Andrew leans over and says to me just a few simple yet, powerful words. The conversation takes place in a gathering hosted by my sister, Janice. Present in the room are her three sons and their families from Colorado, South Carolina and Birmingham, Alabama. We are gathered in the living-dining room of the rented condo on the beach in Orange Beach, Alabama. Meeting seven young family members for the first time is quite a special occasion for me.
Family gathering! A great success formula for life. An opportunity to push the pause button and reflect – to reevaluate your life. A chance to experience the support from key people in our lives.
For most of us, routines are a propelling force. Shortly after awaking for the day, we move into our routine. This may include drinking coffee, eating breakfast, prayer time, and taking a shower. Your regular wake up habits may include other actions and the order may be different. But, you do have a routine. And that routine is likely followed by your schedule for the day. Even if we are retired, we likely do have an agenda. I know many retired people who say their life is busier in retirement than when working.
I believe routines can be a template for a successful life. I have written about this in past editions of The Mondays are Great Newsletter. If routines can make a difference, should we be wise about the choices we make for our regular practices? Yes.
And, our routines should not be limited to daily practices. We can include the time we take off each year. Do you take time off each year? For vacation or other respite from day-to-day demands . . . from the grist for the mill? This is an opportunity to get recharged. To evaluate our life. To think about our goals. To rediscover a new opportunity and the support we have in life. Family. Friends.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
“A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Proverbs 17:17
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” Albert Schweitzer, M.D., O.M.
In the midst of the noisy packed small gathering room, my nephew Andrew’s simple words to me are: “I am glad you came over.” My immediate response is very revealing. As I look around the room, I see multiple conversations going on. Adults talking to other adults. Kids talking to parents. Kids talking to other kids. Cousins meeting for the first time. New bonds being formed among family members. Joy. Laughter. Love. It engulfs the room. You cannot be there and remain unmoved. The atmosphere wholly absorbs me.
Support. When you are supported by someone, who also loves you, provides a recipe for great success. Such support sponsors an indwelling desire to be our best, to be more than what we are now.
For an hour or two, in a small packed room, filled with family and friends, I forget about the busyness of my life. The upcoming crowded week. A filled calendar. A full day of training on Tuesday, a club meeting on Wednesday, and preparations on Friday for an offshore fishing trip on Saturday with a crew of 12. But, for a moment, I do not think about that calendar laden with scheduled events. I do not think about the daily routines and the regular grind of my life. I instead enjoy this moment, that will never be duplicated in the same way, again.
Success is a journey, not a destination. Which means there are steps along the way. There are moments. There are routines. And, hopefully, there are pauses, lots of them. I am convinced that there is a need for more pauses, not less. At least, this is true for my life. How about you?
Most of us have a person or two within our extended family or friends who has our back. We feel and know their support. Someone you can call on at 2:00am and they will come to your rescue. Someone to whom you can admit your own faults and failings and receive, in return, support and wisdom. Someone who applauds your victories, and who will hold your hand during your trials and challenges. Someone who loves you.
Who among your family and friends is this person? How often do you spend time together? Is it in a gathering, like the one I am now attending, that is way too infrequent? Or, is it part of a routine that you have adopted? A planned strategy to get together often with the people in your life who will give you the most support.
I lean back over in the noisy room and say to Andrew: “I love being here! This is my first time to meet many of my great-nephews and great-nieces. It is special for me.” As we converse one-on-one, you sense the good feelings we both have. Love. Support. It permeates the atmosphere. We both sense it. This indeed is a special memorable moment for me.
Back to my routines. Another day in the week. And my schedule is filled. Today, I need to prepare for the training day. I take a moment to reflect on the gathering. And before the day is over, I talk on the phone to my three sisters, two who were part of the gathering. Unusual and not part of my normal routine for three such calls in a single day. And, on each call, before the goodbye, I hear each of my sisters say to me: “I love you, brother.”
Maybe, I need to rethink some of my routines . . . to allow more opportunities to spend more time with those where there is mutual love and support. In those special moments, I really need no routine. I do not need a template. I just need time and the other person. The experience works.
I am recharged. I am inspired. I want to be my best in the future! I want to be an example to all of these individuals who make my life complete.
Daily routine? Yes. Gathering routine? Absolutely. Spend time with family and friends who support and love me? As much as I can schedule in my busy life. If personal time is not possible, a phone call is just a few seconds away.
In the toughest moments in my life, I will need and want the support of family and friends. But, at all the rest of the moments in my life, friends and family will make a huge difference in my success journey.
The people who love and support me. Does it make sense to spend more time with them? Yes! Perhaps a great strategy is to schedule time with these individuals every single month. Maybe, phone calls every single week.
And, my reply to my three sisters before we say goodbye is: “I love you!”
I do not need an agenda. I need no template or formula. I just need the time and the other person.
Today, I am going to call . . .