If we only do what we’re familiar with, we might miss what we’ve been made for. ~ Bob Goff
In 1989, one of my favorite movies came out in the theaters. The Dead Poet’s Society. It starred Robin Williams as a young and unconventional English teacher at a very intense all boys private school. The movie gripped me. Moved me. I was 21 at the time, and I can still remember my favorite scene. Robin’s character, Mr. Keating was trying to convince his young and privileged boys to think outside of the box. He wanted to toss aside the text books and to truly experience what it meant to live. So he takes them out of their classroom and straight to the trophy room and begins talking to them.
Now I would like you to step forward over here and peruse some of the faces from the past. You’ve walked past them many times. I don’t think you’ve really looked at them. They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you. Their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen. Do you hear it? (whispering in a gruff voice) Carpe. Hear it? (whispering) Carpe. Carpe Diem. Seize the day boys. Make your lives extraordinary.
Man, I still get fired up when I think about that scene. I was sharing it with my wife the other day as I was thinking about this intro and I couldn’t hold in my emotions. I think about life. I think about what could be. What could have been.
When I look at my life and the lives of those closest to me, I feel that there are so many things that are missing. I’ve had the privilege to experience a lot of life. Most of it good. Even great at times (like my wedding day and the birth of my kids). I’ve led churches. I’ve traveled overseas a ton. I’ve led organizations. I’ve challenged leaders nationally as well as internationally.
So here’s the deal. We only have one life given to us. We only have a certain amount of time in which we are to live that life. So why do most of us choose the path of least resistance? Why do we feel as though we can’t really make a difference with the life that is given to us? I believe that everyone can “Seize the Day.” I know that this life that we been have given was meant to be extraordinary.
So consider for a moment that those people who were on the path of least resistance were finally given a vision or picture of their lives on a different path. Consider for a moment that what they saw was a path filled with movie scenes of adventure, love (not just romance) and the leading of others. Consider for a moment that underneath those scenes was the voice of John Keating (Robin Williams) saying over and over again, “Carpe. Carpe Diem. Seize the day everyone. Make your lives extraordinary!”
Now, consider for another moment, that those people watching this new vision were all over the world. Old and young. Poor or rich. People who, along the way gave in to mediocrity but are now hoping, dreaming, crying out for something more. It isn’t about a program. It isn’t about some 6 step plan. It’s all about Seizing the life that God has given each of us and believing it to be extraordinary.
Welcome to life. The way it was intended to be lived out.
Today is Thursday. You were meant for more.
Sorry to say that it’s been a few weeks since my last blog post. A lot has happened. And needless to say it hasn’t been overly easy. In fact, it’s been a mess. In my desire to pursue blogging and connecting with people, I’ve also been working on getting my real estate license so that I can work with my wife. Well, that just put a wrench into things. It put a snag in my well laid out plans to be someone of influence. It really was a downright mess. I was frustrated. Annoyed. Mostly cause it was taking way too long to complete. Well, I’m done! I’ve passed the exams. I’ve got my license. Now it’s time to get moving. It’s time to move past the mess.
Then I went for a run today and listened to a podcast from Andy Stanley. It was all about this idea. It was all about being messy. About moving towards the mess, rather than away from it. For most of us, life revolves around people. Our lives, day in and day out involves others. And, let’s be honest. Many of those people are not very neat and tidy (like we are). So, when they enter into our little circles. When they enter into our tidy and organized little worlds, they tend to reek havoc. And…everything in us wants to run in the other direction. Right?
Running is the desire. But is it really the correct course of action? For me, being someone who wants to encourage and inspire others to a life of living, loving and leading, this would be the wrong direction. And, I want to suggest it’s the wrong direction for you too. We are supposed to be engaged. We were meant to be engaged. It’s what we were created for. None of us were designed to be alone. We were, in fact, meant to be fully, 100% in community.
So, as I was running, some things jumped out at me from the podcast. There are 3. Let me give them to you now. You can back later and listen for yourself (here’s the link).
1. Moving Towards The Mess Isn’t Convenient
All of us are busy. Right? Too busy probably. But here’s the deal, being busy isn’t a problem in and of itself. But when we are so busy that we no longer have any margin in our lives for the mess of others, something is wrong. When we cease to have room for others, something is broken. Remember? We were not made to be alone. The mess of others isn’t convenient. It isn’t even all that much fun. But it is vital to who we are.
Here’s a gut check statment:
You’ll know you’re too busy when you see messy people
as inconveniences rather than opportunities
2. We Will Never Meet The Best Version Of Ourselves In Our Comfort Zones.
Let’s be honest. You’re totally squirming right now, right? We all have our comfort zones. And they’re really comfortable!!! Hence the name. But, when we move outside of those boundaries and towards the mess of others, it’s there when our best selves are revealed. Truly!
If we insist on comfortable, boredom is inevitable ~ John Hambrick
3. People Aren’t Projects
This comes down to control. We want what we want, when we want it. You want help? Fine? On my terms! Sound familiar? The people in our lives are NOT projects. They’re people. They’re people who have pain. Flaws. Brokenness. And it’s up to us to enter into their mess and embrace it with them.
Will you be available? Will you be open to embrace the mess around you?
Do you hear voices? It’s ok if you do. I do too. All the time. Are your voices positive or negative? Honestly? Mine tend to be mostly negative. “You’re not good enough.” “You’re not a good husband or father.” “You’re fat.” “You can’t do that job.” Sound familiar? I’m going to suggest that 100% of humanity struggles with IVS or Internal Voice Syndrome (my own label). It sucks. Really. But it’s part of our reality and either we fight the voices or give in to them.
My thoughts? Fight the voices.
As I was running on the treadmill today I watched a podcast with Michael Hyatt around this subject and it connected with me in a serious way. So, let me flesh out some of what Michael talked about (I’ll also put a link to Michael’s podcast at the end of this post).
So let’s go. What do we do about the voices? What do we do about the negative internal monologue that we all wrestle with? Let me give you 5 steps.
- Acknowledge the voice(s) – the sooner we recognize that there are competing voices speaking/shouting at us regarding who we are, the sooner we will be able to fight back. What are the voices saying? See if any of these sound familiar. “I’m a terrible parent.” “I can’t be a single parent.” “Who will ever marry me?” “I’m not smart enough for the this job or promotion.” “I’m fat.” “I’m not pretty.” “I’m not good at tests.” “I’m stupid.” Anything sound familiar?
- Journal what the voice(s) are saying. Keeping a record of what’s being said can help us in fighting the negative narration. When we write them down and then acknowledge them, we can then reject them. Reject them for the lies that they truly are. Did you read that? Whatever is negative. Whatever is against who you truly are are simply lies. So reject them with every fiber of your being.
- Evaluate the stories. Is it life-giving or not. Is is empowering or not? Bottom line? If the narration isn’t FOR you, don’t listen to it. DON’T. LISTEN. TO. IT.
- Write down a different story. What do you want your story to be? What are your dreams and aspirations? What do you want to be different? What do you want for your family? Grab a journal. Write those things down. Flesh them out. Share them with someone closest to you. This is key. You need a new story. I need a new story. One that makes sense. One that breathes life. And honestly, you deserve a new, great story. You were created to have one. So go for it!
- Listen to the new story. Believe the new narrative. Repeat it to yourself. When the “bad” narration starts, speak the new one. Use the new narrative as a defense against the bad one.
Your life matters! You were made to be extraordinary! You were made to have a purpose. Today is the day to take a step toward that life.
Here’s the link to the Michael Hyatt podcast. Michael Hyatt
Question: What voices have you been listening to? Are you tired of the lies yet?
Everyone likes a good story. Whether it’s a comedy, romance, action or horror. They’re all there. The question is, what will yours be? Also, is the question even something you’re asking? I know I have been. It keeps coming up in a ton of different ways. From what I’m reading, listening to, or from the conversations I’m having. The question keeps being asked, “What do you want your story to be?”
Over the first weekend of 2016, Kristen and I were blessed with a weekend away into the mountains around Vail, Colorado from our oldest daughter. It was much needed. The stresses of the past year had been building up and up and up. The closing of a church and the subsequent spiraling on my part had affected our marriage and my heart.
On one morning as we were talking, Kristen asked me how she could help me. I didn’t have an answer. So she asked a follow up question. “Who can help you?” Thankfully, I had some thoughts. And equally as thankful, we both knew that we had friends in our lives that could and would help. Long story short. 3 weeks later I was driving to South Dakota to spend a few days with our pastor, marriage mentors, groomsman and dear friends. It was life giving. Cup filling. Bank depositing! Use whatever metaphor you want, I needed the time away.[shareable]The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are J.P. Morgan[/shareable]
What came out of my time in SD? An increased desire to pursue my story. An increase in desire to have a story. So I started to journal around something that I hate. Setting goals! I’ve come realize that I’ve lived under the shadow of a misguided belief that setting goals is a recipe for failure. So, I’ve always fought against setting goals.
Thankfully, my thoughts are changing (hopefully for the long term) and I’m setting goals. Goals for a story. A story that has meaning and purpose. A story that will inspire.
Regardless of where you are sitting, or standing; if you want a better story, you have to take the first step. It’s always been that way. It will always be that way.
Let me share some of the resources that have been helping.
Essentialism by Greg McKeown
The Dip by Seth Godin
The Deeper Path – Kary Oberbrunner
How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Living Forward by Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy
The 4 Hour Work Week – Timothy Ferris
The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
This Is Your Life – Michael Hyatt
The Tim Ferris Show – Tim Ferris
Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast – Andy Stanley
Elevation Church – Steven Furtick
Question: What are you willing to do to pursue your story?
I wrestle with being silly. I’m not entirely sure why. When I worked with students, I was always the center of the silliness, or coming up with the crazy ideas (like bobbing for Oh Henry bars in a toilet full of Mountain Dew). But then I got married! Then, I got “serious”. Sound familiar? In all reality, it wasn’t getting married that did it or having kids. There’s something about “adulthood” that sucks the silliness out of us. And you know what? It’s just plain wrong. Being silly and goofy is amazing. It’s life giving, it’s needed.
That’s why I’m writing about my daughters 11th birthday slumber party. Avery had some of her friends over for a night of fun, sugar, laser tag and no sleeping. Somewhere in the midst of the piñata and a 3 layered, sparkler-candle covered cake there was a mention of makeovers, and my name was first on the list! All the girls started freaking out, including our 22 year old. What was a dad to do? I went along with it. It was awesome (sometimes a bit painful), it was crazy and it was a huge memory, for everyone. One of Avery’s friends said (multiple times) that it was the best part of the party (her dad is not 100% in the picture).
I’m so glad that I was able to get past my “adulthood” and simply be crazy for the girls. I’m so glad that memories were made for the girls (and our boys). I love this quote from baseball great Lou Brock. [shareable]Show me a guy who is afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time. ~Lou Brock[/shareable]
Let me suggest a few things to find your silliness.
- Get over yourself!
- Ask yourself, “What/Who is most important right now?”
- Get over yourself!
- Ask yourself, “Are memories more important than my pride?”
- Get over yourself!
- Have some fun!
- Get over yourself!
See a pattern? Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy at having fun. If you’re a parent, you need to be all about your kids. If you’re dating someone? Stop trying to pose as someone you’re not. Let loose and have fun. If you’re married w/o kids, enjoy the heck out of your spouse. Laugh until you’re crying and your belly hurts. Why? Cause when the pain and hurt comes you’ll have some joy to cling to. Bottom line, being silly is life giving. Laughing is contagious. And Joy, is so, so much better than sadness.
Question: Why are you so serious? List out the reasons. What are some ways you can laugh today? Write out some ideas. Then, ask a good friend to participate in a silliness intervention.