Word-of-the-month: wake-up call (n.)

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[Image credit: Arvind Balaraman]

Last year the word-of-the-month landed on Memorial Day, too (see fealty).  This year the word is wake-up call.  One online dictionary defines it as “something that serves to alert a person to a problem, danger, or need.”  For some it may be the current state of our country’s political affairs; for others, one of the recent devastating weather events.  For me, a few health issues and the death of a former colleague have forced me to open my eyes.  What I’ve seen is I’ve put certain areas of my life on hold to hitch my dreams on an uncertain future.  Someday.  The day when it all comes together.  But my wake-up call says differently.  Today might be it: the desert my ocean; the articles I’ve had published the only time I see my name in print … happily-ever-after may simply exist in fairytales.  And as much as I want to believe, I need to work with what I’ve got: the present.

What is your most recent wake-up call?

Excuses, excuses

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Excuses excuses

[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

I’ve gotten in the bad habit of making excuses.  I just read a book called Good to Great … in 30 Minutes.  (And yes, it only took me 30 minutes).  In a nutshell, fostering a culture of discipline, overcoming adversity and focusing our attention on what drives us — economically and passionately — are the key concepts toward attaining and sustaining greatness.  My problem is that I’ve been concentrating on the stuff that doesn’t advance my goals.  In fact, that “stuff” actually takes me away from what I should be doing and want to be doing.  It’s almost as if I’m purposely sabotaging my ability to achieve greatness.  I don’t know if I’m afraid of failing in the long run or what, but I know it’s counterproductive.  However, now that I know what I’ve been doing, it’s time to eliminate the “toxins” to my progress.  Next is to replace them with the stuff my goals are made of.  No more excuses.

What are some excuses keeping you from achieving success?

Creatures of habit

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Creatures of habit

[Image credit: njaj]

This has been a tough week (relatively speaking).  First, I ran out of K-cups for my Keurig.  Then I discovered the pesky mole on my face I had biopsied last week is basal cell carcinoma.  A glitch popped up at work.  And I discovered one of my friendships is conditional.  Or at least it felt that way.  Thankfully, we all have our own methods of coping with the ‘fly in the ointment.’  I ended up making a couple Starbucks runs, learned how to use my coffee grinder and drank more tea.  I also scheduled surgery to remove the malignancy (and switched the part in my hair to cover any potential scarring).  A couple of us are working on a plan to fix the work-related glitch.  As for my friend, I hope we can collaborate.  Just because we’re creatures of habit doesn’t mean we can’t uncover new ways of doing things to make life work.  If it’s important, we adjust.

In what ways are you a creature of habit?

The fine art of living


Letting go


[Image credit: kibsri]

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.
~ Henry Ellis

Letting go doesn’t mean giving up.  In letting go, we’re actively participating in an outcome we hope for.  In other words, letting go is faithfully accepting that whatever is meant to happen will happen.  Conversely, holding on when hope for change or growth is obscured by logistics only causes frustration because we’re doing nothing to further our hopes and dreams.  If we simply realize that letting go gives us permission to take what comes our way, we can either use — or discard —  it as a potential stepping stone toward our Someday.  We’re still holding on to a hope for something more or something better.  We’re merely letting go of the expectations — the sometimes crippling desire to control an outcome we truly have no control over.  It’s compromise.  It’s acceptance.  Once we do that, we truly begin to live.

Are you holding onto something it’s time to let go of?

An authentic life

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Authentic life

[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

In my recent Word-of-the-month post, I talked about the nihility — or deep void — I’ve been struggling with lately.  After contemplating this overall emptiness, however, I’m wondering if it isn’t so much the missing something as it is not living out a life of day-to-day authenticity.  Instead of living a life true to ourselves, we oftentimes insist on conforming or fitting into a mold of what we (or others) think our lives should look like.  So rather than being who and what we were created to be, we force ourselves into pretend roles of complacency.  Then how do we live authentically?  Do we shed our masks, disregarding the consequences of our actions, and take the chance that we’ll be accepted as we are: dreams, flaws, desires and all?  Or do we continue to forge ahead, dressed in ill-fitting clothing because we’re either afraid, or because it’s the right thing to do?  For me, the answer currently seems as elusive as the wind.

Are you living a life of authenticity?