Monthly Archives: March 2013

SerenDestiny #71: It’s About TIME

It's about TIME!

“The secret of life … is to enjoy the passage of time.” – James Taylor

My friends and I are in Newport Beach for our semi-annual strategic master-mind.

We were walking back on Ocean Blvd. from our morning beach walk and window-shopping.

The above display in a high-end furniture store stopped us in our tracks.

YIKES.

How would you like to sleep in a room that had this HUGE clock looming over you?

It just felt … wrong.

Yet, in a way, that’s how many of us feel every day.

TIME, in capital letters, looms over our every waking moment.

We rush through our days, watching the clock, ever aware of appointments, deadlines, schedules, agendas, checklists.

The faster we go, the behinder we get.

We hurry here, there, everywhere.

Too much to do. Can’t be late. Have a very important date.

For many of us, time runs and ruins our life.

The multi-faceted consequences of this constant time pressure was never more evident than in what happened to a friend of mine.

Sue is a high-level negotiator who mediates contracts between multi-million dollar organizations.

She was doing a rare team-teaching and went to bed early the night before the program so she’d be ready for the big day.

Her team teacher called around 9 pm and Sue’s daughter picked up the phone.

“Can I talk to Sue please? I’ve got some questions about our presentation tomorrow.”

“Actually, my mom went to bed early. She wasn’t feeling well.”

Instead of getting the hint, the team teacher said, “I really need to speak to her.”

Sue’s daughter came back with, “I don’t want to wake her. She needs the sleep.”

Instead of backing down, the team teacher persisted. (She later said it wasn’t like her to insist on talking to someone when diplomatically being told “no” – but somehow she knew this was important.)

Sue’s daughter relented. She went to wake up her mom and discovered she was in a … coma. Sue had had an adverse reaction to a new medication and was unconscious.

Thankfully, Sue’s daughter immediately sprung into action. She called 911 and an ambulance was there in minutes. The EMT’s began emergency procedures to revive Sue on the way to the hospital.

In the middle of all this, Sue was having the out-of-body experience you may have heard about from other people who have “died” and come back.

Sue was “above it all” watching the medical team try to revive her.

Sue experienced the bright light that exuded an all-encompassing love, peace and serenity that transcended description.

She saw her loved ones that had already passed … on the other side of a body of water.

She was given a choice. She could join her loved ones on the other side of the water… or she could come back and take care of her daughter.

Sue chose to come back and take care of her daughter.

When Sue was telling our small group this story over dinner, she said one of the enduring memories of that experience was the ludicrousness of time.

She said, looking back on earth, we all look like ants, frantically rushing to and fro.

Busy, busy, busy. Anxious. Up tight. Angry. Tense. Impatient. Always behind. Always frustrated.

She said, “From that perspective, you see the futility of it all. The silliness of it all. The senselessness of it all. You want to take it back. You want a do-over.

Like Emily in Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town, you just want to go back and take it all in and be in a state of wonder at the bliss, beauty and blessedness of a normal day.

You long for a second chance to enjoy the passage of time instead of obsess over it.”

The good news is, we have a second chance for a do-over … right here, right now.

We can look around and appreciate all we already have instead of operating with the underlying feeling there’s never enough time, we’re always behind, we’ll never get caught up, we’ll never get it all done.

We can integrate James Taylor’s wise words and enjoy the passage of time, appreciate having time.

It really is the secret of life.

SerenDestiny #70: Am I Waiting for My Real Life to Begin?

“Any minute now, my ship is coming in
I’ll keep checking the horizon
And I’ll check my machine, there’s sure to be that call
It’s gonna happen soon, soon, soon
It’s just that times are lean

And you say, be still my love
Open up your heart, let the light shine in

Don’t you understand
I already have a plan
I’m waiting for my real life to begin.”

Colin Hay, partial lyrics from “Waiting for My Real Life to Begin”

Are you waiting for your real life to begin?

Want to look at that from a different point of view?

Watch this 49 second video of Avril – a housekeeper at the Radisson Blue Resort and Spa in St. Martin.

Avril could be telling herself the story that her life sucks.

She’s been a housekeeper for 15 years.

She “scrubs toilets and cleans up other people’s messes for a living.”

Avril could be hoping that “someday her ship will come in” and she’ll get to do what she really wants to do.

But that’s not the story Avril tells herself every morning she comes to work. It’s not what she believes and it’s not what she perceives.

As shared in this spontaneous video, Avril feels LUCKY to have a daily chance to make other people happy.

Here’s the context.

I was in my room following a conference. I always add a day when I travel for business so I can immerse myself in the beautiful surroundings afterwards and write, write, write without the distractions of being back in my office.

I had on my playlist and James Taylor’s Secret of Life came on.

Avril started singing along as she made the bed.

Then Colin Hay came on with his powerful song Waiting for My Real Life To Begin.

Avril said, “Oh, this is my music” and started singing along to that too.

I said, “Avril, you are such a delight to be around.”

She said, “Oh that’s my job. I love my job. I get to spread happiness every day.”

And that’s exactly what Avril does.

Avril told me that Tom, a member of our group, had gone to the front desk to ask if his two friends could be switched over to her “Marina” section of the resort so they could experience her.

Avril is a walking-talking example of SerenDestiny.

The light’s on in her eyes. And because it is, she puts the light on in other people’s eyes as well.

Avril isn’t waiting for her real life to begin. It begins every morning she opens her heart and looks forward to going to work because she knows she’ll have opportunities to make other people’s day.

How about you?

Are you still waiting for your ship to come in – for your “real life” to begin?

Or are you an Avril?

SerenDestiny #68: You’ve Already Made It

You've already made it

“When my book was an answer to a “Jeopardy’ question.”

The response author Rebecca Skloot (whose book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” has been on the bestseller list for 100+ weeks) gave when asked by a reporter, “When did you feel you’d made it as an author?”

What would change if you decided, right here, right now, that you’ve already “made it?”

How would you feel if you started believing today that success is not out there in your future, dependent on achieving some goal you’ve set for yourself – you already are successful?

Too often people achieve something they set out to do … only to discover it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

I remember hanging out with bestselling authors in the penthouse of the Grand Wailea Resort in Hawaii back in the days I emceed the Maui Writers Conference.

Many of these authors were household names. They’d sold millions of books and had millions of fans. They had achieved the “holy grail” that the hundreds of would-be writers attending the conference aspired to.

Yet, what did they talk about? Did they talk about how rewarding it was to do work they loved? Did they talk about how much they appreciated having the freedom to, as Stephen King says, “Get paid to hang out in their imagination all day?”

Well, sometimes they did.

But more often they complained.

They complained that their publisher didn’t get their books in the stores in time for their Oprah appearance. They complained about the hardships of being on the road for 3 weeks straight, on an all-expenses paid, cross-country media tour. They complained about their editor not getting back to them in a timely way.

By many people’s standards, these high-profile authors had achieved “success.”

But once they got there, it was not nearly as satisfying as they thought it would be. It just came with a new set of standards of what it would take to make them happy.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s a better way.

And it doesn’t cost you a thing. Anyone can do it, anytime they want. You can do it, right here, right now.

Look around you.

Have you ever thought about it this way?

You’ve already “made it.”

You’ve made it to the age you are. Many people didn’t.

You made it by being able to see, walk, speak, hear. Many people can’t.

You’ve made it by having people in your life who love you and who you love. Not everyone can claim that.

Sure, there are things you want to see and achieve. That’s wonderful.

Just don’t think that success will automatically show up when you do.

Unless you change the way you perceive success, you’ll never really feel successful.

Success is not something you receive upon achieving something new; it’s something you feel when you appreciate all you’ve achieved.

Start seeing yourself as successful, right here, right now.

Start understanding and embracing the fact that … in the ways that count … you’ve already made it.