The Deciding Line: Staying the Course
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done
-Kenny Rogers (The Gambler)
I remember going to a Kenny Rogers concert in 8th grade with a few friends. I didn’t much like country music but it was the thing at my school back then and I was locked smack dab in the middle of my awkward stage pinnacle. I also got a huge kick out of Dolly and she was slated to make a guest appearance that night for their classic duet, Islands in the Stream. Needless to say, I went along with it. After all, there was very little for a twelve-year-old to do in Mobile, Alabama that didn’t involve golf cart mudding or toilet papering the odd neighbor’s front yard.
Towards the end of the concert, I decided to step it up a notch in hopes of earning a few more cool points. (I was already ahead as my drop dead gorgeous mom was playing chauffeur that night). In between songs, the auditorium got super still for some strange reason. Was he switching guitars? Was he waiting on sound? Did the Budweiser run out? I didn’t know and didn’t care. I took the golden opportunity and ran like it was a skydiver’s terrifying first jump.
There in the silence I inched towards the edge and screamed at the top of my pre-pubescent lungs “The GAMBLERRRR!!!!” The next thirty seconds felt like a turtle’s lifetime and I’m sure I resembled something of a seared beet. Finally, Mr. Rogers peered way back into the nosebleeds as if to try to locate this brave (read: ludicrous) young soul, then chuckled, “Well, alright then.” He launched into that familiar finger picking pattern followed by a warm raspy vocal, holding thousands of hungry fans and one proud pre-teen in the palm of his hand. It was epic, indeed.
Believe it or not, this post is about staying the course of our goals, not how to make it out of middle school alive. I’m convinced that was a miracle I don’t remember much of. The Gambler lends us wisdom as we navigate our goals. I love this idea of knowing when to cut our losses; when to walk away from something that appears good, but may not ultimately be great for the overarching journey ahead.
Many of you are highly creative, highly intuitive creatures, tightly wound for success. The achievement stakes are high as is the capacity to dream. You do many things really well, which makes choosing just one of them often difficult.
Today, I want to drop a few ideas that have helped me translate desire into action. Play around with them, tease them out a bit. They may challenge a few beliefs you’ve held thus far. They’ve certainly done so for me.
You can’t have it all (Gasp)
I breathed a deep sigh of relief when I read Twyla Tharp’s sharp words of wisdom in her bestseller The Creative Habit for the first time.
As a brilliant, world-renown choreographer in her 60’s, she harkens back to her stringent 20’s way of thinking that she could, indeed have it all:
“To lead a creative life, you have to sacrifice, ‘Sacrifice’ and ‘having it all’ do not go together. I set out to have a family, have a career, be a dancer, and support myself all at once, and it was overwhelming. I had to learn the hard way that you can’t have it all, you have to make some sacrifices, and there’s no way you’re going to fulfill all the roles you imagine.”
What roles are you currently juggling? Does it feel exhausting? Perhaps its time to re-examine all the hats you’re wearing and choose one or two that fit the best. I know I know, you are good at what you set your mind to and multi-tasking might be your jam. However, when calling and desire are at stake, slow and steady may be your best bet for consistent delivery.
Cut it out
The word “decide” comes from the Latin decider, literally meaning “to cut off.” Whenever we make a choice, we cut off and remove another option. I love this imagery–it frees up space for more of what we actually want and lightens the load in order to quicken our step in the right direction. Choosing to prioritize a dream that speaks lovingly and loudly allows us to silence the dead weight of conflicting voices that speak out of turn. Plus, this is how we practice listening and leaning into intuition, ultimately building trust in ourselves, our voice.
Good vs. Great
This doesn’t mean the conflicting voices are necessarily bad. Au Contraire! I believe at the core of our desires we find purity. We want to make a good living to create freedom and security, we want to get a promotion in order to feel accomplished and respected, we want to travel the world in order to fuel a sense of wonder and expand our horizons. These are all beautiful desires. We’ve got to learn how to navigate them.
I love vineyards. The process of growing, pruning, crushing, and harvesting grapes that eventually produce wine is fascinating, if not poetic. The farmer is intimately acquainted with this process of knowing, choosing, and cutting off in order to render the best the vines can offer. Of course, there are wilting grapes in obvious need of elimination. Then there are perfectly good grapes; grapes that appear healthy, ripe, and full of potential. The winemaker knows, however, that in order for optimal growth, too much weight and fruit will actually dampen the vine and lower overall quality.
There doesn’t need to be harsh judgment of our decision to focus on one goal over another. The good news is, we can always come back to it and reassess. Like the song boasts, “There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.”
For now, I encourage you to make a list of 5-10 things you deeply desire to accomplish in the next three months. Don’t edit it or deem them unrealistic, just listen to what wells up inside. Spend five minutes with that list and circle the one that would have the MOST positive impact on your life now. If there’s one that’s are close second, draw a box around it; you’ve found your six month goal. You can build this out as long as you want and revisit with more clarity down the line. As I mentioned last week, the Passion Planner is an amazing resource to supplement this journey as well.
I absolutely love partnering with you on this journey of making dreams and desires a tangible reality. If you feel you need extra support, don’t hesitate to reach out. Oh and, stay tuned for some really exciting news on the blog in the coming weeks! I’ve got some fun stuff planned for us
Love & Gratitude,