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It can be easy to look at the big, wide world and feel insignificant.
I couldn’t possibly make a difference.
I’m just one person, what could I possibly do?
Charles Dickens once said, “No-one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of others.”
So what can you do when you feel useless?
Last week, when driving the kids home from school, I saw a young man shuffling down the street.
His shoulders were slumped, he had a sad, sorry look on his face and he sported a black t-shirt with the words, “Down and Out” on the front in large white letters.
The shirt said it and he looked it.
It was the saddest example of a self-defining shirt that I’ve ever seen.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a massive fan of the t-shirts that tell everyone how awesome the wearer is either.
But every morning, we have an opportunity to put on a metaphorical t-shirt that reminds ourselves of our value and increases our opportunity to make an impact on the world around us.
For too long, you’ve walked up to the edge, looked over and walked back again.
You’ve been held back by your fears and been restrained by the unknown.
You’ve made excuses and procrastinated for far too long.
Now it’s time to jump.
To take a leap of faith.
You don’t have to grow.
You don’t have to learn more or develop new skills.
You don’t have to read books, have conversations or get an education that stretches your mind and challenges your perceptions.
You may feel comfortable with your current situation and think that everything is going to be OK.
Growth is optional, but there are consequences for stagnancy.
In an interview, the late, great Prince was asked if he prayed.
“Every day,” was the answer.
“What do you pray for?”
“Mostly I just say thank you.”
I pray every day as well, but my prayers are mostly lists of requests.
It’s easy to become distracted by the final outcome.
We all want results and we want them now.
We look for short-cuts, hacks and tips that will get us fame and fortune overnight.
But today, I want to remind you to stay aware of the process required to get you that result.
Because if a farmer wants productive trees, he spends more time focusing on watering and fertilising the roots than on anything that happens above ground, even if it takes years to see the results of his labour.
Stop anticipating pain.
Stop worrying about things that you can’t control and that may not happen.
Stop reacting to the implausible events that haven’t taken place yet.
Stop over-preparing yourself for the worst possible outcome.
Stop greeting the day as if it is out to get you.
Stop flinching before you need to.
Stop looking in the sky for rain clouds on a beautiful sunny day.
For the past few weeks, our oldest son has been involved in a music program at school that required him to learn the trumpet for a short concert that took place this week.
I’m a proud dad, and I see most of our kid’s activities through rose-coloured glasses, but I’m not going to lie.
It was diabolical!
Hayden, bless his heart, spent most of the concert looking at the fingers of the girl sitting next to him to make sure that he was playing the right notes, and for about 30 minutes, we the parents were subjected to a range of noises that distantly resembled music.
The things that we go through for our kids.
Having said that, I was reminded that every great musician started somewhere.
As I walked, I felt tired.
My legs were weary and I just wanted to stop and go back.
I looked over my shoulder at my starting place. It looked very tempting.
It was comfortable there. I could sit down, put my feet up and rest.
But I kept walking.
If you’re reading this, it’s because you have a boss who doesn’t appreciate you.
You work hard, you have some great ideas, but no-one seems to notice.
The only thing that is seen is your mistakes and it’s starting to get frustrating.
So because your boss is unable to say it, I want to take the time to say thank you.
Thank you for your hard work.
Thank you for your excellence.