Last week, I was on a run when I encountered a genuine stranger. The man was about 80, with a frizzy, grey beard, thin as a rail. I was alone, it was getting dark outside, and I was coming off a really stressful day.
I opted to smile at him as I shuffled by. We were both crossing over Boylan bridge. It’s pretty tight sidewalk, and we both slightly shifted to let the other by.
As we crossed each other, he looked at me, with a warm and genuine expression. He said, without pause, “You’re doing a good job,” as I passed by.
It was unexpected and sweet. Some days, a comment like that might have meant less. On that day, it meant a lot.
It’s strange how sometimes, we need just one person to pat us on the back. It’s surprising how something so little, and seemingly insignificant in the grand scheme of things, can turn everything around.
It seemed to be a really rough week for a lot of people. Regardless of the source, stress seemed to consume a lot of people I care about. On the surface, we were all fine – shiny, positive and eager.
Under the surface was doubt, exhaustion and a lot of frustration.
I’ve been curating my thoughts for this post for a few days. A few people have asked me how I get ideas for posts, and to be honest, they just kind of pop into my head.
Most of the posts I write are because the subject matter is interesting, fun or informative. But for a select few, I feel physically and emotionally compelled to write them.
Those are the ones I feel really good about. This post, is one of them.
Some of you are friends and family. Some are strangers. Despite your status or familiarity to me, I respect your struggle and believe in your dreams. Even if you aren’t quite sure what those dreams are.
Even if you’re not going through a rough time, I want to pat you on the back. I want to encounter you, on whatever bridge you’re trying to cross, and give you whatever encouragement you need. Red faced, out of breath, and feeling as if you’re hitting a concrete wall, I want to face you, and express that you’re powerful and in control.
If you’ve got a roof over your head, food in your belly, and at least one decent, good person who loves you, you’re doing OK. You will be fine. This will pass.
Once you accept that, and allow peace and comfort to flow through you, I want you to examine the source of your stress. I want you to weigh whether or not it’s worth carrying.
Then, I want you to act. Optimistically, well-informed, and well-rested, I want you to boldly act.
If you’ve been waiting for a sign – to change the course of your career, to change your zip code, or just to change what time you go to sleep at night, this is it. This is your sign. It’s time for change.
I think you know I’m right.
Give yourself the opportunity to deeply examine your path, and ask the right questions:
- Are you doing work that makes you feel fulfilled, or do you feel like you’re wasting precious time?
- Are you surrounding yourself with people who love, respect and inspire you, or do you find yourself around people that bring you down?
- Do you take care of yourself, emotionally, spiritually, and physically? Are you getting outside and enjoying nature? Are you taking time for long baths, sweet smelling candles, and cozy naps?
- Here’s the most important question of them all – when’s the last time you did something that filled you with joy?
I’m talking absolute bliss here, people.
What’s the last thing that inspired, or moved you?
Got something? Good. Zero in on that. Let that be your holy grail.
Assign value and priority to your happiness. If it’s a pumpkin spice latte, go get it. If it’s a different career, find a way to pursue it. Whatever “it is”, please, please, please get what you want.
You deserve joy.
I’m here for you. No matter who you are, I’m here for you. After reading this, if you still feel a little lost and want to talk, email me. We’ll figure this out together.
If not, I just wish you the best of luck, and good timing. Whenever you are on your bridge, I’m running there right beside you. I’m there to remind you, even on the worst of days, you’re doing a good job.