Standing on a hill in my mountain of dreams,
Telling myself it’s not as hard, hard, hard as it seems.
We all have them. They are often instilled in us early in life, when we have so few impediments. No mortgage, no family to feed, no other major financial obligations to speak of. We dream Big. But we give up easy. Too easy. Too soon. And we fall into a complacent, comfortable existence, empty and unfulfilled.
Why do we sell ourselves short? Why are we so quick to just “settle”? Why do we accept less than great for our lives? After all you and I both were created for great. But we so often trade it in for mundane and mediocre. It doesn’t have to be that way. It shouldn’t be that way.
Hold your fire
Keep it burning bright
Hold the flame ’til the dream ignites
A spirit with a vision is a dream
With a mission
I recently finished 11/22/63 by Stephen King. (spoiler alert) The novel is about a character who travels back in time to complete one mission: he must stop Lee Harvey Oswald from shooting John F Kennedy. Throughout the novel the character continually encounters increasing Resistance the closer he gets to fulfilling his mission. Improbable events crop up the nearer he is to actually stopping Oswald and preventing history from being changed.
Our lives are like that. I happen to believe each and every one of us was created to complete a “mission” or several of them. The closer we get to fulfilling them, the greater the resistance we face. Author Stephen Pressfield talks about this at length in his brilliant book “The War of Art”. Pressfield says “The more you love your art/ calling/ enterprise, the more important its accomplishment to the evolution of your soul, the more you will fear it and the more Resistance you will experience facing it.”
Resistance claims millions of unfulfilled souls daily. It comes in clever disguises. Fear. Worry. Depression. Bills we have to pay. Spouses who don’t share our passions. Family who tell us to stop dreaming. Friends who discourage rather than encourage. Resistance could be our own self talk and lack of belief in ourselves and our dreams. It could be that TV show you just have to watch instead of sitting down with your laptop and writing the first chapter of the novel you’ve always wanted to write. The list is endless. But Resistance is real. And much like Stephen King’s novel I believe it increases the closer to we get to our goal and the fulfillment of our “mission” or our calling.
the mortal enemy
Reinvention is the mortal enemy of Resistance, because it’s often at this phase of our lives that we are closest to finding that true purpose we were created for. Reinvention is often the result of an event which forces us to change the course that our life is on. It comes in the form of job loss or transfer, a divorce, or the death of a loved one. It could be the diagnosis of an illness or the survival of a traumatic event in our lives that causes us to re-examine the direction we’re heading in. Whatever the event, there is a cause and effect which propels us towards Reinvention and into the path of Resistance.
It’s how we respond that defines us and our destiny.
I’ve witnessed quite a lot of Reinvention in the last few years. After the newspaper I worked for, the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, closed in February of 2009, I’ve watched in wonder and amazement at how so many of my former colleagues changed course and reinvented themselves and their lives.
An award-winning Washington bureau reporter uses his severance and buys a small daily paper in Northern New Mexico. And I should mention, it too is award winning now that he runs it.
A copy editor follows his passion to pursue a career on the golf course.
Another one becomes a teacher for developmentally challenged children. Talk about a higher calling. That’s pretty far away from the world of journalism she was comfortable in. Oh, and I should mention, she’s better and far happier at her new mission than she was at her old one.
An accountant in the business department, whose love for science fiction inspires her to go back to school and become an astronomer.
Oh, and a couple of very talented and prominent columnists completely Reinvented themselves. One with a daily drive time radio gig on a very popular station and the other as one very hilarious stand-up comedian.
Then there are those friends I know outside of the realm of the newspaper business.
One of my best friends was the general manager of an old retro drug store and reinvented himself for a higher paying, high-tech job.
Another is a member of the Rock and Roll hall of fame who now pastors a church in Broomfield, Colorado.
There’s the former sign painter who is on his way to becoming one of Americas greatest artists painting nothing but his favorite sport: Baseball.
Oh, and then there’s this inspirational guy in Omaha, who, after a job loss and a serious health scare, changed course and becomes a paralegal.
These are the people I affectionately refer to as the “Killer B’s”. Bold, Brave and Brazen they stood toe to toe with resistance, kicked it’s gnarly little ass and redefined themselves.
I want to be a “Killer B”. Badly. And you? Yeah. I was hoping so.