In the United States today, most of us take at least a few moments to pause and reflect on all that we have to be thankful for. We notice and mention the little things and the wonderful people in our lives. It makes for a beautiful day. And it makes me wonder why I don't adopt this attitude every day.
For some folks, the traditional holiday celebrations of food, family, and football are perfect. For others, some aspect of that trio just doesn't fit. I can relate. We have a couple of choices. We can feel anxious about not being "normal." Or we honor our selves and reframe our rest into something that's a better fit. This dilemma became very real to me when I stopped watching television. Unexpectedly, I had lots of time on my hands, and I'd run out of "productive" things to do. It may sound silly, but it made me very anxious. I did not know what to do with all that time, especially when I rarely had the energy for anything substantial. Eventually, I decided upon the goal of "active recovery," and I broadened that definition to include anything that produced positive, motivational, educational, or interesting thoughts. I decided that's it okay to consume; I just have guidelines on what I "feed" myself. In case you're feeling anxious about the upcoming holiday, here are a few ideas.
On a recent Facebook thread, several folks asked about different nuances of how I approach getting things done. Another friend asked about how I relax and then get going again. At first glance, those two topics don't seem to relate to each other. But after some thought, I think they're absolutely connected. Here's a few of my best tips, Q&A style.
Chalk it up to ADD or a bad habit of multitasking, but my brain often resembles a hound on a walk through the park. Squirrel! Another one - over there! Look! To get back on track, I must eliminate those squirrels. Mentally, I'll tell myself that it's time for a hunt. Here's my three step approach.
I came across this article called Faked Fitness, and its list of ways we "fake it" hit closer to home than I expected. Evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller, PhD says many of us use these products to fake fitness: - Figure-flattering clothes, plastic surgery, cosmetics, hair-care products, high heels. - Athletic dogs, fast cars, video-game avatars. - Expensive jewelry, art, books, fashion, fancy homes and cars. I can identify with more "fakes" than I care to admit. If you can too, here are a few strategies for making sure you get the real thing.
At our Life Group tonight, we recalled the message from Rudy Ruettiger at last week's services. Although there were several highlights, we all agreed that the main gift he gave us was a walking definition of perseverance. Time and time again, he'd tenaciously focus on a goal until it was a reality. The same dedication that willed him on to the Notre Dame football field eventually took him to Hollywood, where his story would inspire Kobe Bryant and the next generation. We stumbled upon a key distinction in our reading.
Today, I had the privilege of hearing from Barbara Canales at our Texas Business Women luncheon. She shared the story behind the Ready or Not Foundation and her daughter Jackie's battle to beat brain cancer. Two moments got me at the gut level. After the diagnosis, she recalled speaking with the doctor, who's one of the best in the world at treating pediatric brain cancer. Optimistically, Barbara asked how successful the treatment usually was. The doctor paused, recalling that he's had ONE similar patient survive more than a few months.
Driving in the car today, I heard one of my favorite songs from decades ago. Life is not tried, it is merely survived, If you're standing outside the fire. - Garth Brooks, 1993 It perfectly summed up a conversation I'd had this morning with one of my core teams. We've just wrapped up a major milestone on a project and thought we'd be able to cycle down for at least a few weeks. In recent days, it's become apparent that's not a reality.
I don’t think beginning matters anymore. Starting a blog or new website project. Planning to write a book. Deciding to work out more or eat healthier. Sketching the outline of a new masterpiece. Opening the spreadsheet for next month’s budget. Reading Genesis 1. I dare say that none of these matter. On most things, the barriers to starting are so low that they require very little forethought or commitment. Yet we celebrate as if it were a significant milestone. We feel great. And what's really been accomplished? Nothing.