A Life of Freedom or Fear…The Choice is Yours

whooty

How many of us have been in a situation where we have wanted to express ourselves but the little “rational” voice in our head shut it down?

 

  • You feel compelled to introduce yourself or reach out to someone that you’re interested in but you hear your own voice come up with 1000 reasons for why the moment isn’t quite right – “she’s with her friends, I’ll wait until she’s by herself and then I’ll say (insert cliché line here)” or “We’re at a work function, it’s not appropriate, I’ll try to get their number for something else and then send a happy hour invitation text tomorrow” or, more directly, “They’re out of my league, what’s the point?”

 

  • You’re in a meeting and you want to speak up but that same voice pops up and says “you’re new to the project, you may not have all of the information and someone else probably already brought that up anyway” or “It seems like my manager is pretty set on their decision, so what’s the point in wasting anyone’s time?”

 

  • You’re in a social situation and the conversation turns into something like gossip or negative talk about someone who isn’t there – you want to stop it but then you hear “My friends invited me here, I don’t want to stir the pot” or “whatever, I’m never going to change their minds so why bother?”

 

  • You see someone clearly upset and your heart calls you to go comfort them with a hug or a few words of encouragement but there that voice goes again “you barely know this person, that would be awkward” or “who am I to share words of encouragement to this person, I have my own shit I am dealing with…”

 

  • You want to go for that new job but you read the job description and the voice starts up again “I don’t have that experience” or “they’re looking for a more technical background, they’re not going to take me…”

 

If you’re anything like me, it’s likely that you’ve experienced all of these situations at some point in your life.

 

The result?

  • By the time your moment finally comes to make your move and say hello, you’ve played it up so much that you’re crippled with fear and never say a word OR the words come out in a panicked manner with a hint of vomit in the back of your throat

 

  • You don’t speak up in the meeting and leave feeling timid, or someone else says what you were thinking and gets a “great thought, Susan!”, or your team runs into the barrier that you anticipated but never expressed and its worse for everyone involved

 

  • You leave the social situation feeling uncomfortable and timid, your anger with yourself turns to blame of the “others” who were gossiping and you distance yourself rather than work with them to potentially change their perspective or at least open their eyes to a new one

 

  • You miss a golden opportunity to share love, encouragement, and positivity and both parties walk away from the situation feeling bad

 

  • You don’t even try to go for the job and you sit wondering about what might have been, each day resenting your current position more and more

 

Sometimes it’s not as intense as these examples, sometimes the situation could be as simple as singing or dancing. We sing songs and dance with gusto when we are by ourselves (shower and car time are prime examples) but as soon as you add new people into the equation your voice lowers to a murmur and your feet start to turn to cement until all you are doing is a stationary head bop when your body feels like its about to explode.

 

The obvious question becomes “WHY?!”

 

Why do we hold back? Why do we stifle these urges when we know and feel that it’s what we truly want? Why don’t we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and instead numb ourselves to what might be possible if we followed our hearts?

 

The answer is quite simple, and something I have been exploring very intimately for the better half of the last year. But first, I want to introduce two related concepts.

 

As I sat to write this post, I started going back to situations where this phenomenon of holding back was clearly visible and looked at the elements at play. Each time, it seemed to come down to these two concepts which Brendon Burchard articulates very eloquently in his book, The Motivation Manifesto.

 

  1. Social Oppression – the caging of our spirit and stifling of our potential by others
  2. Self Oppression – letting our own negative thoughts or actions restrict us

 

Social Oppression – sometimes this comes in an “in your face form” of a conforming team culture, a stubborn/abusive partner, a bully etc., where the other, makes us feel small and inadequate. Sometimes however, it comes in a more subtle manner when we are sitting in a room with a group of best friends – and these are the moments you need to watch out for because it’s hard to realize what is happening in real time.

 

I recalled a time where a close girlfriend of mine came over on a Saturday afternoon with a few close friends. She had recently been seeing someone that she was really into. She arrived in the middle of a texting conversation with this guy and started sharing some of it with us (sorry guy). I remember she was SO excited about him, the connection was there, they both seemed to have a lot in common, and they were talking about an adventurous but AWESOME date that they wanted to go on. However, what started with a lot of love and excitement, quickly morphed into confusion and uncertainty.

 

  • “Omg don’t say that you’re going to sound too excited, don’t make it seem like you’re available”
  • “Really? It’s only your second date… isn’t that a little much?… Maybe suggest switching to casual drinks”
  • “Look, I love you but don’t get too excited, you don’t really know this guy yet, he could be a f*ckboy and I just don’t want to see you get hurt again”

 

Thinking back on it, I remember noticing my friend sitting on the couch just staring at her phone, her smile was gone and now she looked puzzled. Her energy had been sucked out of her by her best friends who THOUGHT we “had her back” – she felt one way but the voices of her close friends, me included, were pulling her away from that authentic, amazing feeling and bringing her to a place of uncertainty and insecurity. Like so many early stage relationships, what started as a pure and vulnerable feeling grounded in love, quickly morphed into a disingenuous mind-game of who could save face and win (aka not be the one who gets hurt or taken advantage of) grounded in ego. And no…the relationship didn’t work out, it never really even took root…

 

Self Oppression – often times the oppresion we face comes from where we might least expect it, ourselves. We hold back because we want to avoid the pain of potential failure or rejection. We hide our projects or gifts from the world because they are not yet “perfect.” We start to downplay our presentation before we give it to “set expectations” when really we just want to lower the bar that we feel we need to hit in order to be accepted.

 

To highlight self oppression, I could just give this example of a job I really wanted but didn’t get:

 

— I poured my heart and soul into the application process but I did so behind closed doors, when people asked me about it, I acted lukewarm “yeah I’m not sure if I even want it because it my sister is about to have a baby and I don’t want to move…” What was really happening was that I was protecting myself from the possibility of having to face these same people after not getting the job, giving myself a crutch to save face rather than express how bad I really wanted it at the time. —

 

BUT, this story is in the past and has a very happy ending that led to my sabbatical opportunity so, it’s too easy to use as my example (this is after all, a post about facing fears) – so let’s go with something still in flight that will test me on this concept of fear and vulnerability…

 

F*ck it, here goes… I’ve been talking to this awesome girl lately and our conversations have been full of energy and connection. It feels great. But recently, I caught myself doing two things (closely related) that highlight this concept of self-oppression.

 

  • First happened as we were having a conversation that was really lighting me up. My body flooded with positive feelings and I wanted to scream something like “I feel so connected to you right now and you make me so friggin happy!!!” but in an instant that voice came up… “Matt relax, its too new and that’s too much…dial it back…”
  • Second, was when I was telling my sisters about it. The fact of the matter was that I was stoked – it’s been a while since I felt this type of connection with a girl but as I was telling my sisters I kept catching myself every time after saying something good, including a caveat like “well idk, its pretty fresh so who knows…”

 

P.S. ^ this story isn’t over but I’ll get back to the outcome of this in a bit

 

So we know that social oppression and self oppression are the culprits but if we look at it more deeply, what do they both have in common?

 

FEAR. They are both grounded in fear. Fear of uncertainty, fear of disapproval, fear that we will be rejected, abandoned, or isolated. Fear that we will not live up to our expectations of ourselves and the expectations others have of us.

 

The problem is this – when we allow fear to permeate our minds, our once bold ambitions and behaviors become small and constrained. We turn away from what we truly want and who we truly are until fear fully engulfs those desires, turning them into a distant memory. It would take me a month to cover all of the unwanted outcomes that fear leads to but for the sake of this post; just understand that this fear runs deep, it has taken captive our minds and our culture, and it holds us back from pure freedom of self-expression which is what all of us truly desire – whether we are consciously aware of it or not. When we are fearful, we can’t be free.

 

So what can we do to combat this epidemic and liberate ourselves from the grips of fear so that we can be free to passionately pursue our heart’s desires? Here is what I learned so far through my journey of facing many of my fears over the past few years – and believe me I still have a looong way to go.

 

  1. The first step is understanding fear and where it comes from. Normally, fear doesn’t come about from a single event. It is more commonly the result of multiple events, compounded over time – conditioning us to be fearful. As I mentioned, the scary part is that these events that condition us to fear don’t always stem from malicious intent. Sometimes it’s the loving but overbearing mother who hovers over their child’s every move, constantly telling them to “be careful!” or the pragmatic father who paints a very articulate picture to his child on why it would make more sense to pursue a job with financial security rather than pursue their dreams of being an artist. I’m not suggesting that we stop listening to our friends, family, and advisors altogether, but we must become astute in recognizing when our trusted ones are speaking from their own fear-based opinions.
  2. The second step is being able to catch ourselves in the moment when we are basing our actions in fear rather than freedom. This is much easier said than done because often times when we are in a state of fear, we get tunnel vision and hyper-focused on the stimulus that is causing the fear. It’s normally only after the event that we can see and admit to ourselves that our actions (or lack thereof) were driven by fear. However, through conscious thought and disciplined action, we can start to catch ourselves in a fear state and we can choose to replace that fear with more empowering feelings and emotions. A great way to do this is through mindfulness. If you follow my blog, I’ve already quoted this, but it’s one of my favorite quotes and certainly applies here “Between stimulus and response there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom” – Viktor E. Frankl. Start tuning in and catching yourself in that fear-based narrative – chances are, you will start see a pattern (i.e., it normally happens when I talk to my boss or girls or when I am in a large group setting)
  3. The third step, is once you start understanding your fear-based thoughts and know what your fear triggers are, replace them with empowering feelings and beliefs. Love and gratitude are amazing replacements because you can’t hold both emotions at the same time – when you are grateful or full of love, you can’t be fearful. Second, stop thinking about what would be lost if the worst should happen (broken heart, loss of confidence, etc.) and start focusing on the upside – what could be gained if you broke free from the fear trap? If you want to lose weight and get into shape but you’re scared of the sacrifices you will have to make or the initial struggle you might experience in the gym, what if instead, you choose to pump yourself up about the new confidence and possibilities that will come with a increased fitness and the new healthy dishes you can share with friends and loved ones. At first, this practice may feel fake and like forced positive thinking, but so what? What do you have to gain from continued negative thought patterns? Overtime you will rewire your brain to a new way of thinking and eventually this perspective shift will become your norm.
  4. Finally – do one thing that scares you every day. It doesn’t have to always be intense. For me, my default is taking a freezing cold shower every single morning. I’ve been doing this for the last 2 years (at least). The purpose of it is to rewire my brain to get used to doing things I am scared of or don’t want to do – to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Force yourself to step into that fear. We build these mental muscles and learn to overcome our fear only with practice and consistency. I’ll never forget the first time I had to speak in public at a professional event… my heart was pounding and I nearly went blind, I forgot everything I wanted to say and started profusely sweating until a man in the front row pulled out a tissue and handed it to me so I could blot the sweat from my face…I was MORTIFIED. Why would I ever want to do that again? But I knew I could either dwell on it and talk myself into a prison of fear OR I could jump back in the ring and face my fear again which is exactly what I did. Now, I love public speaking and it’s become one of my strongest assets in my personal and professional life. We all have the choice to be courageous and face our fears. Overtime, the fear subsides and you will look back with kindness and ask yourself, “How was I afraid of that?”

 

We’re almost done! But before I close, lets quickly go back to this mystery girl I mentioned earlier…a perfect opportunity to put this to practice in real time.

 

Yes, I recognize IT IS early and I DON’T know what the future is going to bring, but is that a reason to suppress how I am feeling in this very moment? I can’t control the future and maybe nothing comes of it and maybe there will be a time where I have to tell my sisters “I got ghosted” or some other shitty outcome but that’s out of my hands – so should I proceed more timidly (when that is so not my style) out of fear of the unknown? I can only focus on what I can control and the rest is up to God or the Universe or Chaos Theory or whatever you want to call it. I’m on a mission to push all fear from my life and be free to express myself and pursue the things I want wholeheartedly – so when I caught myself in that self oppressive state, I stomped it out, I expressed what I was feeling, authentically with no filter to save face, both to the girl and to my sisters and guess what? It felt great and I didn’t die and I don’t really care to get hung up on the future because as Mark Twain put it “I’ve known a great many troubles in my life, none of which have ever actually happened…”

 

So, my call to you is to step up and give fear the finger. F*ck fear, it doesn’t serve you. Chasing your dreams with fear is like trying to climb to the summit of a mountain with a 6000 lb. boulder in your backpack. Find the fear and beat it to shit with positivity, love, gratitude, and optimism. I’M NOT SAYING IT WILL BE EASY but you are so much more than your fears. Don’t you think a better and more free life is worth the struggle it takes to get there?

 

Dare to follow your dreams and crush your fears because either fear wins or freedom wins…which will you choose?

 

 

Thanks for listening fam ❤

 

Matt

 

Bish Be Humble – focus on the foundation and build your base

into the blue

To start, this post is a bit dated. I wrote most of it a few weeks ago in Nicaragua, so some of the things I mention (i.e., the org I was working with, the people I was around) have changed. The learning however, for me, is timeless.

 

In a previous post, I explained the quote “who you are on your mat is who you are in your life” and for the non-yogis “how you do anything is how you do everything”

Today, I am going to go a bit deeper into one of my learnings from the yoga mat as it showed up for me again in Nicaragua – my tendency to want immediately excel at something…

 

As you already know, I am spending 6 months at a surf and yoga wellness retreat, Rise Up Surf, for a mutual value exchange (I provide consulting services, they provide room/board/food/activities). One of my goals during this time is to learn to surf well and I’m pretty much starting at level 0. The best and worst part about working at a surf retreat is that I am surrounded by world class surfers and instructors. It’s the best because these guys/girls have been surfing for 10-20 years and are some of the best examples to learn from. It’s the worst because they’re all amazing at surfing…and I tend to be super competitive.

 

On my first day in Nicaragua, I tried to hang. I grabbed a shorter board (for those of you who don’t know, smaller boards are tougher to ride) and paddled out. The waves were big, but my ego was bigger. WOMP, WHAP, CRASH. 3 waves, 3 wipeouts. And not just any wipeouts, I was under the water in a spin cycle, at the verge of gasping underwater, praying that my head would eventually break through the surface. It felt like that song Last Resort by Poppa Roach “Suffocation, no breathing”. When I made it back to shore, I was shook, exhausted, and I had destroyed my elbow trying to hold onto my board as they waves pushed it away from me.

 

After that experience, here is what my next few days looked like when it came time to surf:

 

  • I would walk up to the board rack with the instructors from Hawaii, Australia, and a few local pros who all grab their slim, sleek, and sexy short boards. I’d grab an 8ft 6′ wonky longboard that I can’t even fit under my arm so I need to hold it on top of my head with 2 hands.
  • I’d walk with the guys to a nearby beach break called The Boom (appropriately named because its big and heavy…boom). They would paddle out effortlessly, diving under the waves with ease as they paddled out to the sweet spot to catch waves. I’d continue past The Boom to another beach break called Kaya’s Corner (appropriately named after the Rise Up owners’ daughter who is 16 months old) where I’d finally paddle out to the sweet spot after about 15 minutes of constant pounding, losing my board, and drinking about 2 gallons of seawater through my mouth and nose. 
  • I remembered watching the crew at The Boom catching amazing wave after wave, getting deep into barrels and carving like butter up and down the glassy face of the wave. I’d pop up on little 2 footers and slowly ride the white water straight back to shore…when I was lucky…many times I’d bail during my pop-up and get tossed back to shore – knowing that I would need to paddle out again, drinking more seawater.

 

It was a frustrating start and I felt totally defeated, to say the least.

 

Because of this, I was feeling a bit off-key. I knew surfing was supposed to be about fun, not frustration – so I took some quiet time to clear my mind and breathe. What I realized, was that my frustration wasn’t coming from anything that was physically happening to me, it was coming from my mentality.

 

“I want to be the best, and I want it now” <– this was my totally distorted perspective. Things just don’t work like that. After all, if it were easy, everyone would do it.

 

I was in such a rush to be at the same level as the people I was with that I forgot about the fundamentals. I saw how good they were and I wanted to be there too, forgetting to acknowledge that each and every one of them also started with the fundamentals (learning to paddle, pop-ups, understanding the way waves and swells work) building a strong foundation of technical skills to improve upon.

 

It’s amusing when I recognize this tendency in myself to want to immediately be good at something because as a yoga instructor and personal trainer, I am fully aware of the importance of humility when taking on a new challenge and building a solid foundation but when the ego gets in the way, it’s easy to forget.

 

In whatever we do – building a house, a career, a relationship, or a skill set – its easy to become fixated the finished product and forget about all of the foundational elements that support the end goal. You want to build the world’s tallest building? You must first build a strong foundation. You want to be an astronaut and fly to Mars? Well first you need to ace your math and science classes. You want to rip on the guitar like John Mayer? Learn to tune the guitar, you must (yoda voice).

 

If you try to cut corners and don’t respect the process, it will catch up to you. Sometimes, it shows up very clearly and immediately as you smack your face on the ocean floor. Other times, it happens a bit more subtly – where you get away with it for a while but slowly it starts to become more and more apparent.

 

Exhibit A:

It was 3 years ago and my first time leading a team at work. I’d been selected to serve as a team lead for a pretty intense program at my company. My company, like many others, has a talent model. The purpose of the talent model is to provide employees with an understanding of the skills they should focus on at each level within the firm. Junior practitioners are expected to focus on “hard skills” – tangible skills that are core to the work we do (i.e., skills such as financial modeling, Microsoft Excel, and building presentations) As you progress through the ranks, your focus switches from hard skills to “soft skills” – skills that are a bit less tangible (i.e. developing others, facilitation, and public speaking.)

 

I’ve always been more comfortable and naturally inclined towards soft skills such as facilitation and public speaking. Focusing on these skills have helped me differentiate myself at my company and (I imagine) contributed heavily toward me being selected to lead a team for this program. Entering into this challenge, my mentality was – “I don’t need to focus on the hard skills because I can mobilize others on my team to get the job done.”

 

I was half right…

 

While I was in fact able to mobilize my team around projects that required hard skills, I soon learned that I wasn’t able to lead them as effectively as I would have liked. As we progressed further into the project, my team would come to me with very technical questions on how to approach specific problems. I struggled to find ways to guide them because I had cut some corners and didn’t have the experience of solving those same problems (or building those excel formulas) on my own. I found myself relying on fellow team leads or advisors to lead my team through these challenges and overtime, they stopped coming to me with technical questions. As a young leader, not only did that burn, it was also not productive.

 

Let me be clear, I am all about taking a strengths-based approach to your life/career and focusing on what you love and what you’re good at. That said, if there are fundamental skills relevant to your business and you have a responsibility to lead others, you should know enough to be a useful advisor.

 

I’m so thankful for that year as it reminded me of the critical lesson to build a strong foundation. I am also thankful for my mentors and advisors who helped me through that experience to make it a productive one. If it hadn’t been for that previous year, I wouldn’t have spent so much time going back to the fundamentals to make sure I was ready for the next time I had an opportunity to lead. Fortunately, my opportunity for redemption came shortly after.

 

The next year, by the grace of God, I was asked to lead the entire program. I was now responsible for leading our team leads and I was able to step up the challenge much more effectively. I still brought in advisors to guide my teams on certain topics but in those moments, I was able to contribute to the conversations, put it into the context of what my team was trying to accomplish, and continue to lead my teams in the right direction once our advisors left. The difference was astronomical.

 

 

So what?

Our society today focuses too much on “The Juice.” Especially with social media – we see pictures/videos of pro surfers, insane yogis, fitness gurus, amazing musicians, etc. all performing their best work. What this creates for us is an expectation of where we think we should be and when we are not there, it becomes a source of dissatisfaction in our lives. Many times we will quit something because the process to become great is too discouraging – we see how much further we have to go to meet our expectations and we say to ourselves “I’ll never get there…”

 

F that.

 

Instead, what we should be focused on, is “The Squeeze” – the long, difficult process that it takes to produce “The Juice” – that sweet nectar of success. When you learn to appreciate the squeeze, everything changes. Rather than focusing on the gap between where you are and where you want to be, you learn to love the journey. You become grateful for every moment you get to spend mastering your craft and for every mistake you make in the process, knowing deep down that in the end, if you stick to it:

 

“The juice is worth the squeeze”

 

 

Much love!

Matt

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Everyone’s got a plan until they get punched in the face…learn to roll with the punches

ocean meditation

I’ll start with an excerpt from my second blog post ever, as I was heading into the first day of my sabbatical…

 

— So, there you have it – that’s my general plan for the next 6 months – but as Mr. Mike Tyson would say…“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face (or…the fathe).”And I am sure there are a few left hooks waiting around a few corners for me – so stay tuned! —

 

Well, the other day I took my first hook and boy was it a doozie… BUT, like everything in life, there is a lesson to be learned from it.

 

To fully appreciate this post, I encourage you to take 5 minutes and read my second post (if you haven’t already). Basically, I thought I had the next 6 months of my life all figured out. I spent almost a year prepping for this adventure – making sure I had the timing lined up, deciding how I wanted to spend my time, researching and interviewing multiple organizations to find the right spot, and once decided, spending a good bit of time working with their owners to design an experience that we were both excited about. I was ready for 6 months of surf, yoga, and some good work in Nicaragua.

 

But sometimes God has a different plan for us…

 

For those of you who don’t know, Nicaragua is currently going through a challenging time politically. The people of Nicaragua want change. Their current president, Daniel Ortega, is essentially acting as a dictator and the people are tired of it. They want him and his wife (the Vice President) out of office and are demanding a fair democracy (I am oversimplifying the situation very much because this isn’t meant to be a post about the current political situation in Nica.) What you need to know is that since 4/19/2018, there have been over 100 deaths and just as many disappearances. The Nicaraguan government has ordered a shoot to kill policy on protesters (many of whom are peacefully protesting) and the situation has become extremely delicate. While life at the beach is still peaceful, the situation has become too uncertain and I had to leave Nica, about 5 months earlier than expected…

 

When I first discovered that I would need to cut my trip short, I felt like my world was turned upside down. This wasn’t part of the plan, this was supposed to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. My immediate reaction was:

  • “I can’t believe this is happening to me”
  • “This isn’t fair”
  • “What am I going to do?”

Fortunately, writing this blog has been a great way to keep myself accountable to practice what I preach, so I grabbed my board and hit the water for some meditation. As I sat in the water, caught a few waves, and started to breathe, I had a couple of revelations that completely changed my perspective – and ultimately, the outcome of this situation:

 

  • First off, how dare I take the situation in Nicaragua and make it about me. This is about the people of Nicaragua and the change they need (and deserve) as a country. Despite what this means for my sabbatical, I am glad that Nicaragua is pushing for change and I hope and pray that it can happen more peacefully, without a full blown revolution.
  • Second, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” There isn’t much I can do to change the situation in Nicaragua, that will need to run its course. What I can change, is how I respond to it. Rather than freak out, get upset, and call it quits. I can stay calm, focus, and make moves to keep my sabbatical alive and well.
  • Finally, when I look back at my life, in every situation where things get rough and it feels as though hope is lost, there is always something bigger at play.
    • When I tried to scale my personal training company and failed I thought all of the effort was for nothing – but It was that failure which led me to Deloitte where I have so many opportunities to grow and develop – meeting lifelong friends and mentors along the way.
    • When I  was turned away after making it to the final round interview for Product Manager at Facebook, I felt terrible. I had poured my heart into the interview process and they just said “no.” In hindsight, it’s clear that the job would have been a terrible fit for me. I only became attached to the image of the job title and what I thought that would mean. If I had gotten the job, I would have had to move to San Fran and miss all the time I’ve been able to spend with my 2 beautiful nieces AND this 6 month sabbatical would have never been an option.
    • Thinking back to my “dark ages”, it would be easy to beat myself up over that phase of my life, but it’s my past that has made me who I am today and has given me a story to share with others. I believe that our lives are our message to the world and I am proud that I’ve now been able to share mine in settings such as church, juvenile detention programs, and everyday conversations to inspire and encourage others.

 

When I came out of the water, I felt brand new – I was full of gratitude for my fresh new perspective. It was time to get to work. I got on the computer and hit the phones and sure enough, it soon became clear that life doesn’t happen to us, it happens for us… as long as we let it.

 

I ended up getting connected with another Surf and Yoga wellness retreat in Ecuador, my mom’s motherland! This retreat incorporates all of the elements that I had in Nicaragua and also provides opportunities for structured Spanish lessons and mixed martial arts training. I’m not saying either spot is better or worse, I am just  grateful that the biggest trade-off is a Nicaragua beach sunset vs. an Ecuador beach sunset.

 

While I am excited for Ecuador, the transition is still bittersweet. The location, the work, and the people I met in Nicaragua have been amazing and I’m sad that we need to cut our time short. For now however, I am keeping my sails open to the winds of change (that’s nautical speak, bruh) and I truly believe that the best chapters of this journey have yet to be written. I’m stoked to see what’s in store.

 

The moral of this story is simply that shit happens… and when you’re in the shit, it’s easy to become laser focused on the shit and miss the bigger picture (for those of you who are offended by my analogy, think of it as missing the forest for the trees.) Sometimes, the bigger picture is quick and easy to identify, you miss your flight but meet the love of your life on the next plane. Sometimes, the bigger picture doesn’t emerge for a long time, it could be years. That’s why you gotta have some faith. Faith that everything is going to be okay, faith that this too shall pass, faith that in the end it will be worth it, faith that no matter what you may be going through God doesn’t give anyone a challenge that they can’t handle. Faith has made all of the difference in my life and without it, I definitely wouldn’t be where/who I am today.

 

The last thing I need to add is that for this to work, you have learn to surrender and go with the flow. If something hits you out of left field and it sucks, acknowledge it but then breathe, stretch, shake, and let it go. Take my example of missing your flight…you missed it because your Uber driver took a wrong turn on the way to the airport. You now have a choice – you can continue to fume, write a nasty letter to Uber, and post about that “a-hole” on social media…OR you can breathe, accept it, and move on. If you take the former route (the route of resistance), its highly doubtful that you will meet that love of your life because you won’t be open to receiving – you will be too busy writing that Facebook rant. If you learn to use your energy to flow with the intelligence of the universe instead of waste your energy trying to resist it, you will be amazed to see how things start to fall into place.

 

I’ve included a fun little African proverb below – it does a good job articulating the “bigger picture” if you have an extra minute, take a look.

 

Cheers Fam!

Matt

 

P.S. If you have stories for how this has shown up in your life, I’d love to hear it! Feel free to message me or comment below and as always, if you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it via Facebook or LinkedIn 🙂

 

Proverb:

The story is told of a African King who had a close friend with whom he grew up.

 

The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, “This is good!”

 

One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off.

 

Examining the situation, the friend remarked as usual, “This is good!” To which the king replied – “No, this is not good!” and proceeded to send his friend to jail.

 

About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake, and bound him to the stake. As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone who was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way.

 

As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend. “You were right,” he said, “it was good that my thumb was blown off.” And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened.

 

“And so, I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this.” “No,” his friend replied, “This was good!” “What do you mean, ‘This was good’? How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?” “If I had not been in jail, I would have been with you, and they would have ate ME instead”