COVID-54: Knowledge, Mindset & Work

P1000737A few years ago I spoke to a group of honors students at the Governor’s Mansion in Amerika Samoa to share some thoughts on how to create a life that would allow them to seize every opportunity to create an extraordinary life defined only by a personal vision of success.  That young crew was just getting started.  Many of us now are facing a massive re-start with so much before us being completely uncharted territory from work to personal life.  At the same time we may not still feel the exuberance of youth on our side.

I recognized at a young age that the world around me did not always represent the larger world beyond me.  Throughout my life I have been reminded countless times that a purpose driven life aligned with ideals is not just a choice and mindset… it’s ongoing work and commitment. Success is embedded in seizing the myriad of opportunities along the way to gain strength, knowledge and wisdom for when the path becomes less known and more challenging.

I entered 2020 with incredible potential ahead:  New events to produce, New grantScreen Shot 2020-04-14 at 10.12.29 AM projects in development, New coastal safety initiatives to launch and a new commitment to push the envelope as an ocean athlete.

I entered April of 2020 with all those plans gone or completely incompatible with the new world around me. What I taught back in Amerika Samoa I had to personally remember and relearn in order to move through these remarkable and unsettling times.  Following is what I shared with some new socially relevant modifications.

  • Walk boldly into situations that make you feel uncomfortable. {But wear a mask and no closer than 6′.} 
  • Embrace every opportunity to immerse yourself in new communities and cultures. {But only if they are living with you…except for Zoom…you can embrace your laptop.}
  • Talk less.  More opportunities will open to you from what you hear rather than what you say. {Unless you are Dr Fauci. Please keep talking.}
  • Look for what every experience has to teach you…that class you thought meaningless may actually open or close a future door. {Especially CPR / First Aid about how to safely remove PPE.}
  • Recognize fear as only an emotion.  Identify the feeling, move through it and act based on the facts before you. {Whether it’s a weather report from NOAA or health warning from NIH.}  

5C99835E-4CCA-4650-85AA-22DCB51D3CD4Those are some choices, but the trick is developing the capacity to make them.  Then analogy might be making the choice to run a sub 20:00 5k but failing to take the steps before the race to make the goal possible.

For me April and really the last few weeks have been about developing the resiliency for the uncharted ahead.

  • Body – From pushups to bay paddles to trail runs through cold, wind, rain or depression I kept moving.
  • Mind – 30:00 Guided Mindfulness Meditation at least three times per week with a goal of as many sessions as possible.
  • Soul – I embraced the partner who shares all these experiences with me.  Love the person and don’t react to the emotions from rollercoaster we were all forced to ride.

April 30 was one of the best birthdays I have IMG_2120ever had, and no doubt will be the one I remember for years to come.  May 1 was another confident step along an unfamiliar path. One day at a time.

Often the best course of action in the face of a breaking wave is to move towards it…FASTER.

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