You are more valuable than you know

You are not just enough; you are more than enough.

Don’t let your inner critic run rampant and criticize all that you do and don’t do. Don’t always listen to the voices around you saying how you did this or that poorly.

You are not just your accomplishments, the number of friends you or likes you have. You’re not even the way you feel.

You are a son, a daughter, a neighbor, a human being, a person, a child of God.

You have intrinsic value that goes beyond what you do. And you should know that what you do, whether if it’s taking care of the home, or sweeping the streets, or creating art, or writing a blog post, or leading a corporation has value.

So, my fellow human, you are not only incredibly valuable just as you are, you create value.

You are enough; you are more than you know.

Know that.

Life is better when you think like this

The path of life is rarely clear ahead. The secret is to enjoy the walk.

Knowing what is ahead is impossible. Yet we pine and yearn to know what will happen to this or that in our lives. We worry, stress, and strain.

Why do that for something we cannot have? The future, no matter how hard we try to squint our eyes to see, is not visible to us. It’s too far for our vision. We are nearsighted.

Instead, look around, see those with whom you walk, talk to them, laugh, sit and eat, love. Bask in the sun, feel the warmth, breathe in the sweet aromas of life, nature, peace.

Step forward one foot at a time. Don’t rush. And certainly don’t fret. Enjoy each moment.

It’s a gift.

Feel behind in life? You needn’t

You’re not behind. You’re right where you need to be. 

Just because so and so got that amazing title in their 20’s, or grew their business, published their book, got married, had kids, and did their thing before you did, that doesn’t mean you’re behind. 

You’re on your own track. You have your own story. 

Look at Colonel sanders. He started Kentucky Fried Chicken when he was 62. Was he behind? No, he was right on time. He wandered from odd job to odd job for decades and tried various ventures that failed, and even got fired for punching coworkers. But, he didn’t give up and continued to fight until he encountered birds in a delicious batter that made him famous. 

When I doubted my ability to get married and thought I was doomed to a life sentence of aloneness, a friend told me to “Stay in the game.” He was 44 when he found the love of his life. She was the right person at the right time. At 44, he wasn’t behind. He was timely. 

And he was right about staying in the game because I found the love of my life a few weeks later at a birthday party. It was love at first sight. Even though I felt behind since I was virtually the last of my friends to wed, the timing was perfect. 

Timing is everything. But everyone’s timing is different. You have your own pace; you have your own time. Don’t feel rushed, like you need to do what everyone else is doing when they do it. Find your way. Live your life. 

But make sure you keep fighting. Don’t give up.

Your time will come.

You’re worthier than you know

“You don’t belong here,” or “These people are better than you,” are words that can creep into our minds. But they shouldn’t.

There are times in our lives and careers when we feel like imposters, sneaking into a room full of “worthier” people than ourselves, wondering how we got here.

But you’re not an imposter!

The fact is is that most of those people whom you are thinking are so worthy are probably thinking and feeling the same way you are—unworthy.

But that’s the wrong mindset. Focusing on that isn’t worth your time. Instead, focus on how to achieve a goal, fulfill your duty, grow in your work. The more you do that, the more you will feel like you belong.

Ironically, the less you think about your worth and create value, the more worthy you become.

And, more than that, you are worthy because you have inherent worth.

You’re human.

Accomplish more by thinking like this

“You need to be more ‘realistic'” is a phrase that we hear. We say it to ourselves. But that is shaping our mindset, and it’s stifling you.

Mediocrity is borne on such words. That’s how the status quo is preserved, and growth is hindered.

You won’t push beyond your limits by thinking realistically.

Dreams are rarely “realistic.” They are outlandish, laughable, silly, stupid even.

But those who’ve reached unimaginable heights, the dreamers, were not “realistic.”

If they were, they would have never accomplished what they did.

So don’t be “realistic.” That’s not how you realize dreams.

Be silly. Be stupid. Be unrealistic.

Dream.

Love yourself when you make a mistake

When we make a mistake, we might be harsh with others. But the person we are often harshest with isn’t anyone around us. It’s ourselves.

Sure, you made a mistake. Yes, it was terrible.

But why make it worse? Why punish yourself more? The mistake is bad enough.

Let it go. Punishing yourself won’t change the past, but you can change how you treat yourself right now.

Remind yourself that this isn’t the end but only a part of the process of growing. Speak tenderly to yourself.

You aren’t your mistake. You made a mistake.

You aren’t a mistake. You’re mistaken.

Correct it now.

Love yourself.

You need to know this about failure to succeed

img_4447Failing isn’t just failure. It’s a sign that you are trying, attempting—alive.

When you fail, it doesn’t mean you’re silly or a loser or even a failure. No. It says you tried doing something outside of your comfort zone. It means you’re an explorer, adventurer, believer. You’re courageous.

You know that life isn’t just about living or staying alive. It’s about feeling alive, pushing yourself beyond your limits, growing.

Failure is just a part of the growth process. So don’t quit because you made a mistake, faltered, or failed miserably.

Get back up and see that this is the path you trod to gain great things, a greater you.

Doing that, you can’t help but succeed.

When creating feels impossible, you need to know this

Creating can feel like fighting nature: Impossible. Making that painting, writing that novel or blog post or, sometimes, even a sentence can make us break into a cold sweat.

And it’s tempting to think, “Oh, I’ll just wait for inspiration to hit,” like a kid holding a kite as he waits for a strong wind to pick up on a deathly still day in the Midwest. You might be there for months, still waiting.

Don’t do that. It won’t serve you at all. Instead, do this.

Make something crappy.

That’s right. Just pick up a shovel and shovel some metaphorical crap all over your canvas, paper, screen, or whatever you’re trying to create on. If it stinks like something ungodly, don’t stop, keep it going.

Because making crap is often exactly what you need to do to create something beautiful. Any great artist or creator whom you admire did just that. Look at how they started or some of their early work. Or, if you only see their good stuff, then they destroyed all of the work they hated and were embarrassed by. But, believe me, it is there. It is terrible. It doesn’t look right: The proportions are off, the pacing is wonky, it’s dark in the places it should be light and light in the areas it should be dark. It’s crap.

So when you feel embarrassed or ashamed, remember that almost every creative person goes through what you do. Not every piece is a masterpiece. Few of them are; many of them are mediocre. Most of them probably smell like a farm on a hot, humid summer day.

Can’t write a sentence? Don’t worry about it. Jot down a fragment. Scribble a word, misspelled. Just get it out of you. Then do it again and again. And before you know it, a sentence will form right before your eyes. It will be ugly, but it will be there. Don’t worry about how bad it is because you can go back later and make it fuller, simpler, better.

Beauty isn’t formed from perfection, no; it’s cultivated in awful, embarrassing, smelly stuff. Creating is like gardening. To create, you have to kneel into the dirt and dump fertilizer down, spreading it around with your hands. It’s not neat and tidy, clean and easy. It’s dirty. You’re in crap. It gets all over you. But that’s what makes your garden grow and flourish.

Crap is what feeds your creativity. It will make your work grow.

So pick up your shovel and start piling it on. Just do it.

And not only will your work bloom.

You will too.