Today.

Today is a great day to have a great day.

I say this almost every day and I mean it. I enjoy living the happiest best life I can each day because this day might be the last one I live. As I write this it might sound a little macabre to some but it is a true reality that we need to accept. Life is best lived today, never forget that.

Today is the day to live without fear, to stand up for what you’ve always wanted to, to start doing the things you’ve always wanted to do. Whatever living your fullest best life is, go for it. If you have been wanting to do start doing that immediately. If you want to start cooking new meals do your research and visit your local store to snag ingredients for a new feast. Feel like learning a new subject, google it and read a few articles and see if it truly sparks your interest and begin a deeper study of the said topic. Been wanting to run farther, lift heavier, hike to new heights, just start today little by little to work towards what you truly want. Live today for you.

Are you afraid of being happy? Do you fear to live a free life doing the things you truly want to do? Stop being afraid and start living. Is this easier said than done? Yes, we’re worried about what others think of us all too much. If others can’t see the why behind what you are doing share it with them and help them see the vision you have of your life. Hope that they can understand and then keep living your best life.

Today is the best day. Today is known as the present, and some say that today is a gift. I tend to agree with that thought.

Weak.

I recently started climbing again after just over a year of not climbing, re-entering my local climbing gym I figured that I could pick back up where I left off. Thinking that my fitness was fairly decent and my ability was still there I proceeded to flail around for an hour on routes that I easily climbed just a year before, my hand hurt, my shoulder ached, and my muscles all begged me to give them a rest. I continued to walk around the gym looking for routes to send, I ended up sending less than half of my attempted routes but still felt accomplished to be back in the gym climbing even if I was weaker than I thought I was.

After finishing my workout in the gym I drove home a little down about my climbing I thought about how nice it was to be going again. The thought of the different routes and moves needed to send(climb) them allowed me to recognize that today I was a weak climber, but next session I would be stronger and be able to send more routes.  This is how we get better at the things we enjoy, we keep showing up to learn more, get better, and be stronger as we participate in our passion.

It’s a hard thing to admit weakness because once we admit that we are others will capitalize on that weakness and try and bring us down. Not a great thought when you are thinking about being vulnerable, can people use my truth against me? Sadly this is a reality, there are people who want to bring us down either to their level or below. Understanding this as a possibility as we go is an opportunity for each of us to become stronger by accepting what we can’t change and investing our time into strengthening the things we can change.

Whatever your weakness is accept it then move forward and fortify and strengthen what you can and become the best you can be. I may not be the strongest climber on the wall, but I will send any route I put my mind to, working from bottom to top relentlessly until I reach my desired destination at the top of the route.

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?

Together.

We are better together, we do better together, we work better together. I don’t know how else to say it, we need to do a better job at being united together to help each other to become better people. It’s something we all see every day the stories designed to divide and weaken us.

We see this no matter where we turn, the idea that we need to look down on others and unite against them because we do not see the world as others see it. That because some believe in one truth and we believe in another that there isn’t a common ground that we share. Are there bad people out there? Yes, many but overall we can agree that people are good and can surprise us if we give them the chance.

What are we? We are the human race, all struggling everyday with challenges that involve money, relationships, mental and physical health, food, borders, education, and work. We all breathe our way through another day and hope that our days can be happy, each one hopefully better than the last.

Together we can contribute to a better world for everyone if we are a little nicer, at little more patient, a little better to listen, and a little better at understanding each other. Is this the easy road to take? Once again no, but this is the best road to being more people together.

The Unknown.

What do you feel when you think of the unknown?

Are you fearful? Needing to have a plan of what is going to happen next? Do you feel hopeful that everything will play out without any real problems? Do you even worry about it? If you were to ask ten people about their thoughts on the unknown everyone’s answers would vary, and you would find some who feel similar to you but others who’s take on the unknown are vastly different than yours.

When thinking about the unknown we need to accept that failure as an option for us. If we are able to accept the unknown we need to be prepared to fail at least once as we go forward. Accepting this frees us from the fear of failure as we start out new ventures with old or new friends.  Don’t be afraid to fail, know that you probably will.

As your wading through life allow the unknown to enrich your experiences every day. We never know what is coming our way every hour is different and we never know what might happen to us. It’s best to accept that enjoying life and its unknowns will be the happiest route to go. I’ve been on both sides of the fence with accepting and fearing the unknown, I can confidently recommend that you embrace the unknown and let it enrich all that you do.

When I first left the USA in 2007 I traveled to Peru and soaked up every moment of this experience. I jumped at the opportunity to try new foods, babble in poorly conjugated Spanish, and interact with all the locals I could. My time in Peru was a life changer that put me on common ground with the world, and a desire to see everyone as equals. I was fearless in a new place and recognized that the unknown was creating an unforgettable experience.

I’ve used the same mentality with every new culture and country I’ve visited since. Have I always been accepting of a new culture and the unknowns that come with it? No, but the more I jump in and immerse myself into the local culture the better my experience is and the more genuine the conversations become with the locals.

Having apprehension about the unknown is okay, just don’t let it spoil a good time nor hold you back from living a full life of genuine happiness.

Validation.

Not everyone can admit that they like to feel validated in who they are and what they do. Validation is something we all seek after unconsciously or in a very conscious manner. Why is this? Because we like knowing that we are doing good, that we are doing okay. It can be an extremely strange feeling wanting someone to say something about what we are doing but when they say something it can be the sweetest moment.

Have you ever wondered why we enjoy being validated, it’s a reassurance that what we are doing is making the cut. The understanding that our efforts are being recognized by others helps us continue to pursue the best direction in our personal and professional relationships. As business professionals, we need to know that the hours we toil on projects are paying off not only for our personal portfolios but for the organization who employs us. The projects we are able to successfully complete can be stepping stones to greater success in our chosen field of employment. The failures we experience will also be stepping stones of evaluation and remapping our pathways to successful days of validation in the future.

In our personal relationships validation is key in the sustainability and health of your relationship. If your partner or friend does something right let them know, give them a pat on the back, a hug of gratitude, or simply use your words to say “Thank you.”. We need validation in our relationships as reinforcement for the rocky times that are guaranteed to happen throughout the life of any relationship.

Being able to be genuinely grateful for the things your partner or friend does can build up emotional storage of affirmation and validation that can carry a friendship through the dark times.  We need to remind ourselves that from time to time we will not be in the best emotional state to be a good friend, but to be a friend who needs a good friend to drag us out of the muck we are laying in, clean us off, cheer us up, and help us move forward with life.

We need to remember to be a good friend who is grateful to our friends, acknowledging and validating their good traits, so they know where your friendship stands then can be there when you need it most. Providing that feedback isn’t always an easy thing to do, it is, however, an essential thing to do often in healthy relationships.

Thank you, friends, for reading this simple message. May you find a way to validate your friends for the good people they are and help them become the people they hope to be.

Acknowledgment.

Have you ever sat down to rest after completing a hard task at work or around the house and breathed a relaxing sigh of relief that the task was complete? Then looked back on your work and hoped that someone would see the good work that you have done? Have you ever hoped that someone will ask how the project went or how you are feeling now that you’ve completed the task? Are you looking for someone to acknowledge you for your efforts to provide that refreshing phrase we all need from time to time when we’ve poured our energies into a seemingly impossible project?

If you said yes to any of the above then you are not alone. These moments can define how we see our work and the progress we are making as an individual or professional. Acknowledgment is extremely satisfying feedback when it is given with praise and rewarded with non-verbal confirmation. Each human seeks this reassurance to know where they stand in the eyes of others, as individuals it’s good to know our efforts in friendship are paying off and trust is being built. In day to day, professional work feedback and acknowledgment are essential in finding your footing with where you were, where you are now, and what direction to continue going to make the biggest impact in your field.

Feedback can be rough to receive at times because much of feedback is either watered down and fluffed to not hurt your feelings or overly blunt and tactless upon delivery. There is a fine balance between what we want to hear and what we need to hear to allow for the best opportunities for growth. Acknowledgment throughout the process allows us to see the good in our efforts and allows us to have real-time feedback as we go.

I’m not saying that you should hold someone’s hand each step of the way. What I am encouraging you to try during a larger task is to have scheduled check in’s every few days or once a week to follow up on the progress of a task at hand, offer praise where it is due then offer constructive feedback that allows for reflection and direction towards the desired end goal. Having these quick pow-wows should allow for a trusting relationship between two people who might be family, friends, or manager and employee.

These sessions of acknowledgment and direction can be used for personal evaluation too. Following up with yourself creates personal accountability that will help you see your strengths and weaknesses and help you realign your goals to your desired destination. Is it easy to hold yourself accountable with challenging goals? Nope, but you’ll be happier because of your perseverance to the finish line.

Take a moment today, write down 5 things you are good at, that makes you a good person, and that encourages you to keep doing you. Acknowledge yourself for the good you bring into the world and know that you’re great. See where you might need to tweak your behavior to make life a happier place for you and see where you go from there.