Ode to the Busy

Ode to the Busy

I see you
Making life easier for everyone else.
 
 
The way you are patient with the clerk
Pick up yet another errant sock
Get another mostly homemade meal on the table
Plus extra in a tupperware for the ailing neighbor.
 
 
“Busy” is a word you left behind long ago
Because it implies that there is a world – or a day –
In which you are not busy.
 
 
In every moment you are working, planning –
Juggling –
Giving your warm-hearted attention to this issue and the next
To this needy person and the next.
 
 
And it seems like being strong and capable is
Its own punishment
Every moment a sharp-toothed hydra, growing two heads for
Each one you think you’ve handled.
 
 
Everyone turns to you.
Every problem is yours to solve.
 
 
And you still feel as though maybe you are not
Doing enough.
 
 
The painful fear of failing is
Worse than the fatigue
 
 
So you keep going.
 
 
Luckily, you have an excellent sense of humor
And a love of long walks
And three close friends on speed dial.
 
 
And you are excellent at counting your blessings.
 
 
Blessed are those in back-to-back meetings, for theirs is the patience of mountains.
 
 
Blessed are those who are annoyed by willful ignorance, for theirs is a righteous fury.
 
 
Blessed are the uncomplaining, for theirs is a peaceful surrender to the inanities of the world.
 
 
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for carbs and wine, for they shall be comforted.
 
 
Blessed are those who dance in the kitchen
Make time for family game night
Say, “I love you” at every single opportunity
Ignoring the eye rolls of the young ones
As you go out of your way to make an
Ordinary moment
A memory.
 
 
Because it is the memories that matter.
A legacy of moonlight on mown grass
And a quick hug.
 
 
You are indeed as busy as a bee – the Queen Bee –
 
Sensitive to the hum of the whole hive
Filled with sweetness and good medicine
 
 
The center of the whole eco-system, really.
 
The center of the benevolent hum.
 
 
 
©2022 Sam Bennett
There Is No Such Thing as a Big Decision

There Is No Such Thing as a Big Decision

There is no such thing as a big decision.

There are only little decisions.

And when you allow yourself to believe that something IS a big decision, you instantly psych yourself out, ammiright?

So you have a thought like…

“You know, maybe I want to quit this job….”

“Maybe I want to move…”

“Maybe I should leave this person that I’ve been with for all these years…”

And then you think, “Oh, but it’s such a big decision,” and you frighten yourself into inaction.

All of life is a series of little decisions, and sometimes we make a big deal about the last little decision, but really – that last one is no bigger than all the ones that precede it.

I remember before the first of my marriages (long story) when we were getting our pre-marital counseling from our very hip pastor, and he said,

“Here’s the thing – you two have been deciding to get married since you met. You have been deciding to get married since you first clapped eyes on each other. It’s been a million little steps. A million little yeses. Yes to this first date, and yes to this dinner, and yes to making up after this fight. Now, on the wedding day, we’re going to make a big fuss over this last little yes. Over this last little, ‘I do.’

But remember it is not a big decision. It is the latest in a series of small decisions. And as you stay married, you will continue to make little decisions every single day to stay married or to not.”

And anyone who has been in a long-term relationship will tell you, it’s true. You make decisions every single day to stay together, or to drift apart.

You make little decisions every day about your health, your job, your family, and your relationships, and those decisions shape your future.

If you remember that you only need to make a little decision and then take the next indicated right action, you might decide yourself into a new, better life.

A Prayer For Our Family

A Prayer For Our Family

A PRAYER FOR OUR FAMILY

None of this has turned out how we thought.
But we’re old enough to know that maybe we thought wrong to begin with.
Either way, we are also old enough to be exquisitely grateful
for the path we have walked together
for the moments when a single glance changed everything
and for the still-felt love of those who have gone on before us.
We see the beauty in the dented silver settings.
We smile to hear conversations as familiar as old songs.
Pause, now, and take a snapshot in your mind of this moment:
You – here now – in the shape you’re in –
not as new as you once were, but not as old as you will be.
Feel a hug from a distant friend
and, if you like, you can repeat my family’s toast,
“To those who are here, and those who are not.”
Amen.
P.S. If you would like to share this, please feel free – just be sure to include Sam’s name, copyright and website, OK? Thanks so much.

By The Way, You Look Really Great Today
ahem….I am officially a VERY big deal : )

ahem….I am officially a VERY big deal : )

Image of painted lines on the ground, including the word "zone"

So my friend Greg pings me the other day with a little audio clip of ME being featured on the Stuff You Should Know podcast….

and you could have knocked me over with a feather.

Because I’ve never been on that show.

I mean – SYSK is in the top 15 of ALL podcasts!

So how did it happen?

Turns out that LinkedIn Learning is a sponsor of SYSK, but you know how podcasts love to make their ads sound all chatty? Well, apparently they decided to feature one of my LinkedIn courses called, “Time Management for Busy People” and so the hosts talk about me and how awesome I am for a minute, and then they cut to an audio clip of me from the course, and then they go on to say that LinkedIn Learning is really great and people should check it out.

WOW.

So cool, right?

And here’s what I want you take away from this little story:

There are wheels turning you do not know about.

There are forces for good that are shaping your future right now.

There are opportunities that you never dreamed of (like being featured on one of the world’s most popular podcasts) that are unfolding.

BUT…

Success cannot find you if you keep yourself locked up.

Success cannot find you if you never show your work to anyone.

Success cannot find you if you never talk about what you do, or if you are always self-deprecating.

 

So please – share your creativity with someone today.

You never know what might happen.

Yours,
Sam.

P.S. If you want to hear the clip, just find the Stuff You Should Know podcast on whatever platform you use (Apple, Stitcher, Google, etc) and go to the episode that was posted on Tuesday, July 13, called “Radium Girls.” My bit is about 32 minutes in. Enjoy! – S.

By The Way, You Look Really Great Today

Inner Glass Ceilings- Part 1

Inner Glass Ceilings- Part 1

Image of painted lines on the ground, including the word "zone"

The thing I thought we would talk about today is the inner glass ceilings- The self-limiting behavior that you may not even know that you have. This will be a 2-part blog post because I think this is so important, and I have a lot to say about it.

I did a call earlier this week with my friend, Susan Harrow, who’s a public relations expert and she has a little course about how to get featured in a magazine. I posted about it in this Facebook group. And I thought for sure you guys were going to go crazy for this.

I thought for sure, you’d be like, Oh, I would love to have my product in a magazine. I’d love to have my art in a magazine. I’d love to be quoted in a magazine. I’d love to have my essay featured in a magazine. I’d love to have my book in a magazine. I thought for sure you guys would be all over that, like white on rice.

And it’s not that you weren’t. I mean, people definitely enrolled and the response was good, but it was not as enthusiastic as I had expected it to be. And then I thought about it and I really sort of put on my empathy head, my empathy heart, and kind of tried to feel into what was going on. And I realized it was this.

That really, the idea of being in O magazine was not so much thrilling to a lot of you- it was terrifying. That level of success and visibility felt threatening. It felt like maybe it was something you wouldn’t be able to handle. What if everybody thinks I’m great and then you have to be great all the time.

What if I get overwhelmed? In a lot of ways it felt to me like y’all were just kind of taking yourself out of the game before you even had any information.

Before you even thought, well, I could go to the free thing about how a person gets featured in O magazine… I could do that much research just to see if it’s something I might want. Rather than just saying, Oh, no, no, no, that’s not for me. And I wrote a big post about it. It’s on this Facebook page, about how you were taught to be modest, you were taught to defer, you were taught don’t toot your own horn. Don’t think you’re so big. Don’t get too big for your britches. Who does she think she is?

Tall poppy syndrome, all that you were taught by your family, you were taught that by school, you were taught that by the culture. And even more, this sort of second level: everybody gets that “don’t toot your own horn” message, men and women alike, but then women get an extra little message that says, “let the men go first.”

“Don’t outsmart the boys. Don’t make the boys look bad, stay in the back. Be the power behind the throne. Be the supportive help. Everybody else’s things are more important than your things.” When women get rewarded for it, they don’t get rewarded. Women are expected to help everybody with everybody else’s thing first.

And if they put their own stuff first that’s selfish, right? She got that message. I certainly got that message. Everyone I know got that message. It’s not your fault. It’s no wonder that to suddenly fight back against a hundred years of cultural programming that says, do not seek out the spotlight for yourself, that when somebody says, hey, you could be in a magazine, you could be in the spotlight. You feel like, oh that doesn’t seem like such a good idea. It feels risky. It feels like I might get teased. It feels like I might get punished. It feels like people might not like me. And all those things are true.

I guarantee you, when your work starts to get more popular, there will be people who do not like you for sure. But what you find is that it matters less. When you’ve had five social media friends and one of them doesn’t like you, that’s a big deal, but if you’ve got 50,000 social media friends and 50 of them don’t like you, it’s not that big of a deal.

A Revealing Exercise in Doodling

A Revealing Exercise in Doodling

Image of painted lines on the ground, including the word "zone"

Here’s so here’s the little experiment I want to do with you guys.

I know you’ve got your paper and your pens ready, because you guys are known doodlers. If you don’t for some reason, grab a pen and a piece of paper.

Take your pen and I want you to draw a flower. Don’t think about it. Just draw it right now. Draw any flower you want. You can even just write the word “flower”. However you want to do it, just draw a flower

This version of you that just drew this flower… When I said draw a flower, any flower you want, that’s version one of you.

Okay. Now, new piece of paper, maybe same pen, maybe different pen. This is version two of you.

First, I want you to think about which flower you want to draw, which flower would be best to draw, which flower could you draw the best? Which flower haven’t you drawn in a while, or maybe one you used to draw, but you haven’t drawn in a while. Think about whether or not you have the skills to draw this flower. Think about what other people will think about you if you draw this flower. Think about all the other people who have already drawn flowers, and all the other people who were thinking about drawing flowers.

Do you really want to compete with them? I mean, maybe tomorrow would be a better day to draw a flower. Maybe even not a flower, maybe a star, maybe a barn, maybe a goat, maybe a goat in a barn with a star, maybe other flowers, maybe…

Are you getting my message. Have you seen through my clever road?

Stop second guessing yourself. If someone is outside your door right now and wants to give you $500 for a drawing of a flower, what do you have? You have a drawing of a flower and you could cheerfully receive that $500. You would say, yes, I have a flower.

What does version two get? How much influence does version two have? And what’s really sneaky is that you guys (I know you do this because I do it too), there’s something about that kind of thinking and overthinking and second guessing and double thinking and reconsidering and planning, planning, planning, and getting ready to get ready, and self-doubt- that feels good. That feels responsible.

One doesn’t want to just go off willy-nilly drawing flowers without any consideration. It seems better to sit and ponder. There are very few things in life that benefit from pondering.

I’m going to go ahead and say you were an artist, you know why? Because you just drew a flower. It’s a verb. If you’re doing it, you get to call yourself the verb. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. If you’re drawing, you’re an artist. If you’re singing, you’re a singer. If you’re teaching, you’re a teacher, right?

I’ve had people tell me I have no idea what I want. I’m soaked directionless. I never seen anything through. I’m still confused. And I say, okay, well, tell me what you’re thinking about. And then you go, well, I’m thinking this, this, this, and this. I’m like, right. So that’s not confused at all. Like that’s very clear that you’ve drawn a flower.

I was talking to somebody yesterday and I was helping her plan out a class she had in her mind for a long time. I said, well, how much you want to charge for this? And she was like, Oh gosh, I don’t know. I mean, that’s really the question that’s so confusing. I don’t know. And I said, okay, stop. Let’s do it the other way- how much money would you like to see coming from this?

And there’s this long pause. Well, I don’t know. I asked her, what number pops into your head first? She said, well, the number that popped into my head first was $10,000, but I mean, I… and I said, stop fine, $10,000 done.

And how many people do you think you could get in this class? I get another long pause. I’m like, okay, again, what number popped into your head first. She said 20? I’m like, great. So we have a  good, better, best of 10, 15 or 20. I always want you to set three levels of goals. It’d be like, I have to be able to hit this goal. This would be great. And this would be a home run.

So good, better, best of 10, 15 or 20. Let’s charge $900 for this class. And it’s a 90 day thing- that’s nice, like $10 a day for this class. 900 bucks get 20 people in it, then you would have almost $20,000.

And she was like, wait, what? And I’m like, no, you decided, you knew the answer to all these questions. The answer bubbled up for you and then you swatted it away. No, no, that can’t be no, no, that’s not gonna be right. Oh, no, I can’t charge for that. Oh, no, maybe it’s in beta. Maybe I should charge less.

Quit it. Just quit it.

I want you to practice going with your first impulse. I want you to really start trusting your first thought. Especially in the areas where there’s no consequences, like drawing a flower. There’s no such thing as failure. Failure is just taking score too soon. Disappointment is taking score too soon. People don’t fail. They quit and you haven’t quit. You’re here. You’re right here with us. You’re doing it. You’re growing and changing.

Right now, you are harnessing the power of your creative energy. Right now, the transformation is happening. Maybe it didn’t happen in any of the previous days of your life. Maybe you’ve got 50 years that not happening. And right now it’s happening. That’s a miracle, you’re positioned for a miracle.

So that’s my little flower exercise. Draw a flower or think about drawing a flower. Which is more productive?