Begin Again

Ruby 2 069
So what do you do after 31 days of getting stuff done?
You begin again.
You get more stuff done. Just keep swimming. Or writing. Or working on your projects, relationships, fitness goals, wedding plans, dream vacation, degree, or whatever your thing may be.
Because life isn’t just a sound bite of the sensational or a slice of nice, consistent progress. It’s the whole enchilada. It’s a series of fits and starts. It’s one step forward, two steps back. It’s continuously changing the toilet paper roll.
I keep this Begin Again stone on my writing desk to remind me that no matter how many words I’ve written, every day is an opportunity to write more and improve my craft.
Just as you would never expect one meal, one night’s sleep, or one workout to fuel you for life, you can’t expect to do a difficult thing once (like a 31 day challenge) and be good to go indefinitely.

Challenges catapult you out of your comfort zone and into your evolutionary zone.

This is where things get interesting. This is where the ordinary becomes the extraordinary because you have become extraordinary in the process. You may not have noticed the transformation because it occurred in the context of your ordinary life.
But somewhere along the way, the discipline, desire, and doing became ingrained in your brain. Not doing what your new habits dictate now probably feels stranger than doing them did in the beginning.
I have to admit, on Monday I felt a bit like our new puppy Ruby feels when she goes in her crate and Bob or I disappear for awhile. Although my house, my hubby-to-be, and my dogs were happy to have my full attention once again, I was feeling some separation anxiety from this community we’ve created together.
So this morning when Ruby woke up at 4:55am, I decided to use her wide awake time to begin again and write. Ruby also informed me that she would like her own blog, Pinterest page, or Instagram account. Stay tuned for The Life of Riley (Ruby O’Riley). A zen dog with a blog, Pinterest page, or Instagram account.  🙂
Habits are fascinating things. They shape our lives for better or worse. If you’d like to learn more about them, here are a couple of resources I recommend.

If you participated in our Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge, I’d love to hear what new habits you formed.  If you didn’t participate but have some insights or experiences with learning new habits or breaking old ones, please share in the comments below.
 
 
 

Be Here Now

small step
It’s Day 31 of the Get Stuff Done 1 x31 Challenge. Today’s challenge is to be here now and savor the success of consistently doing something small but significant to move your life forward. That means before you rush into the next big thing, you take some time to articulate, enumerate, and celebrate all the stuff you’ve done in the last 31 days.
While I could go into detail about the impressive things you’ve accomplished, I’m going to share something I posted after last year’s challenge with a few extra insights from this year. This helps explain why taking on a challenge that catapults us out of our comfort zone and into our evolutionary zone is so significant.
The reason for doing anything that challenges us physically, mentally, emotionally, spirituality, financially or all of the above is because we forget what we are made of. We lose sight of our superpowers. The only way to reactivate them is not to just dream the impossible dream but actually do something about it.
While it may seem like trying something for a few weeks, twenty-one days, or a month  or two won’t change  a lifetime of bad habits, you may be surprised what a little forward momentum will do for you.
Here are ten terrific reasons to act on your desires and take on a time specific challenge.
#1 – Focus is required.
Whether it’s 3 days or 30, knowing you have a finite amount of time to achieve certain results definitely clears your calendar of any unnecessary clutter or distractions and allows you to focus on the goal at hand.  If you think you have all the time in the world to work on your website, draw up a will, or lose twenty pounds, that’s how long it will take. If you have a timeline, a plan, and a schedule that’s non-negotiable, you’ll get down to business.
#2 – Resources rush to the rescue.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” The universe will meet you halfway but you have to take the first step.
When you are committed to the challenge, synchronicities occur. From random songs on the radio to books that fall off shelves to old friends who suddenly call with the exact information you need, assistance is all around you. Tune in to it.
#3 – Activation energy is unleashed.

In her TED talk, Mel Robbins talks about “activation energy” or the energy required to overcome the inertia you will experience when faced with the physical reality of changing your behavior.
Whether that’s throwing off the covers and getting out of bed a half hour early to write instead of hitting the snooze button or walking away from the chocolate chips crying out to you from the cupboard, conquering the gravitational pull to old habits will most likely be the hardest part of your challenge.
#4 – Next steps are revealed.
The great thing about taking the first step is that in order to get anywhere, you have to  take another. You do not have to know where it will lead or how long it will take to get there. You only need to pay attention and take the next step when it is revealed. Attempting to blast through all of the steps at once is not only incredibly destructive but hides the treasures that can only be found in navigating  a tricky terrain. (See Day 13)
#5 – Perfection is not an option.
The quickest way to learn a something is to fail a few times. Just like getting lost helps you find your way the next time, failing is a sure fire way to help you continue to refine and define your reason for wanting to master a skill or challenge.
You don’t know what you don’t know when you begin. But you get leaner, fiercer, and smarter as you gain experience. Or you soften, become more compassionate, and wise.
As most people training for a marathon will tell you, they are not in it to win it. By qualifying, participating, and completing, they achieve something beyond winning.
You are not taking this challenge to become perfect.  You are taking this challenge to become more of who you know you can be.
#6 – Expect the unexpected. (See Day 29)

At some point during the challenge, something will surprise you.  Whether it is something you learn about yourself or an opportunity that presents itself, your efforts will be rewarded when you least expect it.
#7 – Freedom comes through discipline.
One of Gretchen Rubin’s Secrets to Adulthood is, What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” The biggest lesson I’ve learned from any challenge I’ve completed in the last year is this. Freedom comes through discipline.
Discipline makes those hundreds of decisions that could derail you so much easier to make. You just say no. Not for the next 21 or 31 days or however long it takes.  Doing what you need to do every day instead of once in a while or when you feel like it makes all the difference.
#8 – You are capable of more than you imagined.
Until you activate your superpowers, you don’t know you have them. Until you do what you say you want to do, you’ll never know you can do it. And so much more.
One of  Danielle LaPorte’s truthbombs encourages us to “Love the necessary hard work.”  While it may be difficult to believe in the beginning, you will come to respect this advice. Once you have walked through the fire, felt the heat of the challenge, and come out on the other side, you will not only understand the wisdom of these words, you will be an example of them.
#9 – You are not alone.

While it may feel like you are the only one making the supreme sacrifice of giving up junk food, bad tv, or online shopping in order to achieve your physical, mental, spiritual, or financial goals, you are not alone. Support groups abound. Find others who are doing what you are doing and learn from them. Someone a few steps ahead of you can tell you what’s coming and help you prepare for it.
Just when I would tell myself I could skip a day or doing this didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, one of you would leave a comment or like the post. Then I’d remember that how you do anything is how you do everything. It mattered a great deal that I kept my word, did what I set out to do, and never stopped believing it mattered.
#10 – Nothing succeeds like success.
The reason today’s challenge is to be here now is because success is fleeting. Savor it. Write down what worked. Write down what didn’t or work you could do instead. I would dearly love for you to share those things with me, so I can do better as well. But if you don’t share them with me, please share them with someone.
By tomorrow you will most likely be on to something bigger and better and forget what made this challenge so challenging. Crossing the finish line is huge! Raise your arms up above your head in the victory pose and definitely add this song by Jason Mraz to your playlist. Or put on the theme song from Rocky.
Remember this quote by A.A. Milne.“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” 
You have just proven what you are capable of and no one can take that away from you. Let this experience fuel your next big adventure.
Thanks so much for completing this challenge with me.  I’d love your feedback in the comments below or email me at penny@wellpower.com.
 

Take Stock of What You've Got

kids in autumn park counting and choosing leader
It’s Day 15 of the Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge and today’s challenge is to take stock of what you’ve got.
This morning as I was transferring my shirts from their bulky plastic hangers to their luxurious slim velvet ones, I realized I had an opportunity to take stock of what I’ve got. How many shirts do I really need?  How many of them spark joy?
A year ago I read Marie Kondo’s wildly popular book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and took her advice to heart. I ruthlessly cleaned my closet, kitchen, garage, basement, bathroom, and office using the “Does it spark joy?” question as my guide.
Although I felt quite successful then, it now appears as though I need to go through the whole process again.

Taking inventory is an essential task that dictates the action that is to follow.

Although I’d like to think I have a fairly accurate idea of the people, places, and things in my life, the reality is my perception is skewed. Especially when it comes to my favorite things.
I seemed to have lost sight of how many journals, pens, books, scarves, shoes, dog toys, exercise equipment, Buddhas, bracelets, containers, and now hangers I actually have. So, it’s time to give some of it the heave-ho.
The thrill of getting rid of my stuff now rivals the thrill once reserved for getting it in the first place.
The paring down, the letting go, and the shedding of my skin that seems so insistent during these 31 days of Getting Stuff Done prepare me to move more mindfully and purposefully in the months ahead.
As an educator, August and September feel more like the beginning of a new year to me than January.  All of this last minute sorting, stewing, inventorying, and doing in July helps me sort out what stays and what goes as I move forward in my life, get my groove back, and become the badass I keep telling myself I am.
Taking stock of what I’ve got helps me come clean as to who I am and what I need to succeed. Knowing this has huge impact on how I proceed. Because I am not the same person I was a year ago. What worked wonders for me then may not work for me now.
And that’s the amazing thing about being alive. You just never know.
In my latest attempt to understand and appreciate the male species I was listening to Sam Keen’s excellent audiobook, Fire in the Belly.  In it Sam talks about having a conversation with his friend Howard Thurman who said, “There are two questions a man must ask himself: The first is ‘Where am I going?’ and the second is ‘Who will go with me?’  If you ever get these questions in the wrong order, you are in trouble.”   
As you take stock of what you’ve got, may your answer to these questions spark the kind of joy that helps you discard what you no longer need with the greatest of ease.
Share if you dare in the comments below.  Or email with your stories at penny@wellpower.com.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Save

Everyday Alchemy

 
Union du Soleil et de la Lune sur champ d'toilesIt’s Day 14 of the Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge. Today’s challenge is to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.
While you may not be spinning straw into gold or base metals into unlimited riches, you do have the ability to turn an ordinary experience into an exquisite event.
“Surely this will take more than 15 minutes,” you protest.
Let me just remind you how quickly you have transformed a child’s playroom into a castle, a jungle, a campground, or a pirate ship with just a few props and an ample imagination.
If you’ve ever planned a party, a product launch, a promotional event, or an evening with the in-laws, you know that it all starts with the intent to create something spectacular.
While you may not be able to pull all the pieces together in 5-15 minutes, you can start making a list or sketching out a mind-map or making some calls to reinforcements in order to start the transformation.
Amazon’s 24 hour Prime Day sale is an example of how you can transform an ordinary day into something extraordinary.  What started last year as a way to celebrate their 20th anniversary and promote their prime membership turned into a global event this year that transformed an ordinary Tuesday in July into the biggest sales day on record, outselling Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
Of course there were thousands of details that went into the planning, promoting, and executing of this event, but it started with the idea to make something out of nothing, which is what I’m suggesting you do.
Normally I would not encourage much ado about nothing, but sometimes you’ve got to make your own kind of magic just because you can.
Maybe you want to start celebrating Financial Freedom Fridays to see if you can go without purchasing anything for one Friday a quarter.  Or maybe you want to practice Meatless Mondays where you venture into vegetarianism for a month of Mondays. Or try Tell-a-New-Tale-Tuesday where you rewrite your story with the happy ending you know you deserve. It’s all up to you to decide what you want to do.
Get Stuff Done 1×31 was just a challenge I posed to a few friends last year. This year we’re all in this together and I’m amazed at what people are doing.
How can you turn an evening at home into a something special? How can you make a meal into a memory?  How can you transform a birthday celebration into a brand new beginning, regardless of how old you are? What do you need to alter in order to experience the extraordinary that awaits?
We’re all everyday alchemists. Share  your secrets in the comments below.
 

Small change

US Coins
It’s Day 13 of the Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge and today we’re going to keep it short, sweet, and relatively simple. Today’s challenge is all about small change.
With a name like Penny, you might think I’m an expert on small change. Regardless of how hard times get, I’ll always have a “penny” to my name. As I assured my fireman, as long as you keep me around, you’ll never be penny-less. Lucky me. 🙂
But as you might suspect, I’m not talking about literal small change. I’m talking about the kind of small change you can make in 5-15 minutes that can make the most difference in the next hour, the next day, the next week, or the next year.
In our quest to accomplish the big stuff, we often overlook the small stuff that makes the big stuff possible.  I love this image and question by Hugh MacLeod of gapingvoid.com.

 “Where can the smallest change make the biggest difference?”

I subscribe to his free daily downloads of comically wise drawings. (You can, too, by clicking here.) I often print them out and put them in a place where I will see them throughout the day.
When I asked myself the small change question at the start of this challenge, the reply was surprisingly simple. “Change your screensaver.”  I kid you not.
I like to think of myself as open to change, but I can count the number of times I’ve changed my screensaver on one hand. Since I spend a considerable amount of time at or near my computer, this would make a noticeable difference.
Now every time I see a picture of the winding paths and roads I chose as my new screensaver, I am delighted because it reminds me of the journey I am on. These images spark my imagination and take me to places the familiar photos did not.
In anticipation of donating clothes along with several plastic hangers to Dress for Success, I bought some slim velvet hangers as replacements. Had I known these hangers would  free up valuable real estate in my closet, I would have purchased them years ago.
I have a history with finding the right hanger for the job that dates back to my days of managing a Pro Shop in Texas. So I’m not sure why it took me so long to discover these luxurious slim velvet ones. There is nothing inherently risky or even costly about switching hangers. Yet it’s totally transformed how I feel about organizing my clothes.
These are the kinds of small changes I’m talking about.  I’m all for discipline and delayed gratification. But sometimes instant gratification works wonders.
So, what will it be for you today? Discovering a new app to organize your lists? Getting shoe strings that don’t come untied when you’re walking the dog? Filling up a thermos with filtered water from home so you don’t need to buy bottled water?
Think about your most insistent issue.  What small change can you make to alter your interaction with it for the better? If you are stumped, ask a child. They often see the obvious and will give you an honest appraisal of the situation.
I’d love to hear what you come up with and decide to do today.  Share your solutions in the comments below.
 
 
 

Just Keep Swimming

 
Corals, fishes and diver
It’s Day 12 of our Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge. In honor of the first fabulous fish to join the newly established aquarium at my home away from home, Clinton Community College Maquoketa Center, today’s challenge is to just keep swimming.
Admittedly, not every day is going to be the best day of your life. But every day can be another day in paradise, if you choose to see it that way. It certainly is for our new fish.
Yesterday these fish were just a few in a sea of plenty in a pet store. Today they swim freely  in a 50 gallon tank with gadgets and gizmos a-plenty, and whozits and whatzits galore. Thingamabobs? They’ve got thingamabobs. And everything else under the sea. Okay, my tribute to The Little Mermaid ends here.
But my challenge to you is just beginning. Today I’d like you to think about where and how you are swimming along. What gadgets and gizmos do you need to get where you’re going? Who and what can help you find your voice, make your mark, meet your match, and own your throne?
We used to have a pool at my parent’s farm and I would spend every summer alternately cleaning the pool and swimming in it. I truly did have gadgets and gizmos galore to help me channel my inner Dana Torres  or  Diana Nyad and swim more laps each day in less time.
Sadly, the family pool is no longer around. Fortunately, the Internet is and these are the waters I swim in now. Surfing the web and casting my words out into the world to see what comes back is exhilarating.
Because what comes back is you! You, from around the globe with your glorious goals and good wishes, have joined forces with my Get Your Groove Back group and given me one walloping good reason to continue to dive into these uncharted waters.
Figuring this out together is much easier than figuring it out alone, isn’t it?
And just so you know it’s not always smooth sailing, let me share what’s kicking my butt about this challenge.
These days I spend every waking moment writing or thinking about writing, wondering how to post a video or where the photo I just downloaded is now located on my computer, mortified that I may have posted something with a glaring typo or two, unclear how to share the songs playing in my head, the books vying for my attention, or the latest blog post that rocked my world, or why I can’t seem to post anything before the day is almost over.  Yada, yada, yada.
All these concerns crowd around my regular job,  getting groceries, making meals, running errands, walking the dog, doing laundry, getting stuff done, and spending time with the guy who puts out fires. Even though the challenge increases the intensity of my life, it also infuses it with unprecedented urgency, meaning, and connection.
This is why it’s called a challenge. This is why it’s for a limited time. This is how we learn what we’re made of. And this is why we just keep swimming.
Here’s what Jen Sincero, author of You Are A Badass, has to say.

“So often, we pretend we’ve made a decision, when what we’ve really done is signed up to try until it gets too uncomfortable.”

Somewhere around now, you might be tempted to think this was fun while it lasted but you’ve got other fish to fry (just please don’t mention this in front of the fish).
Stay the course. Just keep swimming.  How you do anything is how you do everything. You quit now, you quit every time you get bored, overwhelmed, or irritated.
This is where it gets interesting. This is where the daily dares start to become healthy habits. I’m asking for 1 x 31, not 31 x 1. This is where the magic happens.
Share your fears, frustrations, breakthroughs, or epiphanies in the comments below.  Or email them to me at penny@wellpower.com.
Say hello to my little friends….
[wpvideo YmEZlyt9]
 
 
 
 

What's New?

Concept of training. Wooden bookshelf full of books in form of m
It’s Day 11 of the Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge. Today’s challenge is to learn something new.
No matter how old or young you may be, how much you think you know or don’t know, or whether you think there are any original ideas left to explore, as an educator I’m here to tell you there is always something to learn.
I know learning can be intimidating. Often the hardest thing for a student to do is to walk through through the doors of whatever learning institution he or she chooses. But doing so can change a life.
That’s why in order for me to teach, I must continue to learn. As a writer, it helps for me to be a voracious reader. To be an effective coach, I need to be willing to be coached.
TED talks are one of my favorite free sources of learning. I am a huge fan of these 18 minute entrées into the world of experts in every imaginable field. This is a luxury I would have never thought possible in my workshop junkie days when going where the gurus were was the only way to get the goods.
This month you can not only do the Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge, but you can also take the TED ED Challenge.  These lessons can also be completed in 5-15 minutes, depending on how engrossed you get in the topic.  A new topic is presented each day in an animated short that brings the information to life in a very entertaining and educational way. (It has also prompted me to add “find funding for an animator, director, sound editor, script director, and producer” to my Get Stuff Done 1×31 list.)
One of my biggest pet peeves is when people complain they are bored. There is so much to learn, discover, and do. Why would you not use the day’s downtime to take advantage of the ample learning opportunities to plant seeds in your imagination?

Our biggest threat is not weapons of mass destruction but weapons of mass distraction.

Today I encourage you to cultivate the kind of creativity that comes with having a quiet moment, a curious mind, and the patience to contemplate the questions that have confounded great minds for centuries.
Work a cross-word puzzle. Solve a Sudoku puzzle. Doodle or sketch a logo for your 1×31 Challenge list. Animate one of these lessons. Write a reply to a perplexing question with your non-dominant hand.
Use that Wiggle Room from Day 6 to explore the unfamiliar and make unlikely connections between things that appear to have nothing to do with each other. Maybe you will stumble upon a solution to a problem that just needed to be approached from a different perspective?
Share what you learn in the comments below.
*******************
Here are a few classics for your playlist:
What’s New, Pussycat? – Tom Jones
What a Wonderful World – James Taylor, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel
Inside Out – Trisha Yearwood, Don Henley
And here are just a few of my favorite TED presenters:

 

Picture It Done

Old vintage camera
It’s Day 5 of the Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge.
Today’s mission, should you choose to accept it, is to picture it done. It, of course, being the most insistent thing on your Get It Done 1×31 list.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the first thing about photography. You don’t need fancy equipment. If you can take a selfie, you can do today’s task.
All you need is a way to gather evidence that you can, indeed, get stuff done.
It’s easy to forget the many decisions, mistakes, educated guesses, hunches, and hallucinations that get you to the Promised Land.  How many times have you accomplished a goal and moved right on to the next one without taking a single second to savor your success?
This will not happen on my watch. Not this month. This month you will share the love!
The thing about to-do lists is that they never really get done.  You may be able to cross everything off your list on Tuesday, but by Wednesday you already have another list waiting.
So give yourself a break.  Or in this case, give yourself some proof that you are evolving and moving steadily towards your goals.  Even if they are moving targets.
Here’s what I’d like you to do.
Knowing what we now know about anthems (thanks to Day 4), feel free to turn the following statement into a little jingle along the lines of the chorus to BeyoncĂ©’s Single Ladies song. (If you liked it, then you shoulda put a ring on it).
 If you did it, then take a picture of it. (Sing it with me now.) Let me repeat….It being the most insistent thing on your Get It Done 1×31 list today.
This way you will have solid evidence that you have not only done what you set out to do, however small, but you’ve done it consistently.
A picture is worth a thousand doubts about your ability to get stuff done.
By the time you have taken a picture of at least 31 things you’ve done this month, you may never consider yourself as a slacker again.
Feel free to post your pictures in the comments below.
 
 
 
 

Making a List, Checking It Twice

To Do List transformed into New Year's resolutions
Ho, ho, no!  It’s not Christmas in July.  But it is Day 2 of the Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge and today we’re building on what we did on Day 1.
I trust you made a list of stuff you’d love to get done in the next 30 days. Remember the list doesn’t necessarily have to be reality based. It can be a wish list of sorts. However, I’m guessing a few things found their way on to your list that are not only doable, but may already be done.
Being the go-getter you are, I’d be surprised if you did not immediately do one thing just to cross it off your list. For that reason alone, I’m glad you joined the challenge.
Today we’re going to take a deep dive into what our list is all about. Call it what you will, a to-do list, a bucket list, a wish list, a grocery list, a laundry list, a just following the rules lists, you name it (literally).
I’m guessing many of you made a numbered list with a column called “To Do”. Okay, so a few of you went wild and created color-coded mind map. You maybe even jotted your list down on the back of a napkin. However you designed your list is perfect-o.
iphone 6 861
What I’d like you to do now is to expand your list and add two more columns to the right with the headings“To Have” and “To Be” so you end up with a total of three columns. You may need to start over so you have enough room.
Your new list should look something like this.
iphone 6 860
 
One of my favorite quotes by Michael Hyatt is “We lose our way when we lose our why.” Today’s challenge is all about uncovering your why.
To the best of your ability, see if you can figure out what all the To Do is about. Is the reason you want to get the stuff done in Column 1 so you can have something (Column 2), be something (Column 3), or both?
Hopefully this little adventure in list making helps you get clear on why you want to get certain stuff done. When the time comes to get it done, you’ll know what’s at stake if you don’t. Maybe it’s your reputation. Maybe it’s your self-esteem. Maybe it’s world peace – or  your corner of the world. Maybe it’s the simple satisfaction of a job well done.
Whatever it is, find your motivation.
Since this may take longer than 15 minutes, you can just pick a couple of items on your list for the deep dive. Of course, if you have time, I encourage you to do them all.
If you prefer, talk this over with the friends you’ve recruited to join you in this challenge. Just remember to write down what you discuss, so you can make it happen.
Okay, have fun.  Feel free to post your encouraging words below.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Save

The Boys of Summer

ct-cubs-vs-pirates-20160619-022(photo credits – Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
Okay, so I’m not usually so interested in the boys of summer, but I have to say if a team ever embodied the How to Get Your Groove Back method I teach, it would be the Chicago Cubs.
Ever since I was little, summers were spent either listening to the lovable losers blaring on our kitchen radio, watching them on tv, or occasionally going into Chicago for a game.
My parents are snowbirds and spend their winters in Arizona. While they love Arizona, they also want to be as close to the Cubs training camp and take in as many preseason games as possible.
As long as I can remember, it’s been the same thing. A sentiment shared by the entire MLB franchise. The Cubs will choke.  If the  Curse of the Billy Goat is to be believed, the team will never win a World Series at Wrigley Field.
But like all groovy gals, guys, teams, businesses, and best sellers, where there is a will, there is a way. In the case of the Cubs, where there is a dream and a team of outstanding people capable of making that dream come true, anything is possible.
Take Wilson Contreras for example. Last night, at this rookie’s first major-league at bat in front of 41,024 fans, he hit the first pitch 417 feet over the center-field to score a two-run homer.
I happen to be watching the game because Bob, like my parents, is a bit obsessed with the Cubs. He and my dad spent Father’s Day salmon fishing in Wisconsin. Bob had just gotten home, unloaded the car, and made it as far as the couch before collapsing.
As I cuddled up next to him he declared, “Honey, you’re watching history in the making.” I asked why. He said, “It’s this guy’s first at bat in the major leagues.
My reply was, “Doesn’t every player have a first time at bat in the majors once in his career? What makes this one so special?
It defied explanation.
Clearly the crowd knew something I didn’t. All 40,000+ of them were on their feet.
And then Contreras stepped up to the plate and in front of all those adoring fans made history.
I must admit, it was wondrous.
How many hours went into making that moment possible? How many people had supported him, encouraged him, created the circumstances that made that moment absolutely perfect?
I will never know the discipline, the training, the sacrifices, the mental toughness that made the quieting of nerves, the calling in of confidence, and the summoning of superpowers possible.
But I do know we’ve all done similar things in our own version of the big leagues.
Whether you’ve delivered a speech, signed divorce papers, buried a loved one, sent a child off to college, into the military, or walked him or her down the aisle, whether you sang karaoke at your neighborhood pub, ran for office, or stood up for yourself in front of your family or organization, I know you possess the kind of courage called for when it’s your turn to step up to the plate.
You simply need to summon it on a regular basis.
It doesn’t happen without practice.
When I was startled out of sleep this morning at 1:30 am by my dog’s disagreeable dinner choice, my thoughts drifted back to the game instead of dreamland. Suddenly I was wide awake as I replayed the emotions of watching someone do precisely what he was born to do. It was thrilling to witness what love of the game, love of the work and discipline, love of the fans, love of the players and coach, and love of team made possible.
It made me think about the following.

  • What would be possible for you if you had 40,000 fans on their feet supporting, encouraging, and believing it you?
  • What would stepping up to the plate look like for you?
  • If you hit it out of the ball park, what would that mean to you?

These questions kept the sandman away for a good two hours. Maybe they will stir something up in you as well?
I love hearing what matters to you. You may even surprise yourself when you jot dot the first thing that comes to mind in the comments below.
Batter up!