Insight and Inspiration for Flying Higher in Endeavors that Make a Difference
I made the leap to becoming a full-time professional musician shortly after my first son was born. It was right after a brush with a significant health scare. Music was my passion, and I didn't want to look back later later in life and wonder “Could I have ‘done something’ with my musical ambitions.”
We lived in Charleston, South Carolina. It was a great place to launch a music career. There were plenty of places to perform and a huge pool of talent to play with. I formed musical partnerships quickly and picked up gigs easily. Fortune shone upon me. I was "making it!"
Most of my musical partnerships were with players ten or twenty years my senior. I was surprised by how often I heard these veterans griping. They complained about indifferent audiences, crappy gigs, lack of recognition, low pay, and how undeserving local talent like Edwin McCain and Hootie and the Blowfish, who used to share the bill with us, were getting signed while they were...
You are, of course, sufficient just as you are. At the same time you recognize that you have undeveloped potential and unfulfilled promise. What's keeping you from stepping into possibility and a better you?
If you had to choose one primary obstacle from the list below, what would it be?
If you're being completely honest, is there any truer answer other than the last?
What if you assumed agency over the way you frame yourself and your situation? What if you surrounded yourself with the right people? What if you developed a mindset for seeing possibilities and a posture for stepping into them?
Do you have the courage to take responsibility for developing yourself through endeavors that make a difference? What if courage is something you cultivate through engaging with these challenges?
Let's keep flying higher in endeavors that make a difference together!
Gratitude Starts with Others
A practice I learned from Seth Godin in the altMBA is "Finding the Good in Others." There are just two steps. First, "catch" someone doing something "right." Second, tell them.
Here's my "catch and tell" for today - "I noticed that you read my blog today. Thanks for lending my work some of your valuable attention. It means the world to me!"
Gratitude Starts with You
Scientific studies reveal that the simple act of counting your blessings and a posture of gratitude stave off stress and cultivate wellbeing even during the toughest times.
To cultivate thankfulness, I start my day by writing down three appreciations related to what I already have.
These can include acknowledgment of my current physical, psychological, or spiritual state. I may also list a recent experience, convenience, or simple pleasure. I might even share a challenge that tests and develops me.
Here's my list for this day - "Today I'm grateful for a curious mind, a...
What does it mean to be exceptional?
It starts when you decide to stop accepting the way things are and not simply keep doing what's expected. That's the short, clear circular path of the status quo.
And there's nothing wrong with that path. Things are generally fine just as they are. So are you, for that matter. The path of the expected offers plenty of comfort and happiness.
But at some point, some of us see the potential not achieved and the promise undelivered and we decide that we simply can not abide. We discover that we are no longer able to settle.
So it begins, The Striving. The relentless pursuit of "better."
And that journey is neither short nor clear. It's rugged, unmarked, and endless.
And it can't be travelled alone. You can't be selfish and exceptional. You must be selfless. You have to be of service. That's why the path of exceptional delivers resilience and joy.
So, there you are. You have choices. Time to choose.
Which path are you on today?
Let's keep flying...
Gratitude is appreciation for what you have and receive. You may be grateful for a tangible object or an intangible concept. Regardless, when you mindfully and genuinely practice gratitude, it can bring profound benefits to your life — not the least of which is greater happiness.
Expressing gratitude acknowledges the goodness in your life. Even more, it helps you recognize that the source of that goodness lies outside of yourself. Once you perceive goodness flowing to you, you begin to feel connected with others and something bigger than you.
That sense of connection brings gratitude, as well as opportunities to let goodness flow through you to other people as well. When you contextualize yourself, your circumstances, and your surroundings within a broader framework that acknowledges others, goodness appears not as something to be manufactured for yourself but as a gift received from beyond yourself. And when you receive goodness as a gift, you’ll want to share it...
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"Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn
Books are my go-to source for inspiration and information in my endeavors. Here are four books that currently inform my journey in developing Creative On Purpose and help me enhances the lives of those who collide with it.
Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley's Bill Campbell, by Eric Schmidt et al
Schmidt, former CEO of Google, and his co-authors weave an engaging narrative that highlights the importance of values, trust, and relationships in building and leading teams that make a difference.
The Right Story: A Brief guide to Changing the World, by Bernadette Jiwa
Jiwa provides a pragmatic and effective approach to mastering the art of storytelling to persuade, influence and inspire to help...
Sure, things are pretty much fine just as they are.
So are you for that matter.
Things could be made better.
So could you.
Sufficiency is no excuse to settle or stop striving.
How are you stepping into possibility today?
Let's keep flying higher together!
Join a group of fellow travelers striving together to make things better in the free Endeavor Better micro-course.
The status quo is not the enemy.
But it is in the way.
Sure, things are just fine as they are. It is what it is.
At the same time, things can be better.
So can you.
What if you took a look around and at yourself and asked, “What if...?” And then acted as if...?
Just because you and everything else is sufficient doesn’t mean we can’t strive for better.
How can you step into possibility today? Choose and then...step.
Let's keep flying higher together!
I don't recall where I heard it, but I love the exhortation to "Do your thinking on the ground."
Maybe it comes from a quote attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, "Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground."
Sure, keep your head in the clouds. Dream big.
But do it with your feet on the ground.
Meaningful change doesn't happen through dreaming, thinking, or learning.
Advancement comes through the activity of striding into possibility step by deliberate step.
Let's keep flying higher together!
What does it take to make a difference?
It helps if you’ve considered the Ancient Greek aphorism, “Know thyself."
You also need to see things as they are. What’s within your control? What’s not?
Most things are not within your control, but some are within your ability to influence. There are always possibilities to choose from.
And to make a difference you must choose and then step into possibility.
Life doesn't happen to you. Life happens through you. You have a role to play. Play it.
If you do that repeatedly with and for others with intention and integrity, you can help make things better.
Are you ready to make a difference? Let's go!
And let's keep flying higher together.