Epiphany [noun]: a moment when you suddenly feel that you understand, or suddenly become conscious of, something that is very important to you.
I’m bringing you along on this very personal self-reflection in hopes that maybe you can have an epiphany like I’m having.
Someone once told me that I needed to stop looking up waiting for fireworks to happen above me, and to start appreciating the sparklers happening around me every day.
We’re often so busy stressing about the future or dwelling on the past that we rarely have time to reflect on the moment and be truly present. Take stock of where we’re at.
The competitive spirit of driven men can have its consequences. We never settle and we always want more. We tackle one mountain and rather than enjoying the moment, we’re already looking out on the horizon setting our sites on the next one to conquer. Combined with the mindset of perfection, we are inherently critical of ourselves and never satisfied. I recently started taking note of how I talk to myself and others.
The other day I caught myself complaining to a few friends:
“I’m exhausted, Cam Man, my youngest, had me up all night and now my back hurts from falling asleep on the floor next to his crib.” And, “Man this commute is killing me; it was over an hour yesterday.”
Or thinking to myself, “How can I afford this car, home, and kids?”
We all do it, and it's okay to vent. But just like the age-old phrase “Is the cup half full or half empty?” I started asking myself, “Why am I stressing? All these things are blessings.”
If a much younger version of myself were to see where I am now, he would be ecstatic, proud, and above all--thankful.
That gorgeous wife and three adorable kids? Blessings.
That commute to the career you’re fired up about? Blessing.
Having to mow that luscious green lawn of yours? Blessing.
All the things I find myself complaining about are the same things I’ve been working towards and praying for my entire life.
It goes without saying that not everything in your life can be magically turned into a blessing by some positive self-talk. Stress can feel like a dark cloud that surrounds you, distracting you from the important people and goals that deserve your attention. Just like in the business world, we ask ourselves what the Return On Investment (ROI) is of our capital, we have to ask ourselves the same questions about the use of our time and our energy. Is this stress bringing joy or growth to my life?
The best example of this is the people we surround ourselves with. Attempting to balance my family, my work, and my own sanity, I’ve become incredibly selfish with the little free time I have. If someone in my life is pessimistic and providing no joy or growth, the stress of that relationship provides zero ROI. Bye.
If you have responsibilities that only cause stress and don't pass the joy/growth test, offload them. I love mowing my lawn, but if you don’t, then hire somebody to free up that time and energy. The driven lifestyle is a double-edged sword: rolling your sleeves up and putting in hard work got you to where you are, and hopefully it can afford you the opportunity to offload some of the dirty work as well.
I’ll leave you with this: the words we say in our head or aloud have the power to either fuel us to achieve our dreams or blow the flame out on them entirely.
The Death Crawl scene from Facing The Giants movie (2006) is my favorite example of this.
And Stay Driven, my friends.
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