If you’re like me, your phone calls, text messages and emails are coming in throughout the day. When I’m in a conversation and my phone alerts me, it’s hard to stay fully engaged, whether I check my phone or not. “What did I just miss?” I wonder while trying to keep my eyes locked with the person I’m talking to. Our phones are a distraction and often keep us from connecting deeply with one another.
DC Talk, a band from the 90s, once sang, “Some people gotta learn the hard way, I guess I’m the kind of guy who has to find out for myself.” While this may be true for most, my approach to life has been the exact opposite. I’ve always learned best from paying attention to the mistakes of people around me.
I once heard my friend Steve Moakler say, “Pay attention to the people and things that make you come alive.” He was making the point that the stuff that makes us come alive is a great way to learn what to pursue in our own lives. This concept of chasing the things I loved was instilled in me early on, thanks to my Mom. I remember her encouraging me to go wherever I wanted to go when I was looking at colleges. At the time, I wasn’t sure exactly where that was..
While we often view past struggles as the unfortunate parts of our story, I’ve learned to see them as opportunities. I no longer get down on myself about making mistakes as long as I make things better the next time. I don’t know if it’s my optimism or some kind of lesson that’s been instilled in me, but I’ve been operating in this “just make it better the next time” mentality for a long time now.
We share a common struggle — knowing how and when to deliver bad news. My tendency is to delay the delivery, or worse, try to avoid the need for delivery by allowing time to pass. But I’ve found this only makes the inevitable harder.
A little while back, I woke up at 4:07am to bring a couple of friends to the airport. They were headed to Colorado and had booked an early flight to maximize the amount of time they would spend with their family.
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I used to live in reaction to my day, but I’ve learned I have the agency to live an exciting and memory-filled life.
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