Be brave with your life so that others can be brave with theirs

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I make no New Year’s resolutions because I know it’s just wishing on fairy dust: what I intend to do I will and what’s not that important to me I likely won’t. So, why set myself up for failure and disappointment?

But what I do want to do in 2013 is be a little more conscious of two practices I employ. The first is to be kind to everyone, in every interaction. For sure it’s not always easy, but I know even when someone is caught up in negative emotions – anger, frustration, jealousy, whatever – if I’m kind, their mood shifts from dark to light and they are more likely to greet the next person they interact with with kindness.

Second is the quote above I read some time ago, “Be brave with your life so that others can be brave with theirs.” I’ve forgotten where I read it, although I do know it was written by a woman named Katherine Center. 

I think in some ways this is a life lesson for me. For me it means go after your dreams, dare to be successful, be true to yourself, reach to be your best, brightest self. Even if that means you stand out. For someone who grew up shy, that’s a tall order.

But I’ve realized not a selfish one, as you might first think, but an unselfish one. The more we shine, provided we do it not from arrogance, but authenticity, striving to be our best self, the more we inspire others to shine, be brave, dare to go after their dreams. 

The photo above signifies this for me. I took it last week on my morning walk. The single tree in bloom, reaching ever upward, reminds me of this quote. Stand tall, let your gifts shine and those around you will be moved to do the same. 

These are the two things I’ll be practicing this year.

The role you were born to play may just be a heartbeat away

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Comedian Stephen Colbert 

Whether you know who Stephen Colbert is or not – by the way he’s the comedian who hosts his own late night TV show, “The Colbert Report,” I recently read an article in the New York Sunday Times magazine about him where one line made my skin tingle.

The author says, “The role he (Colbert) was born for…hadn’t yet come his way.” It references the fact that Colbert wasn’t very successful when he began his comedic career because he looked too bland, too sane and too conventionally good-looking. That the role he was born to play, the character he currently plays on his nightime parody show, is the one he unknowingly was waiting for. And by virtue of not giving up, for years, but persisting, he eventually got to play his role.

The take-away for me is if we haven’t known great success in the past, and/or are trying to find our way now, perhaps the role we were born to play – whether that’s in our work, love life, family etc, just hasn’t yet come our way. It may still be waiting for us if we just persist.

It inspires me to think that one day all of what I’m doing now may come together to fruition in a new way and be my penultimate role. 

Well, it’s a nice thought isn’t it?