So What?

As our world becomes more and more connected, the rate of feedback we receive increases. We post a picture we think is worth sharing and twenty-four hours later, three people have liked it and one of them happens to be our mother.

We publish our latest post and we think the thought-provoking sentence we wrote and edited four times would be enough to capture the interest of at least one reader who might leave a comment. One week later, nothing.

This sort of feedback can increase the insecurities of anyone who is touching the surface of their creative spirit. We find ourselves doubting the impact of our work and question everything before we even begin to type, sing, dance or wet the tip of the paint brush. 

An idea comes crashing down from the creative heavens and we begin interrogating ourselves with questions that leave us right where we were when the idea found us. 

How am I going to find the time to make this happen? 

What if I pursue this and it doesn't work out? 

What if I pour energy, time and even money into this project and it flops? 

What if no one reads it? 

What about all of the other voices out there that are more popular than mine? The last time I tried this, I saw someone else do it and it was ten times better and it was far more interesting. 

There is nothing empowering about these types of questions. In fact, they're quite crippling. What if we let our little insecure spirits take a few minutes to name all of the reasons we might fail and then simply asked ourselves, so what?

Those of us who change our little piece of the world just by living our best lives, don't do so by playing according to the rules because the rules keep us doing what "makes sense."

You're not supposed to come home after working ten hours and write a best-selling novel. No one tells you that after your last kids graduates from high school, that you are supposed to go back to school and finish your own degree. No one is going to blame you if you don't go back to dancing because you've gotten a little older and you have other priorities that matter more to other people than the joy you get when your body and music become one.

The rules don't account for these things. And you know what, so what? 

 

Let Us Pretend

When did you stop creating? Was it a series of small events or did it happen with one experience that was so remarkably painful that it stopped you immediately?

Was it a teacher who told you had too much rhythm? Did a coach or mentor tell you to do it their way? Was it an overprotective parent who wanted to shield you from the embarrassment of certain failure at some point even if it was on the path toward your well-deserved success? Find the moment. The sad truth, is that it doesn't take much effort.

Whether it was yesterday or twenty years ago, the voice that broke the sound of our most joyful moment to simply say "no" or "don't do that" can be heard forever. Find the moment...

Now, reactivate your imagination and pretend it never happened. 

What would you do? Who would you be? Where would you live? Who would you love?

Jump! 

Between What You Have and What You Need

The space you feel between where you are and where you want to be is real, not imagined. It's the bundle of anxiety you feel on Sunday night before you return to your Monday morning routine with the only exciting thought being that the next weekend is just five days away. 

How you got to this point in the job, the relationship, the steadily climbing debt, doesn't really matter. What's most important is that you get out! Change is scary, but so is facing the end and wishing you had taken the exit on the right you passed years ago.

Be grateful for what you have but don't ignore what you need. It could be yours if you started walking in a different direction and stopped accepting a life of business as usual. 

Dont' Become A Played Out Song

If you keep asking the same question, it's not because you don't know the answer. It's because you don't care that you already know the answer. 

You're seeking out answers and explanations. You call the best friend, your mom, or your mentor. You bring it up again to your therapist only to hear the same answer, the same wisdom you've heard over and over again. Yet, you haven't accepted the answer as final. You spend more time trying to disprove the truth than you do trying to figure out how to change direction now that you have found it. You'll keep this up until you become too tired or worse, everyone you keep going to for answers stops responding. 

Have you ever listened to the same song so many times that it now annoys you when you hear it? It's because it was a fun song that fit a moment that passed long ago. That's what you are becoming. A source of questions that were answered long ago in multiple ways and they won't be put to rest because you are afraid to move on. 

Accept. What. You. Know. 

Quit Blaming Time

You talk about the dreams you have of writing a New York Times best seller. You hear someone speak in another language and its beauty reminds you of your desire to learn something other than your native tongue. Perhaps you finally want to get back into the dating scene after recovering from a relationship that ended. Whatever the desire is, you have it and yet you do nothing about it. Why is that?

If someone asks you, you'll say "I don't have the time." That's easy, isn't it? We all share the reality that every day we are given is made up of the same twenty four-hours. The day ends and too often it's hard for us to clear our heads to see the progress we've made even if in the smallest way. Blame time and people understand. 

What we will inevitably struggle to understand is the day we wake up and realize that the end is near and we spent much of our time blaming time for why we didn't obtain the lives we wanted. Our legacy will be limited by the safe actions we took. Our dreams will whither away, evidence of the risks we were too afraid to take and we will settle for what we have and conclude that life has been good enough. 

Couldn't life be better than "good enough" if we found the courage to reject the idea that time is our enemy and began looking at it as a true friend.  Time gives us a chance to say sorry. It gives us an opportunity to change direction, to start over. It is probably the best friend we have, more forgiving and encouraging than we could ever imagine. 

Brother?

Can you believe those words that fell from his mouth with such ease? He found the nerve to mention his leadership, his experience, his credentials, as though those things give him true power in a place that knows little about privilege. It was the position that got to his head. Made him think he had authority. What he really had was a satchel of insecurities heavy enough for its strap to tear into the ivory flesh of his shoulder blades. It's troubling to think of those who come to save and grimace with tremendous astonishment the very moment they are commanded to serve. 

It's always unfortunate when the comrade proves to be a cancer, eager to make swift decisions that play to his personal interests and desires more than those of the very people who open their arms and say, "Join us in this fight foreign brother. This isn't about you but it's about our children who may live to never know of the awful things your people have done."