Things do fall apart from time to time.
Sometimes we even go through extended periods where it seems like everything is falling apart.
Are we cursed? Is it something we did? Does God or the Universe hate us? Are we just unlucky?
These questions are inevitable. Because we have a sense of where we think life is going and where we want it to go. We’ve seen real life fairytales and we want that for ourselves.
And even though we’ve asked, we’ve prayed, we’ve visualized, we’ve meditated, we’ve worked, we’ve felt our way into better feeling spaces, it all appears an exercise in futility. Instead of our wishes being fulfilled, we’re met with more adversity. It never seems to work like the books say it should.
We don’t need a better book or a better God. We need a better context for things falling apart.
Fictional character Ted Mosby (of How I Met Your Mother) said:
Sometimes things have to fall apart to make way for better things…
In Mark 2:22, Jesus said:
And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins – and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.
When things fall apart, it may seem as though you’re going backwards. At times, the unfolding may even strike you as devastating.
But you can’t get to where you want to go without facing some challenges (though challenges are fundamentally a creation).
If it must fall apart, let it. If you’ve done everything in your power to save whatever was worth saving, surrender. There is nothing left to do. Obsessing over the details won’t add a second to your life.
There is always something waiting on the other side of whatever falls apart. It may not be exactly what you wanted, or what you expected, but it’s waiting for you. You can’t put new wine into old wineskins. It’s time to expand. You’re to have a new container, not the old, worn one.
Celebrate when something falls apart. You’re in for a promotion.
And when life is in upheaval, be prepared to let go and embrace the process.
How much time do you spend thinking about what you’ve already accomplished?
Having gotten to know many of you, I know for a fact that you probably spend more time thinking about what you haven’t accomplished as opposed to what you have. But if you were to examine what you have accomplished, even just in the last 90 days, I think you might be surprised by all that you’ve been able to do.
The first time I came to recognize the significance of this was just two years ago, when I was about to complete a three-month leadership program.
Learning to acknowledge yourself and others was a significant focus of the course.
For the most part, ambitious creatives and creators feel unrecognized and underutilized, especially in Joe or Jill jobs. Human beings, in general, are starved for recognition.
One of the reasons we are so starved for it is 1) we’re hardwired to want it, and 2) acknowledgement is a skill, and it’s not taught in school.
So, when my course was nearing completion, my coach recognized me for all that I had accomplished, and even I was stunned, to the extent that I started tearing up.
On the last day, all participants were to give a short speech acknowledging all that they had accomplished, and the long list of achievements I had prepared was frankly surprising, even to me.
During that time, I also ended up dropping a lot of balls. But it seems you can’t always have breakthroughs without breakdowns.
What matters, though, is that I took the time to acknowledge all that I had accomplished, and I felt a sense of pride about it.
If you haven’t already established a routine around acknowledging yourself, I’d encourage you to get into the habit immediately.
Ambitious creatives and creators are always thinking about “what’s next,” and rarely if ever feel a sense of satisfaction or fulfillment around all they’ve already been able to create.
If you don’t recognize yourself periodically, then you will forever be stuck in the same cycle of doing more, not feeling worthy, doing more, not feeling like enough, doing more, not feeling like you’ve accomplished anything of substance… And on it goes.
I can almost promise you that you’ve had cause to celebrate, even this past year. But did you stop to notice it? How did you acknowledge yourself? Did you even take stock of all that you had to overcome and were still able to accomplish?
If you don’t get into the habit of celebrating now, you probably never will. Because there’s always something more to do. There’s always “next.” The to-do list is never ending.
Also keep in mind that you will never be great at acknowledging others if you can’t first acknowledge yourself in a way that leaves you feeling touched, moved, and inspired.
Remember – people are starved for recognition. Joe wants you to notice his haircut. Jill wants you to tell her she’s doing a good job. Bill constantly cleans up after everyone and gets no credit or appreciation for it.
Do you want to be a good leader? I know you do.
And part of becoming a good leader is what? Learning to acknowledge yourself, and then, others.
What have you done today that you could acknowledge yourself and others for? What about this past year? Do you have a system in place for acknowledgement and recognition? What would it look like if you were to create one?
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