“Nothing great is ever done without much enduring.”
-St. Catherine of Siena
There’s always a next level up we’d like to see in our lives.
More fulfilling career. Greater experience of relationship. Improved health and well-being. Fit finances. Ability to contribute and make a difference. Something to aspire to.
It’s the hanging in until we reach the prize that presents the rub.
A personal area for me has been the development of valuable content and offering helpful ideas to others in a social media world of lots and lots of noise.
You can’t look at Facebook without being barraged with sponsored ads. Since more people are online vs in front of the TV as in the past, the online world is busting at the seams with advertising.
So, bringing a new and innovative message out inside a room of louder and more experienced mouths presents its challenges.
We all know the story of Abraham Lincoln, and how many supposed “failures” he had to rack up before becoming President. We all know how many “failed” light bulbs hit the waste bin before one burned for Edison.
Throughout history, there are countless examples of how endurance paid off. This is what I remind myself.
Yet, when the seeming “Fail” button lights above any of our dream endeavors, what will make up the rope to keep us climbing?
Here’s a few strands of thought to consider:
One strand might be the palpable and visceral depth of the desire…which we don’t diminish just because we haven’t gotten there yet.
Can you imagine if Lincoln or Edison had made it mean something about them when they hadn’t “succeeded” yet? If either had gone the route of beating themselves up or just figuring that they are a loser, what would our lives look like now?
In The Back Forty, we say “you have yet to do what you came here to do”. If that’s the bandwagon you want to ride with us, then it means you must put all your past assessments of yourself and what you’re capable of where they belong: in the past.
A desire rooted in infinite possibility, vs already-decided determinations of our capabilities, is what will pull us.
Another strand might be the mindset that all of “this” is simply what there will be to look back upon after having succeeded. Remember: lost elections, dud bulbs.
Rather than looking at each “failed” attempt as an actual failure, what if it’s all research and development?
In The Back Forty, we actually propose that the whole first half of life is only R & D anyway, giving us laboratories and experiments so as to develop our own Formula of Unique Self Expression (FUSE).
So, with our past behind us and only research and development continuing ahead of us, we are unlimited in what we can truly accomplish.
A final strand may be the affirmative answer to the simple question: “Are you having fun along the way?”
Doing something because we love to do it, growing in the face of adversity and challenges because there’s no more fun game to play…those emotions keep us engaged.
If what we’re doing – whether we’ve found the “secret” to achieving our goal or not – is having us grow in the ways we want, there’s value. Regardless of the “results” showing up yet, if we’re whistling while we work towards our dream, the tune and tone of success is present.
So, I’ll keep enJOYing my Self as I put out my message, learning better ways to do it, and know that, if the intention to contribute is pure, the light developed in this lab will eventually burn for others too.
How will you braid your own rope to pull toward your next level up?
“I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.”
In The Back Forty, we say you have yet to do what you came here to do.
If you’re here to play a yet bigger game – no matter what you’ve accomplished thus far – it will take you learning, growing, enduring and enjoying in new ways and mindsets.
Our 3-Day Back Forty INFUSE Program Ignites a New Formula of Unique Self Expression within you so that you use your entire first half of research and development to point you toward a playful, passionate and purposeful second half.
Check out The Back Forty INFUSE Program and join us for our next course on August 18, 19 & 20th here in Los Angeles. Use Coupon Code “SUMMER17” at checkout to receive a $200 tuition discount before June 30.
“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”
The human condition hungers for certainty.
Yet, nothing new or creative was ever born from it.
It’s a constant dance, in the middle of “Certainly!” and The Uncertainly, “Of course!” and off course, where anything out of the ordinary appears.
Whatever changeup from the way life is currently and/or comfortably going, whatever crazy dream or aspiration your spirit just won’t let you forget, whatever outlandish step all the pointers of your world are directing you to take…none of these can start with certainty.
For example, our initial offering of The Back Forty INFUSE Program was over a two day weekend in 2015. We had no certainty whatsoever as to how the content would be received, and were basically only putting on our first program as a pilot…to see if the message stood the chance of empowering people.
The response – and testimonials – were surprising, but we had only intentions going in…no certainty or even expectations.
Another example is our Back Forty Broadcasts, happening every Wednesday on our site live stream at 10:30am PST and on Facebook at 12pm. They started out with me in front of my computer sharing a tip or two, with no understanding of the technologies involved (YouTube Live, BeLive.tv) nor even any format. We just began as an experiment. It has evolved into an interview format, sharing ideas and great inspiration from leaders in the second half/best half of life mindset…and is both a helluva lot of fun for me as well as contributing to viewers.
No certainty going in, and even seeming certainty of unworkability many times in the midst of trying, but out the other side comes something valuable.
These are just our recent experiences in The Uncertainly. What are yours?
It pays sometime to remember the FIRST time we tried a new thing, especially if that activity has now become old hat and second nature to us. It wasn’t that way in the beginning.
Remembering these instances of The Uncertainly can support us to take risks even now, and now, and now, as we move into our greater yet to be.
The bigness of the game we want to play will determine how willing we are to reside in the not knowing.
Robert Burns said “There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing.”
That means, don’t wait for certainty…because it’s a mirage. If you see it, run away. If you don’t see it, run toward.
Where can you play bigly, even in the face of off-course-ness and The Uncertainly?
Here’s a few tips to support you to engage in and embrace The Uncertainly:
Pick an area where you have wanted to make a move, whether it be a dream you’ve wanted to pursue or simply a new habit you’ve wanted to incorporate. Just pick something to use as your test case of embracing The Uncertainly because, if your success in whatever it is had already been assured, you’d likely already be pursuing it.
Lock yourself in to some new routine, schedule or commitment to devote time, energy or resources to whatever that thing is for you.
Is it signing up for a 3 month salsa class? Is it devoting 2 hours per week to research some subject in the library? Is it committing to send out 5 inquiries a week to ask for meetings with people doing something that you’d like to know more about, possibly a new career direction or hobby?
Whatever it is, lock yourself into engaging in that thing for at least 3 months, and get a buddy to hear your commitment. Tell them that you want their support to keep pursuing this thing for AT LEAST 3 MONTHS and, if you waver, they are allowed to beat you up to get you back onto your game.
Whatever it takes, simply do what you said you’d do and keep to your schedule for those 3 months.
And, when the voices come up to say whatever they say that would take you away (and they WILL come up) – “This will never work”, “I look stupid doing this”, “I’m not cut out for this”, etc. – just let them fall upon deaf ears because you have committed to a schedule, and you gave your word. Plus, your buddy will beat you up if you stop!
After your 3 month commitment to action and engagement on that thing ends, simply take a sober and loving evaluation of yourself and your interest and expansion into it.
Are you further along than when you started? Is there any more certainty, facility, or understanding from which you can now operate? Is it worth your committing yourself to yet another 3 months of experimentation to grow further in this thing?
Get your buddy to assist with this assessment because, if you’re like most people, you’ll discount your own growth and development. You’re around yourself all the time, so it’s hard for you to see your own expansion. But someone on the outside can see what you can’t. A good buddy will beat you into submission to have you realize how much you’ve grown, even in the face of your cynicism.
Notice that you are making a PLEA for your own courage and support to live the life that you think about but usually talk yourself out of even starting.
Just start, move into The Uncertainly, and you’ll build a muscle for more and more certainty around your second half/best half of life to unfold.
Your radical, playful, passionate and purposeful Back Forty is here for you, in The Uncertainly!
“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties.”
“Development is an endurance exercise with incremental improvements.”
-Sri Mulyani Indrawati
Building character, confidence, a skill, a career, a business, a country all take time.
There’s the dance uphill from unconscious incompetent all the way to unconscious competent.
It requires endurance for sure, and just as much patience…for when we or it ain’t happening.
I tell my Back Forty and coaching clients that, to the degree we want to grow, it requires an equal amount of self compassion.
Without the latter, it’s impossible to hang in there long enough for the nurturing of that which we want to build.
Ever stood over a fledgling plant and screamed “Grow!!” How’s that working for ya?
Where can you turbo-boost your desired growth by directing forgiveness toward yourself today?
“Heroism is endurance for one moment more.”
-George F. Kennan