Have you ever found yourself somewhere you never intended to be and wondered how you got there?
I wish I could honestly say, “I have no experience in this area.” In actuality, it’s one I am quite familiar with. My most recent experience was…oh yeah, yesterday.
It was like I received a special, engraved invitation:
“You are cordially invited to a party. A pity party.”
No party clothes needed. Sackcloth and ashes will do just fine. No RSVP needed, just show up. NOW.
It was a weak moment. I accepted the invitation.
I showed up. As I looked around, it was all so familiar. It wasn’t any strange sort of deja vu. The truth is, if you’ve been to one pity party, you know they are all pretty much the same.
No sooner than I had arrived, I realized I did not belong nor would I find any joy by attending this party.There is no joy at a pity party.Click To Tweet
Fortunately, I received another invitation at about the same time. It was a phone-a-friend lifeline. “Hey Kevin, got a minute to talk?”
I left the pity party early and jumped on the call.
As we talked, somehow I was suddenly reminded of my favorite words from Teddy Roosevelt. Words that often sneak their way into client sessions and presentations. Simple, yet profound words.
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
That’s the only choice any of us has, isn’t it?
While you may eagerly wish you were somewhere else with different surroundings and situations, you are where you are. At least for now. The good news is, you don’t have to stay there.
And, you are not alone.
Sooner, or later, most of us find ourselves somewhere other than where we wish we were. I was reminded of this, recently, as I listened to Melanie Dale talking about her latest book, It’s Not Fair, Learning to Love the Life You Didn’t Choose.
I loved her talk and the title of her book. While I could not relate to her specific situations, I fully related to her sentiments. Most of us can.
When was the last time you said, “It’s not fair” about something in life? If you are too cool to say it out loud, when was the last time you thought it?
So, what do you do when you find yourself somewhere other than where you wish you were?
That takes us back to the wise words from Teddy. I’ll unpack them in reverse order.
Where Are You?
The first step is to assess exactly where it is that you are.
For years, I’ve been intrigued that the first recorded question attributed to God in the Bible is the question, “Where are you?” Adam had eaten the forbidden fruit, felt the weight of guilt for the first time in human history, and consequently skipped his daily visit with God.
God went looking for Adam and called out, “Where are you?” Well, if you subscribe to the notion, as I do, that God is omniscient, then you realize the question was asked for Adam’s benefit, not for God’s.
That is often the case when someone asks, “Where are you?” You know you are not where you want to be, but you may not be exactly sure of where you are or how you got there.
The “where are you” question may be a wake-up call for you assess where you are — geographically, emotionally, physically, financially, or spiritually.
Next, accept where you are. And where you are not. Most likely this may require you to revisit expectations — yours or others. As William Shakespeare wisely opined,
“Expectation is the root of all heartache.”
Reconcile your expectations so you can embrace the reality of your current situation. Then, and only then, can you accept where you are and make plans for relocating.
What Do You Have?
Then, inventory your assets. Regardless of how impoverished you might feel at this exact moment, you have assets. I am not talking about your bank account and 401k, but your skills, talents, and abilities that only you have in the precise mix and measure as you do.It is far easier to see what you lack than treasure what you have.Click To Tweet
You can do this formally through a myriad of skill or strength assessments. Many people have found great benefit from the StrengthsFinder assessment. Or you can do it informally. Pull out a sheet of paper and begin listing those things that come naturally to you.
If you are struggling to identify your strengths, contact a group of friends and ask them, “What is it that I do that amazes you?”
I’ve done that and been amazed at the responses.
Celebrate your uniqueness. You are one of a kind. No one is exactly like you and has the same blend of wit, wisdom, and wonder like you. That means that you are uniquely formed and fashioned to make a unique contribution to the world that only you can make.
And we need you to make it!
Activate your intention. Deep within you is a dream, a desire. I call it your WHY and Living Your WHY is the reason you are here. Determine that living your WHY is what you desire most and declare it. Write it down. Speak it out. Go after it.
What Can You Do?
Take action. Do something. NOW! Even if it is a baby step, take it. And do it now. Now is the only time you have. “Do not put off until tomorrow what you can do now.” Great advice whether it originated with Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin.Seeds sown today will take root, begin to grow, and produce a harvest. But only if you plant them.Click To Tweet
Do not despise the day of small beginnings. Don’t let what you cannot do keep you from doing what you can.
Write. Talk. Think. Dream. Connect. Create. Discuss. Explore.
Just do it! Now.
What will you do and where will you go? Who knows? I hope you enjoy the journey. Keep me posted on your progress.
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