Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Renaissance Man

So, I think I am having a sort of personal renaissance. It started about 2 months ago. So many things have become more clear. It's sort of like when Neo discovered how to manipulate the Matrix. I have discovered/accepted/learned more about myself and my relationships in the past 2 months than probably the previous 10 years combined. So, in no particular order, here are some things I have discovered about myself and my relationships. Hope this helps you get some clarity on your situation in life:

1) It's not a race or competition. I have said this for so long and still didn't believe it. The only person you compete with "at life" is you. Your fears, your insecurities, your pride, your concept of success. Life becomes much less stressful when you realize you are not winning or losing at it--you are living it.

2) I love giving. I mean, I really love giving. It is almost like a drug. I get high on giving. I am not bragging or anything, I just love giving. You might also. Try it. Give like you are not worried about money. Give like you will get paid TO give. Give to people you know and to people you don't know. Accept thanks for it sometimes and do it completely anonymously sometimes. Both are fun in their own ways. I can also give intangible items--like encouragement and praise and smiles. Surprise someone with an "I appreciate you" or a "You have made my life easier by...". It will make you feel good and will absolutely lift someone else up.

3) My spirituality is WAY more complicated than I once believed. It is also WAY simpler than I once believed. Yep, that is right. I love talking about spiritual topics and theories with whomever will discuss with an open mind, an open heart and a desire to learn about themselves and about me. I think I can learn spiritual lessons from pretty much ANYONE.

4) I have some of the best friends in the world. I realized that my friends make me want to be a better person. I have an obligation to them to be the best I can be, to treat my family better than anyone else and to raise my kids to be respectful, productive, caring and generous citizens. My friends deserve my best efforts at friendship. Their kids deserve my kids at their best. It's called community.

5) I have had this rediscovery of my wife. She is AWESOME. I know she has her faults. I certainly have my own. She cares deeply for our family as individuals and also as a unit. She is amazingly devoted to her real friends and to her closest family. I am very different. I have a gazillion friends and don't have a lot of "very close" friends. She keeps a smaller circle of friends but she keeps them much closer. I really see a value in that. She stresses over so much. I have discovered she only does that because she wants so desperately to please me, our kids and her closest friends and family. She wants things to be perfect for them. At first I thought I needed to change this about her and make her more like me and just "go with the flow". That is exactly what I should NOT do. Instead, I need to complement her and balance her out. When it is important to her, I need to make it important to me. When it is only a little important to her, I can help her not stress so much. I can also make an effort to take away some of the menial tasks that stress her out. In addition, I have made a commitment to myself to start treating her like we are still dating. I started writing her love letters again. I tell her when she takes my breath away. I hope she is enjoying the attention.

6) My kids are amazing. I have been carrying around this guilt that I am somehow "missing it" as they grow up. The kicker is that this guilt makes me miss it more because I try to make up for missing it. All my kids want is attention. It could be as simple as sitting with them while playing Wii or reading a book or sitting on the deck while they play or including them in decision making. They just need validation that I love them and care about whats going on in their 6 and 1 year old lives (ok, so perhaps its not that deep yet for Maggie, but it won't take long). So I am keeping them around a little longer. I am pushing myself to finish work early enough to spend time with them in the evening. I am not trying so hard to make up for missed time but instead to just make time. I have also released the guilt. I work--sometimes a lot. I am also a great dad. I said it out loud.

7) Finally, there is business. I think I am starting to get good at being a Realtor. I have had some success, that is for sure. I don't know that I had, or have yet, the full skill set. I am learning every day how to deal with people. I am also gaining a much more clear understanding of what my actual role is in this job. I am not a salesman--unless I need to be. My job is to help people understand and navigate the (in some ways unneccesarily) complex task of buying or selling a home. My job is to listen to their dreams, catch them and then try to help them make their dreams come true. The crazy thing is, it doesn't matter who my client is--this model holds true. It could be a bank having me list a foreclosure--the person I deal with has dreams that I can help with--get this property off the books quickly for the most money. If it is an investor and they are supposed to be "cold" and "business only", they still have dreams and I can still help them accomplish those dreams. I just have to modify the approach and give the right info at the right time. If they are a new family looking for the first place, they have more dreams than they know what do with so I have to help narrow those down and focus a bit. If they are middle aged and are contemplating the possibility of moving aging parents in, there is a completely different set of dreams there and I have to listen for them. The tough part is listening to all the extra stuff and finding the right info to grasp. I'm getting better, but I have a very long way to go before I am an "expert" at this.

As we approach 2013, think about how you can have your own renaissance. What will make you better. What will help you discover more of your potential. Can I help? If I can't, who can? Be a better you.

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