Stick With It.
I promise this has nothing to do with resolutions or the New Year.
I’ve told you before and I’ll say it again, I don’t always practice what I preach.
Case in point - last week, I was all ablaze about how to FOCUS in work and life. While I’ve been trying to follow my own advice, I’ve still got a long way to go to become more focused - especially when it comes to yoga.
The minute yoga begins my brain takes off, and I’m lost in a whirlwind of to-do lists, life regrets, future plans, home remodeling ideas, and grocery lists. And that’s all during the first five minutes.
Definitely not pretty.
However, sometimes my cerebral sh*tstorm pays off.
Take this week’s Barre (less) Sculpt - a class that’s at my yoga studio but a bit quicker than yoga. Barre or yoga, my brain responds the same. This week, I wasn’t thinking of a million things. I was thinking about this newsletter, asking myself… What is the topic of next week’s newsletter going to be?
My mind wouldn’t stop. Then, in the midst of a floor exercise, I traveled deeper down the wormhole of stress. Topic.. topic. What SHOULD it be this week? And next? And…
And just as I was about to go down that road of self-doubt that sometimes leads to giving up, my instructor (who you should know is also a high school teacher) amped up her volume. Sort of out of the blue.
“STICK WITH IT!”
(She was REALLY loud.)
Now, she was actually referring to the 800 push-ups we were doing, but at that moment, I’m telling you -
It wasn’t about the push-ups.
It was the answer to my question.
STICK WITH IT.
So, this week, What I’d Rather Be Talking About is sticking with it. Obviously, that notion is different for everyone. What do you want to stick with?
Personally, I’m sticking with my quest to focus, lead a healthy lifestyle, and spread this newsletter around the globe.
I’m not giving up.
And I hope you’ll join me for the ride.
Let’s all stick with it,
P.S. Would love it if you’d subscribe (you can do it for free!) and share with a friend. Thanks so much. :)
LET’S GET TO THE GOOD STUFF
Buckle up for perhaps the best podcast I’ve heard in a long time. In this episode of The Skinny Confidential, guest & author Steven Pressfield nails the idea of “sticking with it” as he tells how to make it as a writer & creator, and human on this planet. (Spoiler - the secret deals with not giving up.) Listen to his solid, no-nonsense advice on how to be successful in life. Please believe me when I say this episode is a must-listen.
This one’s a song, not a podcast. While I was scrolling LinkedIn one day, one of the people I follow (Helen Johnson) posted a story about her singer-songwriter husband, Phil Barr.
Phil has been writing lyrics since he was a teenager, and according to his wife has stacks of paper, books, and notes scribbled with lyrics and ideas to show for it. Now in his 60’s, he finally found the courage to produce a 14-track album on Spotify. I think you’ll agree that Phil’s hard work has paid off. Give Midas Touch a listen - Phil wrote it for his wife. While you’re there, check out his song, Angel Wings too!
Let’s talk about sticking with healthy habits. If you want to stay on course with clean eating but not have to cash in your 401K doing it… check out these videos:
Next, a great video if you’re “one of those people” (like me) who wants food that’s dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free… but still tastes great.
Wait. Are you like, thanks for the tips, but my bison-eating husband won’t touch plant-based meals? If so, give my pal Gaz Oakley’s video a watch for some delicious and economical vegan meals even that even a Caveman would love.
Because I’m now obsessed with Steven Pressfield (see podcast rec above), the first book I’m going to recommend is his The War of Art- Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. Whether you want to write the Great American Novel, start a business, run a marathon, or start eating better today… this book puts you on a path to overcome the internal obstacles that are preventing you from moving forward.
Speaking of obstacles, here’s a book I heard about from a grade school principal who was telling his students about it. (Love the real-life lessons being taught early on!) In The Obstacle is the Way, author Ryan Holiday explains that the reason you might not be achieving your goals lies in the obstacles themselves… the obstacles actually teach us how to get where we need to go. Give it a read (or watch Ryan’s video) and let me know what you think.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - if you haven’t yet read this book, please open another window on your browser and order it now. I’ve read it a thousand times, and often open it to a random page asking, “What’s my lesson today?” There are so many valuable takeaways, but if I had to pick one lesson to live my life by, it’d be this one:
ON A SERIOUS NOTE
As I mentioned in the intro, “sticking with it” means something different for each person, and can change many times in a lifetime. The important thing to remember is that when we feel the urge to pursue something that happens to be challenging, it usually means we’re on the right path. As we all know, overnight successes are few and far between, and success is often due to grit and persistence.
Speaking of persistence, a story.
This weekend, my husband and I hosted a dinner with his former grad school professor/mentor, William “Hux” Huxhold, and two other former students who later worked with my husband. Years later, they’re all great friends.
Well, this weekend, Hux told us how he started teaching. While working in GIS (Geographic Information Systems), he played tennis with a man named G. William “B” Paige who was then Chair of the Urban Planning Department/Acting Dean of the School of Architecture & Urban Planning. Hux became interested in teaching GIS, and asked “B” if he could teach a course. After a few asks, Hux was given a couple of night classes. Hux was elated but wanted to go further and become a full professor, even though he didn’t have his Ph.D.
The rest, as they say, is history… by pursuing his goal, not only did Hux overcome the obstacle of not having his Ph.D., and become a professor of GIS, but he also started a GIS certificate program and wrote four GIS textbooks. Thanks to his dedication and passion for GIS, he inspired many future GIS students (my husband included) and launched careers, and affected lives.
But the story doesn’t stop there. When Hux first became a professor, he realized he needed additional support for the computer programming portion of the courses. With that need, he hired an expert - we’ll call him Tom - to take over the lab portion of the course. Not only did Hux give Tom a job, but he also gave him a place to shine, and actually changed his life - a fact that Hux heard straight from Tom, and his mom as well!
The moral of this story? When we’re called to do something - big or small - we should really listen to that calling and persist until we reach our goal. Because the truth of the matter is, our callings go beyond ourselves. We might not always realize it, but by pursuing our dreams, we often end up inspiring others.
I’d say that makes sticking with it well worth the effort.
Don’t give up, friends.