Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away. – Marcus Aurelius Quote
September is a month filled with significant life events in my Story.
It all began with my birth on September 4, a mere 58 years ago and my wife’s birthday on September 7. Rita’s parents and three (3) of our nine (9) grand children celebrate their birthdays this month, too.
On September 12th, Rita and I will celebrate 36 years of marriage.
And for the fun of it, we’ll throw Labor Day in.
There’s more to September’s story. One Saturday morning, September 1, 2007 I woke up processing the news received late Friday afternoon regarding the elimination of my position with Cox Radio due to budget cuts. It was official: I was not coming back Monday, I was being “pushed out of the nest” … time to start writing a new chapter.
Five years later, Next Level Executive Coaching, LLC is a successful coaching practice; I am grateful. The Story continues, my comfort zone left behind.
What’s your Story?
When I speak with engaged couples I try to prepare them for what is going to happen using the analogy of two rivers. What happens when two separate rivers merge as one?
Think whitewater. Yes, It does smooth out with time and a lot of surrender, but the opportunity for some turbulence remains.
The following video is a brief snapshot of a kayaker on the North Fork of the Payette River. Doug Ammons, is a world-class kayaker, one of my clients, and a friend.
Before you watch it allow me to quote from Doug’s book Whitewater Philosophy:
The nature of moving water and rivers underscores every decision you make. A river is the physical flow of time, and nowhere can you see so clearly how one decision sweeps into another. An early lesson the river teaches is that you have to engage at every moment because even a small lapse can snowball quickly into a huge problem. That’s where the excitement comes from – the interplay between your skills and the river’s complexity and power. When the ante is raised, this is also where the anxiety and even fear may come from. This is why you get satisfaction from making a hard move or making the line, just right, in a big rapid – or any rapid that is challenging to you. (P. 33)
As you enjoy the 36-second video, can you imagine yourself there?
How does your life compare? Here are my suggestions for the river of life journey.
- Live Awake – I love the opening shot of Doug splashing 70-degree water in his face. How do you start your day? How do you prepare yourself for the challenges of your day? How do you stay alert to the people around you? It is too risky to live distracted.
- Create Space – Thirteen seconds into the video Doug pulls into an eddy – a small whirlpool that runs contrary to the main current. Who doesn’t need a regular time and place to rest, to breathe, to evaluate, to reflect on what’s going on in the Story? The business? When do you pull over for contemplation and examination of your life? How do you reduce your stress?
- Partner – at one point we see two kayakers. Yes, we each have to take the trip in our own boat but there is encouragement from being with others. Who do you lean on for support and encouragement, for strategy and execution, for laughter and celebration?
- Faith – there are times when the whitewater and turn in the river blocks the view. When we cannot see what’s next, it requires faith and confidence to keep going. Growing competence adds to our confidence.
Whitewater is a Part of Life
How do you navigate the twists and turns, the complexity of your Story?
For my young friends, there is good news: “60” really isn’t as old as you may think. As for me, I hope to continue my September celebrations and write many more chapters in the Story!
Please add to the conversation with your thoughts below …
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