Thankfully, my thirst for and commitment to learning never ceases. By now, I sometimes wish I were further along in my knowledge and understanding but I guess we all learn at a different pace and in our own way. Take for instance the “learning” of potty training for my son (our second), but perhaps that has more to do with his parents than him and that there’s a story for another time.
One of my recent learnings was sparked by my participation in a MenLiving workshop led by our own Mike Patterson titled “What Are You Living For?” It was centered around developing a Mission for our lives. Now, I’ve done Mission work before and have spent a fairly significant amount of time crafting one that fits, resonates and is true for me. However, I went into this workshop with a blank slate. I came out of it with a greater understanding of myself, some of the things most important to me, and honing my “WHY” – my reason for being here.
Learning, developing and offering some of these tools to other men in our community is a big part of my WHY. Last Wednesday, for our in-person meeting we looked back at moments in our lives that were especially impactful to us. WHY? So, we could better understand where we came from, what experiences have shaped our lives and begin to understand (if we haven’t already) how some of those moments, drive how we show up today. Men rediscovered some beautiful memories and parts of themselves that they hadn’t thought of in years.
I was recently asked (while speaking with Shaun Emerson and Chris Lozier on their MenLiving podcast If You’ve Come This Far) what advice would I give my younger self? Put on the spot, I garbled out something like “follow what you love”. Not bad advice really but I’ve since thought more about that question and how it ties to my recently honed Mission (thanks Shaun, Chris and Mike) and it is this: “never sell yourself short.”
Tied closely to this is COMMITMENT. Because, I believe, first and foremost you must commit to yourself. Make a commitment to NEVER SELL YOURSELF SHORT. This is what I’d tell my younger self, my older self and anyone who’ll listen or read these words.
Perhaps joining the MenLiving community at one of our events is part of your commitment to yourself. Or, reading this here newsletter. So, thank you for that.
I’ll leave you with a quote from William Hutchison Murray (Scottish Mountaineer) that resonates strongly within me and I hope it does for you as well this fine Wednesday morning:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!”
My “why” right now is so simple; “for my kids”.
But it’s a little bit of a cop out. I know to be a great parent, husband, person, etc I need to explore my “why” a little more. My kids are going to grow up and I’ll be left a shell if it becomes my whole identity.