Act.

As a young sixth grade student in rural America, I wanted to be a part of the yearly school musical. In fact, little did I know I wanted to be a part of my middle schools first play / musical. I auditioned for and got the role of a cabinet member in the Annie musical. I had exactly one line and I performed that line near perfectly as I can remember. My acting career was off to a good start and a great finish as I have never acted again since that play.

I look back fondly on my time as a cast member in my school play. It was a simple goal to become an actor in a play and I took the steps to join the play and act. That’s the main message of tonight’s writing, think it and start to act. I have always enjoyed being a person who is known to act, to set their mind to something and get it done. These days one of the most important things that we can do is set a goal and get after it.

I was recently listening to a podcast that touched on the best thing we can do is take opportunities to learn a skill and act on that newly learned skill. That is the best way that we can learn mastery of the skill, just by doing it and seeing the outcome we can better learn the subject matter and improve the ability we have to reach the desired outcome we seek. Just by doing we can become masters of the skillsets we desire to have.

Once we feel competent in these skills we can then teach others how to do them and improve our skills as we go. The best way to learn and retain information is to teach others what you know and how to gain results, Whether that is creating a podcast, woodworking, or sewing a skill learned and shared is a benefit that comes around full circle.

Starting today, take the opportunity to act on your vision and get things done.

Dog Bath.

We try weekly to bathe our dog June, there are times we skip a week and there are times when she gets multiple baths. It all depends on how dirty our dog is after playing outside, and how ambitious we are feeling. Today was the day to bathe the beast and help her smell a little better.

Every time we try to trick our dog into jumping into the tub she catches on to what we are doing then tries to evade us at all costs. She runs around the house as if it is a game of tag, with her heart and mind set on avoiding the suds of cleanliness. Once we are able to catch her and talk her into climbing into the tub she sits down in the back of the tub as far away from the showerheads reach as she can.

June hangs her head in defeat while she is bathed and seems to hate every minute of the bath. As soon as we are finished with her bath she shakes twice in the tub, then leaps from the tub and is ready to zoom around the house scattering water wherever she goes. We’ve trained her to run to the living room and roll around on a blanket, which she does with more stoke than a Fin taking a winter swim then dashing back to the sauna. As much as our pup pretends to hate baths she does enjoy the ten minutes after when she rolls around and dries off on the blanket.

The reason I share this story of the weekly dog bath is that many of us are like my dog, we dislike the tasks that will improve our quality of life but are often energetic after we buckle down and do what needs to be done. It’s never easy to dive into a challenge, we have to build ourselves up to the task often playing a little tag till we get there. Yet, once we commit to the idea and just do the thing, we are rewarded with good feelings all around for accomplishing the tasks.

Vision.

What do you see when you look into your future? Happiness, adventure, mastering new skills, visiting new places, or financial success? Any of these sound great to me personally, some of them I see for myself and have a plan of action to reach them one day. No matter what aspirations you have to remember to keep your eyes on the prize and turn your thoughts into action.

I’ve been thinking about this heaps lately as I have started to ramp up my small business and start seeing the results I have envisioned for so long.  I’ve finally realized It requires more than just an idea and some skills that I rarely use. It’s required extreme focus as I’ve worked to create various listings including taking great photos that will attract the eye. It’s a challenge to keep believing that sales will come if I put in the work, and it has begun to happen.

Sales have started to trickle in little by little and reviews are making a difference for future sales. I am excited to start working harder towards my goal of having over 1,000 listings to sell online. It feels very rewarding seeing everything take shape and this is only the beginning of the marathon I hope to run in my various business ventures.

I’ve known what I wanted for some time, it’s just taken me many small steps to find my stride and get going in the right direction towards the goals I’ve envisioned myself reaching for. The steps before these have been prepping me for the steps ahead. I do not know what the future has in store as I set out but I expect there to be challenges and I welcome them to the race. Hope those challenges can keep up the pace or better yet stay in stride for a few steps then fall behind.

I know what I want and I have a vision, lets go!

Effort.

When you want to accomplish something you have to put in the work or the effort to get the desired task completed. An effort is a hard thing to have at all times, the willingness to put your best foot forward and making things happen can be compared to a wave, rising above the rest, cresting, then falling back lever with the rest of the water around it. Often when we set out to accomplish a goal we are fully invested in seeing it through and can easily see ourselves at the finish line of our desired goal. Yet, after a few weeks of struggle as you find momentum within the challenge the finish line can be hard to visualize.

I am this way when I start out working on different projects, I put forth as much effort and work into the motion as I can and after a few short weeks start feeling the burnout. My efforts began to fall a bit less than desirable and my attitude changes from one of delight while working on my goal to one that has a little drag in the step. I’ve felt this on both personal pursuits and professional work done for different companies I’ve previously worked for. When you realize you are drained and unmotivated to continue with the project your output falls short of your regular quality work as does your attitude in general.

Am I alone in feeling this way? I doubt it. I’d guess that I’m not alone in feeling this way after putting in the effort in full at the start and attempting to sprint to completion and end up sprinting to burnout. We need to set our efforts at a pace that can be sustained and build endurance. Gary Vee has explained it best as he consistently reiterates putting in the work and preparing for a marathon and seeing the long game. I think he is right in reminding everyone that we can be better prepared mentally for the tasks and challenges ahead if we escape the mindset of the sprinter and build the mindset of a marathon runner. We’ll be able to stay on task longer and have a greater output if we do.

So be smart how you use your efforts, set up for the long game and the struggles and add them to your strengths as you grow.

Encouragement.

Why is it beneficial to be encouraging of others in their day to day tasks? I’m not talking about their specific work or school-related assignments but the little things they do every day that makes our lives a little better. Think of your friend who smiles at you when you are having a tough day. Think about those challenging days when a parent offered encouragement and reassurance that you could make big things happen if you put your mind to it. This is what the world needs a little more encouragement towards better things and a little less weight behind negativity.

It starts with me. A better world starts on a personal level more trust in others, a better believe that people are generally good, and a little more effort to listen to each other.  Sounds pretty easy right? It isn’t as easy as it sounds to trust others when we hear all the bad that could, has or is happening around us. It’s a challenge to see others as good when we lie to each other and even ourselves about the reality of the situations we live in daily. It’s hard to listen when we want to be heard, to be recognized, to be understood. We want so much from others but are at times unwilling to give to those we want to listen. Three simple steps to a better world that sound so easy, but are so hard to commit to.

Acknowledging that we can change the world in three steps is encouraging and a direction we can all get behind. If you start to look outward at what you can give to others you’ll see more easily all that others are giving to you. Life is a great maze that we all navigate a few feet at a time, why not be brave enough to trust others to help us forward, speak good words to each other, and listen a little better to those who need to be heard.

So who agrees that it starts with me?

Passion.

I know that I’ve referred to Anthony Bourdain a few times over the past weeks as someone who lived a life that inspired me to get out there and be a better human. To get out there and find what connects us by sharing a meal, and talking about real issues that have impacts on the way each of us lives daily around the world. I recently started reading his book Kitchen Confidential and have learned about the experience that jumpstarted his passion for food and culture.

He talks about a summer spent visiting France visiting family, sampling new foods, and immersing his young self in a culture other than his own. He talked about his youthful attitude for testing the rules and his parent’s patience as they traveled around the country as a young family. The defining moment that eventually steered him towards a career in the culinary world, eating an oyster fresh from the ocean on a Frenchmans boat. That was the moment he knew that food was his future and he would eat near anything anywhere in the world. From here he became a chef, writer, and travel documentary maker each of his different professional ventures around food showed the world the flavors that connected us.

In my humble opinion, he lived a life that the “most interesting man in the world” could envy. He taught us how to be less afraid of what we don’t know, to live with others, to live with passion. That is something few of us can say they do well, living each day with a genuine passion for life and its twists and turns. Why are we afraid to follow our passions? Are we afraid of the unknown? Are we afraid to take the route that’s a little more exciting but a little less safe?

Living life with a passion for what we do daily sounds like a challenge for us common folk who work 9-5 jobs that we use to pay the bills just to get by. These jobs may not be our ideal / dream careers but they are a segue to bigger and better things ahead as long as you play your cards right and be invested in what you are doing at that time. Have passion in the little things so as you work to bigger things your passion shines through in full.

Why.

What is your why? Why do you do things that way you do them? Why are you willing to face adversity to reach your desired destination in life. These are thoughts I’ve had before when I hear about someone with a big dream that seems to be a bit more than they probably can bite, chew, and swallow. Meaning I’m not sure why they really are doing things the way they are doing, I’m probably not alone in wondering about these things.

As a youth in central Utah, I used to sell corn on the side of the road next to the high school every fall for a few summers. My Father, Grandfather, and I would go pick the corn then we’d park the truck on the side of the street and I’d sit there till the sun went down or I’d sold all my corn for the day. I learned a few interpersonal skills with people and how to sell products to folks which is a benefit to me to this day. One of the most memorable experiences for me was trying to sell a bag of corn to a man carrying a giant cross across the USA who stopped through our little town on his way to California.

I asked him about his cross and why it had a wheel on the bottom. Man, “It’s designed to make the walk easier as I carry it.” Me, “Why are you carrying that thing? Don’t you think it would be faster to leave it behind?” Man, “Yes, it would be easier, but I want to show everyone that I can carry this heavy cross from New York to California.”  Me, “Ummm, okay, but why?” Man, “I told myself if I could do this, I could do anything.” Eight or Nine year old me didn’t get it then but have never forgotten it to this day. This man had a purpose to walk across America with a heavy wooden object, and I hope it helped him see he could do anything. I did, however, sell him some corn to fuel his trek.

To this day I see and hear about people who are setting out for challenging journeys as adventurers, entrepreneurs, athletes, and scholars. I can’t always relate to nor understand their vision for choosing the challenges they have decided to claim. I can confirm that choosing a challenge that people don’t understand can be a catalyst to the greatest adventures of one’s life.

Share your why with others, and enlighten them on your vision. If they doubt you or don’t understand that is okay. They might catch a vision similar to yours one day, and take off on their own journey fueled by nothing more than why.