If you read my last post, I mentioned that I hosted a candidate on a “ride along” last Friday. As these work trips usually go, the potential employee usually asks questions about the role, trying to gain nuggets on the products, insights on customer concerns, and what the day to day looks like. Often these individuals are jotting down notes into their journals (they better be!), formulating a plan to knock out their final interview, while putting their best foot forward in hopes that I sing their praises to the hiring manager.
On this particular day, at least for most of it, it went as usual…visiting accounts, doing my thing, answering questions, explaining the industry, etc. etc. But this time, the candidate, let’s call her Stacy asked me a great question. She asked, “If there is one thing I need to know…one piece of advice you can give me to crush this job, what is it?”
I thought about it for a second, while driving past the old battle ships nestled in the waters of Bremerton, Washington. I pondered the question, thinking of the right response that would genuinely help her. The standard answer would be to set goals, create a solid plan and execute, work really hard, bring value, and ask for the business. Deep down I felt that response would be just like those old war vessels…rusty and out dated.
Well for some reason that day was different. For those of you who have been following my blog have witnessed a dramatic shift in my mindset that I’m trying to share. This blog has fostered an intellectual journey that has been one of the most transformational forces in my life. It has taught me a powerful emotion called humility. The process of sharing my thoughts, research, opinions, and strategies has been truly rewarding. I have learned that I don’t have to create, just document my journey. Using concepts from Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: A New Psychology of Success, I’m working on developing a growth mindset – focusing on the process, learning, and growing – not simply on outcomes and the black and whiteness of wins an losses. For most of my life I was living in a fixed mindset – gaining my self worth and validation on proving that I was good enough – to myself and others.
Trust me, I’m still a work in progress, but this time, when asked for advice on succeeding, I wanted to share something different. I simply told Stacy:
Just know that you are alive
YOU ARE ALIVE!
To the average innocent bystander, one would think, man this dude is corny and definitely on the cheesy side. You know what, I really don’t care. I wanted her to know and you to know that you are ALIVE! Take advantage of this precious gift of having the freedom of being present, here alive today. To think. To act and do whatever it is that you want.
Most people wake up each day and take for granted all the possibilities being alive has to offer…seriously. Why do people wait to go through a traumatic event or threat of loss to truly appreciate how insanely lucky we are to experience just a single day and all the possibilities and wonders each day brings…especially in the mundane things that aren’t given a second thought once they’ve passed? Don’t make a loss make you finally live.
We take for granted the small things…which really are the BEST THINGS. Get ready for my random list of examples:
Hearing a child’s laughter; going on a walk and feeling the wind in your face; a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon (what can I say, I love cheese…and bacon for that matter); going to the movies, reading a good book; smelling a scent that takes you back; experiencing the sunrise on a morning run; waking up on a Saturday morning to College Gameday; picking raspberries with your kids; physical touch from a loved one…the list can go on and on.
How would you live your life if you knew you only had 6 months to live? Would that change how you thought, acted, lived and loved? What would you appreciate more if you just got out of jail after being locked up for 20 years? I had the opportunity to play softball a few years ago against federal inmates and spoke to one of my former classmates who had 10 more years to serve. Wow, the freedoms we have if you change your lens are so immense and beautiful, but are we living with that perspective and gratitude?
Living today, right now, I truly feel blessed…blessed and trying to do as much as I can while I’m here. Sometimes I feel like John Mayer when he sings in his song, “Stop This Train”…so I play the numbers game, to find a way to say my life has just begun. If I do the math, I have about 64% of life left…and that’s if I live to be 100. This is a long winded way of telling the candidate in my car, to you, and to remind myself that if you are reading this:
YOU ARE ALIVE,
BUT ARE YOU TRULY LIVING?
We only get ONE SHOT at life. This is me pleading with you (and to myself) to do a few things right now:
• Love more, judge less
• Laugh at yourself, not at others
• Cry tears of joy
• Think daily and independently
• See beauty in all things
• Find gratitude in even hardships and set backs
• Ask yourself this question at the end of each day, “How many people did I help?”
• Know that you are only limited by your thoughts
• You can do and be anything you want – it all starts and ends in your mind
• Be generous
• Forgiveness transcends
• Know these words and use them often: Please and Thank you
• Fight the battle ahead, not the one behind you
• Plan for the future, but be present today
• Lastly, believe in yourself. You are special. You are a miracle. Since you are a miracle, make and recognize mini miracles daily.
• Oh, and know that God loves you just the way you are, so just be yourself.
Live the life you dream about. Do not wait for an event to cause this. Make this powerful choice now.
Happiness is not about money, but moments. Fulfillment isn’t found in status, but service. Joy is not achieved by acquiring things, but in harnessing the power of thankfulness. This approach is my best practice. This is my advice. I hope that you and Stacy from my ride along takes it, run with it, and never look back.