Sunday, December 29, 2013

Towards the Year of the Extraordinary

(Please note this is the last post at this address - we're moving to please go there, click subscribe and click yes on the confirmation email to be kept posted through 2014 :) )

A few weeks ago over coffee, a friend was telling me about some incredible stuff he had lined up for 2014.  He had a new, really exciting job amongst other things.  This guy’s on the B team, (B for Brodie - discussed in earlier blogs) so his success is a win for the team and this guy is kicking goals all over the place.  I was proud and excited about where things were going for him.

Then suddenly he stung me with the question 'What does 2014 have in store for me.' He’d just finished telling me about some amazing stuff he was up to in the New Year so, in contrast, this question caught me by surprise - my head went down, my eyes looked into my lap and I think in my state of mental-asphyxia I might have murmured 'I'm not sure'. 

I felt like I might have let myself down and perhaps my coffee companion.  The truth is I had a number of short term goals over the next month or so, but I didn’t have a firm vision for 2014. I really had no idea what I was going to do with work amongst other things and the burden of uncertainty had been weighing heavily, sometimes making me quite anxious about where my future was going.

Inspiration and motivation that can’t immediately be channelled in a particular direction is very frustrating and what goes on in my head in situations like this can somewhat be compared to letting off fireworks in a small locked room…and my brain is inside it. That small locked room I now call Cuber. I’ll explain in a minute.

I went home feeling a bit unsettled and anxious.  If only someone would tell me what to do. Lay it all out for me like an Ikea instruction manual and off I’d go.  I would promise to follow those damn instructions to the letter! Alan key and all, bring it on, I’d make it work no matter how many nuts and bolts were in that damn packet and how many were left over at the end. Just tell me what to do!

After a number of days of serious thought and about as many firecrackers going off in my brain perhaps equal to the arms stockpile of a small and angry communist country (Cuber, I mentioned ealrier not to be mistaken with Cuba – think square box here) I’d become bogged down in the tasks and independent goals I hoped to achieve.  This really frustrated me because some of the biggest goals… I had no idea how I was going to achieve them. For example – ‘I want a great job and earn lots of money’ What job? When? Is that fulfilling your calling? Will you be happy? These types of questions devastated my ambitions. I couldn’t overcome them and I was stuck.

I decided I was getting nowhere with my current thought process. Small angry communist country was winning. So what did I do? I stepped out of Cuber, I stepped outside the box.
So looking at Cuber from the outside, away from the distracting fireworks and obstructive dead ends– I was able to put aside all those questions, take a big step back, breathe really deep and have a conversation with myself that didn’t involve Cuber and its firework crisis.

The conversation went something like this:

“Ok, so you feel frustrated. Forgetting Cuber, where’s this all coming from?”

“I have fire, a determination, but I don’t know where to put it.”

“Sure, well first, let’s just chill out and take a moment to acknowledge how that in itself is a major achievement.  You didn’t have that 6 months ago my friend.  Remember? Look at how far you’ve come – you prayed for this moment buddy. You made this happen and what’s more, you are making this next step happen- that’s awesome man!”

“Yeah but I don’t know what to do. There’s a war going on in there!’ Points in general direction of Cuber…queue sound effects: explosions, missiles, box-heads running for their lives.

“Ok, so think really broad here – zoom right out on that google map my friend. When you go to write about 2014, what word would define that year – what’s it need to look like?’

“Well, now that you put it like that, if I’m going to be writing about it, it has to be interesting, or no one would want to read it.  My life needs to be worth reading about. Besides, I need writing material if I’m going to bring my passion to my life.”

“Ok so, what’s a word you would use to describe the type of year you want to have?”

“Well, it needs to be the opposite of ordinary. It needs to be Extraordinary!”

“Here he is! Ok, so you are complaining about the War in Cuber…”

“Yeah, I’m the President and even I can’t stop the missiles. It’s carnage I tell you.”

“But you can my friend, just zoom out. Don’t get down in there and get all dirty. Be up here, looking down from far away. See? No noise and you can’t see anything but pretty geens and blues. Everything’s clearer. Now, that you’ve done that, remember how you got this far my friend? You know the answer here my man…Remember? Remember the Chevy?”

“Oh crap…”

“No kidding – it’s the title of your blog…seriously man…”

And then ladies and gentlemen, it hit me. Here I was getting all giddy as a good Christian on cider battling the ‘ifs’, the ‘yeah buts’ and ‘what ifs’ – when I realised, I’d been on this same damned ride before…this was Stuckville, best buddy of Cuber. So damn entangled were they I hadn’t seen Stuckville hiding there.  Bloody sneaky Stuckville up to its old tricks.

Time to bring out the big guns…Operation ‘Kick start a chevy’…it didn’t fail me before…(Yeah yeah, I know you don’t ‘kick’ start cars but in this case it’s all about the kicking and shoving) When you don’t have the immediate answer, or know which direction to take, just move -take any! Just get that damned rig moving!  Even when there’s no engine – just push that beast!  “Just keep moving” don’t be paralysed by the war in Cuber.  If you fight that fight, you’ll be stuck in the trenches forever.  Move, don’t stop!

The key is, when you don’t know what direction to take, take any or all of them but never none. Never stand still. Opportunity and enlightenment are the children of experience. 

You’re not experiencing anything new if you are just standing still, and therefore you are not allowing the birth of opportunity and enlightenment. Action causes reaction and what happens as a result of your actions, will provide the ability to take further positive actions.
So then it struck me like lightening – do it all! The more I could get involved in, wherever I saw a stepping stone to move forward, I decided to take it.  I have no idea whatsoever where I will be or what I will be doing in pretty much all aspects of my life, but I do know, that success comes from seizing opportunity so take every last one you can –even if you can’t see where it is going.

I’m not saying abandon all sense of strategy and planning, but that will evolve as you start to move. Kick start that Chevy! As that old bastard gets momentum, you’ll find your plans really start to take on shape pretty quickly. You’ll be drawing progress charts all over your wall in no time.

As far as hoping someone else will tell you what to do, sorry there’s no Ikea instructions –that’s just not the answer.  No one can tell you how to live your life.  You have to make those decisions for yourself.

So I worked out, I had a vision for 2014.  It is going to be ‘the year of the extraordinary’ and all I have to do is fill my year with things that just aren’t ordinary or the usual for me. It’s a year of raising the bar, taking risks and pushing the boundaires.

It also means learning to leave Cuber and Stuckville behind – these are places for block-heads. Sometimes, the smarter we are and the more we think about things, we all end up becoming our own President of Cuber battling a war of ‘maybe’s, could of’s and what if’s’ and the train from Cuber goes express to Stuckville.  It’s exhausting, frustrating and achieves nothing. When you hear one of those obstructive phrases, take a big step in any given direction. Just never stand still.

Cuber and Stuckville are full of philosophers and deep thinkers.  If you are like me, you need to know when to reign that in an focus more on your actions rather than all those big questions. Keep it simple – just bloody move. 
In my next blog, I’m going to talk about how I took my vision ‘the year of the extraordinary’ and started to plan my year for success. Look forward to keeping you posted!!

As my life evolves, so too does my blog, and I am very proud to announce we are moving to a new blog site and title.
As the New Year lies before us, please come with me.  Jump on the site and subscribe – you’ll get an email confirming your subscription and you just hit yes.

I promise 2014 will be a trip, I’ll take you with me.  

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