Thursday, May 26, 2011

Your Life Filter

As I stated in a previous post, we are all born as a Blank Slate. It is through our experiences and guidance from others we develop into our sense of self including the lens through which we view the world. This lens guides us, protects us, and helps us process the various influences as we move through life in our relationships, vocation, and awareness of self.

Getting glasses in high school was one of the more amazing lens related moments in my life. I'd spent hours upon hours on the golf course watching a little white ball fly great distances down the fairway or towards a pin. The whole process was rewarding, even when I was squinting like a grandpa....

The first round I played with glasses was a bit frustrating from a scoring perspective, but absolutely jaw dropping from a visual perspective. All the sudden I could see the individual leaves on trees blowing in the wind, the crisp lines of fluffy clouds in the sky, and the blades of grass on a putting surface. Not to mention exactly where my golf ball ended up...

Golf was not only fun, but it was beautiful!

If you wear glasses or contacts you will recognize the machine in the picture above. If not, let me enlighten you... The optometrist makes you read one of those letter charts through this mechanism as they flip various lens combinations asking "number 1...? Or, number 2...?" until your vision is clear and you can read the smallest letters on the bottom row...

Or in the case of ForEyes commercials, obtain the power to shoot lasers from your new glasses: ZAP!

Wouldn't it be cool if there was a similar process to refine the lens through which you process the world in everything you do? Not from a strict visual perspective, but from the viewpoint of your character?

My vision, no pun intended, is for everyone to walk through life processing circumstances, emotions, and opportunities through their personal life filter. Not the one that was forged through years and years of others imposing the way they thought the world worked or the way things ought to be. But the one that is determined on their terms through deep introspection and light guidance from their mentors.

This will minimize regrets/what ifs? down the road in life and increase fulfillment along the way.

Through cancer and through the work I did evaluating my life I feel like I am close to finding MY life filter. And the good news is that I have been taking notes along the way I plan to put to good use as a teaching tool to help others locate their life filters.

I've almost got my life filter figured out. Lasers or not, it's going to be amazing to process the world as I know it through this new lens.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Turn It Up

A week after my retreat to the foothills of the Rockies and I am still digesting all of the lessons learned as I make sense of them in my head. One realization I had out in the mountains is that I want to spend the short term spreading my message to groups of people as opposed to coaching small groups through life transitions. I do think I will end up in the small group space eventually, but for now my message and situation packs a particular punch as one of a few young cancer survivors in my age bracket.

As a result, I have been researching youth motivational speakers to get a flavor for what life would be like on such a circuit. I feel like I have learned some pretty serious life lessons early in my life and if I can pass them onto the youth of our nation (tentatively defined as seniors in High School through mid-30s) prior to them getting hit in the face with a huge life event, the easier they will transition through it.

My theory is that if I can plant the seed (or seeds) of my message in their heads early in life and make them more aware of themselves and the possibility of an in-the-face event, they will be better equipped to live a more full life, as defined in their terms, moving forward.

I came across a guy named Josh Shipp (here’s to another 2 p’s last name!) and one story in one of his videos struck a nerve with me. In short he was an orphan and class clown growing up. One of his teachers pulled him aside and told him that he had the ability to make his friends laugh and in that moment when he has all their attention, it is up to him to say something positive.

I recently attended a going away dinner (9 months posthumous...) for a coworker that left the company I work for with other guys my age. It was all work jokes and shenanigans until I start talking about my cancer journey. Everyone at the table shut down what they are doing and started to listen. Part of it is societal pressures of not knowing how to act, but I sense that they are hanging on my word and in that moment I have the opportunity to say something that will stick with them more than it would have pre-cancer. Much like Josh, a light clicked on in my head.

Back in Colorado my whole life coach and I were chatting about ways to approach my concepts and spread my word. He loved that I started a blog, and practically insisted I write a book. Seeing that the first book I read cover to cover was junior year in high school (thank you Cliff Notes!), I am a little intimidated by the prospect of the project...

But I have my message. And I have my personal mandate. And it will happen.

I have to do this.

There comes a time in everyone’s life where they get a sound of their calling. It’s up to you to listen to it and make the sacrifices it takes to turn the volume up so as many people as possible can hear it.

Cancer may have hit me in the face at a young age, but I plan to take it and make it my calling to Lift as many lives as possible.