Potato Chips and Crying!

I am a very ordinary man.

And never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever write a letter like this because, to me, it’s obvious how ordinary I am. Apparently, though, it’s not so obvious to some other folks.

I had a very meaningful conversation with my friend Carolyn Freyer-Jones yesterday. She pointed out to me, that some “people” may have a perception that I do not struggle.

I know that is not all people and, more to the point, most people could give a rat’s ass about what I am doing each day anyway. Yet, somehow the illusion is that my fitness level, my leadership business, and other things I do in my life just move along without a hitch and do not require much effort from me.

To be clear as a wind chime, I have all the same challenges we all do.

As some of you know, I believe 60 is the new 40 and I intend to do my part to make that a reality for those interested. While I feel better than ever, I work at it. Maybe it looks effortless because people don’t see the early morning breathwork, the consistent calling in the Light, or the diving into an icy river at 6:00 AM to relieve inflammation. It’s hard work to stay vital. However, to me, the hard work is worth it.

The same is true for my business. I had a corporate job once that was so out of alignment for me that I left some big money on the table and went back to waiting on tables. When I figured out what I really wanted to do, it took decades to fine-tune the nuance in my business. I believe that any of us who have built an enterprise would likely say something similar. Running a leadership company isn’t easy, but I wouldn’t trade it for a date with the whole Swedish Bikini swim team. It truly has rewards beyond description.

Of course, I have had disappointments in my life. A few of them literally took me to my knees. I have been divorced twice and I did the deep emotional work to alleviate a ton of self-judgment there. Was that hard? Yes, it was very challenging.

For me, the path of a successful life is one of acceptance, willingness, and gratitude. Nothing new here, except that talking about it is one thing and getting those frequencies into your bones is another thing entirely.

To be willing and able to maintain my sanity, my health, my fitness, my business—my life—during these times required tremendous faith and unceasing vigilance. Every day, I chose to find gratitude and to surrender to God as a way of moving forward. The point for me—and I think for all of us—is I am very ordinary, yet I have been willing to persevere and bolster that with tremendous faith in Spirit. We all have a spiritual curriculum and as a dear friend pointed out to me, there are no apples in a hardware store. That is, you won’t find what you’re looking for in the wrong place no matter how much you want it to be there. Accepting that isn’t easy, though it does limit the struggle.

Further, on a more practical level, I feel hard work is unpopular. Every day we see people hoping for great wealth and fame without providing much value. While it is not for me to judge these people, I feel

deeply that creating something valuable takes hard work—and making hard work graceful is the greatest secret of all.

I am responsible for only my thoughts, my feelings and my chosen level of success. Once, I shared with Gina Murdock, founder of the Lead with Love team, that hard work is good for us. She liked that and we laughed about the audacity of thinking that everything should be easy all of the time. As you all know, the real grunt work happens in the spaces in between: late at night when nobody is watching, or before or after meetings when I serve someone who needs help. Or when I’m feeling scared shitless of another’s personal reaction and I say the truth anyway.

Do all of these things get easier over time? Maybe. Maybe not. Regardless, I believe they grow us into human beings that are adept and resilient in the face of the complications of life. Then, even if these things still scare us, life can become easier. And, as I used to say in every seminar I taught for ten years, “avoiding never works”. So why put off the hard stuff when we inevitably will have to do it.

Lastly, yes, I eat potato chips when I am stressed. Yes, I cry sometimes from feeling like a total mess or feeling alone in my home at night. Yes, I am bummed when my programs don’t go well, or people disappointment me. However, here is the thing: If I have become accomplished at anything in my 57 years of life, it is that I am really good at letting go fast. I am good at limiting my downtime. I let myself eat, cry, whine, blame, gossip…but only for a wee bit. My teacher John Morton taught me that. He showed me how to lose it and come back fast.

Seinfeld Chips GIF - Seinfeld Chips Eating GIFs

If there is anything that you may take from my brief rant here, it’s this: When things go south in life, which they will, then I suggest you limit the amount of time you go south with them. Come back to yourself and your purpose and your inspiration as fast as you can.

I welcome any insights you may wish to share about your life journey. What are your key learnings?

To me, we are all in this together and none of us is exempt from struggle. I am grateful that from the outside looking in, it appears I have it together all the time. But rest assured, I am struggling alongside the rest of us. However, I have also found keys to enjoying the heck out of my life. And I’m willing to share them.