Tag Archives: Deep

Step 9: Thriving in the Battles

     I have tried multiple poetic ways to start this post, they have all failed. Let’s just be blunt and real about it:
     When you make the decision to live a huge life, value the impact you leave, and constantly strive to level up, life will often be difficult.
     This is not because you’ve done anything wrong. Actually it’s the opposite, you’re kinda battling the whole status quo for all of time in the history of EVER. Most people settle, we’ve discussed this so I won’t kill it again here with the whole “most people want an easy button, glad you chose the Game of Thrones” route to life. So let’s just say you chose the right path young Padawan.
Okay so in all seriousness.
     Here’s how I see it. I chose the hardest route possible when I decided that my life needed to be lived for something more. That everything we’ve talked about this far in these posts had to occur. That BIG was possible. That IMPACT was possible. That living a HUGE life was possible. This decision to live for something bigger then me was kinda my personal turning point. From here on out, I would never end up choosing the easy way. Even if I wanted to, at this point…my heart simply wouldn’t let me.
     As life goes on I constantly realize that the grass is often not greener on the other side, and no that’s not because I failed to water it. When you choose to live a life bigger then you, you are constantly pushing yourself to higher levels. This creates a continual battle. Occasionally there are moments of reprieve where you stand at the top of the mountain you are conquering and take in the view but then you notice another mountain, a bigger, greater, more thrilling mountain…
And so the story goes and off to another mountain you go conquer.
     And as long as you “stop to smell the roses” and take in the moments, this is a win. You’re conquering, you’re growing, you’re impacting.
     However, there will come a point where you exhaust yourself, where the battle is tiring, and quitting has never looked clearer. I’m still in the process of finding the best way to make it through these moments, but I’ve semi-nailed it down to a few key points.
      1. Constantly remind yourself of what’s at the top. Is it a promise your waiting on? Is it an achievement your fighting for that will change your life? Is it other people who will finally get to share in your victory? Whatever it is. Hold to what is at the top of your mountain. It’s important to not wait until you are totally exhausted to do this, trust me. It’s a lot harder to remember the simple reason that made you start to climb this mountain you may be resenting. 
     
      2. Avoid Naysayers. People love to start talking when you start complaining. As soon as you hit that “What have I done? This is stupid why should I care moment?” somehow those who didn’t support your mountain trek has ALL the reasons why you should have stayed home, on your couch….being comfortable. In these moments be VERY careful who you listen to. Remember most people want easy. And let’s be honest, if there’s an easy way normally it would make logical sense to take it. Maybe the easy way would have cost you character, maybe the easy way would have left less impact, maybe the easy way would have been through a lush trail down a beautiful hillside, not up this massive mountain with rocks, debris and a steep incline. Sure, there was easy. But you didn’t choose it for a reason. Don’t let those who don’t have your heart, didn’t make it’s decision, and aren’t wanting a massive life to cause you to question your mountain. You made the decision climb because the victory would be worth the building of character to get to the top. 
     
      3. Hang out with other climbers, group with people who want to level up. Here’s my number one point of advice (ironically placed in no. 3) If you are around people who aren’t going where you want to go. Go where you want to go without them. I have found that you normally need to start this journey alone before you find others who want to tag along or climb beside you. Alone is sometimes good, find you first, solidify what you want, and find a mountain to conquer. Trust me, there are other climbers out there…. and you will find them.

 

     4. Be careful who you let in to the close parts of your heart. I’ll let you in on a little secret. The only people I let into my inner circle are people who want more out of life. If you are interested in settling, that’s totally cool, I love you, I care about you….all that stuff and you can be my friend without a problem. But my heart, the depths of me, to know that is reserved for those who are also going to remind me why I’m fighting. Bear in mind there is a whole lotta me to know outside the depths of my heart so there’s lots for those who aren’t interested in leveling up, but the heart zone is by invitation only. I need to know that when my life gets whacky and I need someone to remind me of the whys behind my choice that those in my inner circle will step up.

     5. Don’t quit. This one is simple. Decide now. Just don’t quit. Whatever the battle,  whatever the mountain, whatever the terrain. There is some reason you decided to embark on this challenge. Don’t quit. You will make it. You will win. And when you do it will be epic.

     Sometimes I think we try to look for this perfect life, where we do all the things that we love, we thrive and we yet are never uncomfortable. That’s not life. And it’s not a life I want. I love to fight because I love to win. I love who I become. I love the feeling of reaching a climax. I love growing. I love watching others grow. I love what happens when we are uncomfortable and we embrace it. There is so much to be had in life if we can make it through the seasons that require us to armor up and battle on.
     There is a whole world waiting for impact, wanting growth, and desiring to level up. How will we ever reach them if we quit half-way up our own mountains?
     Heroes aren’t born, they are built. Let your days of struggle motivate you, let it challenge you, let it push you to push harder then ever before. Remember the victory happened at your decision to live heroically, now you just need to walk it out. Battles are an opportunity for victory.
Step 9: Pay attention to how you prepare for those rough days, and don’t quit when they hit. 
If you would like to read the prior Superhero Chronicles post you can find it here!
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“I always thought I was too much, but your box was just too small.” -My Heart.

So here’s to taking a short interval in the writing of the Superhero Chronicles to share my heart… I’ve got my coffee, let’s get real.

I have always been a hugely passionate person. Regardless what it was if I was all in consider it done because I would stop at nothing short of achieving my goal. When I was little it was gathering together friends on the neighborhood street to do backstreet boy concerts in my parents garage, going through grade school I continually made honor roll, then there was getting together seniors to plan our graduation. Paying my way through school, consistently on the dean’s list, then living on my own, working my way up the corporate ladder, and graduating with almost zero debt. So on and so on……

Life has been a world of achievements but if you knew my heart you would know that the greatest achievement hasn’t been any of the above. Because if life has taught me one thing its that the beauty of the heart can’t be written. It’s not about how good we look on paper. And it’s not about the resume we write with our accomplishments.

The beauty of the heart can’t be written.

My greatest achievement has been beginning to live life with 110% of my heart.

Because the truth is accomplishments wouldn’t show you the opposition that I let consume me. My resume wouldn’t show you that most of what I achieved I did while only letting part of my heart into the game.

My achievements, my resume, degrees….do nothing to tell you the story of my heart. And that’s really the only thing that matters. Ironic, huh? The most important part of the puzzle in this picture of life is the one we spend the least amount of time talking about. 

All my accomplishments could’t tell you of the countless nights my heart wondered if it could ever be whole and not be too much. They couldn’t tell you almost every relationship I’ve ever been in has held me back.  They couldn’t tell you of the passion inside me that sought thrills because I couldn’t find true release.  They couldn’t tell you of the amount of times I’ve sought adventure because I couldn’t find fulfillment in friendships. They couldn’t tell you of the amount of times I’ve been told I was too intense. They couldn’t tell you of the relationships I tried to make work without realizing that I couldn’t ever be wholly me. They couldn’t tell you that I climbed the corporate ladder multiple times because I wanted to find a way to release the drive inside of me….there’s just so much that my accomplishments couldn’t tell you…

You wouldn’t know on paper that I’ve spent the last 7 years of my life settling. 

Yep. I’ve settled. I settled for living as less then who I am. All the passion. All the drive. All the intensity. And I’ve still settled. I’ve let life tell me that there was too much inside me and that in order to retain friendships I had to hide some of the intensity, I had to hide a lot of me.

The reality is I never wanted my life to be enough, I always wanted to break walls, push boundaries and test limits. I’ve done this in every area of my life except my heart.

I’ve let my heart be just enough when everything inside me craves limitless. 

So this is a post on my heart and the simple realization that I can’t. Can’t isn’t a word I use often but I can’t.

I can’t continue to be just enough.

No. I will be more. I will break walls. I will test limits. I will build. I will do. I will live. I IMG_0178will love fiercely. I will encourage you so much it’ll scare you how much I believe in you. I will fight for you. I will defend you. I will show you what you’re worth when you can’t see it. I will be unbearably happy. I will level up. I will spend my days loving, living and fighting with more passion then most.

I will be more then enough, I will be too much and I will be wholly me. Because my heart craves 110% and I’ve settled for 7 years too many.

 

 

Step 2: Who’s behind the mask?

The great writer Nathaniel Hawthorne once wrote….

“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.”

We all wear masks, we all have different faces we put on…..we all have parts of us we hide. However there comes a point where under the mask we have to find a common ground, that common ground is our character.

In the prior post, Superhero Chronicles: Step 1, we discussed who we believed ourselves to be. Now it’s time to take a look at this list and ask ourselves, is that who we WANT to be.

Masks are powerful, because masks enable us to hide. But the truest impact is made by people who don’t choose to hide behind a heroic ideal but rather become the ideal.

The truest impact is made by people who don’t choose to hide behind a heroic ideal but rather become the ideal.

Did you catch that? I’ll say it again a little differently. Making an impact on the world isn’t about choosing a powerful career, or partnering with an influential organization, it’s about becoming a person capable of massive impact. It’s about becoming a person of character worthy to wear the mask of a hero and make the type of lasting impact they would.

We often think that if we find the right opportunity then we will be able to achieve our goals. If we find the right job, if we find the right people, if we find the right network…..strangely enough that never works long term. It would be like if our military men went to war but had zero tactical training prior to combat. Or if policemen went out on the streets to keep the peace but had no idea how to resolve conflict. Or if a doctor went to operate on a patient but had no idea how the body functioned and what did what and just started to cut things open!

These ideas sound insane. No one would do that! And if they tried we would all look at them as if they had lost their mind!

Yet, this is often times exactly how we choose to try to make a difference. We get an idea of what we want to accomplish, we make ourselves look good on paper (get a degree, find the right connections) and we look for our next big break.

We search for the opportunity for impact before becoming the type of person who can handle it.

And I’m not going to say that the motivation behind this is inherently bad, I’m just saying it’s not an expression of someone who is 100% worthy of the mask of a hero.

Personally, I’d rather become the person who gives character to the mask rather than allow the mask to make up for my lack of character. Wearing a mask may enable me to win a battle but my character will determine if I win the war. My character is what makes me sustainable. My character is what withstands storms and overcomes obstacles. My character is what determines if I am strong enough when no one else was. My character determines if the impact I make will last. And is that not the ultimate goal?

You see, the mask doesn’t make my character….My character makes the mask. And if I want lasting impact, if I want to build something huge that matters, then it starts with who’s behind the mask. If I’m not who the mask portrays……then I’m going to eventually fail to live up to the ideal of who I’ve said I was. And let’s be frank, I’m going to avoid failure at all costs.

Step 2: Take a look at the list you wrote from the prior post and cross out any words that you don’t want to be a representation of your character. 

Feel free to post your thoughts below or send me a tweet to chat more.

 

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