Discovering the Pioneer Spirit Inside of You – Part 2

In my last post, Discovering the Pioneer Spirit Inside of You – Part 1, I asked the question, “Do you consider your life frontier?” We looked at how your life is confronted with many unfamiliar territories over its course. And although countless people before you may have encountered similar frontiers, these challenges are still unique to you.

Now comes the question, “What do you do with this?” How do you rustle up the courage to step into the unknown and find the gumption to keep going? (If you haven’t read Part 1, I encourage you to read that first.)

Discovering the Pioneer Spirit

Discovering the Pioneer Spirit Inside of You – Part 1

Frontier. The word itself evokes thoughts of majestic landscapes, high plains prairies, mountain ranges untouched by human presence. Wagon trains heading into the Wild West, modern pioneers exploring the reaches of space and diving the depths of our oceans. We rarely use the word in the lexicon of our own lives—instead we use words like season or journey—but your life today is very much frontier.

frontier, cheyenne frontier

Seasons come and go. Like moving to a new area, changing jobs, switching churches, going from football to basketball season. If our team doesn’t do so well, we say: there’s always next season. We weather through these cycles, and we learn what to expect when the next comes around. And so we become seasoned.

A journey is more a long, steady course over a lifetime. Ups and downs. Wide roads and narrow ones. Easy times and hard ones. A beginning and an end. We are taught to appreciate the journey as much as the destination. Others have gone before us on this road, and we learn from their experiences to improve our own chances at a successful life.

But what of a frontier? Does it sound more risky? Untamed? Ballsy, even?

Necessary Endings, Dr. Henry Cloud

Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward (New York: HarperBusiness, 2011)

…for us to ever get to a new level, a new tomorrow, or the next step, something has to end. — Dr. Henry Cloud

Most of us learned how to start things, but few of us ever learned how to end things. Creating endings is not something we like to do. It requires change. Rocking the boat. Maybe even throwing someone (or ourselves) overboard. Ouch.

We delay making the necessary change out of fear. Life feels disrupted as it is. Why should we introduce another problem? And we convince ourselves, If I stop investing my time and resources here, this person is going to be mad at me. Yes, they might be. Or, what if I can’t end this relationship?, when you know it’s unhealthy for you. The weight of the confrontation is too great.

So we stick it out. Hope it will improve. A year goes by. Then another. And another. The only ending we get good at is ending back where we started.

In his book Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward, best-selling author Dr. Henry Cloud explains what is at stake when we refuse to force an ending.

He calls it the pruning moment, “that clarity of enlightenment when we become responsible for making the decision to either own the vision or not” (page 24). To own the vision. Place your stake in what you have believed all along you should be working toward and start moving in that direction, be it improving your current job situation, paving toward a new career, pursuing an idea, discovering your calling, or re-prioritizing your most important relationships. Often, it’s several.

What I love about Dr. Cloud’s book is he doesn’t encourage you to blindly make sacrificial decisions. There may be no such thing as a stupid question, but there are undeniably stupid decisions. This book helps you avoid this mistake by employing wisdom instead.

Every worthy venture, however, requires risk, and Dr. Cloud does not shy away from this paradox. He helps you analyze your situation, choose which buds and branches of opportunities are the best ones to keep, and which should be pruned (even some very good ones).

The result? The best blossoms of who you are and what you have to offer. The richest of relationships. And the savvy for a lifetime of finishing well.

Necessary Endings is not written for business readers alone. Dr. Cloud applies the truth from both a personal and professional point of view. You will no doubt find it applicable to all aspects of your life.

To order or read more about Necessary Endings click here, and to learn more about best-selling author and speaker Dr. Henry Cloud, you can visit his website here.

The Waking Dead

You have a zombie in your Easter basket, and it’s eating your chocolate eggs. Not exactly what you were expecting to hear going into Resurrection Sunday weekend. More like Halloween.

Easter, hope, zombie apocalypse

One of my favorite television series right now is The Walking Dead. If you’re already thinking, Great, another post about zombies, don’t leave just yet. Instead of walking dead things, let’s talk about waking dead things, about resurrecting and restoring the vibrancy that has died in us. For dead places are eating away at the sweetness of life.

Crazy People Who Speak with Their Eyes Closed

I saw him approaching out of the corner of my eye as I sat on a park bench. The well-shaded grounds of the State Hospital is a spot frequented by local office dwellers escaping for quiet lunches on warm summer days, and that’s what I was doing there. But that’s not what he was doing there. The thirty-something year-old looked around nervously and asked if he could sit down.

praying, prayer, eyes closed

Psychiatric patients at the hospital can receive permission to stroll outside during the day, but they’re not allowed to talk to the public. I knew this, and reluctantly I motioned him to sit.

His story was a bit shocking, but I didn’t flinch. Apparently I was the first person in the park who didn’t walk away from him, especially “after they found out I was gay,” he said.

The Art of Understanding the Artist in All of Us

Novelist James Scott Bell calls writers “The Fellowship of the Weird.” Cecil Murphey, co-author of the popular 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Life and Death, shares in his recent newsletter, “Because I like who I am, I like being alone with myself” (after he explains his struggle with loneliness).

Van Gogh Self, We Are All Artists

Run a Google search on “artists are weird” or “artists are misunderstood,” or my favorite, “artists are crazy,” and you’ll get millions of results.

I posed a question on my Facebook page asking, “If you’re an artist, do you feel lonely or misunderstood around non-artists?” The overall answer was yes (mostly the misunderstood part). But where does that leave the non-artist?

3 Virtues Even Non-Trekkies Can Learn from Spock

Many of us were saddened this week at the passing of Leonard Nimoy, an icon (if not the icon) of the Star Trek universe. I guess you could say I’m a trekkie, minus the spock ears. Okay, I did own a pair when I was a kid, but I never wore them in public. Does that still count?

Spock,Leonard Nimoy,Star Trek,Trekkie

As I explored the many highlights of Mr. Nimoy’s life, I asked myself, “What can I learn from Nimoy’s most notable character?”

Even if you don’t have pointy ears, I believe you may become a Spock fan after this. Here are three virtues even non-trekkies can learn from Spock. And if you’re already a fan? These will come as no surprise.

Our Little Golden List

I love movies, and one of my favorite (yet saddest) parts of the Oscars every year is the In Memoriam tribute to those in the film industry who passed away the previous year. What always strikes me are the faces, the slow motion film clips backed by a solemn instrumental, and thinking, Wow, that’s it. A lifetime of accomplishment is over. And now they are but a memory played over and over again on a silver screen.

oscars,trophy,bucket list

And we won’t remember them for all of the trophies they were nominated for, or all of the extravagant homes they owned, or the exotic vacations they went on, or even the demons they dealt with in their private (and sometimes public) lives. We will remember them for their performances, their art, their talents, the stories they played out on a two dimensional screen reeling us to higher dimensions of laughter and tears and thought-provoking subjects, and in some cases, messages so powerful they changed us. Ultimately, it was their gift to the world.

Do the Work,Steven Pressfield,artists,dreamers,starting a business,venture,writing

Do the Work! (The Domino Project, 2011)

Remember, our enemy is not lack of preparation; it’s not the difficulty of the project or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of our bank account. The enemy is Resistance. The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications, and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do. — Steven Pressfield, Do the Work!

Work is work, and even the work we love to do—though fueled by our passion—still requires effort. Every idea that we spin into motion always encounters resistance. Always.

To some degree, we are all artists. Whatever your passion—be it creating art, music, writing, starting a new business, launching into a ministry, forming a special interest group, or simply doing your best at the job you’re in right now—ultimately is done to better yourself, achieve something (even if only a paycheck), share with others. Usually it’s to find a little more joy. A little more happiness. But always fulfillment of some kind. As Steven Pressfield says in his book Do the Work!, “The last thing we want is to remain as we are.

In Do the Work!, Pressfield takes you from Beginning to End on what you can expect to encounter on your new venture, and the grit it will take to finish. He doesn’t throw any trick punches either.

In this short read, about 100 pages of eye-grabbing fonts, bullet points, and paragraphs filled with high-impact quotes, he’ll hit you square in the nose. And the result? You’ll be ready to fight for your cause.

Two other excellent reads by Pressfield that tie in with Do the Work! are The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, and Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work.

You can read more about Steven Pressfield here at his website, www.stevenpressfield.com.

The Great Digital Commission

Darlene,Kris Camealy,technology,God

At age seven I touched my first computer. By age thirteen, I was connecting multiple computers together over a public telephone network, just for fun. The idea of computers calculating unthinkable amounts of data in mere seconds fascinated my impressionable young mind, but it was the connecting that sent my brain signals leaping over synapses. If computing had a soul, this is what it would be: linking, networking, using all that power to connect not just computers, but  …

…to continue reading “The Great Digital Commission,” part of this month’s “Technology at Work” theme at The High Calling, please click here for the full story at TheHighCalling.org.

Featured Image by: Darlene  Designed by: Kris Camealy