I heard this title question on a podcast the other day and it literally stopped me in my (running) tracks.
Yes, of course I want an extraordinary life. Do I have an extraordinary life?
Yes, I believe I do. But my definition is probably a little different than you expect.
My life did not become automatically extraordinary based on circumstances being in my favor. Nor did I suddenly and magically have a life I love.
My life became outwardly great through love, hard work, sacrifice, patience, and intentionality. It became internally extraordinary when I decided to practice knowing and loving me. I became able to love others more deeply. In the process of accepting my own imperfections I became more able to accept others. I stopped playing a victim and taking things unnecessarily personally. In making choices that honor myself I have more energy to help people in a more selfless capacity. By letting go of fear and people pleasing I can try new and hard things. I seek to listen and understand, rather than be validated or right. I am still extremely flawed, but I accept my flaws to grow from them.
I can be wholly, imperfectly me. I can inspire you to be you.
Extraordinary started with awareness. Then accepting. Then living in ordinary with gratitude. Then finding interesting. And then landing on and nurturing my personal passions.
I have and am raised, mentored, supported, taught, and surrounded by extraordinary people. They are all imperfect and I accept that. They are smart, driven, funny, interesting, strong, intelligent, kind, and helpful. They appreciate an amazing sunrise or the way the snow clings to the trees to create a magical winter wonderland. They serve others and participate in challenging conversations. They love adventure and the thrill of trying new things. They love hugs and laughter and tears. They bravely and extraordinarily share it all.
Your people are flawed. But they are extraordinary too.
I have done many things with great people in the last ten years that appear extraordinary on paper (or on an Instagram feed). Races and trips and concerts. Goal crushing and hard work and fun. And these moments are amazing and I am absolutely grateful. But, they are a tiny snapshot of a life also filled with ordinary moments of stress, sadness, anger, uncertainty, and fear. And of the simplest and smallest every day joys and pleasures.
The most extraordinary feeling is finding peace in the ordinariness of life. In navigating the daily process of ups and downs. In not running from the pain. In feeling it all to feel fully alive. In practicing letting go of fear and trusting that I can do hard things. Believing I can be okay in anything.
Our circumstances are not always Instagram worthy. But their is plenty of extraordinary in loving in the ordinary.
I was prepared for 2020. I was not pre-hoarding toilet paper or sewing homemade masks. I had no idea how much mental and emotional energy it would take to ride the waves of grief, frustration, fear, anger, and sadness with grace and acceptance. I had no idea how much I had to learn. I could not have anticipated the personal attacks on our family business. I could never have thought I would simultaneously love and dislike the kids being home for so many months or the change of pace from frantic to uneventful. But, over more than ten years I had practiced acceptance and gathered tools. And I used them all this year.
My life became more extraordinary in 2020. Circumstances were certainly not always ideal. But, I learned more. I grew stronger.
I bet if you step back and give yourself a loving look you will see that you did too.
This year was not cursed. There is nothing that will magically change as we turn the calendar. I am hopeful we will continue to learn and love better with inclusion and understanding. A COVID-19 vaccine will save lives and help us move forward as a nation and a community. While all of this is absolutely vitally important, it won’t automatically make you more internally okay. That’s up to you and in you. Take the lessons from this year to the next one. Accept the flaws. Stop blaming circumstances or others. You are powerful. Use your new strength to courageously make a plan to practice being and loving you.
Set your mind, heart, and soul on a path of gratitude, acceptance, and love as we finish out this collectively challenging year. Reflect on lessons learned. On resilience used and gained. On the strength of the human spirit. On how you can continue to learn. Pack your tools to take to 2021.
Stay tuned as I guide you on a path to find your interesting and eventually your passion over the next several weeks. Open your mind and heart to extraordinary.
Happy New Year!