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December 19, 2018

What shoves you into action?

It is the end of the year once again, and it is now time for everyone and their brother to start writing and posting their own personal lists. Best of’s and top things to look forward to in the new year. It is good to reflect on the year in these last days before turning the corner to the next, but in reality, it is usually a canned post that was written beforehand so the writer can take time off the social media merry-go-round.

I love a good list, don’t get me wrong. I make lists all the time and sometimes I actually get things done and addressed on those lists! But I don’t like how most articles are written, they jump from one big picture idea to another and then back again. It makes it hard to pause and think more in-depth about the concept because it isn’t complete. And typically it relates to another item further down on the list. I guess, this makes the reader read to the end of the article which is good for the writer, but it cheapens the message because it doesn’t allow the reader to think deeply about what is being said.

Case in point, I read an article in LinkedIn about the 50 Big Ideas for 2019. I read it, and I thought, this would be a great way of getting me to write every week and support my latest book. 50 ideas examined over 50 weeks leaving me two weeks at the end of 2019 for recap and reflection. I saved the article and thought, I get back to it “later.” And it sat there for over a week kind of taunting me. Was I ever going to take the time to work on the dreams and goals I had set for myself now that I am in Denver?

Now that the Christmas presents have been shipped and they are on their way, is now going to be the time I take for myself to start this new project? Am I really going to work on cleaning up my latest book? When am I going to start acting (actually doing) like a writer? There are a million ways to distract myself, I could make a list of them, but that isn’t really the point. The point is, I need to continue to take steps. I have started already, but can so quickly get stuck. Sometimes you just need a shove.

At the end of the year, some reflect on the ones they have lost in their lives, I am no exception. This year, I have lost two friends. Finding out about their passing not only filled me with sadness because they are gone, but they also fill me with regret. In both cases, I had lost touch with them. One I had exchanged Christmas cards with the other I had no contact with at all. But this didn’t lessen the pain and sadness I felt. They were both important to me, and I spent time with them every day, but things change, and we drifted apart. So, I have regrets about letting this happen.

But the more considerable regret is that I let time waste away. I let short-term ideas and tasks stop me from thinking about what I want and need in the long term. I don’t think I am alone in this, it is a big problem, and it is hard to steer yourself back on track so in most cases we don’t. But sometimes we get shoved forward whether we like it or not, and my shove came yesterday in a plain white envelope with a man’s handwriting addressing me alone. I looked at the return address, and I knew before opening it my friend was dead.

How many more people I love and care for have to die before I start living the life I want, need, and deserve?

The answer is simple, none.

If I want to be a writer, I have to write. If I want to be a business leader in the community, then I have to be a leader. If I want to create a place that changes the way people think about libraries, co-working spaces, and community centers than I have to start building those spaces. And most of all, I have to stop getting stuck. Reflection is great, but it needs to go hand in hand with progress. This is my BIG idea for 2019.

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