A Day In the Epic Life

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.

 

Learning By Falling Down

“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:

  • What makes you nervous about falling down?
  • Have you stopped for a moment to examine how much baggage you’ve been lugging around?
  • Are you addressing the wounds? By the way, everyone has at least a few.
  • What would life look like if you fell down more often.

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?

tumblr_o04s4kpzgp1sfie3io1_1280

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:

  • “I have to complete this project, and then I will…”
  • “I feel great and I’m not in any pain.”
  • “I don’t think it’s as serious as he told me it was.”

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.

My Parenting Goal

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:

  • The school system where I live is fixated on testing. It runs from state testing to the ACT. Heaven forbid, they don’t do well on these. The stress and anxiety can be downright sad. Especially since very little meaning in life has ever come from a pass, fail or score
  • Our culture has thrown out meaningful self-care (nutrition, stress management, physical exercise, and on) as an important habit to practice
  • Distraction is blocking the ability to embrace our 5 senses and the power found within

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.

An Update on Me

Much has happened since my last post. Here’s an update on me:

  1. I’ve been seeing a counselor/psychologist since March. Finding and working with him, has helped me immensely. The work we’re doing together is producing clarity, crossroads and breakthrough. I will reveal more in the coming weeks
  2. I found out, personally, how dangerous stress can be. In my case, it was about carrying too much of it. Working with a counselor has helped. I also have had to be more “on-purpose” with self-care (exercise, time with God, mindfulness, etc.). One of the negative impacts coming out for me was my blood sugar levels (diabetes related). In my last check-up, my levels were the highest they’d been in 20 years. My doctor pointed to stress. She also expressed her confidence in my turn around as well. The idea that I would do something about my state. It was sobering to find out that many of her patients stay in the “tangles” and don’t come out.
  3. The new book is going through cover-design and formatting. It should be available for pre-order soon. This period of my life has made me more grateful for the gift of writing.
  4. I’ve learned, and learning, that not everyone can be allowed to continue on the journey. This includes those you love. For me, maybe it’s temporary, or it could be permanent. This is tough work. You want the person to stay, but they won’t let go of things that will only lead to heartbreak. My Rubicon.

I’m sure there is more to tell, but I’ll stop here. Stay well.

Getting Help

Getting help is a term we all are familiar with. The words inspire empathy, care and concern. Those sentiments can turn to surprise and fear, when the help is related to mental wellbeing. The subject has so many connotations.

I’m currently looking into therapy-for me.

The Strong One

Throughout my life, I’ve been perceived as the “strong one.” I could withstand what many would crumble under. Part of the perception is true. I have seen a lot and endured most of it. My relationship with God has helped. Until 2017, I would have thought I had a sound game plan.

By way of suggestion, here are some of the tools in my game plan:

  • Relationship with God
  • Yoga
  • Laughter
  • Music
  • Good Nutrition
  • Mindfulness

It’s not that any of my tools for managing my mental health have failed me. My shift is rooted in needing another tool. Strength is revealed in our weakness.

The Circumstances

As I noted in my last post, I’m fighting on multiple fronts. What I’m fighting is not out of the ordinary. Many of you probably have or are feeling me right now. The point is it’s a fight, and if you want to win/survive, you have to do something. I’m choosing to get help in a way I could have used almost forty-years ago. Better late than never seems like a fitting statement here.

The Stigma

I’m pleasantly surprised that getting help with mental wellbeing isn’t causing “stigma.” One key for me is knowing who really cares about me. If you’re walking, or thinking about walking, in my shoes. I would really get this one locked down. The people who love you will encourage and support. It’s that simple. Those who associate getting help, with stigma, don’t matter. In the big picture of your soul.

The Next Page

Stay tuned…

Looking Back

My absence here is an obvious and I hope my return is a welcomed fragrance for you. I wanted to give you an update, by way of this post, on looking back on 2016.

Things in my life unraveled a bit, mid-to-late 2016. It really produced silence in me. My life has been marked with extended times of silence. Sorry for this, but the majority of my time is spent listening. Writing in this blog is usually the recipient of the blow. One resounding positive in my chaos was the completion of my second book (manuscript). I’m am thankful about its forming. More to come on the book’s release. Promise.

So what’s gone on? Why the looking back? Well, it seems like the following made an impromptu appearance:

  • Crohn’s disease in my son
  • Alzheimer’s in my mother-in-law
  • Multiple job changes for my wife
  • Moving my mother and nephew into our home
  • Teen challenges (if you have teens, you feel me)
  • Me becoming the managing partner of our household

The above issues, sorrows, challenges have shown me a few things:

Preparation is Everything, Even When You Don’t Know It

In many ways, life is a laboratory. A place of experiments and discoveries. It also a place of deep pain with all that comes after. I can’t imagine if my mind was only focused on me and my interests (happiness, pleasure, acclaim, and more). The exercise analogy is so applicable here. If you don’t work on building strength, you won’t have any when you need it most. This reality sticks with me. I have to note as well, life can also sucker punch you. Sometimes the preparation is what helps you when you’re picking yourself off the ground.

God is a Constant

If you’ve read, or know me personally, this blog for a while you know my faith. When I look back, I see the constant of my relationship with him. No religion, no theatrics and no judgement. He’s just there. I need the “there.”

Giving is Key

A wise mentor told me in 2016 to give myself away. I took his advice, in the beginning, as a business move. Doing it in business would be fine, but I had no idea how it would apply to life and to those I love. I’ve been giving myself away, even when my energy was ebbing. The only reason I can find is; I have to. A good place.