The last few years, I’ve had some challenges in my journey.
Putting time and energy into projects that fizzle out, or not getting the results I had hoped for.
There were several times where I felt like I had gone down the wrong path completely.
When I arrived at those roadblocks, I didn’t handle them the best way I could.
Instead of learning from my work and trial and error, I would throw in the towel instead.
I’d cocoon myself. I’d fill my time with distractions. Seeing what other people were doing on Facebook. Or prioritizing lower level tasks that had nothing to do with moving forward on important and meaningful projects in my life.
A few days later, I was looking at my wife and son who had arrived in Slovenia to see the student’s performance. It felt like a dream come true to see them talking with students during our final get together picnic.
A few days after that, I was standing in the St. Peter’s Basilica and looking at the glorious presentation of the stained glass window depicting The Holy Spirit.
I told my wife, Kate, “Someday, it will happen. Someday…”
For 20 years.
It had been a dream to travel as a family to Ireland.
Understandably, we had many challenges along the way. Medical and financial challenges, family obligations. We couldn’t seem to get a break to make it happen. But my answer would always be the same…”Someday.”
But I didn’t want to hijack this dream we’d had for over 20 years.
So when I returned from Slovenia, we sat down, pulled the trigger, and purchased the tickets to go to Ireland and Scotland.
It was scary. It was a leap of faith financially and I wasn’t sure how things would work out with all of our other obligations.
I am so grateful that we did it.
I got to reunite with family that I had not seen in over 24 years. The kids got to meet family they had never met before. We were able to experience beautiful sights and rich history in both Ireland and Scotland.
It’s opened up the possibility of doing more travel and learning how to successfully navigate that with my son’s autism.
The biggest lesson I have learned is that “someday” never happens.
The word “someday” can be used as an excuse to put something off, or it can be used to comfort ourselves.
Ultimately, however, it doesn’t deliver the real goods. It only gives us whisps and longing for the unfulfilled.
The great stuff comes when we act in the now and take the scary step.
Just a warning: when you get ready to take the scary step, you’ll be met with a lot of resistance and a lot of naysayers. There will be people that say “I could never do that.” Or people that will question “How are you able to do that?” Or even the voice within your head that will say “What are you doing?”
Push through. You know that deep down inside, that true voice is saying “Do it” because there is greatness on the other side.
I’m so grateful I took the scary step and did something I had been holding back on for a long time. The rewards were worth it.
What are you holding back from doing? Talk about it on my Facebook page and join the conversation…
There have been many times in my past when I’ve let projects build up. Whether it’s housework or creative projects, at times, I’ve drifted away from showing up to do the work. When I finally decide that it’s time to roll up my sleeves and get back at it, I look at what needs to be done and I get overwhelmed. I think to myself “How am I ever going to do this?”
The work doesn’t go away, so I had to figure out a technique that would help me tackle it.
Not bad, but even 48 minutes seemed too much for me. Then I started to break that 48 minutes down into chunks that I could work with.
I discovered that I could focus on anything for 6 minutes at a time. Once I did six minutes I’d check off a little box. Then I thought “Well, I can do another 6 minutes.” And I’d do it.
Before I knew it, I had hit 48 minutes and it was time for a 12 minute break and I had some work completed.
I’ve used different timers over the last year. Currently I’m working with the Pomodoro Time app which is based on the Pomodoro Technique (pomodoro is Italian for “tomato”). This technique uses different time increments, but I can adjust it to my 6 minute segments.
I realize that I have tackled daunting tasks in the past, by just doing the work in little chunks.
A few years ago I was hired to be part of Castle Fantasy Fair at the Royal Theatre at Disneyland. A fun musical comedy style retelling of classic Disney stories like Beauty and the Beast and Tangled. I was grateful to be a part of this cast, but there was a challenge. I could do comedy, I could sing. However I’d never really done musical theatre dancing. I wasn’t sure how well I would do.
At the time, I paired up with a friend of mine who had also been hired, Mark McConville (from Superego), and together the two of us worked our tails off to get those routines down. I would film the other actors and choreographers performing the dances and I would go over and over and over it again. I would use my breaks. I would play the video in slow motion so I could build the routine into my body.
There were some days where I felt I would never get it. And then, slowly, it started working and I was put into regular rotation for the show.
I have such an appreciation for the celebrities that go on “Dancing with the Stars” who don’t know the first thing about dancing. I have gone through it myself.
But with continuous effort, focus, and just taking it a little bit at a time, that which looked unattainable and impossible was done.
I encourage you that if you are facing a task that looks to big, try the 6 minute technique. You’ll slowly start to make a dent in whatever it is that’s been looming over you.
I promise, you will make progress and you’ll feel better.
Do you use different techniques for tackling projects? If so feel free to share on my Facebook page.
Not only was I in a beautiful part of the world, but I was getting to help young men and women who don’t often get the chance to express themselves in the arts. The program creates an encouraging atmosphere that helps to push these young people forward while providing an opportunity to talk about troubles and hardships they may be experiencing in their personal and spiritual lives.
I was so grateful for the opportunity and I learned some valuable lessons, not only from the program, but from these brave young men and women.
Here are my takeaways:
1. If you have a support system around you, you can stretch yourself farther than you thought possible
We worked with these kids over the course of a week to put up a 90 min show filled with drama, singing, dancing and instrumental challenges. For some of these kids, it was the first time they had performed a certain disciplines. It was not an easy task, yet they knew they were in an atmosphere that would support them through this. The result: outstanding.
The most inspiring moments came when you saw the transformation of students who started the week doubting they could get though the process. But slowly, with support and encouragement from teachers and fellow students, they grew stronger and more confident in a discipline day by day. By the final performance a week later they performed like professional artists.
I find myself a week later realizing that I need to do the same thing in my own life. How many times have I talked myself out of moving forward with a project, letting the fear of the struggle keep me from taking forward motion. If a young man who has never done musical choreography can proudly do a group combination a week later in front of friends and family, then what is holding me back?
A key element is to make sure that I have the support and encouragement of mentors and fellow travelers along the way. In community, wonderful results can appear.
2. It’s not about me.
Years ago I read Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life”. The opening line of that book is “It’s not about you.”
What a counter-cultural thought, particularly in a day and age where we are constantly focused on self and self-improvement.
One of the challenges that Warren issues in that book, is that at some point in life, everyone should go on a mission to help others. It’s something that I had thought about for a long time with my wife. We weren’t sure what the opportunity would be. We had thoughts of going to Africa, or possibly going to Mexico to help build a house. When the opportunity come along to go to Slovenia and use my abilities and skills as a teacher and director,I couldn’t have received a better gift.
What’s more, when you are in the middle of a different country, you realize that there is need . I may not be able to fix it all, but I can do my little part. The written word cannot express the moments of joy that I experienced. An experience like this can dramatically snap any of my own aspirations quickly into focus. Life, just focused on my own needs and my own rewards, is not life at all. Life is meant for helping others and I am so grateful to these students for showing me the way.
3. Dreaming about the possibilities is a good thing… as long as you act
It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day activities of life. You keep looking at what’s in front of you that you forget why you are doing it.
Imagination is a wonderful tool given to us by God. It makes us ponder the “What If” in life. That “What If” is even better when, with God’s grace and courage, we start to realize “Why Not?”
I used to have dreams and aspirations about traveling the world. But I got hit by a couple of decades worth of opportunities and challenges. Slowly over time I left the drift of everyday life, cause me to put those dreams on the shelf until an undefined “someday.”
After my experience in Slovenia, I know that there are some incredible experiences ahead. I want to help this new family of students and friends in Slovenia. I want my children to finally meet their family and relatives in Ireland. I want to experience beautiful places in the world with my wife and sons. And I don’t have to do it just as a tourist. I can do it with purpose.
When I returned from my experience, I didn’t come back with a beautiful sad ending. I came back having had an ember stoked inside of me. That ember that reminded me of dreams from long ago and stirred the new sparks of “what else is possible.”
Again, I am so grateful for these students and for the Slovene and American teams involved with Josiah Venture and Cross Point Community Church. I pray that you get to have an experience that can rekindle those flames. My first suggestion, think about someone you could help using your talents, and then go do it… If there is a willing heart, who knows where God will lead you. I am grateful it sent me into a community of nearly 50 people who are now a part of my family and my heart.
I’ve been hurting lately. A close family member died recently. Our family is in mourning and we’re getting through it.
Unfortunately I have a character flaw when it comes to pain. I fill my life with frustrating busyness. Errands, checklists, projects that someone else should do, but I take it upon myself to work on them. I’m trying to keep the pain and sadness at bay.
But, that sadness and pain has to come into dock so I can work through it. I’ve got to get back on the horse and get back to what I’m called to do.
Maybe you’re going through this right now. You’re in pain and you might be stuck. I know it’s not easy. It would be a lot easier if all of the results just happened right now. That we didn’t have to put in the work. That we didn’t have to revisit the basics.
But we need you. We need you to pick yourself back up and share your gifts and talents with the world that God gave you.
So to get back on your horse, here are a few simple things you could do today:
Call a friend and tell them your pain – we’re not supposed to go through this alone. We need community. Even a virtual community can help as well.
Read a positive article or watch an inspirational video. Getting uplifting messages in your spirit can truly give you a lift.
Do one thing today.- I wrote this article. I had to go back to the basics of what I’m doing and break it down step by step. We want to get to the end, but we need the materials first. What is one achievable thing that you could get done today.
So I’ll get back on this horse and keep showing up. Let’s take this beautiful and sometimes painful journey together.
What are some of your accomplishments you did today to help get through the pain? Share in the comments or on my Facebook page. I look forward to hearing from you and helping you along the way.
When I work down at the Disneyland Resort, I have nearly 90 mile round trip commute. I usually fill the time with listening to podcasts or making phone calls.
I had an insight a few months ago where I realized I wasn’t leaving room for silence in my life.
So I decided to test myself and practice being silent for my roundtrip to work for 10 days.
Why on earth would you do that?
For me there ended up being three reasons to practice it.
First it helps to cool the engine of my mind and give it a rest. This is a very noisy world we live in, chalk full of distractions, thousands of things trying to grab our attention every day, whether it’s articles, videos or even advertisements while driving along the freeway.
When I add this to the other things I’m dealing with in life (making a living, having a relationship with my wife and sons, career transition, keeping healthy physically and mentally), I’m riding in the red for a lot of my life. Being silent gives me a chance to take the foot of the gas and let the engine of my mind rest. Keep Reading