For as long as I can remember, I’ve known I would write, I can write, and I should write. The intense real-world dynamics inhibit my true ability to converse in any kind of way that even comes close to approximating what’s in my head, but when I take the time to write, it seems as if the words flow onto the screen in perfect harmony. For the past 30 years, I’ve thought about writing a book; however, who wants to read thoughts from some wet-behind-the-ears punk 20 year old? Not me, and most certainly my Mom would have been my only reader.
Fast forward 30 years and now you have a man of experience, reputation, and mistake-laden wisdom. I’ve lived more life than most people have a right to and I’ve made more mistakes than a cat with 15 lives. So, it would only be natural for me to want to save others from the abysmal choices I’ve made. Yet, what about the lessons I’ve learned? What about the positive choices? What about the opportunities to reinvent oneself? That’s where I’m feeling led to take this blog.
I had three epiphanies recently:
- #1 Wait for it. I have a group that I met with last Sunday afternoon. They tell me they want more of my time. They tell me they want to grow. They tell me they want to do whatever it takes. As long as they can keep doing things the same way they’ve always done it. “Huh?!” I told them: “If you keep doing the things you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.” Now it was their turn to say, “huh?”
So, as I introspected on this meeting, I came to the conclusion that one (OK, I) can’t force people. If they don’t want to do what it takes, I won’t push. I’ll wait for the invitation. This goes for relationships, friendships, family dynamics, business relationships, corporate policies, et cetera, et cetera. But, in the meantime, I won’t enable their poor choices either.
- #2 Feed Myself. Sometimes, well, too often, I rely on my networks to feed me. I get my self worth from the outside. It is my popularity and external affirmations that give me the energy to proceed in this mad, mad world. Generally speaking, I come away from consultations (like last Sunday’s) feeling drained, down, and discouraged. “How could they dis me like that?” I say with genuine remorse.
What’s interesting to me is to realize they were not necessarily dissing me as much as they were recoiling in fear. It’s their issue, their fear, and their own insecurities. I don’t need them to agree with me. Their affirmation doesn’t make me right, just as their lack of acceptance doesn’t make me wrong.
This thought immediately translated to my Twitter (and the broader online network) community. Instead of going to Twitter to be fed, maybe I can bring something to the table? Besides, I’ve found that those who don’t keep score (even in their own heads) are usually the most well liked.
- #3 Share from my strengths. Last week I wrote about the terrific Father’s Day I shared with my family. A week or so before that, I wrote about an incredible day at the beach. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine the trappings of marriage and family life (pun intended) would be so totally cool! Then I got some positive comments on those posts and some new Twitter followers. Maybe I do have something to share?
It wasn’t that long ago that I envisioned happiness to involve sex, drugs, and rock’n roll. This husband and father role is very cool though. I’m amazed however how few people understand that. I’m amazed at how many fathers have abdicated their roles and how messed up that leaves their kids.
Last night I stopped at Burgerville to use their wi-fi and satiate my carnivorous appetite. On the way out I saw this family unit. A frail, emaciated, meth-addicted dad, pacing the floor; a sullen, reclusive mom, with her head down – revealing her shame; and a 10 year old daughter, escaping into a world of pocket video games. It broke my heart. It did.
I love being a dad, I love being a husband, I love my life, and I am making great progress in recovering from some poor choices I made out of my pain a couple of decades ago. So, why not share?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have it all figured out. I still make plenty of mistakes (#afterhours anyone?), but I think these are some the strengths I can share: transparency, authenticity, relevancy, and realness.
So, like Navin Johnson, I’ve found my Special Purpose. Hopefully I can do more with mine than he did with his…