Tails of the Herd: The Day I Realized I was following the Asses in Front of Me

Unknown-1I remember waking up one day and feeling pretty much like Simba hanging on that limb for dear life, hoping to survive the stampede of the wildebeast herd.  Simba was out romping as children do, when the herd rushed around him and swept him up.  He starting running, remember the scene?, desperately trying to keep up, not to be run over or stomped to death.  God knows where he would’ve ended up if he just kept running.  He knew he had to either keep up or get out of the crush or it wouldn’t end well.  That was a smart move.

There was that moment for me.  I grew up, romping happily.  I followed the rules.  Did what I was told.  Listened to the “big” important people around me.  I washed behind my ears, got good grades, came home 15 minutes before curfew.  I went to college, got a job, a house, kids…

and then I began repeating the circle of life and guiding my children to do exactly the same.

Until I looked up and realized I was following the tail of the one ahead of me and I asked myself why I had my head up somebody elses…rumpus.

It all started when I had no idea where I was in life or how I got there.  I had just been blindly following those before me and expecting to end up in the land of everyone’s adolescent dreams when we slowed at the end.

It doesn’t work that way.  You end up where the stampede carries you, unless you find that limb and climb out of the fray until the masses rush by.  By that point, though, you’re so lost and far from home, it’ll take an act of god to find your way back or start over.  I wished I had seen it coming and never gotten swept up in the herd.

Their destination became my destination. I chased after whatever the leader of the herd was chasing and so on back to where I was.  Their course, mine.  It wasn’t planned and wasn’t all bad.  It was just a life of default.

So, I made a conscious decision to get out.

This meant I had to figure out where I was and where I wanted to go instead.

It seemed like most everybody was racing ahead to something great.  They were rushing towards “success”.  I think that’s what we thought we were doing.

Fame and fortune.  Prizes and reward.  Glitter and tinsel.

Power.  Control over life, people, circumstances.

Applause.  Attention.  Approval.

The path of least resistance.  Aka:  comfort, leisure and ease.

Whatever.

It didn’t seem like the means mattered quite so much as long as it ended in “success”.

The issue was that I wasn’t arriving anywhere close to where I expected.  It didn’t seem others around me were arriving there either.  I knew I was off course and I was rapidly ushering my kids to end up in the same place.

That’s when it became clear that I wanted to go someplace different and take my kids with me.  I still wanted to be “successful”.  I just wanted to define what that meant.  I wanted clarity.

After a lot of thinking, looking at the others still running and where they were ending up, studying those who were actually achieving big things, getting advanced education in giftedness, and analyzing some more, I set a new course.

The clarity changed everything.  It changed how I saw each day, filtered decisions, how I guided and encouraged my children, and even how I viewed myself, them, our endeavors and futures.  It freed us.

The funny thing is, that in breaking away from the masses, gaining clarity on where we now intended to go (and how we’d get there), we’ve been carried further than we ever expected.  The view has been MUCH better too.

Here’s a topic of convo for the table or car (of course you have to begin having convo’s with your significant/kids about all kinds of topics so it’s not bizarro that you’re suddenly having a thoughtful conversation with them).  Think of all the common destinations people have and any words that define what success is to them or others.  If you want, put the words on individual scraps of paper or cards.  Then play “Would You Rather”  Put two cards together and ask:  Would you rather have xx or yy?  Maybe it’ll sound like, “Would you rather be rich or famous?”  Then leave the “winner” and replace the “loser” card with a new word. “Would you rather be famous or have total control and freedom over your life?”  Play again and again until there’s a final card that trumps all the others.  There winds up being good discussion about the pros and cons of each.

Our winner became:  maximizing our individual potential.  < P

It was the beginning of discovering the formula.  We discovered the product:  < P = Z ⋄ C5 ⋄ E

We’ve elaborated a little on that since:  maximizing our potential in a way that brings valuable contribution to everyone around us.

Where you are heading and why?

Determine your destination.

The Small Formula for Pursuing a Big Life

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What do you want to be when you grow up?

 

Rock star.  The doctor that cures cancer.  An Olympic gold medalist.  NFL quarterback.  Movie Star.  Famous novelist.  President.

 

I wanted to be Miss America.  Imagine that.

 

What did you want to be?  What do your kids want to be when they grow up?

 

It’s a pretty big question.

 

We all had pretty big ideas when we were little.

 

But then, we grew up.  And most of us didn’t become what we thought we would.  Down deep we wish we would have.

 

I’m not sure many of us know what happened.  We grew up like the kids next door.  We did what everybody else basically did, but some achieved great things, others didn’t.  Some seem outrageously content, others not so much.  And the connection between “success” and satisfaction hasn’t proven to correspond.

 

So, what the heck?  Is there a secret?  Was there a fairy that came with dust and nobody told me we were supposed to put our hopes and dreams under the pillow so they turned into something big?  Is that why others went on to live big lives and we, well, seemed to have missed that train so far?

 

Me?  I just grew up.  And I am where I am.

 

My parents really didn’t guide me.  Maybe they thought the guidance counselor handled my path into the future.  The counselors were preoccupied with paddling the delinquents and figured the parents had it covered.  Neither did.

 

Two things happened since…

 

One.  I have been fascinated by the mystical factors that projected the chosen few to accomplish great things.  Maybe because I always felt that I had something big that was supposed to happen with my life, but since nobody was taking my hand to show me the way or pat my po-po, I have been determined to figure it out.  So, I’ve asked questions, studied, watched, listened to those who’ve accomplished significant things.

 

Two.  I had kids.  Three of them.  I thought it best to live vicariously through them.  Isn’t that what most parents do?!

 

Actually, I wanted to be intentional in guiding them into their future, to encourage them to pursue big goals and take every opportunity to do cool things.  I guess because I was a teacher, I wanted to engage my kids, guide them, be a bit more proactive in teaching them life lessons.  Build in character.  And watch them take off and fly.

 

I’ve got a lot to tell you.

 

I’ve learned a lot.

 

My kids are growing up.  All three are “successful”.  They’re pursuing big goals, living big lives, hanging with some fairly impressive people and having a ball.  We’re all in process of maximizing our potentials.  That includes me.

 

Along the way, I’ve discovered factors that make the difference.  They fit into a formula.  A formula that’s simple, clear and practical.

 

It’s the formula for the fairy dust that propels anyone to become all they’re meant to become.  It’s not mystical.  It’s not only for some.  It’s for those who will simply choose to live it.

 

It’s a practical formula for us to apply to ourselves.  It’s one that ought to be used to guide our children.

 

I’ll be spending my days sharing with you all I’ve learned through analyzing, studying, and applying things to my kids and other students who’ve thrived.  My intent is for you and your children to live big lives and become all you’re meant to become so you can share your best with the rest of us!

 

< P = Z ⋄ C5 ⋄ E

 

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Did you have anyone guide you step-by-step so that you’re more successful than you expected yourself to be?

 

Are you actively engaged with leading your children to become all they’re meant to become?