Are you living fully, totally engaged in every moment of your life, good or bad?
Are you a doer? Do you feel the fear and do it anyway; sometimes succeeding, stumbling, soaring, falling, failing, sharing your gifts, your vulnerability and putting yourself out there?
Or are you a watcher? Do you live on the sidelines, wishing your lot was different, always observing, expert at judging and advising others, waiting until it’s perfect before you begin?
I’ve just finished reading Brené Brown’s book ‘Daring Greatly – How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead’. She writes that “our only choice is a question of engagement”.
Usually with this type of book, (non-fiction and full of new concepts) I turn down the corners of the pages that have particularly good lines or sections that I want to come back to. I know it makes the book a bit untidy but it works for me. And (quelle horreur) sometimes I even highlight sections with a pen and write comments in the margins!
Now the problem is that when I started to read Brené’s book I found I was turning down almost every page. So then I stopped turning for a while and just kept reading and reading and reading…
And by the way I feel like I can call the author by her first name because I have met her and we’ve had a chat.
OK, I admit it was in the ladies room before a Business Chicks breakfast in 2013 where she was the guest speaker, but it was just the two of us chatting for a couple of minutes.
And I have a photo to prove it – not in the bathroom but a little later 🙂
One of the many things that I loved in the book is Brené’s use of this passage from a speech by Theodore Roosevelt from 1910.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or the doer of deeds could have done better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”
Brené says we should dare to ‘show up and let ourselves be seen’. If you want a quick taste of Brené’s work check out her TED talk here.
These days I’m all for showing up, being present and letting go of the outcome, living fully and loving it, regardless of the good and not so good. But there have been and still are many times when I’ve sold myself short, figured I was not enough, compared myself to someone else or delayed because it was too far from perfect. (Feel free to add your own excuse in here if none of these sound familiar).
So here are a couple of things that may help get you more engaged in your life.
- Think about it. Spend some time considering and journaling about who you want to be and what you want to do in your life. And remember it’s never too late to start. Try writing a letter about your perfect day or how your life would be in a year if everything you wanted to be and do came true.
- Make a list. I love a list. For me it makes things more manageable. It helps me breaks big and potentially overwhelming things down into small doable steps. Pick one thing you’d like to do rom your thinking in point 1 and make a list of all the steps and tasks you need to do to make it happen. Then step up and do the first item on the list.
- Do it. Or JFDI (Just Fricken Do It). Thanks Michelle Bridges for this eloquent advice – Sometimes you just need to do something, anything. You may amaze yourself with how easy a small step can be and how fabulous it can make you feel to take action. You’ll also notice that once you take one step, the next one is usually a little easier.
Thanks for reading.