Do or do not; there is no Try. -Yoda
The biggest lie we tell ourselves and the world is that we tried. If I ask for a ride to the airport at 8:00 tomorrow morning and you say “i’ll try” then I know not to depend on you. I keep looking until I find someone who is committed to helping me.
Do we really think life is any different? We ask and it is given. Always. The answer to prayer often comes in the form of an opportunity that requires us to take a step (dare I say leap?) of faith. We don’t sit on our ass and wait for the Uber driver to know we need a ride. We take action and schedule the thing. Then we watch and wait. Timing matters.
Do we imagine the things that break our hearts are for nothing? No! They are there to remind us we are not alone. If we would just STOP, LOOK, LISTEN we would hear that still, small inner voice guiding us through the dark places.
We have the energy to get in the game and put our hearts into action. Individually and collectively. That, friends, is how you change yourself, your life, and the world you want to condemn. We are not victims, we are co-creators in this chaos. As within, so without.
Own it. Be the change you want to see in the world. Love is still the answer.
The word percolate reminds me of Mom’s oh-so-strong coffee. The longer it percolated, the more robust and flavorful it became. At just the perfect moment, she would take it off the heat and serve it with love to friends and family. Nobody made coffee like Mom.
Then came the land of instant coffee, drive throughs and k-cups. In a culture of instant gratification we sometimes think transformational
change should happen overnight as well.
I recently retired and moved from a lifetime in the city to a quiet farm in New Hampshire. I’m big on my morning coffee. While people move at a frantic pace in the busy-ness of their daily grind around me, I see nature - life - as a constant stream of growth, death, and rebirth. An ever present reminder that we need time to percolate.
The Rhythms of Life
It takes time for the flavors of life to ripen. It takes patience to see the fruit of your labors. Fruit picked too soon is bitter and sometimes even toxic. Left too long and it can die on the vine or be ravaged by savages.
Nobody is meant to percolate (sometimes ruminate?) forever either. Left in the heat too long, we become bitter and off the heat too long, we become cold and stale.
So where is the sweet spot? It’s all in the timing. Not the strategy, not the science, not the belief. The timing. Wait. Listen. You’ll know when you’re ready Life’s got this.
Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
I remember my first automobile accident. I was broad-sided at a four-way stop in Las Vegas. At the moment of impact, every scary driver's education movie I had seen in high school flashed through my mind. Then I saw the windshield shatter and it was as if I could see each small piece of safety glass passing my field of vision like a slow-motion kaleidoscope. I also remember my last thought being "Oh, this is going to hurt."
The next thing I remember was approaching the police officer who was arranging for a tow truck on my abandoned vehicle. He concluded it must have been a DUI hit and run case since the driver (me) was at fault (what?!?) and left the scene. It had been nearly an hour and they couldn't find me. That time is lost forever in the recesses of my rattled brain. It was 9:00 am on a weekday. I was stunned, dazed and confused, but not drunk.
It did hurt. The car was totaled and it wasn't even my car. I had to rely on family to get back and forth to work for months. My boyfriend broke up with me over it (yes, it was his car and he wasn't even in country.) My insurance costs skyrocketed. I was 18 years old. Welcome to the real world where Adulting is difficult. If you believe the programming you've been sold.
With experience comes knowledge and eventually wisdom. I've had more than a handful of close calls in my lifetime. Today I know a better way. The real world is not the over scheduled, hectic, busyness that characterizes 'success' in our culture. Real life isn't captured in an Instagram shot or a Facebook post. Memories aren't made behind the lens.
Memories are stored by the lens of your very own eyes, in real time and real life. The real world is the space between the thoughts, the scenes between the drama, the calm before the storm. The real world records in slow motion every millisecond of a life worth living.
Is your life worth living? Have you stopped to smell the roses? Are you living the way you always imagined you would? Is there something standing in your way? Could you use a hand or a friend?
That's why we have each other. Let's swap stories.
Can you think of a time when life handed you a lemon?
It usually comes in some form of loss. The job ended unexpectedly, someone's health took a turn for the worse, you were passed over for that promotion you felt you deserved, or you lost your best girlfriend.
In each case, the unexpected happened. Or what was hoped for - even planned for, didn't happen. You have suffered a loss. A loss you didn't see coming.
It is that element of surprise that makes the lemons we all get handed in life sometimes well, suck.
How did you overcome it?
Here are a few things I've learned along the way to a successful retirement:
1. Love of Money is the root of all procrastination. When your heart says go and your body says enough already, listen to its wisdom. I've interviewed a lot of people who chose early retirement over the golden handcuffs. Not one of them regrets missing out on the promised cash flow. The ones who waited often regret the lost years they could have been building the life of their dreams while they still had time.
2. Your Negative Imagination is out to get you. When you find yourself justifying why it's not that bad, or you can tough it out, or at least it's a paycheck...step away from the drug of achievement and look your soul in the eye. If you have to defend an action or inaction, it may be time for a change.
3. And I Love That I had the opportunity to work closely with Kyle Cease last year. Kyle is a comedic transformational speaker and New York Times Best-Selling Author of "I Hope I Screw This Up". His authenticity and unique approach broke through my defenses in a way that brought me back to the life I longed for but had ignored for too long.
4. Meditation isn't Magic, but magical things happen when you do the work of listening to that still, small voice within. We were born with an inner guidance system and then trained not to listen to it. Consider how much of your paycheck goes to distract you from the feelings that come from doing what you don't want to do every day. You may not need as much money in retirement as you think.
5. Find a Mentor you can relate to who is able to lead you past your fear to the heart of your soul because they have navigated that personal transformation themselves. That is where your freedom lies. There are a lot of coaches happy to take your money and deal with your symptoms of distress. What you need is a soul surgeon. Don't stop until you get the best match for you.
The people who come here have lived through some shit. They have superpowers they don't recognize. They are heroes to people they didn't even know were watching. They have learned the hard way when to wait and when to act; when to hold on and when to let go.
When we walk out the door of an old life that no longer fits, it creates waves of change we can’t always see coming. It can be harder to leave an acceptable situation than a bad one. We are shining a light on a path to freedom for all who follow. We are leaping out of our ego and into our hearts. It is scary because we can't see the good that lies beyond the prison we know so well. But the beauty is there. Even in our leaving, we exhibit a key leadership skill for anyone who wants to lead a bigger life.
Dream a new dream. The more we put it all on the line to follow our dream of something better for ourselves and our children, the more we deserve to party with others we meet on the road. This is not a pity party for what you lost in the shift. This is a celebration of all you gained that you couldn't see when you took that first step of faith to become more of YOU!
Dreams reside deep down in the heart of every one of us. Sometimes they get buried by shame, or clouded with ambition, or shrivel from lack of attention. But they remain. Deep down. Buried alive. Waiting for you to come back and find joy in the only place it can truly be discovered. Within.
Sometimes leading means leaving - with style, with grace, and with Heart.
You're here, you're safe, we've got you.
I am an entrepreneur living in the leap from the life I was programmed to live into the life of my dreams.