I took this photograph out the front window of my mom’s house, which sits up on the hill above the San Francisco airport. When I was growing up, on most afternoons, you could find me sitting by that front window, as I watched the planes take off and land, wishing that one day, I would get to do that, too. Years later, I made that wish come true when I became a commercial pilot, and a certified flight instructor. A childhood wish, inspired by nothing other than a desire to fly, came true for me.
Some wishes are like that. You find the drive within yourself, you figure out what to do, you work the momentum, and after you take one step at a time for a while, your wish becomes real.
At other times, there are obstacles that get in the way, and you wonder, at least I did, how come I could do it then, but not now? What’s the thing…what’s the secret sauce?
Being back in the Bay Area, this week, made me remember who I was back then, and what things were like. I loved and hated this place. Looking at it now, with adult eyes, I see very clearly that experiences are what we make of them, but more importantly, we choose the experiences we want to have.
As we enter into the last few weeks of 2016, I look back at the highlight reel and see a lot of firsts: Giving a talk to Inspire listeners, speaking to over 100 sixth graders about the importance of self trust, walking on hot coals at Unleash The Power Within, creating my first website – challengeyourvision.com , launching my coaching practice, learning how to market, finishing two of my three quick start guides for the year, finding the right coach and helping him coach my daughter to a third place finish at AAU TKD Natiionals , finally going to Hawaii, sharing my daughter’s artwork with the elderly at an assisted living facility, and on it went…
I like looking at my highlight reel, but the highlight reel doesn’t make my life feel rich or fulfilled. It makes me feel proud. It makes me feel like I am on the right track. It makes me feel good. But the highlights are just one side of the story. It’s the other side of the story that is necessary for fulfillment. The challenges I faced, and the struggles I encountered were just as profound, and in fact, made me appreciate and savor my wins so much more.
It’s easy to share the highlights, but not so easy to share the disappointments, the losses, the feeling that I am not enough, and that I will fail, and that in the end, everything will fall apart. Those five things I just shared, without even being specific, have more power than the list of my accomplishments combined. Why? Because it hurts when we lose, when we are disappointed, and worst of all, it causes us to doubt what is possible. When we hurt, we can lose perspective.
A rich and fulfilling life, then, is not unlike an equation: highlight reel + challenges = a rich and fulfilled life. You can’t have one without the other.
So where are you at right now? Are you riding the high of your accomplishments? Are you in the throes of your highlight reel? Or have you been hit hard, and maybe are in the middle of a disappointment? Or maybe you are challenged, and because of that, you doubt yourself? I know how that feels, so I wanted to share something that helped me, and might help you, too.
My first ever December Newsletter addresses this issue. When you have had a loss, or are disappointed, or have lost faith, the holiday season can sometimes make it feel worse. You see all of these happy people running around, sharing the Christmas spirit, and it just doesn’t feel like that to you. In fact, if you hear, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” one. more. time. you may just scream! It’s okay, at one time or another, we’ve all felt that way — and it will pass.
Remember, just like the holidays, your feelings will pass. They are not permanent. Just like the holidays, your situation is not personal, it happens to everyone at one time or another. Just like the holidays, your disappointments are just one side of the story. They are not pervasive. It may not seem like it, now, and it may seem like “on every street corner you hear silver bells” but what seems true doesn’t mean it is true.
These three elements: Not permanent, not personal, and not pervasive are your ticket to getting unstuck, and reconnecting to that highlight reel that reminds you of who you are, and what you are capable of doing. So focus on what you have done, successfully, what you are grateful for that had nothing to do with you, and finally, connect to all the love that surrounds you. It’s there. Practice those three things, and the holidays may just become “Merry and Bright,”after all.
Thinking of you and wishing you all the best during this holiday season, and beyond.
Until next time,