If you had to distill your life’s philosophy down to a few sentences, what would they be? Could you identify your most important core beliefs and then express them easily?
Let me go first. I believe:
You are sovereign. And so am I.
The idea of “sovereignty” came into my life a few years ago via my friend, the writer and adviser Hiro Boga. Sovereignty is my awareness that you being fully you is a complete gift in and of itself. And if you are fully you, and I am fully me, then there is no need to force or coerce you to become just like me, or me just like you. There is just me, and you, and the us we create together.
When I see and accept you for who you are, I have created love in the world. Even if it’s in passing – an ephemeral moment while in line, or that moment of grace when I give you enough space to merge into traffic. And if we can each create a little more love in our world each day, we change the world. Which leads me to my next core belief:
People are kind and want to help.
Go ahead and disagree with me. You are sovereign, so it’s your right. However, each and every day I get concrete examples of the kindness of strangers and their willingness to lend a hand as needed. People rush into buildings on fire. They catch babies dropped from balconies. They pull survivors from crashes. They shout warnings. They phone 911. They hold hands. They dry tears. They stand as witness in candelight vigils.
People are good.
And leaders are good who give people the opportunity to express this basic human drive to help others.
Learning is more important than being right.
When we worry about getting it right or being perfect, we miss the incredible opportunity just before us – the chance to learn something new. But it’s so very awkward to be a true learner. When we’re learning we’re like the spindly newborn colt who can’t fully stand on his own legs. We wobble and look weak… until we get it. Then, no one can stop us from running like the wind.
And even though we may completely doubt the possibility at the outset, we almost always get it – especially when we allow ourselves time for our muscles to get stronger and our brain to get used to a new way of being. It’s a matter of being willing to be proud of that weak wobble at first, sure in the knowledge that what comes next is wind in our hair and unbridled power.
Always err on the side of being clear.
Whatever it takes for you to be clear on who you are, what you bring to the world, how you are sovereign, and what that means you do next… focus there. In my work, I attempt to help people get as clear as they can possibly be so decision-making becomes astoundingly easy.
“Yes!” becomes easy to say with joy when you know who you are. “No” becomes easy to say with a grin when you know who you are.
So ask all the questions you need to ask – of yourself and others – until you know-know-know who you are and what you stand for. In the pursuit of that clarity, there are no dumb questions.
Or off-limits questions.
You are stronger than you know, and more resilient than you can remember.
You have weathered many storms, withstood many crises. And yet you continue to wake up each day and breathe.
Some days, as you know, continuing to simply breathe is an amazing accomplishment worthy of a parade led by a marching band with a mighty brass section.
And sometimes you forget just how strong you are. You listen to all those voices saying “not enough, not you, not now.” They chant “be small, be insignificant, be who I want you to be.”
But you can’t be that. You’re sovereign. You are the magnificent you – loud or quiet, wide or thin, able or other – you are magnificent. Just because you breathe.
Don’t you dare forget that.
Whether you’re a ninety-nine year old or a newborn, you have survived. And you thrive when you bring all of that survival to each day, greeting it with all the goodness in your heart and your willingness to do one thing – one monumental or infinitessimal thing – to make our world a better place.
Those are my core tenets, and I believe them with all my heart.
And I guess that means I also believe in you with all my heart.
<smiling now> So… tell me yours.