Insight and Inspiration for Flying Higher in Endeavors that Make a Difference
"What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him." - Viktor Frankl
Work worth doing is fraught. There will be delays, obstacles, misfortune, and failure.
No amount of learning, preparation, or practice can prepare you for how to handle hardship. Only experience teaches the virtues of acceptance, patience, humility, and resilience. All of these are required to remain resolved and committed to work worthy of your time, talent, and effort.
If the work you seek to do is important. If it's going to make things better. If it's going to enhance the lives of others while you're cultivating excellence through it. It will be hard and, the effort will be worth it whether or not you succeed.
That's the gig.
Striving doesn't require suffering. But it rewards the will to embrace challenges. Accept that, and you can lean into all of this with passion, purpose, and a determined smile.
Let's keep flying...
In your endeavor, what are the values on which you won't compromise? What are the principles that serve as your north star?
Here are some of the guiding principles I lean on in my work at Creative on Purpose.
What are your core values and guiding principles?
Let's keep flying higher together!
You're in a conversation or an email or text exchange. You say or write something that unintentionally, or unconsciously, or otherwise causes injury. The person on the receiving end expresses that they feel hurt or harmed.
And so you say, "I'm sorry that you feel that way."
Let's be clear. "I'm sorry that you feel that way," is not an apology. It's a non-apology. It’s a refusal to accept or even consider that you contributed to what just happened.
Sure, maybe you've been misunderstood or misinterpreted. Or perhaps you're ignorant or unaware. But that doesn't mean you're off the hook.
This is not a time for righteousness and outrage. This is an opportunity to practice kindness, compassion, and selflessness. This is a chance to make things better and move forward.
Need some help with framing an appropriate apology? Try the 4 "Rs" of an Intentional, Meaningful, and Healing Apology.
Let's keep flying higher together!
When someone is celebrating an achievement or sharing a moment of joy, the signals sent are clear and easy to read.
When someone is anxious, angry, fearful, or suffering, the signals they send can be conflated, confusing, and conflicted.
When confronted or engaging with someone who's in anguish, it's easy to get sucked into reacting to those signals or rejecting them. A more compassionate approach is to not lose sight of the soul on the other side. A hurting human is sending those signals.
The suffering signal sender is an imperfect soul striving and struggling. Someone just like you.
These moments don't call for tough love. Theses are moments for practicing real love.
“Kindness is invincible, but only when it’s sincere, with no hypocrisy or faking. What can even the most vicious person do if you keep treating him with kindness and gently set him straight - if you get the chance correcting him cheerfully at the exact moment that he’s trying to do...
"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 for many of us.
What to do...?
I keep three questions close at hand for these moments - "What's it for?" "What's now?" and "What's next?"
What's it for?
Answering the question, “What’s it for?” helps me determine if what I'm about to do or say is worth my time and talents and those of the people I seek to serve. This question makes my aim clear and true.
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...
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...