Settling is stopping short.
To settle in is being content.
In either case, where you are may not be where you thought you'd be by now. It may not be where you want to be right now. And it may not be where you know you could be by now.
All of that can either paralyze you, or propel you. It can hold you back, or launch you forward. It can frustrate you or remind you.
Wait...remind you? Of what?
Your past may have played a part in your present, but it doesn't have to determine your future.
There isn't one of us, myself included, that doesn't need to hear this from time to time.
There is value in a little self-reflection, to provide new direction.
It's at those moments that we have to decide if we are going to feel sorry for ourselves, and start settling for less than our full potential. Or...take a deep breath, settle in, and see things from a fresh perspective.
Be fully present where you are, who you are with, with what you have.
And when you start moving forward, bring contentment along for the ride.
Stop settling today for what your past is lying to you about. Stop settling today for who others say you are. Stop settling because the obstacles in front of you seem like they are too big to take on.
To believe your past is your launching pad, because it was your learning ground. To believe who you are isn't determined by the the insecurities of others. To believe your future is what you make of the opportunities you leverage today.
And when you do...
Enjoy the contentment you find when you settle in, because you've committed to stop settling.
When we change our perspective,
we change the trajectory of our story.
That thought popped into my head today. I took off towards my office to write it down, so I wouldn't forget it. When I got there, more came to mind. I wrote, or rather scribbled...feverishly...so as not to miss any of it.
Then I pushed my chair back slowly...and stared at the words in front of me. Bits and pieces of clarity came the longer I looked. And this is what I ended up with.
3 ways we can tackle the obstacle in front of us...
With that said, I have no idea which of the three you relate to most. But I have a sense that you do. I have a feeling one of them sticks out to you, like one of them did to me. And whatever one does, it's time to act on it.
Because for you, me, and everyone else around us...it's what we are being called to do.
I'll leave you with one last thought.
If we know that progress waits for us on the other side of our obedience, why is it that we are so addicted to our preference?
Might it be that we are so comfortable in our obscurity, that we really only like the idea of change...not the implementation of it? We need to get to the point where we see our obscurity as the obstacle that is keeping us from walking into our destiny.
Whether we need to...
Look under it, move around it, or climb over it...
Just get it done.
The trajectory of our story depends on it.
And if you still need motivation to do it?
If we act, it can impact someone else's life for the better. If we stay put, we value our preference more than what someone might get as a result of our obedience.
The idea seems too small.
It might not work.
Someone might think it's a bad idea.
You have more questions than answers.
You might face ridicule.
You might lose money.
You don't have the time.
You don't feel qualified.
You can't see the end game.
You know the idea won't leave you alone until you...
It might be time to...
"Turning a corner" doesn't mean you won't remember your past. What it can do is serve as a reminder that there may be more value in focusing on what's next, than what was.
From time to time things will come into view that tempt you to re-trace your steps, so that you can go back to what was familiar. But if you do...every step you'll take to go back will walk you past the progress you've made.
Are you really willing to look the reminder of how far you've come in the face...ignore it's value...only to make a run for the very thing that held you back before?
Temptations only remind you of the best of the past,
not the potential of your future.
Think of it this way...
Cravings are about giving into a sensuality full of empty promises.
Callings create a sensitivity to what is most important.
Giving in, going back, and caving to a craving feels good momentarily.
Pressing in, moving on, and pursuing your calling feels good eternally.
Which road sounds like it's worth the trip?
Turn the corner.
Enjoy the journey.
Leave a legacy.
The ride was go pretty well. I had made it up some hills without feeling like I was going to have a coronary. The breeze as I rode cut the humidity, making it feel like I could go for hours. And then it happened...
I turned a corner and met a headwind.
A 90 degree turn, and the circumstances of my ride changed drastically.
Have you ever been there?
One second everything is going great, and the next...
you are being force-fed an obstacle of epic proportions?
Here is what I did...
I changed gears.
I adjusted to my surroundings, so I could keep moving forward.
Life is like that too.
At some point we are going to hit a headwind.
How we respond is everything.
Shifting allows us to adjust so that we can continue to pursue our destination.
Taking the same approach when something isn't working is obstination.
Shift when you hit the headwind...
(and notice I said when, not if, since we all will.)
You'll be back up to cruising speed before you know it.
And let me be clear.
Shifting is about making an adjustment that keeps you on course to your original destination. It's not about an abandonment of the plan just because it got hard. Your original vision (who you are and why you exist) doesn't change because the winds do. It doesn't even change what you believe. It simply means it's time to think on your feet and alter how you are doing what you are doing.
Shift how you do what you do if you need to,
so that you can arrive where you are called to.
Today alone, I have been in contact with Universities that have the following titles on their leadership teams...
Director of Student Success & Retention
Director of First Year Programs
Director of Campus Life & First Year Experiences
VP of Student Success & Calling
Dean of Student Success & First Year Experience
Director of First Year Experience
When I hear these titles,
I can't help but get excited.
This is educational leadership at the highest level.
They are recognizing that the world of higher education is changing...
and doing everything they can to lead the way.
These titles tell me that campus leaders are willing to do whatever it takes to meet students where they are at. By doing so, they are walking with students on their journey, to get them where they are called to go.
It doesn't get any better than that!
It's an honor and a privilege to be part of that process.
The 2015-2016 academic year is going to be EPIC!
Buckle-up and enjoy the journey!!!
I failed out of college.
In the spring of 1994 I received a letter telling me, due to my academic standing, I had failed out of the University I was attending. But I knew it was coming long before it arrived. Within a few short weeks of stepping onto campus as a freshman in the Fall of 1993, this ball of yarn was already starting to unravel.
I felt like a failure.
I suppose that isn't much of a story, in and of itself. Others have been where I was, and others will be in the future. So, why am I sharing this? Because others don't have to. Because I have made it my life's work to not "waste my pain". 1993-1994 was a painful year for me. And unless you've been there or are now, it is really hard to understand the feeling of isolation and desperation that accompanies it.
I didn't know WHO I was, and was desperately trying to. I knew who everyone else thought I was. I knew who everyone else wanted me to be. (Parents, Teachers, Coaches, Faculty, Administration, Friends, etc…) Which, in my mind, translated to what I was supposed to be. The problem was, it wasn't me. It was someone else's version of me. I couldn't articulate that thought then like I can now. 20 plus years of reflection can offer clarity like that. So now I spend my time working with high school and college students who are where I was. I work with them, so that they don't have to go through what I did.
They are standing in the midst of real struggle.
Emotional. Relational. Educational…struggle.
All of it, and more.
As a college freshman, it didn't take long for me to connect with a group of people who were willing to let me be me…or so I thought. Did they have my best interests at heart? No. Looking back, did they really know me at all? No. Then why was I so attracted to being around them, and neglecting my academics?
Because they offered me something I wanted.
Come here. Do this. Be part of "us". Do your thing. We value you, because of who you are. No conditions. No strings attached. (except there were) We'll "do life" together. Eat together. Play intramurals together. Road trip together. Everything…together. Until it gets hard. Then they were gone.
I so desperately wanted something that made sense as I struggled, that I took my eyes off of my future.
Let me be clear. It wasn't their fault. I can't and won't pass the blame. But my experience was real.
I knew I didn't want to be all the things everyone else wanted me to be. I knew I was confused. I knew I had no clue what major I should choose. And I knew the distraction of being pursued by a group of people was giving me what I thought I needed.
But it wasn't.
And the day I received "the letter", that became painfully clear.
None. Not one…single…person from that group has ever reached out to me after I left the University.
Let that sink in.
It was one of the most isolating feelings I had and have ever experienced.
The good news?
This isn't where the story ended.
Actually, it's where it started.
And it's why I am writing to you today.
My story of struggle in college was over 20 years ago.
But for many college students…their story is happening right now.
And the feelings of isolation, confusion, desperation, etc…?
They are real. They are the same.
You may know someone going through them as we speak.
I want to invite you to keep reading as I share more of my story.
You aren't alone.
And before you leave, please take this encouragement with you. (Share it with someone if this isn't you)
You are uniquely gifted. You are talented. The world needs every, single ounce of who you are and the change only you can bring to us. You are creative, smart, and compassionate. I look forward to sharing with you on this journey. I will share my story, so that you feel empowered in yours. You will make it. You will bounce back, comeback, and use this setback as THE moment you launched yourself forward.
I believe in you, and so do many, many others.
Thanks for stopping by today.
I look forward to hearing your story, too.
I've held onto this story for a long time.
I've told it in bits and pieces, but never in it's entirety...
I failed out of college.
It still hurts to write those words, and worse yet to read them back to myself.
But the hurt isn't a "feel sorry for me" hurt. It's a "I'm doing something about it" hurt. In the lives of those who need the advice, mentorship, and direction that can only come from the voice of someone who's been there.
I ended up graduating Cum Laude from another 4 year University.
The journey in between, and since, has taught me everything I will share with you. And I'm doing it, so that you can make it.
When you know WHO you are, you will know WHAT to do.
And one more thing...
You aren't a failure.
Maybe some of your choices are making you feel that way.
But...that word doesn't define WHO you are.
That word is simply a reminder that there is work to be done.
Work that you can do, so that you make it to where you want and need to go.
Failure isn't a permanent place.
It's a reminder that it's time to get to work.
So let's do the work.
Keep coming back to this blog for starters.
Take in some encouragement.
One step at a time.
We'll talk more soon.
I've got a lot of stories from my journey I am going to share with you.
From the desk of our founder, Brett W. Gould.