Weekly Insights and Inspiration for Flying Higher in Endeavors that Make a Difference
"Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now take what’s left and live it properly." - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 7.56
When your time on earth is done, who will remember you? How will you be remembered? What will you be remembered for?
Too often we treat legacy like a social media profile, something that can be contrived and crafted. If you have means, you might believe legacy is something you can save up or set aside funds for, a commodity that can be bought through a trust or donation.
But in the end, your legacy is based solely on who you are, how you are, and what you do right now.
Live now. Do all you can now. Be the best you that you can be now. Share all you that you can now.
That's the best way to confront mortality, "live" beyond the grave and leave a legacy worth remembering.
These thoughts on legacy are deeply influenced by a conversation I had with my friend Chris Gill, Emeritus Professor of Ancient Thought at Exeter...
The problem with contribution is that too often we conflate it with credit or complaint.
When things turn out well, we forget we merely contributed to an achievement and take all the credit for it. When things don't turn out well, we deny our contribution and complain that it was all someone or something else's fault.
That argument you just had, that dinner you just burned, that position or program that turned down or ignored your application, you played a role in what happened.
Own it. Learn from it. And move on.
Successes and failures don't define you. A "win" doesn't make you a conquering hero. A "loss" doesn't mean you're a good-for-nothing.
Contribution done right involves paying attention to what's happening, acknowledging other perspectives, examining ourselves, and...
What does it mean to live fully? What does it take?
Here are some thoughts I'm contemplating.
What would you add?
Let's keep flying higher together!
When I find myself succumbing to inertia in my endeavors, I usually don't need to look beyond the mirror to see what's bogging me down.
Spinning cycles on regrets about the past or anxieties about the future are common challenges many of us experience.
What to do...?
I keep these questions close at hand for these moments - "What's now? What's next?"
What's really going on here? How should I frame this moment I find myself in? How can I do so in a way that's honest about the obstacles but also sees the opportunities? Within every problem lies possibility.
What are my next truly best steps? How might I leverage what's happening to my advantage? Do I have the will and character to step into my fate? Yes.
I step into the next moment with intention instead of stopping in despair. As I "rinse and repeat" this process, I find fellow travelers "magically" appear. I also find my goal becomes more explicit, and my strategy...
It took me a long time to see it, but once I did, I couldn't unsee it.
The thing standing in the way of me and the me I wanted to be was myself. My situation and circumstances weren't holding me back from making the difference I wanted to make. It was the guy in the mirror looking back at me.
Here's the thing, we're hardwired to embrace the status quo. There's comfort in knowing where we fit in, where we stand, and what's expected, or not expected, of us. It makes us feel safe and that we belong.
And yet, many of us have a wee small voice in the back of our head asking "What if...." "What if things could be better?" "What if you could be better."
Whether or not you listen to that wee small voice is up to you. So is how you listen to that voice of aspiration.
To get out of your head, out of your own way, and lean into "better," you must change your mind. You also need to change your habits and your relationship with uncertainty.
Most of all, you're going to...
There's plenty of science that supports the fact that practicing gratitude cultivates wellbeing. Yet, I struggled with weaving a gratitude practice into my daily life. I finally succeeded by developing two 1-minute micro-habits.
Gratitude Starts with You
It's difficult to be truly grateful for external circumstances or relationships if you're not able to express gratitude for yourself and your inner life. To cultivate deeper appreciation, I start my day by writing down three gratitudes related to myself and my situation.
These might include physical, emotional, or character "strengths." I might also list a recent experience, a simple convenience or pleasure, or even a challenge that tests and develops me.
Here's my list for this day - "Today I am grateful for a curious mind, a cool breeze, and a difficult conversation I'm having later today."
What three gratitudes are on your list today?
Finding the Good in Others
A practice I learned from Seth Godin in the altMBA is "Finding...
"We carry our fate with us - and it carries us." - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 3.4
Some people have a really hard time with the idea of fate. What's so upsetting about the idea that everything is happening as it was intended?
I think many don't like the idea that Providence* is in charge because that means that they are not.
Why not embrace fate instead? That your life and that of others is unfolding as it should and is meant doesn't mean you don't have a role to play. Indeed, it actually means you are even more "on the hook" for your thoughts, words, and deeds.
Adopting a posture that your efforts and aspirations are being pursued with the reserve clause, "fate permitting," doesn't mean that you're letting life happen to you. Instead, such an approach acknowledges that life is happening through you.
Whether you believe in or accept fate, you have a role to play in your life, the lives of others, the world, and even the cosmos.
Play that role well.
Let's keep flying...
When you create something and put it forth into the world, it's easy to fall into the "reach trap." "How can I get this in front of the most pairs of eyeballs possible?" Social media only amplifies the seductive delusion of "reach."
Your work doesn't need to reach everyone to make meaningful change happen. It merely needs to reach enough of the "right people" you intended it for.
Share something that delights the right people so thoroughly that they can't help but tell more of the right people. This is how you achieve the viability and sustainability necessary to allow you to get up again tomorrow and continue to do the work that fulfills and energizes you.
Yesterday I put my latest work into the world. The Creative on Purpose Handbook is a $1 guide for discovering, developing, and delivering enterprises worthy of your time, talents, and effort.
I wrote this handbook for you. If you grab a copy and it helps, please tell the others so we can all continue to fly higher in...
You're a lousy listener. So am I. It's a human thing. We're just not programmed to tune in and understand someone else's perspective or experience.
You and I are telling ourselves stories; stories about who we are, who other people are, what our circumstances are, what the situation in general is, and on and on.
The problem is, most of the time the narrator in our heads is composing works of fiction, not scientific or mathematical proofs based on irrefutable facts. And when we bump up against someone else's story in a conversation, we unconsciously and immediately stop listening and start judging their position and defending our stance.
No wonder we almost never change our mind.
The problem though is that unless you learn to change our mind, you can't ever truly improve or develop yourself.
What happens if you let go of your agendas and attachments? What if you enter a conversation and instead of just hearing or listening to what was being said you considered it? What if...
When is the "right" time to step into possibility, develop excellence, and start making a difference in an endeavor you're building?
Most often we decide it's "later." We convince ourselves that we need to learn more, think about it, get our ducks in a row, or wait for the "right" moment.
The thing is, we already possess everything we need to get started. You are sufficient even as you strive.
It's in the starting that we get to test and tweak and iterate and improve. Doing our work "out loud" and "in person" not only helps us refine what we do, it helps us "find the others." You enhance your life most through work done with and for others.
So, what does it take to start? Choose to start and then do it.
It helps to have fellow travelers on this journey, a destination in mind, and a plan for getting there, but nothing happens until you decide you're ready to go and you take that first step.
Turns out, at least in my experience, that the others show up and the...