… renovations are not limited to housing, but we each do it alone
Saturday Feb. 22, 2014
There is no Olympic podium or medal in writing.
Words like Pulitzer, Booker, Mann and Nobel inspire.
Lofty dreams, perhaps, or just right motivation.
Is that any less realistic than an athlete dreaming of Olympic medals?
We all have this, in some fashion, within us . . .
Right now, I have it.
You have it.
We all have it – this once in a lifetime moment.
Sure, another one will be along in just another moment – but before that moment arrives, pause in this one.
Think with me. Read with me. Feel with me. Be with me, just for this moment.
Look around, look up, look way up.
Look at yourself, see how you’ve grown. Look in mirrors, look in reflecting pools, look in your wet eyes when they glisten, just listen to your own heart pumping. Feel your heart pumping, know your energy flowing, your face glowing your bio-feedback feeding back, don’t stop sweating, don’t stop getting – getting deeper into who you are and how you are wherever you are. You are, everything to you. You might be everything to someone else, but first, you are everything to yourself.
No excuses, no shadows for hiding, no slippery spots for sliding out of view – every morning, there you are, there we all are – on display, time to play, time to say, ENOUGH!
Enough excuses, enough lazy evasion, enough procrastinating, enough ruminating – time has come for action, our own action, my action, your action, everybody’s action.
Sometimes great coaches, mentors or wise-ones come to us out of the mist with a leading hand or a tablet of rules. POOF, explode that dream.
Reality, for everyone, is that we must be self-leaders. We can’t count on Beethoven or Caesar for our talent or greatness to be iconic leaders.
Not leaders of others necessarily, but of ourselves.
Imagine if there was a great guru in your field (think Hawking, Salk, Ghandi, Socrates, Churchill, Shakespeare, Hemingway, Mozart) .. you get the picture. Imagine that person, greatness by any measure, was to take you by hand, teach, nurture, guide and encourage you at being best you that you could be, best in your field? Would they be grooming the best you, or best version or copy of themselves?
As a writer, I would love to sit at the foot of one of those greats, those legends. So much could they teach me.
But I don’t have that opportunity. Most of us don’t come close.
So, if we don’t have that leader, if we cannot be their protégé, we have only our own leadership to follow.
Sure, we are rookies lacking wisdom without a map to follow, without a compass or instruction book.
Examine the flip-side of that coin. We are not hampered by a rule book, not ruled by an instruction book, not directed by a compass or map, because we create our own route through the future, use our gut-compass and the feedback of the universe to guide us.
This is right, this is good, this is as it must be – as it has always been.
Sure, media and publicists portray highly successful people – like a different species almost, above us all. But above all, they and we are all simply naked babies who grew up and made different choices about our lives.
Sure, easy for me to say – but it’s too late, too far into the game, far too down the road in life.
Have you thought – too late to begin, too late to succeed, too under-educated or under-prepared?
Have you said: “If only I’d started sooner, started earlier, taken a different path, taken different education, taken different partners, studied under different teachers, sat under a different tree on a sunny summer day . . . ?” Anything to have arrived at this jumping off point, this leaping-place, much sooner in life so that we’d be soaring by now.
Ya see, here’s da ’ting though, if we were soaring – we wouldn’t be humbly standing at the edge of the abyss considering a leap. If we had done all the right things to make all the spectacular successful things happen we would not be standing here, right now, full of who we are, ready for next steps.
Watching Olympic athletes compete this week adds some interesting perspective. They are all phenomenal, talented, conditioned, focused, coached and prepared. There should be no reason for them to not succeed, do well, accomplish so much. When they win gold, everyone cheers and their heart beats outside their chest. For all others, on or far removed from the podium, the second-guessing, self-doubt and emotional flagellation begins and continues.
Surely they say things to themselves like “I’m not really that good”, “I’m not as good as I thought I was”, “I’ve failed”, “I’m a failure” or “I can’t be successful”. As spectators we cannot imagine them feeling that way. As human beings, we can understand every syllable, every emotion of fear, uncertainty and doubt that creeps into those moments of not believing in ourselves because we’ve all felt it. We’ve all felt worthless, undervalued and too-late to start . . .
It’s not like I am 16 with hopes and dreams. Not like I’m crawling into my 20s with a blank slate of life ahead. I need to hurry. I need to be in a rush. There isn’t as much time as their used to be. Deadline, as in dead-line, has an ominous ring to it. As does life-line. Especially when creative juices address issues like headline, this line, the next line, the next paragraph.
There isn’t much time.
Mentors, friends and fans have encouraged me from the beginning nearly 12 years ago to step from a guy who would never dream of calling himself writer to writer-apologist to someone who confidently says, “I’m a writer”. This has been a journey, more one of growth than substance, more about learning than teaching and a path I reluctantly call enlightenment.
Thank you to KT, FD, LG and RH, your support, inspiration and encouragement has carried me at times when nothing else could and inspired to do more, reach higher and stretch further than I ever imagined.
And this week, precious words from RG, RS and DK, you’ve given me far more than inspiration and validation – you’ve offered me fantastic reminder notes. Thank you.
RG told me this week, “You do a penetrating interview. You missed your calling. You should have been a political journalist.”
RS told me this week, “You are the reason that I am more keen each morning to see what the day holds for me. Keep doing what you do best, inspire and motivate us all”
DK told me this week, “You do have a unique voice – I like it. It’s to the point, and you shoehorn a lot of info into a short amount of words”
With so much encouragement, how can I not be inspired to write more, write faster, write better and more and more and more?
Right now I know that I had a great week – and this week RG, RS and DK gave me bronze validation, silver inspiration and gold stars. They reminded me that – without improving or changing – I deliver value, my words are important and my insight helps people. Who needs more reward than that?
I have more in me, I know that.
I don’ know how much more – rest of my life I suppose. There are a few details to work out of course, but I think I’ll manage just fine.
There is no Olympic podium or medal in writing. There are other words like Pullitzer, Booker, Man and Nobel to name a few. Premature lofty dreams for me, perhaps.
morning walk: -16C / 4F, sun burning through ice-crystals, falling on top of a light dusting of snow. It is beautiful and insanely slippery – I walked every so carefully and still fell. Gusta, spinning out everywhere, still doesn’t understand the command ‘go slow’.
Thank you for writing so eloquently about the achievements of Canada’s female athletes yesterday in your column. And a special thank you for always referring to those athletes as WOMEN. I think I pissed off a potential client earlier this week when he was talking about the medal chances of our Olympic hockey teams – he mentioned especially that the GIRLS had a good chance of a gold. I responded with a question about what he thought the chances of the BOYS were to hit the top of the podium and he looked at me rather quizzically before changing the subject. Although I have no doubt that he was a firm supporter of our women’s hockey team, I hope I gave him cause to think that by calling them “girls”, he was in some way minimizing their efforts and achievements. One may forgive the press for using the easy alliteration of GOLDEN GIRLS, but let us never forget that these women have made many grown up sacrifices for their sport and for their country. Hayley Wickenheiser rules! What a woman!. And of course I’m 100% behind our men’s hockey team tomorrow as they vie for the gold, but I doubt that the next day’s headlines will read “Golden Guys” or “Bullion Boys”….CM, Calgary, AB