The Price We Pay for Finding Our True Path Is the Discomfort We're Willing to Endure
I find myself very reflective this morning, as I sit here, caught between chapters. Big changes and bold moves call for a little bravery as my little family of three embarks on a new adventure. We’re moving from our Norman Rockwell-like village in Pelham, NY, on the outskirts of one of the greatest cities in the world, to a bedroom community in Austin, TX.
I viscerally remember the first time we drove into Austin on a weekend get-away from our then-home in Dallas. Having moved to Dallas from Seattle about six months earlier, both my husband and I were feeling a bit lost. We hadn’t yet plugged into our new community in Dallas and we were searching for a feeling we couldn’t name. As we aimlessly drove into Austin and wound our way down Barton Springs road, windows down, breathing in Austin for the first time, it hit me. That feeling. The feeling of home. I remember spontaneously bursting into tears, much to my husband’s surprise, with my then just-turned-two kiddo in the back seat saying, “Mommy okay? Mommy okay?” It took me a good ten minutes to gain control of myself. Thus began my ten-year love affair with Austin.
Fast-forward and here we are at the precipice of moving “home”. These days my emotions feel like they’re lying in wait – looking for the chance to burst out of my skin. There’s joy and excitement, yes, but something else. It’s raw and real. The deep sadness I feel in saying good-bye to dear friends. The vulnerability that comes with change; with leaping into the unknown; with making a bold choice.
As we’ve moved before, we know what’s ahead. The endless flurry of meeting new people, finding new doctors, setting up new accounts, unpacking boxes. So many conversations that start with, “So what do you do?” It’s enough to make this introvert want to go hide under a safe rock.
I’ve come to realize that having a hunger for life, for living out loud, means dancing with intense and often contrasting feelings. That the price we pay for finding our true path is the discomfort we’re willing to endure.
What I know to be true is that the secret to being brave is focus. If I were to focus on the discomfort – the sadness, the uncertainty, the vulnerability and fear – those feelings are certain to grow. They would rob me of being present, of my ability to step into the unknown and take bold risks. Left to their own nefarious ways, they would stop me in my tracks. Stuffed or avoided, they’d burn me from the inside out. Yet they are there and they are real.
If instead, I were to shift my focus onto why we’re making this move – what is our purpose – it frees me to show up differently. The contrasting feelings are still there, but they lose their power.
Why do you need/want to make this big change or bold move?
Every day we face challenges, difficult decisions and have an opportunity to either take a step toward living our truth or not. The feelings we feel are real but they’re like spoiled toddlers – they just want our attention. If we can just let them be and mindfully focus on the bigger picture, they’ll stop acting out.
What is happening in your life where you could benefit from shifting your focus? Why is the conversation you need to have, or the risk you need to take, or the change you need to make important? Let that shift in focus be your compass and free you to step into your best, most authentic and powerful self.
You are more brave than you know. We all are.
NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work
Written by: Jon Sabes
When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward.
However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:
- He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
- He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
- When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
- While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
- In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.
Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (www.jonsabes.com), is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.
Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.
Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.
His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”
When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”
On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.
“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”
That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing. Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.
Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”
When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it. He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.
I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.
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