I believe that with great success comes great responsibility. Responsibility to yourself to continue to grow, responsibility to your people to have an outstretched hand, responsibility to your earth to make conscious choices for it’s best interest. It can be challenging to recondition yourself to this way of being, because we begin our journey into being human with a very self centered persona. The me, me, look at me that we see in the babies and toddlers and kiddos for many of us gets carried along as part of our identity into adulthood. It’s really just us trying to meet a basic human need for significance, or meaning. I speak of “us” and “we”, but know here I am talking about me. So much of my early motivation was at the deepest, most honest level, me trying to prove myself. Trying to prove to some unknown someone that I was worthy. That I was smart, that I have a purpose.
In a deep moment of introspection and awareness, it became very clear to me that there is no magic “purpose” for me. My job is to bring purpose to everything I do. To create a purpose in my business beyond capitalism. To remain in touch with this truth, and to use my voice and my blessings to continue to help change the world. One word, one interaction, one person at a time.
a state or period of uncontrolled excitement or wild behavior.
It can be hard not to get caught up in it. We have such a strong instinct to fit in and be like everyone around us that when we see everyone standing in line to get the newest iphone or the last cabbage patch doll or at that hot new restaurant and we don’t want to miss out. Sharks go into feeding frenzies, and the situation at the mall or Target or on the roads today may be the same. The search for the perfect gift that is thoughtful and in your budget, that will show the special someones in your life that you are thinking of them can cause the most stoic of individuals to break out into hives. Trust me, I am speaking from experience.
As we head into the last day, the last hours before the stillness of a national holiday descends, I am reminded that the urge to spend, to shop, to buy, is made more urgent by not only the media, but by our collective energy. I am doing my part to remain calm and not get pulled into the frenzy. The compounding self induced stress of getting the right gift or creating the perfect holiday is just that, self induced. The best gift is not at the mall or online or even at the jewelry store, it is right inside you. It is the gift of your presence, your undivided attention and love, of unconditional acceptance. Practice giving that.
“Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know men.” Confucius
Listen to what you say, especially in your head. Eliminate the words that are not empowering you.
embrace these…….eliminate these
Other words to cut out of your rhetoric… “but”, which negates what you said before, and “try”, which, as Yoda says, “Do or do not, there is no try.” I will try invariably invites failure. The words we use are what shape our experience.
One of the most inspiring people I know is a man who is helping me develop our leaders in our organization, and whenever I ask him how he is, his answer, almost without fail, is “FanTAStic!”. The tone he uses when he says that powerful word, with extra emphasis on the “TAS”, brings me up a notch, and his positivity is contagious. Your words have power. Change up your answer to the question, “How are you?” and see what a difference it makes, not only in your own mood, but in those around you.
Great answers to “How are you?”:
Better than excellent
Couldn’t be better
So incredibly grateful
Here I am, forgiving myself for a late start and writing nonetheless at 6:01 pm instead of am. Sometimes life gets in the way in the form of a puppy up all night or an early morning conference call or the alarm that doesn’t go off. All part of being human, and remembering that no matter how many times you stumble and fall, the secret is to get up and keep going. It’s just another lesson for me and opportunity to let go of my need for perfection, to stop comparing myself to anyone else, and to always be kind, especially to me. I’ll be back at it with nary a hiccup in the early morning, with some fresh inspiration brought on by a good night’s sleep. Until tomorrow!
If you are hoping to win the lottery, or get what is owed to you, or the settlement, the payback, the inheritance, the pension…you are waiting for the shortcut. The easy way, the risk free way, the short game. If you fall into the habit of asking for handouts, or demanding what you think you deserve, waiting for some better future, you are trapping yourself in an endless loop. A perpetual cycle of belief that drives your actions and also as such determines your outcomes. The belief that you need to wait to get. That you need to demand to receive.
Living in this place limits your perception. You close off the awareness of opportunities to make your own success. It takes you out of the present moment and out of touch with your own abilities to create your life. It gives the power to someone else, some future event or magistrate or law. It puts you in a waiting place. The way out of the waiting place is to take a risk. To bet on yourself. To take the power back that you have given away so freely, and to make your life happen by putting in the work.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
You don’t remember it now, but when you took your first steps as a small child it was a big deal. Many of us think that we need to wait to follow our dreams. We need to wait until we have more time, more money, are more successful, we get to a certain age, we retire, we are famous…None of these things are necessary, they are all just excuses. The only thing you need to do is to take the first step. You can’t go anywhere sitting still, and you don’t have to have a big idea to start small.
My first step was small, when I decided to take some classes at a professional cooking school while I was a young mother with a baby girl. Little did I know that this first step of following my dream would lead me on a forward trajectory to where I am today. The first step of acknowledging out loud to myself that my lifelong dream and passion could be a career, a business, was a small thing. But for me it was huge. It was the first step in a journey that lead to a special order cookie and cake business from my home, to a small bakery in my hometown, to a bigger bakery that evolved into the 4 bustling restaurants that I am so privileged to lead today. If I had not taken that first step, my life would have been very different today. If I really admit it to myself, I would never have dreamed that I could achieve the life that is currently mine. The me that took that first step didn’t know the challenges in front of her, but neither did she know the successes. She knew just enough to take the first step.
“Our real freedom comes from being aware that we do not have to save the world, we must merely make a difference in the place where we live.” -Parker Palmer
As the leader I am here to offer support to those that are following me. I am not here to tell them where they are wrong, instead I am here to stand beside them and work together to see why something is not working. I am here to share with them my vision of a better way. A better product, better service, better world. I am no smarter, no more creative than them. I simply have an awareness that the best way to solve a problem is together. I know that what is needed from me by the people I lead is always changing. There are times when they need me to make the hard calls, and there are times where they need me to give them the reins. A big part of my becoming the best leader I can be is continuing to learn myself, to continue getting in touch with my internal guidance system, my intuition.
Know when to lead and when to follow. I have followed, I have led, and it is clear that it is never either/or if you want to continue to grow. It is just as vital that you follow, follow someone or something that is gifted where you are not. Listen to different voices, get out of your invisible walled world and see what others are doing or thinking or making happen. No one believed a human being could run faster than a 4 minute mile, but once that record was broken once by Roger Barrister, it kept getting broken again and again. What was once impossible became possible, and we followed.
I follow so I can lead. I follow and learn from people who are making a larger impact than I am, I follow and learn about living a healthy lifestyle, I follow and learn from my children as they bring me fresh outlooks from minds less cluttered with history. I follow great leaders, present and past, who have changed the world by delivering the same message, in different voices. The message to love, to accept, to give, to embrace, to be kind. That we have free will, we are the creators of our world. Look around, look up, look upward. No matter how gifted, how skilled, how aware we are in an area, we all have some things that we are not so good at. Don’t be blind to them, and follow when you need to. Check your ego at the door.
“We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.”― Confucius
Life is like a pendulum. The seasons bring sun and heat and summer then swing to the other side to rain, cold, and snow. The nation swings left, holds for a time, then swings a hard right. We work hard with no end in sight, then hopefully live to sit back and see the fruits of our labor. Is it possible to keep the swing from being so extreme? Is there a middle place where we can have a loving world where kindness is the norm? Where the push and pull are not caused by us and our inseparable egos, but instead by nature, like the tides?
Where is the center point, and what can we do to get there? What can we do to find a middle ground, the place where the wind is still, where there is not happiness and sadness, but instead joy? It has to start with each person. We all have our own personal journeys, the lessons we were put here to learn. Some of us are slow learners, some of us learn the hard way, some of us don’t even realize that we have a choice. But once you start to see the immense power you have to create your world, once you see that the decisions you have made have led you to your life today, once you take responsibility for your life, then the living begins.
It doesn’t work. Even if I am tired because I had a rough night, or I was up too late finishing the reports, or the puppy woke me up early. It doesn’t work to give less today and make up for it tomorrow. We can never give more than 100%. 100% is bringing all you have to the table. If I give 60% today, and think, “Well, it’s okay, I will just give 140% tomorrow and we will be all good”, it won’t work. There is no 140%, not even 110%. Every day give your all if you want to be outstanding, otherwise those 60’s will stack and soon you will just be average.
Sometimes I am so zen and peaceful and I think I have figured it all out. I know to let go, I know it’s all good, I know that I can handle whatever comes my way. In this space nothing can phase me, and it is easy to be kind to myself and know that I am doing exactly what I am meant to be doing. I can even let myself think about worst case scenarios and still maintain my cool. I think this place is heaven on earth, and that nothing can jolt me. Then it happens. The little sliver gets touched, the one that is hidden still far back in my past or deep in my psyche, and all the old feelings come rushing back to remind me that I am still human. And that’s okay. It just means that I have another opportunity to learn more about myself, to uncover and heal another layer, and to give me perspective again.
All those people you see that seem to have it all together, that are smart, that are successful, even that are teaching or preaching, they are all human. We are all here doing the best we can, and we all have moments, days, years even, where it’s hard. Where we struggle, where we search, where we fall and where we fail. But when you begin to see that there is a door, and if you open it just a crack even, a light begins to shine. The light that shows you a different world, one where life is good, where you have choices, infinite choices, where you can change your thoughts and change your life. This is what it is to be human.