Archive for the ‘Compromise’ Category

I was working with a client on his resume yesterday and, as he was sharing his professional history, I could hear the passion in his voice, the excitement in his tone.  Suddenly, there was a slight pause and then he continued,

I know this may sound crazy, but I love to work.

As someone who loves my work, his comment didn’t sound crazy to me — not one bit.  He has found his “sweet spot.” His passion.  He’s created a life he loves.

Only those living in the shadows of their hopes and dreams, slogging through their life until the next “big thing” comes along, would think he’s crazy.

A friend of mine was talking with an acquaintance, who is a lawyer.  She asked him, do you like your work?  His response was that he thought he would be more passionate in another line of work. Yet he continues on — day in and day out — wearing his life in black and white when a full-color version is available.

Why do we do this to ourselves . . . settle for something else . . . ignore who we are?  What is so valuable that we will choose to live a life we don’t really want?

Money? Security? Fame? Approval?

Is it worth it?

In his book, Crush It!, Gary Vaynerchuk writes:

Too many people ignore their DNA, however, to conform to what their families or society expects of them. A lot of people decide that professional success has to look a certain way. That’s how someone born to design bikes winds up becoming a lawyer, or someone who loves experimenting with makeup works every day pitching someone else’s overpriced brand to malls around the country, or someone who cannot go a day without jotting down ideas for their next poem spends most of their time at the helm of an emergency IT department. To me that’s insane.

I agree.  It is INSANE to ignore who you are, shelve your passion, ignore your calling.

Sure, people will laugh and question, argue and demand.  So what?  You can either be crazy for living someone else’s life — or be crazy following your own path.  Why not be crazy on your own terms?

Whatever you are, live a passionate life!


Read Full Post »

Most people are other people.

Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.

~Oscar Wilde

I’ve been thinking a lot about expectations recently. Specifically, those arbitrary ones set for you by others.

You’ve seen them.  They’re like little measuring cups people dump in your lives, expecting you to fill.  And when your life doesn’t measure up, you feel the need to make excuses and apologize and explain and promise to do better in the future.

Why do we do this?  Why can’t we feel confident with the choices we make without the need to compare them with others?

Almost all absurdity of conduct
arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.

Samuel Johnson

Don’t be a copy cat. Stop trying to twist yourself into a shape you hope someone else will approve of and love.

All my life I had been looking for something,
and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was.

I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction
and even self-contradictory.

I was naïve.

I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions
which I, and only I, could answer.

It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations
to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with:
that I am nobody but myself.

~Ralph Ellison

Throw out the measuring cups. Quit making decisions based on your friends’ answer sheet. Joyously color your own picture – refuse to make excuses.

It’s your life. Live it!

Whatever you are, trust yourself. You know more than you think you do!


Read Full Post »

If you’re remarkable, it’s likely that some people won’t like you. That’s part of the definition of remarkable. Nobody gets unanimous praise – ever. The best the timid can hope for is to be unnoticed. Criticism comes to those who stand out” [Seth Godin].

What do you have planned for today?  Another common, ordinary, going-through-the-motions type of day? Or, will your attitude and actions define this day as striking, extraordinary, wonderful, unusual, uncommon?

If today is a multiple choice test, I choose remarkable.  I choose the higher standard, the greater good, the opportunity to positively impact.

Regardless of the criticism from small minds that attempts to thwart my influence, frustrate my efforts, or silence my voice, I choose to stand out loud, pour my heart into it, ask the question, challenge the ordinary.

Too often, we are content to conform, to dilute our significance for the convenience and comfort of others.  When we choose to sit down quietly, rather than stand out loud, we compromise ourselves and sabotage our own best efforts.  Our lives becomes just another drop in the ocean.  Content to conform, we loose our voice and we minimize our ability to impact and influence.

Do you really want to live a life unnoticed?

Wouldn’t you rather take the risk, stand out loud, and make a difference?

Why not choose to be remarkable today?

Raise your hand.
Help your neighbor.
Volunteer your time.
Support a cause.
Push the envelope.
Ask for more.
Make the difficult decision.
Confront the issue.
Set the standard — higher.
Ignore the critics.

Who cares if your actions cause others to become restless or resistant or rebellious? If they criticize or complain or cry?  If you want your life to have meaning, you cannot afford to confine yourself to the imaginary boundaries created by cynics.

Dream.  Dream BIG!  Be remarkable today.  Make the decision to impact someone’s world. Expand your horizons. You have the strength and power and determination to stand out loud. Make your voice heard — Make your life matter.

“Stop trying to fit in when you were born to stand out” [Anonymous].

Whatever you are, be a good one!


Read Full Post »

“Slow down and enjoy life. Its not only the scenery you miss by going too fast — you also miss the sense of where you are going and why” [Eddie Cantor].

“Where are you going in such a hurry?” If I’ve heard that question asked once, I’ve heard it asked a hundred times. It’s usually asked by an older person and directed to a younger person who is racing around, busy, Busy, BUSY.

Imagine a Toddler running around the Dining Room table, not really watching where she is going, and not really getting anywhere. But she’s moving fast.

Or the young adult who blows into the house like a tornado, picking up food, clothing, heading to his room. Only to exit minutes later with the money, tickets, or change of outfit needed to get on with the next exciting chapter.

Or you. Take you for example. Racing around, getting up early, working through lunch, frantically rushing to the next appointment, moving fast and faster toward the next big thing, but are you really getting anywhere? Or maybe the more applicable question is, “Are you enjoying the trip?”

Have you stopped lately to make sure you’re on the right road (or any road for that matter) or have you been deceived into believing that activity translates into accomplishment? Have you bought into the assumption that because you are so busy, that your life is meaningful and rewarding and important?

Sometimes it feels like we’re living life in the Express Lane — 15 items or less only! In an effort to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible, we grab a minimum number of items off the shelves to get us through, so we can utilize the Express Lane. Or, better yet, we skip the grocery altogether and stop at the convenience store on the corner.

Think about the times we forego a more satisfying experience, broader selection, better quality, or lower price, simply because we need to be some where else . . . in a hurry. In the blink of an eye, we have willingly exchanged the meaningful for the expedient — because we are SO BUSY.

“Where you are going is more important than how fast you are going”

What’s with all the rushing around again today? Why accept the inferior product, or experience, or anything, simply so that you can mark it off your list today and get on with your real life? Isn’t today a part of your “real life”? And if so, why are rushing through it, willing to minimize its importance? What is so appealing over there that you can’t justify taking the time to fully experience the right now?

“The only way to live is to accept each minute as an unrepeatable miracle, which is exactly what it is: a miracle and unrepeatable” [Storm Jameson].

Whatever you are, be a good one!


Read Full Post »

The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for” [Maureen Dowd].

Why is it some people have the confidence to courageously pursue and ask for what they want, what they think they deserve (whether or not they bring anything to the table to back it up), while other well-deserving people will meekly accept what is handed to them?

“One’s self-image is very important because if that’s in good shape, then you can do anything, or practically anything” [Sir John Gielgud], including standing up and asking for what you deserve!

There is a reason the idiom, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil” has survived for hundreds of years. We don’t always acknowledge the best results or effort; too often we reward the loudest voice or the most persistent request, whether deserving or not.

Stay with me for the brief history lesson — you’re going to like this! The word “deserve” showed up in the late 1200’s and originated from deservire to “serve well”; “to be entitled to something because of good service.” It was generalized in the next century to “be worthy of” [dictionary.com]. Translation: If you are to legitimately deserve it, you need to bring good service to the table.

Unfortunately, as a society, we have come to embrace an entitlement mentality. We have thrown around the word “deserve” and applied it to so many groups seeking some benefit or another, that it has become diluted with greed, and self-indulgence, and self-interest, often resulting in class envy. Political correctness has taught us that unless you live at one end of the spectrum or the other, you don’t deserve it.

I know many industrious, generous, honest people who are hesitant to say, “I deserve it.” The truth is they do, in fact, deserve it. They have served well, invested in others, paid it forward, burned the midnight oil, made the sacrifice, followed the rules, and acted responsibly. They deserve to come out ahead, ask for what they want, leave early, be comfortable, enjoy the good life, exude confidence, settle for more.

“If you’ll not settle for anything less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish [Vince Lombardi].

There is nothing selfish or garish or shameful by staking your claim to what rightfully belongs to you. You’ve done the work. You’ve paid the price. You’re entitled. You deserve it.

Confidence doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s a result of something — hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication” [Roger Staubach].

Have confidence. Play to win and then stake your claim. As Janis Joplin said, “Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.”

Don’t ever settle down because “once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life” [John F. Kennedy].

Whatever you are, be a good one,


Read Full Post »