MAWMonday Motivators 12/11/2016

sisyphus-image-01cI am writing to encourage you. Each week, you face new challenges. But, that’s not THE challenge. Adrenaline helps to stimulate your engagement of the new. The real challenge is to engage with intentionality, persistence, diversity, and curiosity in those familiar routines, mundane responsibilities, and chronic struggles. They are the sources of subtle irritation that are the true culprits of your uncertain frustration. They only promise to be placated, never satiated. They are contributed to, never complete. Hence, they only offer progress, never a reward.

This week, I want to provide a new perspective on these real challenges, organized by techniques to address them. Twitter is my starting point, as always illustrating wisdom through tweets. See your success as the grind, and perceive your reward as you rise to the challenge–even the familiar, mundane, chronic challenges–of every day.

1. Intentionality
I am the person who responds with an usual retort when asked, “How’s life treating you?” “I treat life. It doesn’t treat me,” I say with confidence. My response is usually met with a facial expression that seems to say, “I wasn’t expecting that.” (I’m tempted to rant about polite questions people ask while expecting only simple responses, but I will resist.)

It’s important to engage life with intentionality. Intentionality is living life on purpose. It is expecting the challenges and creating the life that can both handle the challenges and excel beyond them. You know intentional success because, when you are intentional, your challenges progressively change. Where once you were meeting deadlines, you now set deadlines. Where you once followed orders, you now plan missions. For those challenges that remain familiar, mundane, and chronic, intentionality means that you enhance your perspective on them. Like figuring out a way to get wine from a turnip, you take the lesson of lemonade from lemons, add the sweetness of your disposition, ferment through the stress of the moment, and intentionally create something tasteful and useful.

2. Persistence
There is a reason that your keys are always in the last place you look. It is human nature. Once we find what we are looking for, we stop searching. We move on with our lives. We take for granted that the keys are in the place they always are. We don’t register the small shifts and subtle differences in our lives, routines, or sometimes even our bank accounts. Subtlety is a grand deceiver. Complacency is its offspring.

So it is with the familiar, mundane, and chronic challenges in our lives. It is easy to become complacent. You contribute to the task as required, but you don’t fully engage. You get it done for the moment, but you don’t list and check it off. Persistence here is not just about doing it until it is done. It is observing and appreciating the challenge as if it were the tide. Through persistence, the expectation of the routine is met with attention to the small, almost imperceptible ways that today, this time, is different from last time. It’s progress. It’s difference. It is evidence that you are alive and engaged.

3. Diversity
Speaking of subtle difference brings us to diversity as an action word. I hope you see how appreciation of difference removes the sting of the familiar, the mundane, and the chronic. That’s the power of diversity. It reminds you of newness, options, and possibilities. Even situated in the routine, you can find the motivation to create change and continue your progress.

It is true that human nature supports your comfort with the familiar. Some may argue that things are fine just the way they are. Even beyond “mixing it up,” diversity is about recognizing that order and routine are only means to our end. Community is the goal. Once any more than one person is included, variation is inevitable. Get curious about the change rather than expecting more of the same.

4. Curiosity
Again to your keys: you found them. Your search is over. I don’t suggest that you continue to look for what you already have. I am suggesting that you put the same insistence, effort, focus, and openness into everything that you do. Searching is that feeling that you won’t stop until you have found it. You can’t use the car until your keys are found. You stop what you are doing and begin to search. You stop and meditate on your last experience with the keys and your steps since. You position yourself open to the memory and the location of your keys.

It is a perfect metaphor for curiosity even with the familiar, the mundane, and the chronic. You must search out love, faith, and production. You can’t move forward without it. Stop passively counting time through the routine challenges. Meditate on your progress, subtle differences, and small lessons that order your steps. Position yourself open to intentionally creating memories and locating your peace.

5. Progress
And herein is the rub. It does not appear at first glance that the familiar, the mundane, and the chronic offer progress. They are seemingly always there like utility bills or taxes. Like Sisyphus, you are pushing a boulder up a mountain. It is hard work. It is repetitive work only to watch the boulder roll down the hill again.

But, you are frustrated because you are focusing on the BOULDER or the HILL. Notice what YOU are becoming. You are stronger. Your endurance has increased. You are more fit and toned. Your senses are more keen. You have benefited even in the face of the familiar, the mundane, and the chronic. The grace you push with inspires those who watch you. They are inspired to consistently give their best. See your progress through their eyes if you have to until it becomes your vision and motivates you to rise to the challenges each day.