Answer the Call

Last Saturday, three friends and I completed a hike that has been on my list for a couple of years.

The hike was to remote Golden Lake in Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness.  About a mile beyond Golden Lake was a glacial tarn at the base of Broken Top that was the ultimate destination for me.  Ever since I first saw pictures of this tarn I have wanted to experience this beautiful setting for myself.  So last Saturday I finally did!  The beauty of this tarn was greater than I imagined.  It did not disappoint!

Glacial_Tarn

I think it’s important to have a list of goals we’d like to accomplish, whether they’re personal, professional, financial, physical, or any other type.  Life is more interesting when we have goals and take steps to make them happen.  Not only does it make life fun and exciting, it makes our world, as well as us, more interesting in the process.

Do you have any goals or activities you want to accomplish?  If so, take a step today that will move you closer to making it happen.  And once that goal has been achieved, set your sights on your next goal and take action on making it happen as well.

Your life is calling.  Will you answer?

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Trust the Process

Wednesday night was really frustrating.  I was scheduled to take a professional certification exam the following morning, and from my recent experience on a couple of practice exams, all indications looked like I would go down in flames.  My frustration came from the fact that I had been consistently studying every day for several weeks and it felt like it would have been for nothing if I failed the exam.

Thursday morning I woke up, completed my normal morning routine, reviewed the material I had been studying and took the exam at the scheduled time.  I was thrilled when I learned I had passed the exam with an 83%!

After the exam, I was reflecting on how I had wasted the previous evening with feelings of frustration, disappointment, and worry when I should have trusted the process I had been following.  The process is the same one I follow for any event where I need to deliver.  The 3 step process is simply:

  1. Do my best to adequately prepare
  2. Give my best effort when it’s time to deliver
  3. Take any next steps, if necessary

Although I had done Step 1 well, my poor results on the practice test caused me to momentarily doubt the process and start looking ahead to what to do when I failed the exam.  This kind of thinking rarely enables us to give our best effort.  Fortunately, I was able to get back on track and focus on completing Step 1 so I would be able to perform well at Step 2.

During the test, I gave my best effort in the form of focus, thinking, and trusting what I had done in Step 1.  The result was a solid passing score and no need to retake the exam.  However, even if I had failed, all I’d have to do is simply adjust my studying, (Step 1) and repeat the process.  Not a big deal.

It’s easy to lose trust in a process, and start doubting when things get challenging.  When those moments of doubt and frustration come up, I’m trying to get better at reminding myself how often the process has served me well, to quickly get back on course, and to continue to trust the process.

Evidence of Commitment

Is there something you’re currently trying to achieve or change in your life?  Maybe it’s an educational or financial goal, or perhaps you want to improve a key relationship or even your health.  No matter what change you’re looking to make, it will require commitment on our part.

The way a goal achieved or a change is made is by our commitment to consistently act in ways that lead in the direction of our goal.  More simply stated, our commitment to a goal is evidenced by the choices we make.

For example, are you trying to live a healthier lifestyle?  Great!  Your commitment to this goal will be evidenced by the choices you make regarding eating and physical activity.  What kind of choices are you consistently making regarding snacks?  Do you choose fresh fruits or other healthy choices, or do you find yourself regularly opting for Twinkies, Snickers bars, ice cream and soda?  The former shows a level of commitment to the goal.  The latter, however, presents evidence that suggests a wavering or even non-existent level of commitment.

A great question to ask, when we’re about to make a decision is, “Will this choice I’m about to make move me closer toward my goal or further away from it?”  If the answer is “closer”, congratulations!  You are presenting evidence of commitment to your goal.

It’s easy to simply talk about a goal, or to have unfulfilled intentions that don’t lead anywhere significant.  Let’s choose to be different and present mounds of evidence, through the choices we make, that reflect a strong commitment to our goals.  For it is the consistent evidence of commitment that will pave the path to achieving whatever worthy goal we’ve set for ourselves.

Evidence to the Contrary

MiddleSister

There seems to be a mindset that aging is a bad thing and that the older we get the more we must take on an increasingly sedate and less active lifestyle.  For example, have you ever heard anyone say or imply some derivative of the following…

 “You know, when you turn <insert an age> you start to <insert bullet list of looming ailments and physical limitations that supposedly accompany aforementioned age>.”

“Well, that’s what happens when you turn <insert an age>.  That’s just the way life is.  What can you do about it?”

I reject this line of thinking for the single reason that I’ve seen too much evidence to the contrary in the lives of multiple people I’ve had the pleasure of crossing paths with.

One of my favorite encounters occurred during a backpacking trip around the Three Sisters mountains in Central Oregon back in 2010.  My buddies and I met with 3 people on the trail riding horses:  An older gentleman, a lady and a guy in his late 20s to early 30s.  The gentleman leaned forward in his saddle with a relaxed yet confident posture as we all exchanged pleasantries.  “So, what are you all up to today?” I asked.  “Well,” the gentleman responded, “today is my 85th birthday.  This is my daughter” he said as he gestured to his right, “and this is my grandson.  We’re camping across the meadow down by…”

I was so blown away by what he said, and what I saw, that I don’t remember a thing he said after that.  This guy was celebrating his 85th birthday on horseback in the back country of the Three Sisters Wilderness, while other people several decades younger have a hard time getting off the sofa without getting gassed!

The one thing I remember most about this man, besides his comment, were his eyes.  It’s hard to describe, but it was as if they sparkled with the flame of life that was obviously burning bright behind them.

I never got his name, but I will never forget him, or the lesson he unintentionally taught me about aging that day.  We’re not required to adopt the mindset that tells us we should slow down or throttle back on what we enjoy doing, simply because we reach a certain age.  We have a choice not only in how we age, but in our attitude toward aging as well.

This 85 year-old-young guy was just one of many people I’ve meet who, through their continued active lives, are calling “BS” on the lie that as we age we need to slow down, do less, and become less.  I agree with them, and call “BS” as well; because through their examples, I’ve seen too much evidence to the contrary.