First a quote: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”– Dr. Seuss
This week, I must have stared at a piece of blank paper for more than an hour before typing the first word of this MMM. I must have started over from scratch at least ten times, if not more. In the end, I’m still not certain I have chosen wisely but, I’m speaking from a troubled place, with a troubled heart.
In reflecting upon this past week, I’m not sure how best to describe it, or even if I should. If I were to share some, where would I start, and where would I end? I also wonder how many of you can relate, a little, or a lot.
These days, I often feel like we’re all strapped into the seats of a never-ending roller coaster of emotional extremes; a ride most didn’t choose, or desire, and a ride which is clearly not over yet. I wonder how many people are inwardly screaming, “Stop I Wanna Get Off?”
Like a roller coaster, my last several weeks have been full ups and downs, corkscrew twists and very tight turns, uphill climbs, and downhill thrills. If you feel you have been on a similar ride, I suspect many of you are hoping the last scary curve is just ahead, perhaps right around the next bend. While I personally don’t yet see the end of the ride in my very cloudy crystal ball, I do know there are life lessons to be learned, and to be enjoyed, along the way.
Before bullet-pointing several of those lessons, I share a bit of the most heart-wrenching part of my week.
Yesterday, I attended (virtually) another funeral, a celebration of life, of a friend and colleague of more than twenty years. The ceremony was also a roller coaster of emotions all on its own. For now, and in short, the life of the young woman honored was a wife, mother of three, Gammy, co-worker, friend, tennis player, role model, and so much more. What started with a headache for her on a Saturday, ended with a brain aneurysm and her passing two days later. Tragically and unexpectedly, a family understandably in shock.
There was as much pain, sadness, misery, and heartache in the room as there was joy, happiness, laughter, and connectedness. This woman was clearly special, and loved, by so many and in so many ways. Her legacy is only now beginning to be recognized.
For me personally, the celebration provided a strange mix of sadness and inspiration. I was again reminded in a powerful way to reflect, focus, and prioritize what is profoundly important in our lives. I left that “celebration of life” ceremony inspired to challenge myself, and to challenge you, to be our “absolute best selves” in the days and weeks ahead.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am absolutely convinced, as individuals, and as a country, we can dream bigger, and we can do better! Pick any emotional topic you choose, we can dream bigger, and we can do better. I have said this before and will say it again, “Getting back to normal is the wrong goal! Let’s set our goal to go forward to better! Let’s start today.”
I do not know what that effort looks like, nor who will be involved. Neither do I know where to begin, or what actions to take first. I will welcome your support and I welcome your thoughts, prayers, ideas and more importantly, actions. Together, let’s start making a positive difference in our own little corners of the world.
Dr. Seuss was correct when he said:
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Now, back to lessons from an emotional roller coaster ride:
- Emotions, in and of themselves, are neither good nor bad, they just are. Sadness is not a “bad” emotion just as joy is not a “good” emotion, they are what they are… human emotions.
- Emotions are what give our lives texture, context, and richness.
- Most of us don’t choose our emotions, they just happen.
- I was once taught by a man named Bob Conklin to say: “I can’t control how I feel right now, but I can control how I will respond right now.”
- Between every emotional event, and our reaction to that event, is an exceedingly small space, and in that space, we can choose our response. We are Response-Able! This is what emotional intelligence is all about.
- As humans, we can’t fully appreciate the “highs of life” if we don’t also experience, and appreciate, the “lows of life.”Victory tastes sweeter when we have known defeat. They are all part of the ride.
- There will be unexpected twists and turns.
- And lastly, would you really prefer to be stuck on a “Merry-Go-Round?” Not me.
How and where will you dream bigger today? Where will you be better today? How can you help others be their best today? (After Becky, my wife and best friend, proofreads this article, I’m going to invite her to go for a walk.)
Won’t you join me please? Let’s go forward to better… together.
As always, how will you love, live, or lead differently, or better, this week?
Have a great week!!
“Expanding Your Capacity for Success”
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- “We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.” – J.K. Rowling
- “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop
- “Go out into the world and do good until there is too much good in the world.” – Larry H. Miller
- “The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi
- “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” – Mohammed Ali
- “The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves.” – Helen Keller
- “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” – Plato
- “Every sunrise is an invitation for us to arise and brighten someone’s day.” – Richelle E. Goodrich