I had a great conversation with an old friend tonight. We talked about making the time to identify priorities in your life. That's a great idea. If you haven't already, you should do that. Like, now.
Once you know what you're good at, what you feel called to do, and what gets you fired up, and you've listed them by priority, you will be ahead of a solid 50% of the population. So congratulations. If you're reading this to gain some value, throw that in the fanny pack and mosey on. Because I might just talk about myself for the rest of the post. And I'm going to justify it by venturing a guess that I'm not the only one who sucks at what I'm gonna talk about.
I've been talking with my wife a lot for the last 6 months or so about a project I've been thinking of taking on. The other day I was telling her my brilliant idea, and she asked me if I had spoken to anyone who could actually make it happen (ie. a financier, or someone such as). Kinda stopped me in my tracks. See, in my head, there's, like, a LOT of groundwork to be done before you make that step. But in reality, THAT step is the difference between whether you're DOING a project, or whether it's just a pipe dream. And to be honest, almost all of my projects die before they ever exit my mental preparation stage. My mental cutting room floor is like a barbershop of horrors for genius ideas.
Meanwhile, at home, we had a great weekend. No major plans - but after a busy week, Silas and I got to spend 2 solid days together. So what did we do? Well, I don't really know. Okay I kind of know. I took Silas to places while I half-assedly (yup I just worded that) interacted with him while giving the rest of my attention to facebook, twitter, and screens in general. Screen-sucking, apparently, is the upcoming term for this. I was that dad who was there, but wasn't really there. And I did it to Caryn too. Fortunately, she's perceptive (and sensitive, and bold) enough to call me out on it.
Anyone remember the post I did a while ago, where I used the quote, "It doesn't matter if you save the whole world, if the people that matter the most to you think the least of you." I think that's actually a medley of quotes from John Maxwell and Rabbi Schmuley...
Here's my point:
You can live a failure of a life regardless of how great your philosophies are, if you forget to PLUG YOUR BRAIN IN TO THE REST OF YOUR BODY!!!
Go ahead and have big ideas. They don't make you wise, or even smart. Because if you don't act on them, they are dead. I can tell people that Caryn and Silas are the most important things in my life till I'm blue in the face. Would I jump in front of a car for them? Philosophically, yes. But here's where I'm going to challenge you (and me): if I can't even fold down my stinking laptop screen when they address me, how exactly do I think I'm going to magically have what it takes if, by some random chance, I actually do have to make a snap decision to sacrifice myself for my family? Also, what does it matter if I do, at that point? If I've ignored my family my whole life, the most that will result out of me jumping in front of a bus for them is that they MIGHT forgive me.
So here's my challenge: I've been challenging myself, when I have a clever idea, to DO something about it immediately. Something that exists outside my own brain: send an e-mail, call someone, make an appointment, submit a proposal - ANYTHING. Speak that idea into reality. Once that idea is out there, you can't kill it on the cutting room floor. If you really thought it was so smart, here's your chance to find out. It doesn't take much to get the ball rolling.
And when it comes to my family - there's the idea of being a good dad, and then there's the action of being a good dad. Guess what? If I spend 24 hours with Silas, and ignore him for 20 of them, our relationship isn't strengthening. Quite the opposite, in fact. Perhaps I need to exchange my romantic idea of what 'sacrificing for my family' is for a practical idea. Like turning of my damn phone and looking at them when they talk to me! Chances are that's going to happen a lot more than me having to jump in front of a bus for them.
I used to think that wisdom meant that I would have lots of amazing thoughts floating around inside my head, and that, as I share those thoughts, people might start to line up and seek out my sagely advice. I'm starting to realize that true wisdom is evidenced by a skillfully lived life. Wise people have great ideas, just like we all do. But what makes them wise is that they implement them. And their lives reap the benefits.