Self Development

I wrote a post, but this isn’t it

About a week ago, I sat down and wrote a post. A shouty, ranty, pissed off kind of post.

But this isn’t it.

I felt like I had my reasons for being shouty and ranty. It’s been a tough few months. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s been a shitty few months. Really shitty. So shitty, in fact, that I finally had enough, and, with Limp Bizkit’s ‘Break Stuff’ blaring in the background, let rip in my journal. A proper spleen-venting session, releasing months of pent-up anger, frustration and disappointment.

And, as my spleen vented, and my fingers pounded the keys, the irony of having spent that day launching a new programme about managing your self-talk – mastering your inner voice so that your negative soundtrack stays firmly in its box – was not lost on me. Nor was the hypocrisy.

But, no matter how ironic, or hypocritical, the battle I was having with my self-talk undoubtedly was, I could not shake the soundtrack blaring in my mind.

A soundtrack that told me I was a failure.



We are all just syllables

We are all connected.  Nothing exists in isolation.  Yet so many revolutionaries end up on a lonely path, jaded from the knock-backs, let-downs and battle-scars, convinced that this thing that is ready to burst out of their soul must stand alone.  But the problem with that lonely path is that it skews your reality.

I’ve walked that lonely path and experienced that skewed reality.  I’d reached a point where I was so focused, so single-minded and blinkered in my approach, that it no longer bothered me that we couldn’t get the backing for our revolution, or build the team we needed, because I was going to change the world, by myself, if it killed me.  I truly believed that my life was a self-contained book – a story written in its own right.

But that belief – that my life was a self-contained book – was arrogant.

The day I realised just how arrogant that belief was, I found myself deeply, deeply humbled.  That day, I realised that, while taken in isolation my life is a self contained story, life cannot, and does not, exist in isolation.  I realised that, taken in a cosmic context, not only is my life not a book in its own right, it isn’t even a chapter in a book.  In fact, it isn’t even a page in a chapter – not even a paragraph on a page, or a sentence in a paragraph, or even a word in a sentence.

My life is merely a syllable.

Now, here’s the thing with syllables – taken in isolation, they are meaningless and, in the context of the whole – a word, or a sentence – they are often imperceptible.  Yet, as seemingly insignificant or imperceptible as a syllable may appear, they are vital to the meaning of the word, the sentence, and the story.


Self Development

Find your middle

Do you spend time wondering if you’re making the right decision, or if you’re in the right place, or if it’s the right time?  I do.

Or, at least I did.

You see, I’ve become convinced that there is no right decision, right place or right time.  Instead, there’s a ‘sweet spot’ – your ‘middle’.

Your ‘middle’ is not about the decision you make, the location or the timing.  It’s all about alignment – aligning your activity with your strengths, skills and passions.

The significance of this hit me when I was chatting with my buddy, Steve.

Steve makes a ruckus wherever he goes.  He’s pioneered a ton of stuff.   He’s inspired others to make a ruckus and to pioneer new things.  And he’s enjoyed some real success.  But now he’s starting a new venture.  And, as he was sharing his ideas and how they lined up with his vision, I realised how Steve’s new venture aligned with his passions, his strengths and his skills in a way the other stuff he had been doing hadn’t.

He was moving into his sweet spot – he was finding his ‘middle’.

I got very excited.


Social Change


I’d like to share something personal with you, if that’s OK?

Jeff Goins, a favourite blogger and author of mine, talks about being ‘wrecked’. What he’s referring to is the effect that some events can have on you – how they can ‘wreck’ you. These are the life changing events that impact you to such a degree that there is no way back from them. What was normal is gone, and what now is normal is something new.

I used to think of those events as being confined to third world mission trips, war zones and other far-away situations. I never imagined that you could be ‘wrecked’ in one of the western world’s most vibrant and wealthy cities, home to a multi-billion dollar film industry and over a hundred thousand millionaires. But you can.

A year or two back, I was in Los Angeles for an amazing conference. As part of the conference experience we were housed in a $200 a night hotel. Ensconced in my funky, 300 square foot room, with flat screen TV and mini bar, overlooking the LA offices of major banks and corporations, and surrounded by trendy bars and restaurants, life was as life is. Normal.

But it didn’t stay normal for long.

I quickly discovered that L.A. is a city of extremes. Extreme wealth and extreme poverty. Extreme happiness and extreme despair. Over 126,000 millionaires and over 50,000 homeless.

Like I said, extremes.



Don’t forget the memories

I had in mind that we would talk about something else today.  But, as I sit here contemplating the last few days, I can’t help but feel that this conversation – the one we are about to have, not the one I had previously had in mind – is too important to put off.

Last year, Kate and I celebrated 20 years being married.  And, for the first time in those 20 years, we decided we would mark it by doing something special.  Sure, we’d celebrated previous anniversaries with nice meals in nice restaurants, but we’d never done anything really special.  You know – pushed the boat out.  And we figured that, after 20 years, it was about time we did.

So we booked to go away to a super-nice hotel for two nights.  And, as you might expect in a super-nice hotel, we had a super-nice time.  And that made me think.

It made me think that we haven’t had enough super-nice times in our 20 years together.  It made me think that we haven’t even had enough just ‘plain old nice’ times in those 20 years.  Some.  But not enough.  And that’s no-one’s fault but our own.  Or, probably more accurately, mostly my fault.

You see, like I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m driven.  That can be a good thing – it means I get things done, and make stuff happen.  But it can, as we’ve spoken about before, also be a bad thing – a very bad thing – because it can result in me (or you, if you are driven, too) being focused on what needs to be done at the expense of everything else.  Consumed by the ‘do’, instead of creating space to simply ‘be’.