“Someday” Never Happens: Taking The Scary Step NOW

What I learned from my trip to Ireland and Scotland

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.”

Then last year I traveled to Slovenia to help a church organization with a performance arts camp for young people. It really effected me, and I wanted to share this experience with Kate.

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.

With my sons Matty and Duncan at the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland

With my sons Matty and Duncan at the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland

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…

Crossroads-Making the Difficult Decision

I had to make a major choice and I wasn't able to do it on my own...

I remember back in the late 90’s I was at a crossroads…

I wasn’t making enough money with part time entertainment work while raising a family.

I needed to figure out what to do.

My parents and in-laws had helped us through some rough patches financially, but it couldn’t last forever.
Right around this time, I was also blindsided by a medical issue that required surgery and treatment.
Scary times.
I went through a dark period of depression, not sure what to do.
photo courtesy of Carsten Toolkit https://goo.gl/lTyA3x

photo courtesy of Carsten Toolkit https://goo.gl/lTyA3x

I rediscovered my faith during this period which was incredibly helpful, because I had a hard decision to make.

Was I going to continue on in the path of creative work, or was I going to settle for “regular” work?

(more…)

How a 6 Minute Timer Helped Me Get Stuff Done

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.

One article that appealed to me was about doing work in a 48 minutes segment and allowing 12 minutes of rest for each hour.

By The original uploader was Erato at Italian Wikinews - Transferred from it.wikinews to Commons by Fale using CommonsHelper., CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

By The original uploader was Erato at Italian Wikinews – Transferred from it.wikinews to Commons by Fale using CommonsHelper., CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

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.

Hope In Slovenia – How Performing Arts Students Taught Me Life Lessons

A trip halfway around the world revealed some great insight

I recently returned from a trip to Slovenia where I worked with Josiah Venture’s Performing Arts Camp program with Slovene teens and young adults. The experience was life changing.

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Hope in Slovenia with these incredible students

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.

Season 2 Episode 4 Hope (Podcast)

There is light at the end of the tunnel... so keep going

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” C.S. Lewis

Hope… it’s essential to keep us moving forward.

In this episode of “The Discussion” Kevin and Jeremy talk about hope and that future that lies ahead.

hope

Hope Image Copyright convisum / 123RF Stock Photo

In this episode:

Enjoy the show and PLEASE help us spread the word. Rate and review us on Itunes and Stitcher.

The Five Reasons You Need To Do Creative Work For A Living

This FREE eBook will explore why you need to follow your creative drive.

You just have thaFive Reasons Creative Workt feeling…

You may have a job that pays the rent, the mortgage, the bills.

But you know this isn’t it… there’s something else you are supposed to be doing. Something that’s creative.

You keep talking yourself out of it.

“That was when I was a kid.” “It’s irresponsible.” “It’s not the smart thing to do.”

But that feeling doesn’t go away…

In my new eBook “The Five Reasons You Need To Do Creative Work For A Living”
I dive into why you need to move forward with that feeling that is pulling at you.
Do the creative work you were meant for.

Enter your email to get your FREE COPY of my eBook "The Five Reasons You Need To Do Creative Work For A Living"

Break Through the Pain and Try Again: A Few Steps to Get You on Your Feet

We need you back in the world

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.

Breaking Through the Pain

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.

Keeping Quiet (And How It Can Help)

Silence may be difficult, but there are rewards if we practice it

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.

Silent_Meditation

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

A Story of Family Hope and Autism

In 2001 our son Duncan Gregg was diagnosed with autism, We weren’t sure what we were going to do because at the time it was so overwhelming.
But God is in the midst of our difficult challenges…
Over the years we were blessed with the Love that brought our family closer together. We were blessed by the the Love of our family and friends who gave us support and strength. We were blessed by His Love that came through the incredible educators, behavior and speech therapists who showed us the hope that was possible and that the “window” for Duncan’s learning would never close. He would always grow.
And we were blessed by Duncan who showed us that there is God’s Love in the challenges and pain, because the rewards are so, so sweet.
And today, much to our surprise and joy, Duncan received the Principal’s Award at Walter Reed Middle School in recognition of his academic achievement.
Thank you to everyone for all of your prayers and support.