How are you going to respond?

Since I started my blog over from scratch, I am revisiting my core beliefs which I have previously written and reevaluating them to see how they fit now.

At the end of 2017, a key employee told me he was leaving our company to start a business. I did not expect him to do this whatsoever, and I was still able to handle the news with a clear mind and a relatively clear emotional state. I had already decided how I would respond to this situation.

An idea which has had a profound impact on my life, that is when I remember to put it in place, is this: decide ahead of time how you are going to respond to situations you may come across.

A response is different than a reaction because a response is premeditated while a reaction is in the moment. A response is created with a clear mind and based on logic. A reaction is created with high emotion and based on impulse. Reactions are dangerous.

The exercise looks like this. Schedule time periodically to think about circumstances which may come up in the future. These situations can be good or bad. You get fired. You get a bonus. Someone insults you. You get a compliment. You get rejected. You get a yes for the opportunity of a lifetime. You will come up with different situations each time you do this, and that is the point.

Next, with a sound mind, think about how you are going to respond. How do you want other people involved to feel? How do you want to feel? What questions will you ask? What will you say? What do you want the outcome to be, and what will you do to influence that outcome?

Build toolkit of planned responses. When the situation comes up, you will be less emotional and less overwhelmed because you have already encountered the situation and decided your response. You must now only execute.

There is only forward.

People, businesses, religions, they all get trapped protecting the past, failing to consider what about the status quo they are defending. Moving forward is difficult and emotional work. Our human nature is designed to seek comfort, and there is security in holding on to what we have.

It isn’t until an event forces our hands that we move on. The loss of a job, a home, or a loved one, meeting someone who challenges our preconceived notions of the “other,” call into question what is important and make us consider what might be holding us back.

I messed up yesterday. I installed a plugin on my WordPress blog and crippled my site. There are years of posts, some good, most of them awful, trapped in a database. While I worked to fix this, my wife was watching Tidying Up. Marie Kondo was having her clients say, “Goodbye and thank you,” to things they no longer needed, years of acquired clothes, collectibles, and junk. This practice of gratitude and release, that there is value in having experienced something, but limitations in holding on, I decided to abandon my blog rescue efforts and move on.

In life, we can spend our energy protecting the past, holding on to everything we have acquired, or we can focus on going forward. I resolve to be grateful for the past and then release it.

There is only forward.

What’s the end game?

It’s resolution season, but your list means nothing without intentionality. Do yourself a favor. Get out a piece of paper or a blank word document. Tell yourself a story of what it is like having accomplished your goal. Imagine waking up on January 2, 2020, and you have accomplished all of your resolutions. How do you feel? Where are you? What is around you. How do you look? How do you spend your time? What is in the room? Who are the people you see that day? What is your plan for the day? Do you have daily rituals? What do you know?

Be vividly clear and descriptive, so detailed you can feel it right now. Keep this close to you, read it every day. This vision will be your fuel when you don’t feel like doing the work.

Happy 2019!

If you know me or have followed my blog posts, you know how much I love Mondays because they are like mini New Years Days every week. Today is New Years Day, my favorite day of the entire year.

I love the energy of New Years Day. My parents used to throw a New Years Eve party when I was a kid. My family came over. We sang karaoke, danced, played games, and ate great food. We would all gather in one room and watch the ball drop in New York City.

“Happy New Year!” the entire house exclaimed. I loved energy, the positivity, the happiness, the optimism. Everyone hugged each other and exchanged blessings and well wishes. Then we went back to our party, enjoying life and enjoying each other.

No matter what happened up to that point, the New Year brought with it new optimism, a chance to build upon past efforts, grace from past failures, and a reminder to clear your plate for new opportunities. It’s a day that represents the future like nothing else.

Goodbye 2018!

This past year has been a year of challenge. It’s felt like an uphill run with weights on my back, ankles, wrists, and head while people where were driving by hurled insults and garbage at me. And like any hard workout, I am glad I finished it. I am grateful for the experience because I am now stronger, more capable, and more motivated to keep going than I have felt before.

I was once told, “You can’t help other people through something you have not experienced yourself.” I believe that. I want to help a lot of people, so I guess I need all the “experience” I can get.

Here’s to 2019!