shouldn't be a scary question, but a question your have multiple answers for and are excited to answer. We shouldn't paralyzed, but instead should jump at any opportunity to continue moving forward. Yes, you may end up thinking you would have liked it better if you didn't make the change, but this should only be a fleeting thought before deciding it is time to move forward again. Keep pushing ever forward and trying new things.

If you have been reading this blog and continue to come back, my guess is you are not the type of person who is going to stick with the same job for the rest of your life. We live in an age where most people will not stay with the same company for their career and then retire. We are doing something new and different, something our parents and their parents wouldn't understand. We are searching for what will make us feel good. We are searching for the niche where we will be able to do the most good. We are constantly changing and moving around and trying new things. We have multiple interests and talents and want to try them all out. The world is constantly changing around us and we need to change with it.

What do you really want to do? Instead of freezing when asked this question, spend enough time thinking about it to come up with multiple answers. We only get one shot at life, shouldn't we give it everything we've got? No excuses. No hesitation. Start moving.

Friday, July 13, 2012

It's All About You

No one is going to care about what you do unless you care about what you do. No one is going to believe in you unless you believe in yourself. No one is going to be passionate about your work unless your work is filled with your passion.

It's all about you. To accomplish anything, you have to believe in yourself, care about what you are doing and create with passion. When it comes to your work, you can't fake it. I know this is hard for a lot of people because, in so many jobs, we were able to fake it and do just fine. This is because we were often surrounded by a lot of other people who were also faking it. No one wants to call someone out because they live in fear the same could happen to them.

When you get to the point where you want to do something that truly matters, you need to know this. You have to put in the work and believe in what you are doing if you are ever going to accomplish it. You can't settle on doing things so-so or faking it any more. You have to believe and be passionate. For most of us, once we start doing something we are passionate about, we find this belief and care and passion easy to come by. We wake up every day ready to do everything we can.

But, there will still be days when we don't feel it. Instead of just putting on a smile and faking it, we have to dig deep and pull the passion and belief and care out from inside of us. We have to put in the work because faking it no longer works. The people around you, the tribe you build, will see right through the bullshit and stop believing if you try to fake it. It's okay to have doubts and fears, but never lose sight of your belief and passion. If you can't drum it up, then you may be doing the wrong thing.

What do you need to change to wake up every morning filled with belief and passion, ready to attack the day? What's stopping you from changing it?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Change Yourself

We all say we want to change this world for the better, but we rarely make changes in our own lives. We want everyone else to change to make things better. The problem is, no one is going to change for you. As much as you might want it to happen, it won't. People make changes for their own reasons, not yours. You make changes for your own reasons.

We like to think on a global scale, but forget to look at ourselves to see what we can do to help make the world a better place, even just a little bit. In the same way, we look to improve relationships by hoping others will change instead of realizing that if we want things to improve, we have to change. We have to change our outlook or expectations or behavior. We have control of these aspects of life and can actually make change, instead of constantly hoping the other person will do what we want. Look inside and make the changes you can.

We all want to change the world, but sometimes we have to settle for changing our little piece of the world. Lead by example. Be the change you want to see and encourage others, but know they still may not change. You can only do so much, but take control over what you can. If everyone would spend their time changing what they can instead of spending all their time worrying about what everyone else does, we may actually change the world in the process.

Monday, July 9, 2012

We Have To Start

As a writer, there is nothing quite as frustrating as having a blank page and not knowing what to write. The cursor mocks you, just sitting there and blinking over and over again, but not contributing to the words that take up the space. The longer you sit without writing, the harder it gets to actually start.

I see our lives like this. We know there are things we want to do, but getting started is the hardest part. Making that one choice, doing that one thing to get the ball rolling helps us pick up momentum and pushes us forward. Newton's first law shows that a body at rest tends to stay at rest unless an outside force acts upon it. In life, we are the outside force. We have to start the process to get moving, otherwise we are going to continue to sit and only think about the things we want to do.

Why is getting started so difficult? Each of us has our own answer to this question, but for many, the answer lies in either being afraid of what will happen once we start moving or being unsure of what we actually want. Once we act and start moving down an uncharted path (at least for us) we can't see what is ahead. We know what we would like to happen, but we are unable to see if it will. This makes starting scary. Some people hesitate very little before starting, but others hesitate for so long they lose all courage to actually start.

Not only is starting scary because of this, but rarely do we know exactly what we want. We think we do, but we aren't sure. Instead of going after what we think we want, we look deeper and deeper inside, constantly questioning if this is the right thing to do. We see other people doing great things and wonder if we would be happy doing them too. We look at our own lives and come up with excuses on why it wouldn't work or figure out ways to convince ourselves that it isn't what we actually want. Staying at rest is much easier than summoning the courage to start. We don't want to step out of our comfort zone, but the great things are rarely found when we are comfortable.

How do we get better at starting? We have to force ourselves to start more. We have to sit down and just start writing and get the words on paper. We have to force ourselves to have the difficult conversation with a boss or loved one. We have to buy the plane ticket. We have to apply for the job we really want. We have to step out of our comfort zone and see what happens. Sometimes we are not going to get what we want, but even when this happens, we learn more about who we are and what we are capable of doing. We have to start.

It's going to be difficult. It's going to be scary. We are going to be unsure. We are going to want to hesitate. We are going to want to think about it more. We are going to want to make sure we are positive that this is what we want. All of this is okay to feel and think, but we can't let it stop us from doing. We have to throw caution to the wind and start. It's much easier to make adjustments as we are moving. The goal is to keep pushing forward, to keep doing, to keep being that outside force not letting our body stay at rest. We have to start.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Get Out Of Your Head

Dream. Do the work. Challenge yourself. Take chances. Feel free to fail. Be yourself. Blaze your own path. Learn something new every day. Create great art. Do something amazing. These are all things I have written about doing and think we should all strive to do. The hard part, the part many of us continue to struggle with, is getting out of our own heads and actually doing them.

Even though we may not realize it, we spend a lot of our time comparing ourselves to others and doing what we think the world wants us to do. We become frustrated when we can't express what we want to express; when we can't enjoy doing things we think other people want us to do; when we just can't quite live up to the ideas we have planted in our heads of what we are supposed to be like. We worry about the things we feel we should be doing. We regret the things we did or didn't do. We start to have doubts when we see someone who is writing better than us or creating better art or taking more chances or doing anything we want better than us.

Instead of getting out there and doing what we should, we become paralyzed by over-analyzing. We allow our fears and doubts and frustrations to paralyze us and continue to have more fears or more doubts or more frustration. We aren't able to accomplish the things we want to accomplish because we are constantly worried about getting it wrong or not being able to do it. We become frustrated when we feel we aren't doing what adults should be doing or when we can't just keep on track or no one is reading our writing or no one is buying our art. We get scared because we don't know what we should be doing and instead of looking and trying new things, we stick with what we have, even though we know it isn't the path we are looking for. We freeze and allow more negativity to creep in.

To do anything that matters to you, you have to stop allowing the negativity to creep in. If you want people to read what you are writing, keep writing. If you want people to buy your art, keep creating and putting it into the world. If you want to blaze your own path, then keep dreaming and taking action.  If you want to find what you love to do, you have to search for it. Ignore the frustrations and doubts and fears and just push forward. Stop assuming you know what other people think about who you are and what you do. Stop worrying. Stop the self-flagellation. It's good to critically think about what you do or who you are, but being overly critical or self-deprecating is just wrong. Stop letting this happen.

I know, you are saying this is easier said than done and you are right. Start by becoming more aware of what you are thinking and how you are feeling. Question yourself when you start to feel the frustration and doubts and fears. Don't berate yourself for feeling them, but question where they come from. Notice these feelings and allow your awareness to help dissipate them. Every time they pop up, continue to do this. Once we start eliminating this negativity, what can we accomplish? When we don't freeze from the negativity, there is nothing stopping us. It's about time we got out of our own heads and actually did something.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

Today, in the United States, we celebrate our Independence Day. Two hundred and thirty-six years ago, Thomas Jefferson wrote we have the "unalienable right" to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Many of us won't be thinking about the Declaration of Independence or the meaning behind today's celebration, instead spending out time cooking, drinking, BBQing, socializing with family and friends and shooting off fireworks. There is nothing wrong with any of these things, in fact, I hope everyone spends today relaxing and doing the things they love to do.

We will probably never know all the intentions of the Founding Fathers (though we like to believe we do), but we can be certain they risked their lives for our freedom. The same can be said for the men and women (and dogs) who have served in our armed forces in the many wars and conflicts we have had since the Declaration was signed. Spend a few moments today thinking of the sacrifices countless people have made, seen and unseen, to allow your celebrations today.

No matter where you live or who you are, you have the chance to do something meaningful with your life. The choice is yours to do what you can to put your stamp on life. You can do little and sleepwalk through life or you can make the choice to do something great. This greatness doesn't have to be appear great or even be understandable to others. It only has to matter to you. We all have our own paths to follow, but the choice is yours to blaze a path that means something to you. A small group of people came together 236 years ago and started on the path to create a new country. They risked everything for a belief and we celebrate their bravery today.

Most of us probably won't have the opportunity to do something so monumental, but what we choose to do today will matter tomorrow. We have the ability to help create a better world for generations to come and leave a mark that will be remembered. The choice is in all of our hands. Do we continue to do the minimum required to get through life or do we want to celebrate life and actually live it? When we are older, do we really want to look back and say I made it through without taking many risks and without getting hurt? Or, would you rather look back and say I grabbed hold and lived my life and did things I never imagined were possible?

The choice is yours, but I urge you to spend a little time today to think about the life you are living. Think about all the sacrifices that have been made by others to give you the life you have. Find what really matters to you and do it. Figure out what sets your soul on fire each morning and do more of it. Dream amazing dreams and then chase them. Create amazing art to share with the world. Be who you want to be and don't let anyone else pull you down. We only have this one chance to get things right...what do you want to be remembered for doing?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Try not!

A wise, green, little Jedi master once uttered the words, "Do or do not, there is not try." While many people will smirk at the reference, these are great words to live by.

Commit to something. Trying, in itself, includes hesitancy. By "trying" you are already admitting this may not work and giving yourself a way out when it doesn't. With this net, you will not give your all and you are already planning the excuses when it doesn't. If you go into something believing there is a good possibility of it not working out, you are setting yourself up for it not to work. Trying is the easy way out. You can throw up your hands after giving 50% and say "I tried". Trying doesn't push you to accomplish anything.

Do it. Whatever you want to try, instead convince yourself you are going to do it. If you want to try to run a mile, instead say to yourself you are going to run a mile. By doing, you are not allowing your mind a way out. You are not giving in before you start as there is no hesitancy. There is no easy way out. When you commit to doing anything, you are going to work your ass off to make sure it happens. You still may not succeed, but you are going to give 100% to get it done. If it doesn't work, then it doesn't work. At least you will know that you did everything possible to do it.

Elimante try from your vocabulary. More importantly, eliminate try from your mind. When you want something, commit to doing it. Don't give yourself an out. Don't lose before your even start. Either commit or don't, the choice is yours, but quit hiding behind try. Once you start believing in yourself and commit to doing, your will start accomplishing the things you set out to do.