Groundhog Day

To me this isn’t about the animal, the winter, or when spring will arrive. For me Groundhog Day is about the movie with Bill Murray. The message of the movie is that you can make anything of your life, it’s up to you whether it’s a life you’re proud of or not.

In What Next I write “To me it seems that asking ‘what next’ is really the search for mental and physical stimulation, the search for happiness. Asking ‘what next’ is a way to break the ‘groundhog day syndrome’ so many of us feel.” Too many people use words or phrases like “drudgery,” “same old same old,” or “not much,” to describe their life and what they’re doing on a daily basis. Not me.

Every day is another chance to meet new people, to connect with others on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, to learn from people who have done the things I want to do. Whether I take the chance or run and hide like the groundhog after seeing its shadow, is up to me.

Tonight I’m once again putting myself in what many people would describe as an awkward situation. I’m going to a restaurant/bar in NY to meet a highly successful entrepreneur who, until yesterday, I had never heard of. Why am I doing that? Because that’s what people who ask “what next” do, they seek out people more successful than them, people they can learn from, and they go for it.

I’m sure it’s going to be a little weird at first but what do I have to loose? That’s the attitude more people should have.

Check back tomorrow for an update on how it went tonight.

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Oh no!

First read the post below then come back to this one.

Welcome back!

I’m not sure how to categorize What Next. Is it a motivational book? Self-help? Is it financial in nature?

It’s all those things and, I hope, more. This forces me to very reluctantly admit that I must be in a group of people I don’t particularly like – the motivational/self-help author/speaker.

Why don’t I like them? The main reason is that I think they are heavy on catch phrases but light on substance. I say that about others and in the next breath I use my own pithy little quotes meant to get you thinking, to spark some action.

I think the difference between me and them is that I don’t try to make connections just to make connections. Life is not like a box of chocolates, it’s just life. Google “life is like quotes” and you’ll see some pretty ridiculous things such as “life is like a turtle. You won’t get far unless you stick your neck out.” No, you won’t get far because turtles are really slow!

A motivational author/speaker can get a traffic ticket and find the answer to the world’s problems! Sorry, it was just a traffic ticket.

And yet there’s some truth,something poignant, in each quote, in each story, no matter how ridiculous. I guess there’s no hope for me – I’m one of them after all.

Let’s embrace our inner-motivator! Comment below with what you think life is like. Be creative.

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Life is like…

Make your own pathI haven’t been hiking in a while and I miss it. My favorite place to hike is the desert. The landscape and scenery is surprisingly diverse. One hike in particular took me from a low elevation scorched by the sun and heat to cooler, higher elevations among evergreen trees and snow. It was an amazing lesson in change and adaptation. Not only did the vegetation change the higher I climbed but so did the wildlife. I also had to change as the clothing I wore at the beginning of the climb, in the heat, would not be sufficient as I continued to a much cooler, even cold climate.

In order to be prepared for the various conditions the hiker must plan ahead bringing the proper clothing, enough food and water to name a few things. Another aspect of preparation is the conditioning that is necessary for longer, more strenuous hikes. Without planning for the change in climate or the difficulty of the hike you are at risk of failure, and failure at such an endeavor can prove fatal.

The hiker must also be honest with themselves and respect their limitations. Each hike builds upon the strength gained in previous excursions as you push a little farther each time. The distances I could go when I began hiking were significantly less than the distances I now travel. The equipment I carried early in my hiking was an indication of my lack of experience and over confidence. The equipment I now carry shows growth in my level of expertise as well as my respect for the endeavor. None of the following were in my pack on early hikes but are now: flashlight, heat blanket, nine volt battery, steel wool, and much more.

All these points have equivalents in life. The landscape of life is diverse indeed with incredibly hot times and very cold times and each of us has to be prepared for that change. People come and go from our lives as we continue on our path but each of them affects the direction we take. In order to be prepared for the different climates, and the difficulty of the journey of life, we have to plan ahead (but most don’t). The more we experience in life the more we can handle, just as a hiker who travels one mile can go two miles on their next trip. In life we need balance. We must be honest with ourselves, willing to admit when we need help but confident enough to test those limits. The packs we carry throughout life become heavier as we add new tools to aid us, but we should scarcely notice as our strength increases as well.

Life is like hiking, not exactly the same, but there are enough similarities that I use the hiking analogy throughout the book. Where will your hike take you?

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