Category Archives: SerenDestiny

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SerenDestiny #74: Did You Listen to the Believers or Nay-sayers? Did You Act on Your Talent – or Set It Aside

photo of lebron

“I am who I am because you believed in me.” – Ulysses S. Grant

In this fascinating article in USA Today, journalist Jeff Zillgitt reports that several Hall of Fame players from the NBA (i.e., Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) share their opinion that Lebron James is a player they admire and appreciate.

In fact, Russell said, “What I think about him is what I used to tell Wilt Chamberlain. I told him, ‘I think I’m the only guy on the planet who really knows how good you are because I’ve seen you up close.'”

You may know that Lebron was on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the headline The Chosen Onewhen he was a junior in high school.

Here are just a few of his other impressive stats:
* 9 time All-Star
* Player of the Week 43 times
* 1st player to average 26 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and shoot 56% from the field

Lebron James

So, what’s the point?

Well, first, congrats to Lebron.

Second, I love it when peers speak up about their respect for a colleague’s talent.

You know what I’ve discovered about many SerenDestineers?

Early in their life, they were fortunate to have people point out their talent.

Sometimes it was a teacher. Sometimes a coach. Someone who was close and SAW their talent. Someone who believed in them and took the time to say, “You’re good at this. You ought to pursue it.”

And these budding SerenDestineers listened.

They took this favorable feedback to heart and owned and acted on their talent.

They put in the hard work. They developed that talent and turned it into a pro-passion (half profession-half passion) where they now get paid to do what they love most and do best.

How about you?

Did you have a skill growing up you were good at? A talent that put the light on in your eyes?

Were you lucky enough to have believers around you who pointed it out and complimented you on it?

Did you take that feedback to heart? Did you own and act on your talent?

If so, has it led to you being in a state of SerenDestiny where you’re getting paid to do what puts the light on in your eyes?

Or, did the significant others in your life tell you, “That’s a nice hobby, but you’ll never make a living at it.”

Did they say, “I know you like to act, play ball, sing, dance, draw, (or whatever); but you’re not good enough to make the pro’s, play for the college team, make it in on Broadway, turn it into a career.”

Did you listen to those nay-sayers? Did you let someone steal your dream? Did you let those skeptics talk you out of pursuing what you loved to do?

Maybe they thought they were looking out for you. Maybe they genuinely thought they had your best interests at heart.

Regardless of their intentions, abandoning what you’re good at, putting aside a talent that once lit you up, can end in regrets. You may be filled with “What if’s?”

So, how old are you?

Are you still young, still trying to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life?

Are you mid-career and there’s still time to consider transitioning into work that could be more meaningful, that would give you an opportunity to use those latent talents?

Are you towards the end of your career and thinking about retirement?

Whatever stage of life-work you’re at; ask yourself the following questions.

1. What skill or talent did I have growing up? What lit me up?

2. What is something I was good at that people admired or complimented me on?

3. Am I still actively involved in that?

4. If so, is it rewarding? Does it bring me joy? Does it feel good to do what I’m good at?

5 If no, do I miss it? Would I like to get involved in that again? Is that feasible?

6. If I would like to bring that talent or skill back into my life, how am I going to do it? Who can I contact; what is one step I can take to get involved in what lights me up … this month?

I know you’re busy, and I’d love to hear your feedback about this.

Did you listen to the believers or the nay-sayers? Did you act on your talent – or put it aside?

Please take a few minutes to share your story. I’m eager to hear it, and I know others will benefit from hearing your experience … the good, the bad, the “I wish I had …”

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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 #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.

SerenDestiny #59: Dog Days of Summer

Music: John Phillip Souza marches and Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man (in honor of Memorial Day)

Movement: From Lake Audubon to Lake Thoreau. I didn’t walk … I marched:-)

Musings: It’s imposssible to be unhappy around a happy dog.

I’m cheating a bit.

This is a photo of Murph before we head over to Lake Thoreau.

That’s the Jim McDonnel Swim Race about to start in the background. It always heralds the beginning of summer. I welcome what it represents, 3 months of sunshine.

Now, back to Murph.

She’ll be with me on all these walks – except when I travel.

Anyone who has a dog – or has had a dog – has already waxed eloquent about all they bring to our lives.

She has been a constant in my life for the past 10 years, ever since we moved here from Maui.

Always upbeat, always ready to explore.

In fact, when I spend too many hours at my writing desk; (which happens way too often); she prances over, ears up, eyes bright, and makes motions to the front door as if to say, “Isn’t it about time to get outside? The graphics are great.”

Other people have articulated, far better than me, what it means to have a canine companion. Here are a few favorites.

“You can say any fool thing to a dog and the dog will just give you this look that says, ‘My GOSH, you’re RIGHT! I NEVER would’ve thought of that!” – Dave Barry

“Dogs are minor angels. They love unconditionally, forgive immediately, are the truest of friends, willing to do anything that makes us happy. If we attributed some of those qualities to a person we would say they are special. But because it’s “only” a dog, we dismiss them as sweet or funny but little more. However when you think about it, what are the things we most like in another human being? Many times those qualities are seen in our dogs every single day– we’re just so used to them that we pay no attention.” – Joanthan Carroll

“Dogs are our link to paradise. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.” – Milan Kundera

“The conclusion I have reached is that, above all, dogs are witnesses.” – Carolyn Parkhurst

And … in case you’re wondering what dogs have to do with SerenDestiny … SerenDestiny is a life where the light’s on in our eyes.

If you have a dog, you can think of hundreds of times your dog put the light on in your eyes, a smile or your face, a spring in your step.

And if the light ISN’T on in your eyes – maybe it’s time to head out for a walk with your dog. As said above, it’s impossible to be unhappy around a happy dog.

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SerenDestiny® #48: What can Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin Teach Us About Setting Ourselves Up For Success??

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I hope you’ll take a couple minutes to watch and revel in the above video of Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin – as he talks about what he learned from Ezra Pound on the importance of “taking our work seriously.” As … Continue reading