|Alexis at Dance, and Abby|
To say that our past does not have an impact on our existing behaviors would make us, well, delusional. There is no question that some of the crisis and problems I lived through had an impact on my thinking and responses. An almost crushing pressure of constantly balancing several variables, financial obligations, people and serving customers makes for a constant struggle to learn 'right responses'. Several times, I would find myself coming into work in a daze, overwhelmed and feeling like quitting is the only relief to the constant barrage of pressures. Once we came out of the recession, amazingly, stronger then ever...I felt a massive weight come off my shoulders. I gave the analogy, "it's like your in the middle of the ocean with a boat that has holes in it. The ship looks as though it is sinking...and my job is to work like a maniac, unceasingly, to scoop enough water from the boat to keep it afloat." Can you imagine how I reacted when I heard the news, 'Relax Ryan, all the holes are plugged, the boat is a float and fine!'? I went on to explain to people, that it's like I turned into jelly and just blobbed onto the chair and existed. The boat is fine, I can stop frantically scooping water out. The war has ceased...I can come out of the trenches and relax.
When I took a self inventory, I realized a few major 'themes' that disgustingly existed within me. I observed a paradigm where I interpreted events as a victim. Woe is me! Oh how hard did I have it...always giving, serving and being battered in the process! My friends caught this language and pointed it out. I saw it right away. I also noted I was unintentionally speaking about myself in the same terms I criticize left leaning policy: oh the helpless victim. Trust me, I am working on this aggressively. I am not a victim as my past does not determine my future.
Secondly, I realized a theme of laziness...not using my time wisely...after all, I deserved a rest after warring so hard and so much. Horribly, I even apologized to my wife Abby for coming home with a mindset that said, "I can't give my all with lots of energy to my two young girls, because I am so whipped at work". What a terrible lie I victimized myself into holding to! Again, the victim mindset is propping up this incredible belief. To remedy this, I have filled my schedule with productive items so I can better serve our customers, I have decided to eat healthy and speak peace over my body: so I can get good sleep.
Being a victim is not a 'left wing' condition. It is a human condition. I realized the world did not rush to coddle me...to hold me and rock me to sleep. The powerful lesson I had the joy of learning is simple: people who love me served me well by 'calling me out, then calling me up'. They pointed out how my actions were not serving me. They offered remedies for change. They directed me to channel my frustrations and pain in the right places: so progress can be made. In effect, they picked me up, dusted me off and sent me on my way. What a gift. Oh how tragic if they would have joined my pity party (membership was free) and talked about how indeed I am the victim and I am owed something as a result of being unfairly treated etc! We love to have others see our perspective and join us in articulating our view of reality, don't we? Rising above 'myself' has been an incredible process. Learning to live a life of being a victor and not a victim was not a 'switch' that went off, but rather an ardours process. Learning that my future is not determined by my past was a 10 year journey to work through. What I have concluded is that my future is determined not by my past, but by the 'now'. What am I choosing to do NOW to advance my future, to make it look like what I want? I desire a future of excellent relationships with family, friends and even customer, suppliers and employees. Relationships matter to me more then anything in the world. I am 'getting over myself' so I can better serve my family and loved ones. I trust this note has encouraged you today.