Sometimes we all have to be braver than we want to be. Today, that has meant releasing my grip from the hardest hug of my life and waving Lachlan goodbye. It has also meant letting the tears I’ve tried to fight back for days finally fall in full force and getting fully present to the deep sense of loss that has been so real and raw for me all week.
Saying yes is easier (at least in the short term) than saying no. It gives us an immediate hit of people-pleasing gratification. If it were easy to say no when we need to, everyone would be doing it. If it were easy to say no, there wouldn't be so many busy people so dissatisfied with their lives. But whether in our work, relationships or how we manage our daily lives, sometimes we are called to make a change, to let go the familiar, and say no to something that is “good” to open up the possibility for something better.
The World Cup holds many lessons on creating a game-winning strategy beyond the soccer field. One of the most important is the difference between playing to win, versus playing to not lose. When you are playing to win your energy is channeled into creating new opportunities, breaking new ground, and going after what you want to happen versus protecting what you don't want to lose. Playing to lose, on the other hand, is about shoring up what you already have. While it may feel like the safer path, it often leaves people and organisations being left behind in a world marching steadily forward.
Hate your job? While it’s unrealistic to expect to always love what you do, it’s not unrealistic to genuinely enjoy your work (most days). Given you spend a third of your adult life at work, it would be a shame to spend it doing work you hate, or to simply hate going to work. So if you don't like your job the solution is simple: Either change WHAT you do or change HOW you do it.
What you focus sets off a ripple effect that filters into every corner of your life. It’s not about white-washing those things which need your attention. It’s about not wasting your precious energy focused on things that amplify negative emotions, smother positive ones and fuel your misery.
Perhaps your Facebook status updates reflect what's really going on in your life. However if not, then I encourage you to be more courageous in connecting with those around you, dropping your guard, letting go the need to show you've got it all together, and sharing how you really are (i.e., the stuff you might never post on Facebook). While our fears drive us to avoid situations that put us at risk of rejection or ridicule or criticism, only when we have the courage to do just that can we forge the rich, and incredibly rewarding relationships that help to buoy us over life's bigger waves, and retain our sense of humour as we go.
Over the last two days I've had the opportunity to speak at two leadership conferences. After each event I had the chance to speak with attendees who shared their challenges, their aspirations and anxieties. One of the common threads that wove through our conversations was about their self-confidence. One particular person asked me how I'd become such a confident presenter and if I had any tips. As I shared with her...
I don’t know what it is you’d really love to create or achieve or change or pursue. However I do know this – waiting until you have everything figured out before you start out is a recipe for missed opportunity, frustration, resentment and regret.
I hope you will also take some time out to think about the message you want your life to share… does it reflect compassion for the suffering of others? Does it honor your talents and dreams and the blessings? Does it leave people better off for having known you? Does it challenge you to learn more, to do more, to grow more and to become more?
We all like to be liked. Nothing wrong with that. But too often we let what OTHERS think matter more than what WE think. Next time you find yourself at a moment of indecision, ask yourself what you would do if you had didn’t need to impress or be liked; if you were being really courageous.