Updated: Sep 9, 2019
Where Do You Start?
Recently while walking in my neighborhood early one morning, I came across the artist captured in this image above while he was working diligently to create a new, blank canvas for himself. Mine is a neighborhood that is kinda artsy, so there's plenty of beautiful building artwork to attract the attention all throughout the area around Magnolia Avenue. I've stopped lots of times to capture the images with my phone camera & this one has given me pause more than once. What grabs my attention within this artwork? I love the beautiful usage of colors, the many lines & shapes that complement along with how it just seems to be in "a festive mood." The contrast is pretty vivid against the parking lot leading up to it, so it becomes very inviting for passersby to embark on discovery of what awaits on the other side of the wall.
As I watched him work, I began to wonder how he knew it was time for a change. I only asked if he was going to cover it all up, wipe the "past" out, & paint something new to which he affirmed, indeed, that was the plan - out with the old, in with the new coming soon! While his face brightened when I asked if he minded a few pictures, his work did not slow a bit; this artist was definitely on a mission with much higher purpose than mere chit chat with me! HA! He just kept right on spray painting to bring forth his new, clear canvas so the real creative journey could begin. With the looks of all his tools around (many not seen in this image), it was clear to even the most casual observer he was very excited to begin work on what was captured so far only in his mind's eye.
Continuing on my walk, & listening to Tanya Tucker's "While I'm Livin" musical, powerful messages, my thinking kept swirling around my title. Maybe there's a simple answer for both questions centered around knowing: 1. when it's time for change & 2. when you're already on higher ground (best positioned to stay the course)?
I suggest it all may revolve around these 6 tests of reasonableness when evaluating both questions:
1. Does "it" directly take me toward my goal(s)?
2. Alignment fits within my moral compass?
3. Rewarding intrinsically?
4. Is there continual growth?
5. Naturally actionable steps of progress can be easily measured?
6. Generally in sync - head & heart
When I was early in my career, I thought because I worked very hard, success was just inevitable. I was convinced others would see my abilities, & would want to invest in me with increasing responsibilities, compensation, imparting some of their own success on me, etc. My vision was almost as if they would have a wand to wave at just the right moment, some sprinkles of fairy dust pointed directly my way, or as my friend Bruce said recently, there would be a grand revealing of the secret sauce to me. I didn't realize it at this time, but I was leaving my life's destiny in the hands of everyone other than where it belonged, & that was with me.
There was not much down time to be still with my own thoughts so I filtered my own choices through the perspectives & experiences of others, or through my own circumstances that I found myself in (often due to less than perfect choices.) I really didn't know what I wanted for a career choice so I just let that happen & I graduated with a degree in accounting (& 5+ years experience in this field). Although I've benefitted from the knowledge & credential (it helped me progress in my early years at American), I am wired with thought patterns of a marketer - polar opposite. HA! As a result, much like the image that follows, I found myself too often wishing for a "do over" moment in my career.
Needless to say, success just didn't happen like I thought it would. Instead, I had to have those "be still in Him" moments (lots of them) to figure out what was ultimately going to make my heart sing. It doesn't mean the detours haven't been of huge benefit, that's just not true. But it does mean some of the "do overs" could have been avoided & the pain an awful lot less along the road traveled throughout the journey. It's here, in the be still time, that I began to turn my focus away from me & put it toward serving others so they could be the very best they could be.
WOW! Did my heart begin to sing! I realized, too, the rewards I had been missing were the intrinsic ones, the moments shared with those on my teams & with whom I had deep connection. Now it was about others & success took on a whole new, deeper meaning for me. Not just professionally, but in every aspect of my life. The "our" moments instead of "my" moments, that's where success is for me.
From within those "be still in Him" moments I was able to get to the 6 filter questions I've listed above & it has been life altering. When my answer to all the questions is a definite "yes," I keep going. If one is a no, or isn't a resounding / convincing yes, that's when I know it's time to "be still in Him." He always answers & takes me to that higher ground.
Have you ever had a time in your life that you deeply wished for a "do over?" It doesn't have to be just professionally, but personally, in your community, etc.? Maybe nothing of gigantic proportion, but it would be great if....?
What do you do that really makes your heart sing? Share your ideas & experiences with others in your network. Ask them to share, too.
Call To Action:
1. Share your goals (not just career goals, but include all aspects of life goals such as relationships, artistic, health, etc.) & a change you are thinking of making with a trusted friend. Are you trying to get past a "do over" moment experience?
2. Start a dialogue around the 6 questions listed above while considering whether to go or to stay as you are already on that higher ground.
3. Be this trusted friend for someone else.