The start of a week

Mondays are a great time to hit reset. To begin again.

To breathe deeply and to move forward from the successes and failures of the previous week.

Even to remove that dichotomy from our hindsight... to not look back through the lens of wins and losses, but to think in terms of living fully and meaningfully.

Today is fresh. It's a start, and it will happen whether we are ready or not.

We can hide under the covers and let it happen to us...

or we can run to it, embracing it, and making it extraordinary.

Today, we begin.

stephen
Germination

When you plant a seed, there’s a period of germination. It happens below the surface. It happens where you cannot see.

And sometimes the seed grows. But sometimes it doesn’t.

Either way, you can’t keep digging up the soil to check the progress; you have to wait.

Likewise, when we sow seeds of kindness, generosity, and encouragement... we have to wait.

We can’t keep checking to see if our actions have had an effect. Sometimes things will take root. Sometimes not. Either way, it’s better to be patient and to tend to the soil… than it is to dig around looking for immediate results.

stephen
A cut in pay

Straight out of college, I taught at a Catholic high school for a two years. During a new-teacher orientation workshop, one teacher explained that he had left a high-ranking corporate position to pursue teaching. Despite the drastic reduction in salary, he had it in his heart to be an educator.

His employers were flabbergasted. “We’ll give you a raise, and additional stock options if you stay with the company!”

The corporate bosses didn’t understand: it wasn’t about the money.

This was about passion. Meaning. Teaching minds and touching the hearts of young people.

* * *

If one’s entire world is about spreadsheets and the bottom line, it might be difficult to understand such a life-changing, mid-career shift.

But for this teacher, “life-changing” wasn’t a reference to his financial situation. It was about everything else.

stephen
Stepping out

When you’re not somehow adding value…

and you’re not somehow getting value…

it’s acceptable to leave.

It might even be the best thing for you to do.

stephen
How often are you surprised?

If there’s little surprise in your day, it might be because you’re not taking any risks.

For a person whose livelihood relies on compliance and following directions, risk avoidance is wise.

But if you’re responsible for bringing creativity to the world, risk is a good thing, and surprise can be a touchstone.

stephen
Adding spice

Some kitchen cabinets hide little sins: old, metal containers of well-expired, dried spices.

The unfortunate thing is that spices are intended to add special flavor.

If you go to the trouble of adding a little extra something — “spicing things up” or adding a unique twist — don’t reach for what has expired. Use quality ingredients. Quality materials.

And, of course, this goes well beyond cooking.

 
Photo by  Engin Akyurt  from  Pexels

Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

 
stephen
Loathing the gap

Sometimes (or maybe often) there’s a gap between the way things are, and the way we want them to be.

  • Our home, versus the home we want to occupy.

  • Our bank account, versus the bank account we seek to have.

  • Our résumé, versus the résumé we hoped to have built.

  • Our respect among peers, versus the respect we think we deserve.

  • Our physical appearance, versus the way we want to look.

When these disparities occur, it’s no use loathing the gap.

If it’s that important, we should work to intentionally narrow the gap by working purposefully toward our goals.

But in some cases — particularly in areas where we have no control — we should consider eliminating the gap entirely by adopting an attitude of contentment… living fully in the present, with acceptance, and a spirit of gratitude.

stephen