Is what I’m thinking.
What happens to me, if after a long time, I still mess up in building the life that I want?
What if I don’t get there? I don’t know how to get there, or what would really push me closer.
Or I might have an idea. I do, and I’ve been plugging away for so long, but not seeing anything happen.
All at the cost of my own time, self, family, and love.
What did I find out, after helping run a retreat for middle-aged to senior men?
Different life stages
I used to believe that I could build my life’s operating system, and just coast all the way up to heaven.
I was dead wrong.
Life is about weaving through, and accepting changes and growth, and learning to stay true to what is important to you in the midst of all of that.
I thought I knew how to live my life, and then, I lost my businesses, lost money, found opportunities, got married, and just realized that you never really know.
Our lives are constantly in a state of transition, as we age, as we get older, as we live. To live my life, meant to learn how to change focus at times, and to navigate the changes that were happening to me.
That nothing stays the same, yet in a weird manner, almost everything does.
It’s a cycle, as there is a season for everything.
Because everything, is constantly changing.
It’s OK to make mistakes
It’s now being beat into me, that life is about learning from mistakes and living it, rather than being perfect.
Because the quest for perfection, is a lost cause. No one will be perfect. No one will be able to please everyone.
The road to a happy life is littered with mistakes, and people accept, learn, and move on.
And for someone like me, who was, and in some ways, still is, a perfectionist, it can be really difficult. Imagine having to accept to yourself the fact that in whatever I will do, I will never be perfect.
When I first got into my consulting and training career, I would always be so hard on myself, and beat myself up for mistakes that I made, and especially, for mistakes that I did and couldn’t see or weren’t aware of.
But my mentors were so kind to me, and they were very forgiving, and humble enough to actually admit that they themselves were making mistakes as well. They had high standards, but that didn’t get in the way of their learning and development, even at their “master facilitator” level.
What’s not OK, is to not learn from them, or worse, to keep repeating them.
Don’t sell your sacrifice and effort short
Don’t sell yourself short.
Give yourself the credit that is due to you.
And assume responsibility, for the bad, and the good.
When you minimize, and be ashamed of, the sacrifice and effort that you put in, you don’t acknowledge the hard work and effort that it took to get the result.
Of course, I’m not saying that we should always be bragging about it, but do feel pride in what you’re putting in.
That’s real humility.
I thought humility would be always seeming smaller than others, rejecting and feigning ignorance when you are given compliments.
I even thought that humility was never saying something good, and never accepting the good that is said to you.
Be gracious, and humble enough, to allow the gift of giving you credit and compliments.
Living life means not selling yourself short. Live life to the hilt, and go for what makes you happy, and fulfilled.
Living life means accepting the good, wholeheartedly, even when you yourself can’t see it in you.
But others do.
Embrace the suck
Because sucky thing do happen, and there really is no other way around it, but to go through it.
Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Which also means, embrace the suck, with a smile.
I used to think happy people had no misfortune in their lives, and that they had all their problems solved for them, or they had it all figured out, already.
Imagine my surprise to see one of the happiest people I know, right in the middle of an ugly financial problem, a complicated family issue, amidst health complications, and still come out with the brightest smile I have ever seen for someone facing all of that, all at once.
You bear your burdens, but you don’t always need to act like you’re carrying such heavy weight on your shoulders.
Again, I discovered that living life meant taking the bad, with the good, and always looking for the silver lining in every dark cloud.
Emphasis on embrace.
Find what makes you deeply glad
The retreat I staffed was based on a Christian retreat, and even with the mention of God, or without the mention of God, this was an important point I had discovered.
One of the sharers told his story, and shared his discovery that “God wants nothing more, but for us to be happy.”
That in all that we think, feel, and do, there is joy, and happiness.
That we are doing what not only sustains us, but fills us up with deep joy and gladness.
What a feeling! I could imaging several moments where I can say I might have already experienced that.
For how many years, he was chasing honor, money, glory, but at the end of the day, he discovered that he wasn’t truly happy. It was quite a struggle.
It was a struggle to leave behind the identity that he had built for himself after so long, to be able to rediscover and step into what would fill him up with fulfillment, and joy.
To discover his deepest gladness.
But when he did, in a twist of fate, he never found himself short on material things and he was well provided for.
If he took care of finding, and being in, what makes him deeply glad, then the world, infinite intelligence, or if you call it, God, would find a way to use that to fill a deep need in the world.
And that happened, and he hasn’t looked back, ever since.
Who knows how to live life anyway?
There might be some things that work for me, and many that won’t.
What’s clear to me, is that there really is no one way to live life, and you never really know.
But you keep on discovering, trying, and moving on.
Maybe it’s more apt to say that you fail forward in life.
And in doing that, you are actually, truly, succeeding.
What makes you deeply glad? Let us know in the comments below!