“The challenges that we face test us and help reveal our true potential.”
Image from Unsplash by Taylor Wilcox
In school, we receive a lesson and then take the test. In life, we are tested and challenged—and only then do we sometimes embrace the lesson.
How and in what ways are your personal and professional circumstances testing your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual capacities? Where are you being pushed and pulled to stretch beyond your perceived limits?
Where does your true potential lie beyond your current view of yourself?
Answering these questions many not always give us a full picture of our potential growth opportunities. Sometimes members of our communities who act as sounding boards or mirrors can reveal even more than we can visualize on our own.
Identify at least one family member, professional colleague, mentor, or coach to explore the various challenges and tests you are facing. Explore how such relationships can reveal even more of your true potential. Consider how taking on such a role for others can also enhance your own growth.
“Global Warming = Atmospheric Cancer.”
Seth Godin, American Author
Image from Unsplash by nikohoshi
For the past century—and particularly the last few decades—most of us have been paying increased attention to climate change.
Signs of our industrialized society include increases in local and global temperatures, receding glaciers, and melting Arctic and Antarctic ice shelves. Even the lessening ability to see a night sky full of stars is an indicator.
One non-scientific observation I’ve made recently is the seeming bluer skies and fresher air I experience on my daily walks. My neighbors and their dogs seem to notice as well.
Perhaps taking our feet off the gas pedals of our lives is giving our beautiful planet time to breathe and begin healing.
How can we all continue to take far better care of our extraordinary planet as we continue to combat, treat, and prevent the impact of COVID-19 and other local, national, and global challenges?
“The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”
—Lin Yutang, 20th Century Chinese inventor, novelist, and philosopher
Image from Unsplash by Faye Cornish
To what degree are you a wisdom seeker?
Would you also describe yourself as an explorer and life-long learner, looking to grasp and understand what makes us and everything around us work?
Given the considerable challenges facing all of us and the world, it is natural to see the need to work harder than ever to hold our ground and not regress and be defeated.
Perhaps instead of life being a series of adding more and more in order to feel better, it may be time for a bit of selective editing in which less is more.
Where would limiting or eliminating some of the non-essentials in your life lead you toward greater wisdom?
Feel free to reply to this post with the actions you intend to take.
“Conflict is essential to progress. No matter how much the engine revs, without friction the wheels cannot move forward.”
—Rob Reinalda, Executive Editor at Lawrence Ragan Communications
Image from Unsplash by Simon English
Here in Michigan, especially around the Detroit area, the Car/SUV/Truck is still king of the road. Toward the end of January, we had a bit of foul, frigid weather, including one particular morning in which my driveway was a sheet of black ice.
Without the expected traction from the driveway, I struggled to make it to my car and barely avoided falling, which was probably a comical sight to neighbors who may have been watching!
Where are you experiencing a lack of traction, or feel you are spinning your wheels?
Where do you notice conflict or areas of friction related to an important relationship or project?
How might this gritty or challenging situation actually be the source of friction that helps you move things forward?
“Let no one keep you from your journey.”
—Mark Nepo, American poet and spiritual adviser
Image from Unsplash by Clemens van Lay
Where are you headed today, this week, this year?
What are your short and long term goals and objectives, personally and professionally?
Toward the start of each year, questions like these are asked so frequently that we often drown them out much like the safety instructions before a flight.
What if we now answered these questions on a far deeper level than at any other time in our lives?
What are your answers? If they don’t ignite a spark or engulf you in flames of passion and excitement, you’ve got more work to do and could perhaps use the support of a coach, mentor, close colleague, or family member.
What could possibly stop you from pursuing and fully realizing what you deeply desire?
How will you prevent anyone – including yourself – from keeping you from your journey?
Consider looking up Mark Nepo and exploring his work more fully.
“There are no ‘pretty good’ alligator wrestlers.”
Image from Unsplash by Matthew Essman
It’s unlikely that there is a Junior Alligator Wrestling League in your community or school system.
What parent would send their child off to such an activity, hoping they would rise in the ranks, and bring home the Champion Trophy – not to mention all their appendages?
Our world is hyper-competitive and sports include a significant risk of injury. Still, many families with an interest in fitness and athletic activities participate, knowing full well that their children are unlikely to make it to the Olympics or turn pro at some point.
Meanwhile, in the working world more and more people are finding that being only “pretty good” puts them at risk of being eaten by the alligators swimming in their vocational waters.
What efforts can and will you include in your “pretty great” developmental journey in the year ahead?
“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
—Louisa May Alcott, 19th Century American author of Little Women
Image from Unsplash by Bobby Burch
If you enjoy good stories with wonderful characters, please go see the movie Little Women, or by all means, read the book.
In our daily lives we can all be coached by the times we see others face and overcome their challenges and obstacles. Doing so can instill the belief that we, too, can do the same.
Where in your personal or professional life are you facing considerably rough waters?
In what ways can and will you face these challenges boldly and courageously to chart your course toward a brighter future?
“It’s the rough side of the mountain that’s the easiest to climb. The smooth side doesn’t have anything for you to hang on to.”
—Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul
Image from Unsplash by yns_pit
Have you ever tried rock climbing or one of the climbing walls at your local gym?
If you have, you may have noticed that the wall faces with far more foot and hand holds make the journey upward easier and faster.
Consider how life can be like that. By looking at the rough patches and bumps in the road as teachable moments, you have many more foot holds to push off from in your upward and onward climb.
Where and how can you be more appreciative of the rough patches of life, knowing they have helped you achieve far more than times of smooth sailing?
Consider taking a look at your current personal and professional rough patches to shift your view of things a bit.
“All beginnings are difficult.”
Image from Unsplash by Jon Tyson
Letting today’s quote really sink in can change your life.
Can you recall how many times, personally or professionally, you were reluctant to begin an activity or stopped your efforts too soon because your initial steps were awkward or challenging?
In such cases, we could consider the Biblical story of Job and his statement, “Man was born to toil.”
Going beyond any initial discomfort is fundamental to being productive and to the essential need for each of us to contribute and have a life of purpose.
Where and on what current matter would acknowledging that all beginnings are difficult provide you the needed courage, tenacity, and persistence to toil on to more fully realize your fullest potential and contribution to the world?
“What is the cost of getting it wrong? What are the payoffs of getting it right?”
Image from commons.wikimedia.org
Are you a fan of Bill Gates? If you are—and even if you aren’t—please consider watching the new Netflix docu-series Inside Bill’s Brain. Among the many twists and turns in his personal and professional life is a unifying fact. Bill is a highly intelligent, life-long learner who wants to continue to make a positive difference with his life and the foundation he runs with his wife Melinda.
Highlighted in this series are his initiatives to eradicate polio, improve sewage conditions in developing countries, and the development of a cleaner, safer form of nuclear power.
Despite many challenges and setbacks faced on such monumental projects, he is clearly focused on the global payoffs of getting it right.
What is one significant project you have yet to start due to the fear of getting it wrong? What would be the payoff of getting it right?