As a writer, I am thankful that I have a good memory of my early life. So many of my thoughts take me back to places and days from long ago. When I am able to feel those feelings of the younger me, it gives me perspective for what I’ve learned and fills me with gratitude. Even if life doesn’t look like you thought it would, there is always something to learn about yourself and why you are here.
This week I visualized the playground for the kindergarten that had a fence around it to keep the youngest kids at my elementary school separated on their own small playground from the vast expanse of field and jungle gyms that was meant for the grade schoolers. I’m not saying it wasn’t a good idea for the little guys at the time, but it was only for that one year. I was young for my grade and I remember the scary feeling of the wide open space of that bigger playground. To me it felt like millions of kids and loud bells that would ring just when I got comfortable enough to start to have fun.
I think about these different playgrounds today…at 47, because it reminds me that we evolve to a point in our lives where we choose which playground we want to play on, and as long as we are willing to put the work in, so much of that choice has to do with our mindset and the way we feel about ourselves. For a long time, and without making a conscious choice, I saw myself on that small playground, I could see through the chain link fence and watch all the things that caught my eye, but I was a spectator. Whether it’s personality, life experience, or conditioning, in the end we have a choice to make. Whether you are an athlete, student, parent, or entrepreneur, the way you view competition plays a huge role in the choices you make and the way that you feel about getting where you want to go in life and we pass this view on to the next generation. Maybe you don’t even allow yourself to admit where you want to go. For much of my life, I know I didn’t, and it left me, even at 6’0 tall, feeling small.
The cool thing about life is that if we are willing to keep our eyes up and hearts open, there is no point of arrival and we can always learn new ways to BE BETTER.
One of my quotes that I channel frequently is:
“Compete with yourself, collaborate with your community.”
The places we go in life align us with people of the same interests and pursuits. Most of my closest friends have been made through sports - in the locker room, standing on the beach or pool deck, or in the gym. They have become my community, people who I want to support and see succeed. In sports and life, sometimes it can feel like we compete against those very same people we love to hang with off the court or out of the office. Sometimes they are even in our own family. But an abundance mindset helps us realize that we each have unique gifts and all we have to do is be more of ourselves, and perhaps less of who we think others expect us to be, and that abundant feeling starts to flow. This is where our true nature and talents are unleashed and we get to play on the big playground.
If you haven’t heard of abundance mindset before, you are in for a treat because it is the most freeing place to be in this world. It gives you the freedom to compete and evolve with more ease than you could have ever imagined. To put it in a nutshell it’s precepts go something like this:
It will help you battle and more often than not free you from:
So wherever you are along this road of life, whatever you work on that you want to achieve, you will have moments where you feel you don’t belong, like the challenge is too big, your vision out of your reach. You may feel paralyzed with fear that you won’t make the team, create the business, get the promotion, or ultimately have the life you want to live. Come back to the present moment, breathe and identify what you are scared of. Then embrace an abundance mindset and feel the energy flow freely toward your wildest dreams and biggest goals. Don’t let your mindset get in the way of you and your best life. Take down the fences, do the work, compete with yourself, and collaborate with your community. Welcome to the bigger playground of life. It’s fun out here, I promise.
With Love & Optimism,
Since my 20 year old boy told me this song reminded him of me, I haven’t stopped smiling.