The other day I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw this amazing line from one of my friends back in Seattle.
“I don’t have to wait for the light at the end of the tunnel. I have a flashlight.”
I can’t tell you how many times, as a coach, I have heard the phrase, “I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
It seems that at some point, we just get used to the slog, the struggle, the suffering and we resign ourselves to waiting for the light at the end. We continue despite our unhappiness.
We stay in jobs we don’t love because someday our boss will leave, or we can retire.
We stay with people we don’t love in hopes that someday they will change.
We keep communicating with people in the same way and get the same result.
We keep doing the same thing we did the day before, and rather than that autopilot making things easier, it’s just perpetuating the problem.
Where’s the flashlight? Why aren’t we looking for one?
In Eric Ries’s book The Lean Startup, he talks about how in the technology startup world, at some point you have to determine if you should persevere or pivot. Should you wait for the end of the tunnel, or find a flashlight?
Couldn’t we do the same thing in the real world?
Instead of suffering through and waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel, couldn’t we make deliberate decisions to find a flashlight? Can’t we pivot?
Finding a flashlight doesn’t mean abandoning the journey, but simply means that you want to find a new path to get there. One that is less dark, one that is less lonely, and one that isn’t quite so gloomy.
Sometimes when we are dissatisfied in life, or a small part of it, we fail to take an honest look at what’s going on. We fail to make a change. We fail to find a flashlight.
If it’s your career, your relationship, your family life, your social life, or even your financial life, shine a light on the situation and see where you could pivot.
The pivot could mean changing the situation, changing your strategy, or changing your perspective.
If you are suffering, please don’t wait for light at the end of the tunnel. Find a flashlight and find a new way.
It's Your Life. Live It Boldly.
What is your awesome?
I spent last week on the island of Corsica and was absolutely in awe.
Beauty all around.
The crashing waves.
The soaring mountains.
The never-ending green valleys.
The stone towers around every curve.
The cows, or goats, or sheep meandering down the highway.
The homes perched on the side of a cliff, ready to tumble into the sea.
The juxtaposition of the old and the new side by side.
One of the truly awesome moments was this:
Watching 70+ year old women ride up to a restaurant on an old motorcycle while wearing a matching purple sweatsuit and flats, passing three random cows on the way.
As I was reflecting on the week, though, I felt a sense of guilt that I had to travel to really be in awe.
Where is the awesomeness in the here and now? Where is the awe in the everyday?
I remember awhile back having a conversation with my neighbor about perfection. My take is that nothing is perfect. His take is that everything is perfect.
I am starting to see his perspective.
Imperfection is perfection, just as everyday things can be awesome.
Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in trying to get through our day, through our to-do list, that we miss the awe that exists all around us.
The small things.
Right here, right now I am making a pact to myself to pause and look for the awe in the everyday.
Can you do the same?
It's Your Life. Live It Boldly.
“In the absence of data, we will make up stories.” Brené Brown, Rising Strong
Do you remember sitting alone or with a friend somewhere, and looking around and making up stories about the people around you?
Look at that couple. They are so cute. I bet that they have been married forever and are still so much in love. They probably met during the 60’s when it was all about free love--just not free for them.
Look at that poor woman. She must be completely overwhelmed. She looks so frustrated. I wonder if she is a single mom with lots of kids. And she hates her job.
Look at that man. He must be a high-paid executive. Look at his clothes and his watch. I am sure he makes tons of money. Bummer, he’s wearing a wedding ring. Do you think he cheats on his wife? All men like that cheat, don’t they?
It was fun to make up those stories--to “read” into people’s lives.
The problem is that storytelling doesn’t stop with strangers. We bring that storytelling into our own lives. We tell stories about ourselves. Stories about our family. Stories about our relatives. Stories about our coworkers or bosses. Stories about our neighbors.
Those stories limit us and limit the relationship especially when those stories don’t have a positive spin on them.
Recently I was flipping through my old coaching notebook and came across this story:
Oh my God, she is power hungry. She is insecure, so she tries to put everyone around her down to build herself up. She is a political game player. She is a B***H. She uses her father’s prominence to get her ahead and out of trouble. She has no integrity and is completely inappropriate with the staff. She is threatened by me and that is why she is always so mean.
Two weeks ago, I was talking to the daughter of my husband’s second cousin. She is 18 and just starting her final year of high school here in France. She desperately wants to move to America and become a graphic animator. She has studied and researched her next steps, but….
“I don’t want to disappoint my parents,” she said to me.
“Who are you living for, yourself or your parents?” I questioned.
Pause. “Myself, but my sister just moved back in and I don’t want to do the same thing. I don’t want to disappoint them.”
It's a situation that many of us can relate to. Some of us have discovered the truth, while others have yet to figure it out.
When we live in order to not disappoint others, we end up disappointing ourselves.
This conversation made me think of the 3 types of lives that Brendon Burchard describes in his book The Charge.