That and 49 Cents Will Get You a Cup of Coffee (5YTL)

NegativityIt is the sign on my high school band director’s office window sill that  sticks out in the moment.  It was one of those nameplates that people used to sit at the very front of their desk with their name on it.  It said “Kwitcherbellyakin.”  I may have the spelling wrong, but you get the point.

Norman has been dead now for 12 years.  He was a good friend and an outstanding mentor.  His, then sage, wisdom was precisely what I needed at the time, and sometimes I forget it still applies.

Life is good.  I mean life is REALLY GOOD!  Sometimes I forget that, and I get mired down in all of the things that seem wrong.  I can’t tell you WHY I sometimes peek my head out the door, fearfully, and look for what’s wrong with the world.  But, I do.  I lead with a negative thought or some snippet of sarcasm, and that is definitely NOT what I want my legacy to be.

As much as I want that legacy to be positive and uplifting, I want my LIFE to be positive and uplifting.  In order for that to happen, I have to stop complaining.  I have to take action instead of accepting things that are “done” to me.  I have to expect the positive and, in doing so, ensure it.

  • Let’s make a pact to be genuinely positive.  
  • Let’s hold each other accountable to a first response of grace.  
  • Let’s imagine the positive to be the right response.  
  • If we decide now that we won’t live in fear of others’ intentions, we free ourselves to expect and invite good into our lives.

Check the sarcasm at the door and replace it with authenticity.  I am sincerely interested in you and what motivates you.  Your life circumstances are entirely different from my own.  I want to understand that so I can better serve you and grasp what makes you tick.  Can we agree to do that together?

So, Norman, thank you for the example you set and the lessons you gave to every student who came through your door.  Thank you for setting a solid example of a great work ethic.  Thank you for taking a genuine interest in me and my life experience.  Thank you for teaching me that each of us is unique, comes from a different set of life experiences, and brings different gifts and talents to each engagement.

Most of all, thank you for reminding me every day to “Kwitcherbellyakin.”  Tomorrow Begins Today.

Please, Try! (5YTL)

tryI really hate it when people don’t try.

The assumption of failure claims more successes than any failed attempts.  Living life in fear of failure is akin to hating broccoli without ever tasting it.  Then, on your death bed, someone gives you a taste of warm broccoli with butter sauce and dipping cheese.  It turns out, you love broccoli, and you’re going to die without all of those wonderful broccoli memories you could have had.

Day after day, people cower under an unspoken fear that an attempt at success will fail.  Terrified of possible failure, we seize and create the worst failure of all…  Failure to act.  We turn to stone in mid sentence and fail to do anything at all.

Why do we do this?

  • Are we afraid of the judgment of others?
  • Are we scared that we’ll spend the resources we have and have nothing to show for it?
  • Are we fearful that we’re undeserving and others will look at us with  “Who does he think he is?”

If any of these are your reasons for resigning yourself to mediocrity and inaction, ask yourself why.  How important is someone else’s view of you?  Money is just money.  Who you think you are is the real question.  Who are you?  What are you meant to do?  What will be your legacy?

Make the leap.  Do something meaningful and extraordinary.  Do something, and do it all the way!  The most amazing things were invented by people who thrived on overcoming their failures.  The most incredible differences have been made by people whose failures outnumbered their successes by far.

Don’t die quietly, satisfying someone else’s need to conformity and mediocrity.  Die, leaving a legacy of action, bold determination, and difference.

Eat the damn broccoli!  Tomorrow Begins Today.