“As a frightened man in a burning boat has only one way to the rest of his life, we must move with courage through the wall of flame into the greater sea.”
Mark Nepo, poet and spiritual adviser
Image from Unsplash by dan carlson
Where and when in your life did you last demonstrate significant courage? What are some examples of facing your fears and jumping into an unsettled sea?
Today’s quote does not suggest we risk life and limb as proof of courage, but does suggest that we should welcome the heat, and test the waters of our days more often.
What are some current situations in which you are experiencing the flames of fears?
When in the past did you step through such flames, standing taller on the other side?
To what degree is your current level of courage putting you on a course to fulfill the vision you have for your life?
When can and will you step up and over the edge of your fears to realize far more of your potential?
“Speech is a very important aspect of being human. A whisper doesn’t cut it.”
—James Earl Jones, American actor and voice of Darth Vader
Image from Unsplash by Julien Backhaus
What are some of the most important qualities of an outstanding leader? What are the factors that have people follow them in their personal, professional, or civic communities?
Who are the leaders — past and present — that you most admire? What actions do and did they take to enroll and engender others?
Today’s quote clearly offers a key answer: Fundamental to a leader’s role is to speak about the future they envision, and gain buy-in to these futures from others.
Given this perspective, leadership is not limited to just the famous or powerful. It is a quality we all can apply daily to live the dreams we dream.
How often and where do you speak up to share your vision for the future?
Where would it be beneficial to raise the volume on the whispering voices within to tell the world where you stand?
“There is a vastness that quiets the soul, but sometimes we are so squarely in the midst of life’s forces that we can’t see what we’re a part of.”
Image from Unsplash by Sebastian Pichler
Wendy and I purchased our 3½ year-old grandson a junior planetarium as one of his holiday gifts. Weston loves anything to do with the planets, rocket ships, and learning new things.
Those first few weeks when his toy was a novelty, he often urged me into his room — complete with room darkening curtains — to swap out the numerous discs with multiple images like the old viewfinders from childhood.
Beyond the many beautiful images of the other planets, nebulae, and star fields, we always paused a bit longer when we saw the photo of the earth to see the big picture of where we all live.
Where and when do you take the time to zoom out far enough from your daily activities to see what you are part of? Try this zoom out technique and see if and how this wider view quiets your soul.
“The eyes experience less stress when they can look upon a wider horizon.”
Image from Unsplash by v2osk
Try reading a book held 4-6 inches from your eyes. Slowly move the text away an inch or two every few seconds until you can make out the words with some difficulty. Hold your gaze there and read one complete page — or even a single paragraph — and notice the strain.
Now move your arms away to the proper focal length and reread the same passage.
Sometimes we find ourselves far too close to a situation, in which we may lack the objectivity and perspective to see the whole picture. Zooming out to provide a wider view may be all that is required to see things more clearly.
Take a look at The View from Above with astronaut Terry Virts.
Sometimes a little distance is all you need to see things in a brand-new way.
“Approach every task as though it were the moment that will define you.”
—Jol Dantzig, one of the founders of Hamer Guitars
Image from dantzig.com
What’s your brand? How do you represent yourself to the world through your various efforts?
Jol Dantzig designs and builds guitars. Over the course of his career, he has designed instruments for many of the biggest names in music including John Lennon and George Harrison of The Beatles, three of the Rolling Stones, and members of the Pretenders, Def Leppard, and the Police.
His famous orange five-neck guitar—built in 1981 for Rick Nielsen of the band Cheap Trick—was exhibited at the Boston Museum of Fine Art, and some of his other designs have been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institute.
What are some of your most important tasks? How can and will you more fully express your very best work at this moment to make the impact you desire?
A place to start may be to examine how pleased you are with your efforts. Seeking constructive feedback from trusted friends, colleagues, and family before you deliver can also help you stay on brand and provide remarkable, defining work.
“A penny will hide the biggest star in the universe if you hold it close enough to your eye.”
—Samuel Grafton, 20th Century American Journalist
Image from Unsplash by Daniil Kuželev
We all experience hyper-focus from time to time. Some top priority grabs our complete attention and the rest of the world just disappears.
What are the benefits and costs to you personally and professionally in such situations? What is one such priority that comes to mind today or in the recent past where this was an opportunity or an issue?
Where in your life is keeping things too close blocking your view of other stars that need your attention?
“If your ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step you take gets you to the wrong place faster.”
—Stephen Covey, 20th Century American writer & educator
Image from Unsplash by Debby Hudson
What did you want to be when you were little?
Who did you look up to and admire and what was it about those special people that inspired you?
How energized and excited did you feel, given the anticipation of one day climbing a similar life ladder to reach your own pinnacles of success?
What ladders are you currently climbing in your vocational efforts? How confident and sure are you that it is absolutely leaning against the right wall, the one that aligns with your vision and values?
This past year full of economic and social upheaval has caused vast amounts of unemployment. Many people face significant challenges in adequately providing for their families. The transition process has caused many to reconsider if they truly want to get back to climbing the same ladder, leaning against the same or a similar wall.
If that scenario resonates with you or someone you know, please consider picking up a copy of the 2020 edition of What Color is your Parachute by Richard Nelson Bolles.
“It’s amazing how a little tomorrow can make up for a whole lot of yesterday.”
—John Guare, American Playwright
Image from Unsplash by Leonardo Yip
Time travel is not just possible. Today’s quote suggests that we all do it daily in our thoughts. Through forms of mindfulness such as meditation or leisurely walks in nature we can view our thinking mind with greater perspective and objectivity.
How often do you review or replay the events of yesterday with a critical eye of what worked and what didn’t? How self-satisfied or perhaps upset do you feel about various events, efforts, and interactions? How easy is it to let these thoughts go, be present, and look toward the future you intend to create?
The power of a vision is miraculous in that it pulls us like a tractor beam in a sci-fi space adventure. This gravitational attractive force is a critical element of self-leadership—and leadership in general—when we are intentional about thinking and speaking about a bright future.
How can and will your own self-leadership efforts to speak and create many better tomorrows make up for any yesterdays that didn’t go as you hoped? What would be the value of doing this exercise on a daily basis?