Dates, adventures, and trips don’t have to be extravagant. Those things can be ordinary and that is more than ok.
Right now my family doesn’t have much if any expendable income. That absolutely sucks at times because issues with health, cars and anything else that life brings keeps us from doing anything the world or Instagram would deem exciting. I want to offer my family the world so not being able to do cool “noteworthy” things is a big hit to my ego.
What I am constantly being reminded of is the fact that dates with my wife don’t have to be big shindigs. Maybe it is us just Netflixing and Chilling… or whatever the kids are calling it now-a-days. Maybe a date is me grabbing chips and queso from a local place and making margaritas at home so we don’t have a big liquor bill at the restaurant. Maybe it is us just going on a quiet walk around the hood. All of these ideas have minimal expense and are anything but Instagram worthy, but they allow us to connect and have fun. The truth is, I don’t want to divorce my wife in 30 years because I don’t know her. Just because we don’t have the money doesn’t mean we can’t do dates and connect. The same idea holds true for time with my kids or time with the family as a whole. We are blessed that my in-laws own a cabin an hour away from where we live so vacations or time away doesn’t cost more then some groceries and gas.
This lesson that things don’t have to be extravagant but can be ordinary is a tough one and something my wife and I have to keep on reminding ourselves of constantly. I promise, if you latch on to this concept, not only will your wallet thank you, but you won’t live in guilt as it gives you freedom to just enjoy your wife and your kids. Now go do something ordinary.
The biggest lesson I am learning right now is that every freaking thing is happening in seasons.
I know, that that in and of itself is incredibly obvious but I know it is something that we all forget. We all long for something more, something better or something different. We long for the raise, for the job promotion or to be a part of a different company. As we are longing for the different, we forget the simple fact that where we are today is not where we will be in the future. As long as we keep pushing, striving and doing, we will not be in the same place a year from now as where we are today. Yes, physically and maybe even hierarchically in the organization you may be in the exact same place, but if you have been learning, striving and growing, you have much more to offer and can use those new skills to impact yours and others futures in a positive way.
Remember, business is all about seasons and just because you may be in one where the walls, floors and ceiling are covered in crap, it doesn’t mean that is where you will be in 6 months or beyond. Keep learning and keep taking those small steps forward.
Stories change everything. A story can be the sole difference between you getting a sale, a new connection, a new job or perhaps even the man or woman of your dreams. Let me explain what I mean with a short story.
In October of this past year on of my brothers got married. For the groomsman, he had picked out some suits. Like the many times before, when I got the suit back from the tailor, multiple pockets were still sewn shut. I grabbed a little pocket knife that I had and cut the thread so I could actually use the pockets. I figured that there would be others who’s suits where in a similar disarray, so I brought the knife on the wedding day. Low and behold I was correct. The best man, a guy that has known our family for decades, ended up needing to use the knife. When I finished up he handed it right back without a second glance at the knife. As he handed the knife back my other brother who was also one of the groomsman spotted the knife.
His face lit up with joy because it was one of the knives that he had brought back after serving overseas near the Middle East. As soon as the best man heard that this knife was a gift from my brother, everything about it changed. He asked to see it again and he held it with respect and awe as my brother, who gifted the knife, was able to tell a little about it and his time in the army
As I said, stories change everything. They turn an ordinary knife into something worth taking a second glance at. Stories are so important that before we go into any of those moments that could be life changing, we need to make sure that we are prepared. Prepared not just with general background information on the other person or company, but prepared with a story that clearly illustrates why using you, or what you offer, is a game changer.
When creating goals, mindset matters.
Whelp, that’s about all I need to say on this topic, but for those of you wanting / needing a little more, let’s dive a little deeper.
As I was thinking through what my next big goal should be, fear crept in. The fear that crept in was that I was going to become the arrogant ass that I was before. Not only that, but instead of building relationships as I accomplished this goal, I would actually be pushing people away as I chased down what I thought was a great opportunity.
I knew that I needed to go about this goal setting process differently. Instead of having some arbitrary goal that would benefit only me, I made others my focus. I knew that if I had a goal that was me centric, I would push people away as I chased an opportunity. However, if my goal was focused on benefiting those around me, then as I strived for that goal, I would be building the very relationships that would lead to the opportunities that I needed.
Mindset is everything. When our goals are focused on us, our interactions take a turn for the worse as conversations go from a we, to all about me. As you set your goals be careful of what kind of mindset you have, because it’s that very mindset that may just keep you from reaching your goals.
I’m pretty sure it’s a universal law that we all love the sound of our own voice… I mean I know I do. I love hearing my sweet sweet tumbra as I drone on about things I’m passionate about. As true as this is, I also realize it is the worst thing for me to do to build relationships and really be able to share in people stories.
I have recently been challenged to shut up and listen, and I’m doing my absolute best to heed this advice. Side story: One of my greatest fears is to have silence in a conversation. I mean I literally used to pray Proverbs 29:25 “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but to trust in the Lord means safety” over and over again as a mantra. I would pray that over conversations saying to myself that it is dumb to worry about silence or lack of conversation, and that I could trust that the Lord would bless our time and make it beneficial. I still deal with this fear to this day.
Back to the post: I have had some great advice given to me that I believe will help me conquer the above mentioned fear and make me a better human being, father, husband, friend, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. To put the advice simply, it is to ask an intriguing question and to shut up and let the other person talk. If I really want to go one step further, it would be to take a vow of silence for a day, or at a networking event, so I can give the other as much runway as they need to talk. One last thing that I have started doing is bringing a little notebook and pen that I can jot down thoughts that come into my mind so I don’t have to interrupt. Please, if we ever have the opportunity to talk, hold me to this.
A couple questions to end on. Are you a fellow interrupter? Do you equally love the sound of your sweet sultry voice? If so, take up this challenge and start to listen more. Lean into the silence. Create better questions. Learn to listen, actually listen, and give the other person the gift of hearing their own voice / talking about themselves and what is interesting to them. When you give them this gift, it’s actually quite amazing how much you learn about them and figure out how you can both benefit from the relationship.