The Tracking Wonder #Quest2015 led by Jeffrey Davis moves forward. Questions of what will make joy a sacred priority, what choices and actions will we live by, and what authentic stuff we will unload and use again created space to consider what it will take to make the most out of the new year ahead. Grateful to Sunni Brown, Todd Henry, and Eric Klein for the thought-provoking questions.
Peace and Joy
Joy speaks of peace. Peace in mind. Peace in work. Peace in soul. Joy centers me in knowing I am doing more than just doing; I am mattering in what I do by what I see and hear from the community around me.
Getting this right is challenging. Making joy a sacred priority will produce drops of sweat at a higher proportion than tears of challenges. Joy takes work. Although that seems counter-intuitive, it is true. (tweet this) Selecting the work that bring me joy takes a conscious effort and a staring focus. When it all comes together though, joy flows. I believe this is what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi meant.
So, the year ahead, how will I carve out space to make joy a sacred priority? I will do it with effort that matters, working on purpose, and doing the things that bring me peace and smiles to the eyes around me.
Choices and Actions
Our life story is written based on our choices and actions. Period.
Words provide a thought, a direction. The reality of our life is in our choices and actions.
Words are just on a page or a script waiting to be picked up and put into action. We can pick our words to inspire our own action and that of others. However, if we don’t make choices consistent with the words and take actions to follow through on our words, we live a hollow life. For leaders, it is worse. If this consistency between words, choices, and actions is absent, we lead others to frustration, doubt, and misery.
The challenge is in making the choices and taking the actions that position us and others for joyful work, a life fulfilled, and whole-hearted leadership.
Shadows and Courage
Our shadow bag contains those items we eliminate from ourselves so we fit in with someone else’s expectations. Our life is filled with others, isn’t it? We have family, and family multiplies over time. We have the one we are born into, the one we join in partnership with, and the one we create. Many, many expectations crowd in.
Add in our workplace and our communities and expectations swell. We have the real danger of losing who we really are within all the expectations. Whose life do we end up living? Whose leadership practices do we end up exemplifying?
Worse. We become alone with ourselves. We retreat to our small office or square cubicle. We wall ourselves into separate rooms in our homes.
And then we finally awake to the fact that we cannot live or lead like this any longer. We have conversations with our family. We have conversations with our workplace leaders. We plant the seeds of our return to our authentic self.
Yet, there is a danger in our perception of what our authentic self is. We cannot do what we want without regard to others or to ourself. We cannot alienate everyone who is present, especially those who are working to be supportive of our mission. Empathy again raises its hand to be recognized as a way forward. With empathy, we listen, learn, and gain strength in who we are and how we work in larger communities, families, and workplace cultures.
Within our shadow bag, a tug of war erupts. How do we unload? How do we sort it out? How do we live and lead authentically? How do I?
Welcome to the messiness of life… again.
Clearing clutter begins with a definition. The first week of the Life Quest brought this front and center, and it re-appears here. Definition begins with understanding what I believe and how I want to live and lead. Just as a recipe defines what is needed within the mix, our authenticity begins with clear ingredients of what we want inside and out.
Accountability then knocks on our door. Do our choices match our defined way to life and lead? Do our actions empower our words? We need to keep ourselves in check along with key individuals within our communities.
We are vulnerable throughout. Although vulnerability is the new watch word, we need to be careful to not load up on this and drag vulnerability along when it messes with our authenticity. Courage is still in the mix. We need to have the courage to make the choices and take the actions to keep ourselves authentic.
Courage is tough. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be courage. Cowards are what we become instead. (tweet this)
Bringing Peace, Choices, Actions, and Courage Together
What will bring the best within me? The courage to embrace joy as a way to live, lead, and work. The courage to make the tough choices and take the necessary actions to stay true to self. The courage to hold myself accountable to the best person and leader I can be. The courage to smile in the embrace of others while embracing my own dreams.
We cannot afford to become cowards in our own life. I cannot.
Joy will be the knock on my soul, letting me know when my choices and actions are working right. In joy, there is peace.
Courage will keep me honest and give me backbone strength. In courage, there is authenticity.
What will bring you joy and courage in the year ahead? What practices will you engage to keep both?
Join the Conversation
Your Life Quest: Peace. Courage. Authenticity.
Thank you Jon for your great article! It is so true when you wrote : “The reality of our life is in our choices and actions” and “In courage, there is authenticity”. I definitively keep courage and joy by being real and authentic. I wrote about it and focused on the business life : http://performanceoutsidethebox.com/seeking-authenticity/?lang=en
Please share with us your opinion. Thank you and happy new year!
Wonderful timing, John! I’ve been thinking about my own mission and journey, after watching an interview with Oprah Winfrey and Timothy Shriver last weekend. As Tim described what he has learned through his deep involvement with the organization his mother founded — the Special Olympics — he focused on a mission statement that emerged from the very first event:
“In ancient Rome, the gladiators went into the arena with these words on their lips: ‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.'”
Clearly there is joy in “winning” — in whatever way each of us may define it. However, there’s a much more profound joy in the journey. It may start with a goal — and perhaps even a roadmap and considerable preparation. But lasting joy comes from showing up each day, even when the roadmap and the preparation may fail us. It comes from faith in a purpose that propels us forward, even if we no longer may see or understand what waits ahead.
And…it comes from the faith in trusting that we are not alone.
Thank you for bravely sharing your journey with the rest of us.
That is a great mission statement, Kathleen! Being brave in our attempt is vital and places us on our purpose-filled path. Much better than just watching…. showing up each day delivers joy when we know we are doing what we are meant to do.
Grateful for your insights here. Thank you. All the best to you in your “onward” path! Jon
Wow. This is a beautiful post. I love the concept of the shadow bag… you’ve given me some nice questions to reflect on over Christmas. Namaste.
Appreciate it, Karin. The shadow bag concept resonates within me, too, and offers much to reflect on. Thank you and all the best to you in the new year ahead! Jon
First of all, I’m truly grateful that you’re sharing your insights and experiences on this quest.
I know that it blends it altogether but joy and peace really do take courage and often hard choices. Compromise is so easy. Taking the easy road is, well, easy. Listening to your inner knower and intentionally choosing a path to peace is courageous and oftentimes scary… but well worth the perceived risk.
Thank you, Jon!
Thank you, Alli. Compromise is easy when it comes to our life paths and leadership ways. We need to ensure we are doing the things that matter most and are enabling us to realize our true intentions. Appreciate your thoughts and support! Jon
Another profoundly deep post Jon. I resonated the most with the section on shadows and courage, although every part was meaningful to me.
Since I”m still sorting through my ‘heart leaps’, I’m going to intentionally refrain from dong my more ‘thorough’ exam and rely on these things (grins) to save myself some brain matter and energy. As I will be tackling these same topics later when I get to them!
Joy: That was a big call out for me on my initial post: Living Connections. Connecting deeply with a more profound sense of REAL joy. Even when I have to be serious.
Choices and Actions: All about accepting personal responsibility for our lives. As an aside though: I am of the belief that we can at times give too much credit to our own power without regard to every other element of the universe and the other 7 billion people on the planet! haha i.e. our life story might contain an earthquake or tornado that we didn’t cause…but we are left with the task of picking up the pieces of our lives…you or I are not the CAUSE of someone going ballistic and shooting up a school, however, if one of our children went to that school and was killed, someone ELSES choice would be negatively impacting US.
We fail to understand that we influence and impact one another whether we like it or not. Collectively, we are ALL responsible for what happens to each other.
Shadows and Courage: So much resonated throughout this one, I don’t even know where to begin. I felt this one on so many levels. Nodding my head in understanding. Aware of all the complexities in the desire to WANT to be true to ourselves and true to others at the same time…yet it often winds up far messier than we can put it into words.
In a blog post, our intentions can be edited to look all neat and tidy. In real life… there’s not that same linear order and neatness that we often prefer.
Our capacity to be mindful is at the heart of this and yet…I’m still very much a student. I can only return to ‘mindful’ whenever I’m mindful of it! : )
The rest has to do with elements we’ve been covering on our quests: where values, responsibility, wisdom and compassion all meet together.
Underpinning all of these things is a willingness to be openly honest and vulnerable. If we can do this as mindfully as we can, every step of the way, this will help us steer our course more accurately to what we are seeking in life. At least the parts of our life we DO have legitimate control over.
The rest is in the hands of the Great Mystery.
Thanks for another great post Jon.
You offer many insightful points and perspectives. In choices, there are so many connections and it is important to recognize those. With connected light, we hopefully will make better choices.
On the shadow bags, this question by Eric really hit a chord. It is easy to drag things along. This is complicated, which is why courage is required. The courage to have the conversations. The courage to unload or re-load. The courage to stay true to our purpose while engaging a community.
Thank you for your engaging thoughts! Jon