Progress

I got a new phone this past week, as I’d started the new business and my old iPhone 4s was starting to show it’s age. I upgraded to a brand new big silver iPhone 6, it’s amazing…big screen, fingerprint scanner, fast processor and 64gb of memory.Performa 6320

This is a picture of my first Mac, back in 1996 when I was a second year music student at university. It’s a Macintosh Performa 6320, and it came with a built in CD Rom drive, 120mhz processor, 12 meg of RAM and a whopping great big 1.2gb hard drive. It cost me over £3000, without a printer, and it saw me through the rest of my time at University and beyond. The year after I graduated I shared a house with some of my Uni friends, all of us had Macs, but mine was the fastest! I still have it, in the loft!

My phone, which I slip into my pocket, use to play games on the train and to Google pictures of kittens, has a processor which is 10 times the speed, over 50 times as much memory and is always connected…no dial up or waiting for a modem to download. And it certainly didn’t cost me £3000…

Now aside from asserting that I am a certified Apple fanboy, you may ask, so what? And to that I say, progress. In 20 years my big, beige, expensive desktop has transitioned into a small, shiny, fast and portable device which I slip into my pocket and generally take for granted. But if I look back…

Anniversaries!

This month sees a number of anniversaries for me, May is our wedding anniversary (16 years!), and my birthday this weekend also marks the one year anniversary of starting this blog, and also the 13 year anniversary of us moving (yes, we moved on my birthday….planning….!) to Bracknell to start the church plant which was part of EBC.

In 2002 we met as a church plant in our local sports centre, which meant loading up cars and trailers at 7:30 on a Sunday morning, transporting everything and meeting a small team to set up, rehearse, run and then clear up and hope to be home some time after lunch. Over the years our volunteers and members changed, children arrived, our senior minister moved to another church and so Chris who started as a student minister and then assistant minister became the senior minister of EBC…cue another change of direction, a bringing together of the three congregations and a gradual merging of the different teams. And we only had one child and a relatively empty house.

Where are we now?

We are now one big church with multiple expressions of worship during the week, we have actually just passed 500 regular attenders on our list. I have a big pool of musicians and artists to draw on for the band, for drama, for stage dressing, sound and lighting design. We had a major upgrade in our main hall which saw our sound go digital, plasma screens installed for the congregation and a comprehensive lighting system. Our song list has shrunk from 2000 to 300 to currently around 65. And there are now five of us sharing the space which is left in our house…

We don’t always notice this, as we’re planning for this Sunday, then next Sunday, then June. We can forget we no longer get feedback from our sound system (which always works on a Sunday and isn’t dependent on tape and string to hold it together). Although there may the odd typo on our PowerPoint very occasionally, we don’t experience our overheads being loaded back to front or not quite focusing on the screen. Bringing everybody together has led to better shared resources, less personality clashes, and a sharper focus than we had ever had in the past. Progress can seem slow in the day to day and week to week, but reviewing from past years…the rate of progress is incredible!

One of my all time favourite songs by Steven Curtis Chapman is “I am found in You“, the words of which I always come back to:

I may not see, in front of me

But I can see for miles when I look over my shoulder

Cause Lord it’s clear, You’ve brought me here

So faithful every step of the way

I don’t know what’s going to happen over the next 12 months. I’m not sure where I’ll be in the next 16 years. But I can look back, marvel at the progress, and see where I’ve come from, and who it was who brought me here. So as you look ahead and plan for the future, or as you watch YouTube movies on your phone, don’t forget to look over your shoulder, see where you’ve come from and how you got here.

All Things New

We’ve been looking at New for a few weeks now, so I wanted to include this song by one of my all time favourite artists, Steven Curtis Chapman:

Revelation 21:5 says: He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” and 2 Corinthians 5:17 says: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

We know we can be born again in Jesus, all which has happened before can be renewed, restored and made new in Christ. And we have the potential to apply this to all we do as well. Just because we’ve always played in a certain way, or sang in a certain style, listened to a specific genre of music or are only a “serious” actor does not mean we have to do this forever, no matter when and where we are in life.

All Things New

Alanis Morrisette started her career as a bubblegum pop artist after winning a talent show. It was only on her third album, when she’d lost the perm and changed her musical style that she became a huge and respected artist. Neil Gaiman was a struggling journalist following 80’s synth pop bands, including a biography of Duran Duran. Fortunately for those of us who read his books, he left it behind and became an incredible author. Billy Joel was initially in a Heavy Metal duo called Attila, screaming over the drums…which led to Piano Man, The Stranger and Just the Way You Are with a somewhat more sensitive vocal style (although he possesses a thumb which can break piano strings…)

And it’s not just Music…Will Smith was the Fresh Prince of Bel Air who became a comic actor and then an action star and was still able to do serious movies like Seven Pounds and The Pursuit of Happyness. Patrick Stewart, the thespian who became widely known as Captain Luc Piccard, or Sir Alec Guiness as Obi Wan Kenobe, the role he is probably best known for despite having a long and illustrious film and stage career. Our current obsession of an evening is House MD, the multi award winning for Hugh Laurie…who I remember from Jeeves and Wooster or Blackadder. And Duane “The Rock” Johnson regularly pops up in my kids favourite movies…they have no clue he is a former WWE wrestler (although he’s retained the impressive guns…)

Now these are all famous big name stars, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do the same. I would even argue it is even easier for you to be new, reinvented and different in whatever you choose to do. All of these stars have a public following, a history which they are compared to and often is difficult to break free from. You and I are unlikely to have a public history, or anyone to pick us up on it.

Just Have The Confidence To Try

I used to just be a drummer, I was more than happy to sit at the back and keep the beat, and I did it for years. And I fiddled with guitar, could sing (I was in several choirs and vocal groups), but again, in the background. But gradually over time (and I can’t remember the exact moment) I was gently challenged to be at the front, lead the band and sing. And the first few times, I was dreadful. But I persisted (and they persisted with me), so I am now really quite confident to lead from the front, and head up the bands at EBC. And this has led to other things as well…I started using electric guitars, introducing new songs; in the past few years I have led services, something again which was new, I was rubbish at, but over time I’ve developed a style, a confidence and a useful skill.

I am being made new constantly in all I do, and I am always learning, experimenting, trying new things. This blog is less than a year old and the initial setup and tech side was daunting, but I got through the learning curve and have settled into a rhythm. I’m still experimenting with different plectrums. I’m working out better ways of staging our Sunday services. I’m learning about lighting design and DMX systems so we can better use our lights. I’m reading books by people who have done it before, so I can learn. I’m watching movies and TV shows and noting ideas for future dramas. We just had a really successful Christmas including our annual Christingle service, which this year was Once Upon a Nativity, a new script which I wrote…I never set out to be a writer, but drama is something so underused in services, and I couldn’t find anything which fitted with what we wanted…so I wrote it!

So I encourage you to take some of the ideas and pointers from this January series, find some books on subjects you are passionate about, change the way you approach your artistry, and introduce something new. And then let me know what happened, I’d really like to know!

Goal!

Welcome back! I trust you had a good Christmas and New Year.

Now the eagle eyed among you will have noticed my last post of the year was a bit advanced…as in it should have been posted in January (not that it was complicated and/or required a doctorate to understand it!) But now we actually are into January, the decorations really are put away in the loft and focus moves on shifting the excess Christmas puddings and mince pies which I accrued over the festive season (oh it was so good), let’s look at the coming year.

Goals for 2015

Goals for 2015

January is traditionally a time of renewal, a time to make resolutions, break bad habits, and start as you mean to go on. And of course, so often we make our lists about working sensibly, being more healthy, losing weight, reading more, spending more (or less?) time with family, be better at reading the bible, join a small group/gym/band… And then we maybe put the list up, or internalise it…or maybe we share it with someone close to us…but by March we’ve slipped a bit, come Easter we have a house full of chocolate, and once we’re into May and the sun’s out…well by then I’ve usually clean forgotten about my resolutions. I remember we did a top 10 resolutions last year as a service opener….which were exactly the same 10 as the previous year.

This year I haven’t done any resolutions…but I have set myself some goals. Arguably there isn’t much of a difference…apples and oranges. But let me tell you more:

10 Goals

I have set myself 10 goals for the year, which are balanced between work, church, family and purely personal. And I’ve been pretty specific about them, so rather than “lose weight” I’ve said “be under 200lbs”. And I’ve made them measurable and targeted, so “be under 200lbs by September”. And then I’ve also put my motivations for each of the goals, so I clearly want to be fitter and healthier by losing weight. And then finally I’ve done some next actions, so “healthy breakfasts, exercise more regularly, no sugar”.

I have all of this down in my note taking software of choice, Evernote, I have a separate entry for each goal, and in addition to to all of the above (Goal, key motivations and next actions) I also have space for progress reports and any other observations…almost like a space to journal on it.

Now this may seem like a colossal amount of effort, but then as in the L’Oreal advert…I’m worth it! And the fact I have next steps, trackable goals and motivation for doing them…I’m confident I’ll stick to them over the year unlike last year’s resolutions (whatever they were…?)

My 2015 promise to you

And one of my goals is to be consistent and planned with my blogging. So here it is. Happy New Year to you all. Look forward to sharing more goals, ideas and experience over the coming months.

Do you have any goals for the year? Care to join me in following them?

Today is Beautiful

I’ve been home a couple of days with my middle daughter, Naomi. She’s been full of cold since the weekend, so we made a visit to the doctors today. Now I know it’s a cold, and she was getting a bit wheezy (hence the appointment), but we really weren’t quite prepared for “Congratulations Naomi, you’re the sickest patient I’ve seen this morning!” Turns out the cold is developing into a fever, and she also has a chest infection which has the beginnings of bronchitis. Lots of medicine on the way, and a few more days at home on the sofa with some good movies (currently watching Pirates of the Caribbean…I am trying to work…I am trying to work…).

This may be the strangest opening to a blog post ever (at least for me), but through all of the above (and the days which have preceded it), my Naomi has remained resilient, can’t wait to get back to school, and still has a big smile on her face. When I have a cold (and of course I’m talking proper Man Flu here), I just wallow in bed. (It is, thankfully, a rare occurrence in the Kerslake household).

This coming Sunday we continue with our Christmas series at EBC, Waiting Here for You. The tagline is “While we are waiting on God, we are waiting with God. God is there the whole time.” There are times in the waiting where you can start to think you’ve dropped off God’s radar. It’s easy to think you’ve fallen through the cracks, or even worse been completely forgotten by God. From your vantage point, there’s only silence. God has not forgotten you or His promise. If you feel like you can’t make it one more step, or if you’ve already stumbled and hit the floor, He is holding out His hand.

Today is Beautiful

This song by David Dunn sums it up. Today is Beautiful. Every day is beautiful. We all have good and bad days, moments we will remember forever and times which we will happily forget and try to lose in history. Interviews, exams, relationships and doctor’s appointments which don’t go the way we planned or expected. But wherever we’re at, and whatever we’re doing, we know we’re not doing it alone.

My Naomi has always had this positive streak running through her which is infectious, she sees the best in people and situations and smiles and jokes and plays through it. Even on a day like today when she’s struggling with an infection which would floor some people, the smile and enjoyment and happiness is still there. Every day is beautiful.

God is with us always.

Finding Your Calling

I may (yet again) be showing my age, but unbelievably 2014 is the 20th anniversary of the first series of Friends. Ross and Rachel, Monica and Chandler and Joey and Phoebe first appeared on our screens the 22nd September, 1994, and stayed there for 10 years, 10 seasons and 236 episodes. And then stayed pretty much on rotation ever since. As Comedy Central are doing their countdown towards the “favourite Friends episodes ever“, I am finding my daughters are discovering this series (as it’s on every evening I get home…), and I am seeing episodes which I possibly missed (who knows?!) or am being reminded of 10 years after broadcast. This clip is from one of their Christmas episodes, where Phoebe has volunteered to collect donations outside Macy’s.

When I left school some 22 years ago, I didn’t really have a clue as to what I wanted to do. I knew what I enjoyed doing (music, concerts, movies, reading), but I had no idea as to how it would translate into a career. And then I went to University and did a degree in Music and Technology, so I learnt more about music, recording, live sound, playing in bands…all of which I really enjoyed. And while I was there I met the girl of my dreams…who is now my wife. But I still didn’t really know what I wanted to do. So I graduated, and got a job as I had a fiancé and plans and bills to pay and student loans to clear. And to be honest, my career path continued along this path for a good few years…I did jobs which paid the bills, kept me employed and which had some semblance of a career path…but really they were all a means to an end.

Finding Your Calling

Finding Your Calling, Discovering Your Gifts, Getting in Your Sweet Spot, Realising your Passion…there are so many phrases and descriptions which we use to describe how we find what we’re best at. And there are plenty of accompanying programmes and surveys, questionnaires and conferences which are devoted to just that goal. I’ve done some of them; when we first set up our leadership team to start our church plant, when we were going through Investors in People at a previous company, they even pop up from time to time on Facebook (although “Your Ideal Dog” and “Which Harry Potter Character Are You?” probably don’t count in quite the same way…)

And alongside my “Day Job” (for want of a better word), I have had my church career…starting playing drums for the worship team in Kingston, co leading a church plant in Bracknell, curating creative ideas for our Sunday services and graduating to band leading and worship leading for the whole church. I would comfortably say for the whole of my church career, I have been operating in my sweet spot, growing, learning and developing my skills to be at the stage I am at now…managing the band, putting together our Sunday services, writing new content and leading.

Jeremiah and the art of saying No

This Sunday at EBC we’re continuing our Story series, and looking at Jeremiah. God called on Jeremiah, but he made excuses and said he wasn’t ready, he wasn’t qualified. “I can’t speak for You, I’m too young!” he says. But God called him out, God equipped him, and with God’s help he was able to do his calling. This is a story that repeats through the bible, with Moses and Jonah and Mary…”surely you can’t mean me” or “I would never be good enough” are constant replies. But if you are genuinely called to something, you need to have the faith and courage to pursue it.

As I’ve said before, Steven Curtis Chapman is one of my all time favourite artists, and his songs just have an amazing ability to resonate and speak into so many areas of my life. One which I constantly come back to is I Am Found In You, which has the amazing line:

I may not see, in front of me

But I can see for miles when I look over my shoulder

And Lord it’s clear, You’ve brought me here

So faithful every step of the way

While my day job has been consistent and moderately successful, my church calling has always found me performing according to my gifting and abilities, and they’ve grown and strengthened the whole time. I genuinely do feel as though I’m operating in my sweet spot, and while it really doesn’t pay me a lot of money (and I am fortunate to be able to be paid just a day a week to do this), the challenge, sense of community and satisfaction are second to none.

Some of us may be called to collect coins outside of Macy’s, some have a desire to be CEO’s or tax collectors. Some will be millionaires, and some will just get by. Whatever your situation, find your calling and try to work in your sweet spot…and as you pursue it, no matter what, look over your shoulder occasionally to see where you’ve come from. You may just be surprised.

Find Your Voice

Now I came across this video this morning on my Facebook feed:

Isn’t it great! 29 perfect celebrity impressions, performed perfectly in Rob’s front room…and a great song too. I’m definitely going to check out the album.

We have a culture where celebrity acts and bands are regularly impersonated…I’ve seen The Bootleg Beatles, Bjorn Again (Abba), The Doors Alive, The Australian Pink Floyd Show, Noasis, Blobbie Williams and Take Fat…and they’re all great. And even if a band isn’t trying to sell themselves as a tribute band, most of the pub gigs and duos, wedding bands, Christmas Party bands and so on consists of covers…musicians playing other people’s songs. I did it myself for a while, I played in The Bogus Blues Brothers, Steeling Dan (a Steely Dan tribute band) and The Wiltons, whose primary material was 60’s classics by The Beach Boys, The Stones, The Beatles… (I shall gloss over my misspent youth playing Bon Jovi and Motley Crue covers…)

Now all this is well and good, and for many musicians it’s where we first were inspired to play, the way and why we learnt to play, as we emulated our heros. For me it was Mark King from Level 42 who inspired me to pick up the bass, and by the age of 15 I could play pretty passable performances of most of their repertoire, thumbs a-flying as I had my headless bass high around my neck and in the crook of my arm (it’s how I still play the bass today, although it admittedly looked decidedly odd in a metal band….) And for some musicians that is all they’ll ever do, play other peoples songs as a hobby, or even as a full time career. Now many of these bands have broken up or passed on, the only way of seeing them live is to attend a tribute concert, and it’s big business. The bands themselves spend a huge amount of time and money looking and especially sounding like their heroes. And it makes a lot of money too…the Australian Pink Floyd show has sold in excess of three million tickets in the time they’ve been impersonating.

How does this apply to worship?

For me as a worship leader at EBC, we do essentially the same thing, we play cover versions of other people’s songs. Whether it’s Chris Tomlin or Matt Redman, Brenton Brown or Rend Collective, our repertoire is primarily influenced by what is popular in other churches, and what fits with our congregations. And there is nothing wrong with this, we have to stay familiar with the songs which we use otherwise we will alienate our congregations. But I believe there is a line to be drawn somewhere, and we have to be careful we don’t take it so far that we try to emulate other musicians, the arrangements of songs, even the style and content of other churches. Just because it works in church x, doesn’t mean it will translate to your church. Just because Chris Tomlin sings it in G#, doesn’t mean anybody in your team or congregation will be able to. Just because Hillsong play Gretsch/Duesenberg guitars, it doesn’t mean you have to. And even if Joel Houston has a big beard and wears deep cut V necks and scarves, I will not sound like him if I do the same.

I sincerely love all of these leaders, and we use a lot of their songs in our repertoire at EBC because they are good songs, they resonate with me, and I know they are a good fit for our congregation. But I don’t go as far as trying to copy them. We change keys (often down a lot!) to make them singable by our congregation. We alter arrangements to fit our services, and our band lineups…we do have a strong and large team of musicians, but generally our band lineup is 5 -6 people, so we don’t have the luxury of multiple guitars, complex harmonies and keyboard loops. We have a double bass player who is great, but double bass sounds significantly different to an electric bass. All of our musicians are of differing ability, they are all competent and I am delighted to have them in the band. But to accommodate them, we make changes so the music is accessible to all.

Find your own voice

And then we work together and we develop our own voice. I don’t sound or look like Joel Houston, and even if I had all of Nigel Hendroff’s Gear, I could never play guitar like him. Our drummer never plays like Travis Nunn. I don’t have any singers who harmonise like Christy Nockels or Kari Jobe. But I do have a passionate and dedicated team of musicians, who know their own voice, and use it to glorify God in our worship. And that is all I ask of them.

So be yourself, find your voice, practice, play, learn and enjoy.

And be your own, individual perfect, as only you can be. As perfect videos and songs often are nothing of the sort….

Just Dive In!

I was sent this video last week on my daily distraction of choice, Facebook:

Cute, isn’t it?! You know whats going to happen, you can see it coming, and yet somehow the penguin manages to drag it out…from ledge to diving board, diving board to ledge and back again. Teetering on the edge so many times, toes hanging over the side, and just when you think he’s going to jump…he waddles off of the board back to the ledge, then back to the board, then back to the ledge…

Will they, won’t they?

Isn’t this so like life for a lot of us? When it comes to a decision, no matter how big or small, we so often teeter on the edge, pondering whether to take the plunge or not. It could be a new job, a new romance, a step of faith, or something as mundane as buying a sandwich. As we weigh up all of the pros and cons in our head; what if it doesn’t work out and I’m jobless in three months; will she, won’t he; I don’t know if I believe all of it; do I want cheese and pickle or ham and mustard. Without the mustard. On wholegrain….  Just like the penguin going to the edge, balancing, and then pulling back, thinking about it, truing it from a different angle, juggling the “what if’s” in his head then going back for a third, fourth attempt.

A Crash of Rhinos

Granted there are some of us who hurtle in full steam ahead like a crash of rhinoceros’ (clearly the most aptly chosen name for a group of rhinos), with blatant disregard for those around them or subsequent consequences. And while I admire the bravado (and have been guilty of doing the same on more than one occasion), again, it’s not a position I would advocate.

I’d always wanted to start a blog and my own business of sorts. And I did have a few false starts many years ago, writing a couple of posts and then letting it drift. But this year, on the week of my 40th birthday, I made the step, bought the domain and started writing, creating and sharing. Little steps at first. I put the design of the site together, and started collating some of the material I had been writing over the years. Then I started posting. And I tweaked and tinkered, worked out how things worked, learnt about SEO and Ranking and other technicalities I was aware of but had never paid much attention to. And I started to build up a body of work, and set myself the goal of posting 2 – 3 times a week. And I did, and I kept it up, and my blog started to grow.

But, I hadn’t told anyone about it. So I said “I’ll launch it when….”. When I have a lot of posts. When I’ve built the shop. When I’m happy with the look. When I’ve worked out this SEO/Coding/Ranking thing. And so on. I could just have easily said “When we have 10 consecutive days of sunshine” or “When I get my 5th celebrity endorsement” or “When someone asks me”. So my when would slowly become whenever…

Ship It, Launch It, Hustle, Permissions!

Seth Godin talks about Shipping It, Jeff Walker just released a great book called Launch, Jon Acuff is just finishing up the 30 days of Hustle: Summer School! And Michael Hyatt put up a great post about permission on Friday. All of which essentially say the same thing: What’s the good of creating something, having the idea for something, setting your sights on a goal if ultimately you do nothing about it. You get 70, 80, 90 percent of the way there and then never finish because you’re eternally tweaking, forever changing, just waiting for the next best thing. Just Do It! It may not be perfect. You possibly won’t ever be 100% happy with it. It will most probably never be finished. It will be messy, just as ultimately the penguin’s “dive” into the water was. But unless you actually make the decision to jump in, dive, head first, it will remain that way: a promising, not-quite-realised, potential which needs to be released.

So have dreams, ideas and visions. Of course, be thoughtful, measured and informed before you make decisions. But don’t wait too long. Don’t stand on the edge looking over and start to get cold feet. Read up, think about it, pray about it…and then just Dive Right In!

What’s holding you back now from realising your dreams, goals or aspirations? What will make you take the final step off the edge of the board?

Legacy part 2

Friday has come around again, and I look back on another nice summer holiday week which has included (between work) a trip to the Tower of London with the family, food with friends and time out watching Castle with my beloved once the kids have gone to bed. All things which I will look back on with fond memories. Earlier this week I shared the great song Something Worth Leaving Behind by Lee Ann Womack, and looked at the legacies which we all leave. I thought as rather wonderful way to wrap up Legacy Week, I’d share this clip, Yes to Love:

You may recognise the couple: Isaac and Amy shared the most amazing Lip Sync Proposal on YouTube back in 2012, something we at EBC used as part of a marriage series we were doing. This video is a follow up to their proposal which they put together, and it shows the whole family and legacy that they and their parents and their siblings are leaving behind them.

The relatively simple act of Saying Yes to Love has led to 14 children and 40 grandchildren…and 35 great-grand children!

Purpose

Now I don’t think you need to purposely set out to create a legacy, I am sure most of us don’t wake up in the morning and think “I’m going to be known for…” and then set along a path to do it. But I do think we need to be aware of our legacy, and acknowledge the decisions we make will affect where we’re going, and also the trail which we leave behind. Everything we do and say has consequences, positive and negative, especially when it is dealing with other people.

Foot in Mouth Syndrome

I used to be a fan of Changing Rooms back when it was on (showing my age again…), and one of the useful pieces of advice was “Measure twice, cut once” when it came to Handy Andy and his DIY. I believe we should apply the same ethos to our words, thoughts and decisions….”think twice, speak/do once”. I have been on the end of plenty of conversations where things are said and thought about afterwards, and I am as guilty as anyone for “foot in mouth” syndrome. But simple adjustments to the way we say and do things can make significant changes.

Leaving a legacy does’t have to involve lots of money, charitable foundations, art installations or best selling albums. Legacies don’t even have to include large families and multiple descendants. But leaving a legacy must involve love at its core, and saying Yes to Love may be the first step towards leaving your legacy.

What is your legacy today, if you look back? Where do you want it to be in 10 years time?

Dreams Part 3

I thought I’d finish off the “Week of Dreams” as it’s turned out with this short:

Ormie the pig becomes focused on getting the cookie jar from the to of the fridge. Now clearly this isn’t a healthy obsession, either in terms of consuming a whole jar of cookies, or the measures he has to take to reach the jar. But it is funny.

Everyone’s dreams are different, we all have varied goals and desires which we’d like to pursue and achieve. For some they will always be pipe dreams, for others they may become obsessions. But, as I’ve referred to in previous posts, dreams won’t become reality unless you’re prepared to stick at them and work hard at achieving them. And working hard and putting the time in, while a good thing, needs to be balanced with normal life, family and friendships. When dreams border on obsession, there is a shift whereby your focus on the end goal becomes blurred, and all else around you pales into insignificance. Objectivity goes out of the window, life takes a back seat, and before you know it everything around you has fallen apart while you obsess on the solitary goal.

Journey

The journey is as much a part of realising your dreams, in fact I’ve read many times the journey is often more important than the destination. And the thought of reaching your end goal and then turning around to see the carnage you’ve left on the way is not a pretty one. Kind of like when my kids decide to do some baking…great cakes, disaster in the kitchen.

Work Hard, Play Hard is a commonly known phrase which is often used…I’d maybe like to rebalance it as Work Hard, Play Nice, or Work Hard in Moderation, Play Gently…I know they don’t have the same ring, but make more sense to me…

So work hard on your dreams, but make sure that when you do realise them, there is someone left to share them with at the end.

Until next week…

Dreams part 2

Just last week I put up a post on dreams, centered on the Disney/Pixar movie Up and the main character, Carl, fulfilling the life long dream he’d had with his late wife. Yesterday I saw this advert for Under Armour, which has quickly gone viral internationally.

Misty Copeland is an American ballerina and a soloist for the American Ballet Theatre, one of the three leading classical ballet companies in the US. She is also the first African American soloist at the company. Her whole story is quite incredible, with custody battles, eating disorders and adversity because of her ethnicity. And Misty didn’t actually start ballet dancing until she was 13, when most beginners commence their training aged 5. Despite this she kept going, kept training, and eventually joined ABT in 2000, working her way up to soloist in 2007.

The advert has the narration of her rejection letters playing in the background…

Dear Candidate. Thank you for your application to our ballet academy. Unfortunately you have not been accepted.

‘You lack the right feet, Achilles tendons, turnout, torso length, and bust. You have the wrong body for ballet and, at 13, you are too old to be considered.’

According to the ballet academies she had applied to, just about everything about her was wrong to them…her body, her feet, her bust, her age….and so on. Some would have given up. Many wouldn’t even have attempted to apply. With all that was going on in the rest of her life, it would have been easy to understand why she would settle for an easier life, a straightforward career.

Misty had a dream, a passion she wanted to fulfill. And she worked and worked and worked at it, she focused, she didn’t give up on her dreams.

No matter what life threw at her, Misty knew what she wanted to do, and she worked at it relentlessly with a passion. The ad campaign is titled I Will What I Want. I’m inspired.

How hard are you willing to work at achieving your dreams?