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For Jim’s birthday I planned to take him sailing. The day came and the weather was rough, so rough there was only one guy that would rent us boat in Southwest Florida. We drove down and set sail in a 16’ Hobie Cat. Thankfully Jim is a very experienced sailor; still, there were several times I was quite impressed he kept the bottom side down! On our past sails the conditions have mostly been just breezy (on the verge of boring). That day was different- The wind was strong and gusty and the water was rough. I learned more in two hours than I had in all of our previous sails. We were flying. I was hanging off the side of the boat and using my weight to keep us from capsizing. Jim was “spilling wind” because our little boat had limits and at times the wind was too much. It was exhilarating.

Isn’t life just the same? Sometimes winds are strong and sometimes there is no breeze at all. At times during calm conditions we think we have to create our own wind. If you were in a sailboat in the middle of the ocean on a breezeless day, would you huff and puff and spend all your energy blowing into the sails with your own breath? What might you do instead? Why do we think our businesses, careers, or lives should be treated any different? How much effort do you put into blowing into your own sails? Conversely how much energy do you exhaust trying to push against the wind when the breeze is blowing?

Looking back at the birthday sail I notice so many more similarities that relate to ordinary occurrences. For instance: When it was time to tack (change directions), sometimes it didn’t go so smooth. Jim and I bumped into each other, emotions got edgy, and a couple times we lost all of our momentum.  On the other hand when we were moving swiftly forward with our sails full there were occasional adjustments to be made, but in the big picture, we were just enjoying the ride.

One factor to realize is: if we didn’t tack and kept that course, we would have sailed our boat into deep waters far away from land… and we were on a tiny boat only prepared for a couple of hours of adventuring. For our own well-being, we had to change directions. The changing of directions sometimes wasn’t a smooth transition. Even though I’m not an experienced sailor, I had complete faith in Jim and wasn’t worried at all. After a few times of turning around and heading back toward shore I also realized this: Even if we came to what seemed like a complete standstill miles off shore- we were still moving and those strong winds eventually filled the sails and we’d be flying again. We continually used the wind to our advantage- that’s what sailing is all about!

How might this relate to you?

Are you in the midst of a change in direction? If your current situation seems muddled or confusing, might the good news be that you are still moving (even if it doesn’t seem so). If there isn’t wind now, there soon will be and it will fill your sails. Let it. Worry and apprehension might give you something to do in the moment, but neither will get you anywhere.  Trust the gale of inspiration will come.

Are you flying and moving swiftly forward with full sails? Receive and enjoy the gale, realize you are the wind, take the voyage and do it with ease.  When we let our ship sail under the wind and give it everything we’ve got, every day is a blast- it becomes seemingly effortless and fun.

My big takeaway from the birthday sail was: I love sailing in a strong wind and in what many would consider intimidating conditions. Sure, when winds are calm it’s relaxing and that can be nice for a bit. BUT, WOW! Was that sail fun!! It’s was a lot more work, Jim and I were both sore, and there were a few times I thought we were going to capsize…. But that is where the living is done! I feel like I am in those same winds in life right now. The wind is a blowing and I love it! I really don’t know where I am going to end up, but that is all a part of the adventure.

What is your take? How might this discussion apply to how you feel and where you are today?  I’d love to hear your thoughts, stories, and comparisons. Feel free to comment below or contact me directly.

Catch Some Wind, Be the Wind, Enjoy the RideSt. François de Sales’ quote (below) was the fuel for this article. I first came across it while reading The Inside-out Revolution last year. In June it popped up again and spurred on a fascinating class discussion (on the same day as the birthday sail!). Then, out of the blue last week, one of my clients mentioned how drawn he is to the quote and the ideas it has stirred in him. Read it, let it sit and read it again:

“Our free will can hinder the course of inspiration, and when the favourable gale of God’s grace swells the sails of our soul, it is in our power to refuse consent and thereby hinder the effect of the wind’s favour; but when our spirit sails along and makes its voyage prosperously, it is not we who make the gale of inspiration blow for us, nor we who make our sails swell with it, nor we who give motion to the ship of our heart; but we simply receive the gale, consent to its motion and let our ship sail under it, not hindering it by our resistance.”

St. François de Sales

One simple message that comes up for me is: propelling our tiny boat across the ocean isn’t our responsibility. The wind will take care of that. It is in our power to work against or do nothing with the gale. It is also in our power to set sail and take an active part in the grand adventure.

What comes up for you?

 

Catch some wind, be the wind, and enjoy the ride.

 

 

Until with next revolution….

 

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On a whim, Jim and I went on an adventure.  It was unplanned, spur of the moment, and  life changing. Numerous events culminated perfectly to allow this adventure to be a possibility–some were awesome surprises and some initially appeared to be huge letdowns. We lived the definition of “coddiwomple” in our camper for 26 days.  Below is a collection of a few of the experiences, insights and life-changing thoughts that showed up along the journey. For each idea, there is an explanation, an invitation to apply the thought, and inquiries to bring about your own awareness. Enjoy!

Grab the chance!  Go!

Do it! Whatever “it” is, give it a shot.  This amazing adventure was an “it” for me. Sure, there were countless thoughts centered around why we shouldn’t go or why it would be better if we waited. The timing isn’t perfect. We’ve got other things we need to do. It’s going to cost too much. We don’t have a plan, etc. We went, the experience was more amazing than we could have imagined, and it all worked out better than we could have planned. In life, career, business, retirement, or anything else: Grab the chance and go.

Thought: Hopes and dreams are much easier to achieve than most think; it’s all the thinking that gets in the way. Grab the chance and go!

Experience: If you wait, chances are it may not get any easier, something else will get in the way, and you will wonder why you waited. Whatever “it” is, give it a shot. What is an “it” for you? What if you went for “it” by pointing yourself in a direction, taking the first step, and figuring it out from there?

Take in the beauty ALL around!

What would happen if you purposefully took the time to appreciate the beauty all around you? During the big adventure, I settled down, opened my awareness, and was able to take in splendor that I normally would have missed. For example: In the stillness of a canyon, just before sunset, I heard birds fly. It was amazing. Flocks of birds one after the other flew by; I heard the air rhythmically rush around their wings and their tiny bodies. It was so beautiful and piercing;  I wanted to stay and listen for hours in this “special spot,” where flight was music to my ears.  Ever since that experience, I notice that I can hear birds fly everywhere. I didn’t noticed it before but, now I am aware.

Thought: You can experience beauty and brilliance everywhere.

Experience: No matter where you may be, there is magnificence everywhere, all the time. The more you look for it, the more there will be. What are you noticing?

Be present, feel connected, and come alive.

Close up of the rock’s surface

One of my most profound moments came on a guided hike in Seminole Canyon State Park, in South Texas. We hiked up the canyon from the riverbed, into a huge cave in the canyon wall; it had been carved away by the rushing river over thousands of years. This cave had been the home to a tribe of Native Americans. There was ancient wall art, carvings, and artifacts (in addition to stunning views of the river below).

Inside the cave was a massive shiny rock that literally shook me. The rock was waist/chest high and so wide I could only reach halfway across it. The top surface was smooth like glass and had a slick, oily feel. It was smooth and oily because it had been doused with animal fat for hundreds of years. It was used as a cutting board and place of ceremony by Native Americans thousands of years ago. Since then, hikers have continued to touch the silky rock and the oils from our hands keeps it shiny.

I placed my hands on that rock and thought about all the people that stood right where I was. Standing and touching that rock, right where I was touching it; going back thousands of years, before there was electricity, buildings, or recorded history! While feeling the silky solidness of that rock and imagining all the people that had done the same, something inside lit up. It was energy of unity. I felt extraordinarily connected with all the people that were there before me. The feeling was amazing and something I will never forget.

Thought: Being present and connected is a gift you can give yourself anytime.

Seminole Canyon

In Seminole Canyon, the cave where Native Americans lived is just above my left shoulder

Experience: I am realizing more and more, no rock is needed to feel that alive and united… I just smiled typing that 🙂 How might you feel more connected?

No master plan- No problem!Adventure- Hiking to the Rio Grand

Just a month prior to our amazing expedition, the thought of taking the trip had not even surfaced yet. We decided to go the week before we left. When we pulled into a location to set up camp, we never knew where we would go next. Overall, we knew the general direction we wanted to head, but kept our options open. We usually planned our next location during down time of the day before.

Thought: Keeping things relaxed and flexible opens up opportunities.

Experience: Apply this idea to the adventure of life. How about pointing yourself in a direction and going with the flow? What if you grab the chance, make a move, have some fun and then say “What is next?” In what areas of your life might you benefit from applying a similar idea?

Listen to your heart and choose to lead.

We went for a hike at McKinny Falls State Park but couldn’t find the trail. We searched up and down the river before I realized the trail continued ACROSS the river. How the heck do we get over there? The river was wide and deep.  40-50 people were enjoying their day on our side of the river and not a soul could be seen on the other side. We checked the map- no roads drive to the other side and no walking bridge either. Heavy rainfall had engorged the river and covered the trail crossing. So, I decided we should ford the rushing water and regain our hike on the other side! The best place to do it was just upstream of the waterfall which was also where one slip would send us over the 20 foot drop. “Let’s do it!” I said. The water was freezing! We went for it and made it. Crossing the river was fun and allowed us to enjoy an entire network of trails on the other side. After we made it across, many others followed.

Thought: Sometimes hanging with the status quo might have you missing out on the best part of your hike. Take the chance and enjoy the experience!

Experience: When you choose the path less traveled, the possibilities are endless and others may be inspired to do the same! Where do you do this currently? How might you expand that?

You need much less than you think.

Camping on a deserted beach on Padre Island

Camping on a deserted beach on Padre Island

Most North Americans live in a perpetual state of too much stuff. I thought I packed very minimally, but I only wore about a third of the clothes I brought. We didn’t touch many of the tools, toys, and other extras either. Sure, there were times when we wish we would have brought a certain item, but we made do just fine without it.

Thought: Simplicity brings ease and breeds creativity.

Experience: Imagine the difference in your home, office, camper, etc., if you had all you needed and nothing more. Think of a simple way to start. What comes to mind?

 

Consider taking one (or more) of these ideas and putting it into practice this week. Notice your thoughts, how you feel, and any changes that transpire.

  • Grab the chance and go!
  • Take in the beauty ALL around!
  • Be present, feel connected, and come alive.
  • No master plan- No problem!
  • Listen to your heart and choose to lead!
  • You need much less than you think.

What are your thoughts and experiences? What was your last adventure and what made it special? Share in the comments below!

 

Until the next revolution….

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Achieve your Goals AND Enjoy your JourneyWe all have things we want to be. Or do. Or achieve. In going after what you want, do you consider sacrificing present happiness for future bliss? This is often the case, but there is a better way! What is the secret to achieving your goals AND enjoying the journey?

The first step is clarifying exactly what you want so that your path becomes clear. One of my clients described finding clarity and his path extremely well last week and graciously endorsed me sharing it with you.  He described his path as the Yellow Brick Road in the Wizard of Oz.  He explained how, right now, his yellow brick road is covered in a soupy fog. As he continues to progress day by day, that fog lifts a bit.  He has faith that soon all of the fog will be lifted and his path (The Yellow Brick Road) will be clear—at that point it is just a matter of continuing along the path and enjoying the journey.Yellow Brick Road

What a lovely visual, right? How would you like to have such a clear vision for your future and the famous Yellow Brick Road for your path?

Life is a journey and surprises come up along the way. For instance, just as Dorothy experienced in The Wizard of Oz, people flow in and out of your life—some deeply enrich the journey, some you learn and share with, and some are there in passing. From time to time you are skipping along with your friends when a wicked witch or a gang of super scary flying monkeys pop up! How you react to these surprises along your journey is totally up to you.

I remember watching The Wizard of Oz as a kid. Do you? What is interesting is even though I was a tough kid, those monkeys had me cuddling up to my dog for protection and closing the window blinds. To say the least, they were super scary—much in the same way that life’s obstacles can seem so burdensome in the moment. Now when I see a clip of the flying monkeys they seem fake and not scary at all. When you look back, years in the past, to life’s hurdles, do they often appear less daunting than when you were living through them? What are some ways you can gain perspective in the moment when surprises pop up on your path? A secret weapon is focus. Focus on where you are going, how you are going to get there, and remind yourself to appreciate the adventure all along the way.

What does focus mean to you? To me focus is: clarifying and being attentive to the task at hand, eliminating distractions, simplifying, and concentrating on getting the important things done that make a difference in the big picture. How would your life change, personally and professionally, if you kept your focus on where you were going versus concentrating on concerns that may pop up, like the flying monkeys?

Over a decade ago, while endeavoring to be the best mountain biker I could be, a lesson in a book hit me in the chest and changed my life forever. In his book, Mastering Mountain Bike Skills, Brian Lopez said:

“Focus on what is important… and let your peripheral vision handle everything else.”

Like many people careening down a mountain trail—and through life—I looked at, focused on, and gave a lot of attention to the bumps in the road and boulders in the way. How else will you maneuver around them, right? Brian revealed that there is a flow in riding that only comes from scanning the trail quite a distance ahead and noticing obstructions, but never looking right at them. When there is a hole, a tree stump, a huge rock, or any other obstruction, never look at it! Focus all of your attention down the trail—you will sense the overall flow, elevate your perception, and increase your speed. Instead of looking at an obstruction, look at the exact line on the ground you want your tires to follow and let your peripheral vision take care of everything else. You may be thinking (just like I did): “Wait, wait, so as I am barreling down this mountain trail making split-second decisions while risking life and limb, by just looking at where I want to go, the bike will magically steer itself right where it should? Yeah. Right.”

BUT IT WORKED!

I changed how I rode and purposefully focused on the exact line I wanted to take while keeping my attention down the trail. Of course I noticed obstacles on the path, but never again did I focus on them. Suddenly rides became smoother, more efficient, and much more fun.

Imagine having intense clarity about what you want in life, and then choosing to truly focus on your path. What will happen?

THE SAME THING HAPPENS!!!

Your life becomes easier, your actions are more efficient, and the ride is more enjoyable. Soon those flying monkeys that once stopped you in your tracks seem harmless and, with practice, they may vanish altogether.

The choice to enjoy the journey while achieving your goals is yours. Clarifying what you really want so that the fog lifts and reveals your yellow brick road is a fantastic start.  Then it is just a matter of keeping focused and enjoying the ride.

 

Until the next revolution…

 

If you just can’t seem to take your eyes off those flying monkeys, coaching can draw your attention to what really matters to you. Commit to a Strategy Session and experience the power of coaching.

 

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