The Winter 2018 Olympics in Pyongchang, South Korea has ended. The physical power of the athletes was exhilarating. Their commitment to develop excellence in their sport was enviable. I watched and became breathless and awe-inspired. But I am confident I will not build my body to Olympic “buff-itude.” I’d rather invent words like “buff-itude.” And, that’s the point I want to make. People can tell me all day long that I “can be anything I want to be,” but I’m more encouraged to take personal control when I hear that I “can be anything I devote intentional effort to.” I’m more inclined to push toward my own kind of “buff-itude” when I am clear about and act on my purpose—my reason for being.
Last week I challenged you to design your perfect day. I also challenged you realize that the perfect day is hopelessly impossible as long as others are scheduling our lives. I won’t be surprised if you dipped into a funk over that reality, but let’s not stay there. Like the Olympians, we’ve got work to do.
Years ago, my father-in-law suggested a way to get control over my schedule. He told me to practice being retired. When the words tumbled out of his mouth, here’s what I visualized: A gray-haired woman knitting, her half glasses perched at the end of her nose. A man golfing, his potbelly obscuring the golf ball below him. A group of senior citizens seriously hunched over their Bingo cards. Stereotypes, I know. That’s what watching too many TV commercials plants in the brain. I began to visualize more retirement scenes of people traveling, taking nature walks, painting, attending plays and concerts. It all began to seem so divine. I think my father-in-law was telling me that even before I retire, which I probably never will, I can identify and Nurture Other Ways to have what I perceive as a perfect life NOW.
When your parents, coach, or mentor watched you all up in your purpose, that’s what made them say you could be anything you want to be. You were probably between the ages of 3 and 10—magical years, when you spent your afternoons, evenings, and weekends doing the thing you loved more than anything else. Can you remember what that was? It was your purpose. Get back to it. Social media and sit-coms will be there. Your real life is waiting. Make a promise to yourself to intentionally commit and devote 15 to 20 minutes each day of your afternoons, evenings, or weekends to it. Before long, you will be exactly what you want to be.