I took the above photo at the 9/11 Museum in NYC back in May. The words I found on a wall there remind me of why remembrance is so vital.
I haven’t forgotten.
A friend told me some years ago that the Epic life is lived in the good and bad. His counsel has stayed with me. If you’re not careful, you could fall in the trap of believing an epic life is found in great heroics, acclaim or fame. It can be that, but honest people know it’s all about the moments. The following is a glimpse of a day in the epic life-mine:
Friday, August 18, 2017
7:30 AM – A walk in my neighborhood. Music playlist titled Yoga. Observing the moodiness of the clouds above me. A conversation with God
7:45 AM – Yoga and prayer
8:05 AM – Checking email and posting on social media
8:30 AM – Listening to Insight for Living and reflecting on living and dying
9:00 AM – Breakfast and listening to the news (local and national)
9:15 AM – Gig stuff (not Epic Living related). Quite bored and not finding it very meaningful. I push through because I have to
10:00 AM – Reached out to friends to check-in
10:05 AM – Back to the gig stuff
11:30 AM – Somethings wrong. Feel like my blood glucose is high. I test. 400 is the number. WT…
12:30 PM – Test my blood again. Still high. Take dosage of insulin. Getting frustrated because I haven’t eaten since 9.
12:45 PM – Cancelled 2 appointments, with apologies
1:30 PM – Feeling drained and listless. Take a nap
2:00 PM – Test my blood again. Lower number, but still too high. Decide not to take another dose. I’ve been burned before by getting too aggressive
2:45 PM – Looking at a draft version of a press release
2:45 PM – Prepare for a conference call
4:00 PM – Call medical provider about billing issues with insurance. I don’t like insurance companies. I see them as a legal racket. Very frustrated by the lack of competence and the game playing
4:20 PM – Talk with my wife about new opportunities and her so-called manager/leader. Hate seeing her go through. I listen.
As I look back over the day, it was epic. One thing that leaps out is the importance of morning prep. You never know what’s coming your way.
“I learn by falling down.”
The above words came to me today from a ten-year old boy named Rocco. I was observing him riding his Hoverboard and couldn’t help but notice his skill. Moving from room to room, or grabbing a snack from the fridge, he just moved effortlessly. I asked him how he learned to maneuver so well, and that’s when gave me the secret.
Learning by falling down is pretty straight forward for a ten-year old. He hasn’t accumulated all the baggage and wounds many adults have. He pretty much wants to be good at his art and sees falling down as an effective tool for learning. Did he ever get embarrassed or want to quit? I would think so, but accomplishing the mission/goal meant more to him than calling it quits.
I’m led to the following:
Rocco’s approach is sound to get some success. The key is trusting your gut and the system (i.e. doing this will result in…).
I think I’m going to find some more ten-year olds to hang around with.
What’s in your head may be totally wrong.
The above statement may make you shrug your shoulders, as you think I’ve grasped something so obvious.
I had a conversation with a client today who relayed multiple stories of leaders who continued to rely on the faulty data roaming around in their heads. It was clear to him that much was missing and much could go wrong on multiple projects. As I’m sure you can imagine, big plans and tight deadlines were the drivers.
I asked him whether these leaders lived inside their own heads. I proceeded to explain why our own thought processes can deceive us. I pointed out that our thought processes have a tendency to be reliant on self and past accomplishments. You’ve experienced this before. A smart person who has been told how smart they are, with success to show for it, typically is not accepting of contrary opinion or advice. Who needs it when you’ve pretty much figured out the riddle of life and work.
People from all walks of life are interesting in how they apply thoughtful analysis, or critical thinking. My coaching client saw an example at work of how very smart people can fall into the trap of leaning on their own mental capabilities. Much of it is a pick and choose proposition. What if you were told by their doctor to come back annually for a test, you’d say of course they will make the appointment without missing a beat. Isn’t it ironic how you can rationalize not doing it. Recognize these sentences:
It really is arrogance-covert or overt. Arrogant people often have the biggest blind sides. Once again, relying only on information that fits what’s in their head. It took me years to turn around on this front.
I’m writing today to explain why I wrote the book and to ask for your help. So here goes:
I appreciate you all.
My parenting goal is pretty simple:
Inspire my children to be who they were created to be and go live accordingly.
Of course, there are other goals, but this one seems to rise to the top. In a season of graduations and college planning one needs to get pretty singular.
The irony of my stated goal is found in the opposition each of my children face every day. For example:
I could list other things, but I think you feel me here.
In my family, inspiration is the keyword. My children have been watching me for a long time. That reality is daunting. The conclusion is a parent’s influence is greater than the “system,” for the good in this case.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the space between the notes, in music and in life. Quite frankly, the blending of the two. As a musician, I was taught about the discipline of waiting and going forward. The discipline has served me well. Its been a cruel teacher when I’ve failed to take it seriously. It has been a two-sided friend.
I read a quote once credited to Bill Evans. He was asked in an interview why he seemed to linger after striking certain notes. His response was simply his desire to wait and see what the next note would bring. Jazz musicians have always been credited with strong improvisation skills. Obviously, or not , Bill Evans was a master at it. He believed that music was conversational.
Life is conversational.
In your race to grab a hold of something or someone, are you missing the space in between? Could it be that what you’re looking for is found there? The impact is always felt once a note is played. The best artists know true impact is felt in an echo or the lingering tone. It’s instinctive in so many respects, yet ignored in the same frame.
Is your life just a flurry of notes, full of hurry, clutter, fear, and doubt? Why won’t you slow down? Why won’t you let go?
I know many who fear what’s in between the notes. Between the notes we find the wounds. People often fear those same wounds will be exposed. Who will listen? Who will give empathy? The world has become shallow, and safe places to open up are becoming more rare. Social media has made it worse. I sometimes think about what it would be like to wave a magic wand and change it all, but of course I don’t possess that power. Life is tough and it can be daunting.
Take comfort, there is safety here.
In recent months, I’ve had to evaluate who should get a vote. Specifically, as it relates to my time and life. In many ways, it’s a realignment of what and who influences me.
Here are some examples of what forces can have a vote in your life, even if you’ve never officially granted the authority:
As you can tell from the list, some are positive voters, some not so much.
In my current frame, I’ve had to revoke voting privileges for some people in my family. It is difficult work. When I made the decision, I found areas of my soul that needed attention. The kind of attention I’ve not explored before. The problem with some votes is they can mask unhealthy things. We know what happens if we let unhealthy things go unchecked.
Everyone is unique, so the voters I remove could look different than yours. I would encourage you to evaluate early and often. The longer a voter stays, the longer it takes to remove them…their vote.