How Will You Spend Your Willpower?

- - Creativity, Persistence, Work

Studies show that willpower is like a muscle— you can build it by exercise, and it gets tired when you use it too much.

The book, The Power of Habit, has a lot of great material around this idea — particularly chapter 5. People who come home after a draining day that has tested their willpower in big ways are much more likely to watch more TV, eat poorly, and not exercise. To choose to do something better or healthier takes more willpower than they have left to spend.

So what does this mean to you?

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Your Passion is Worth The Pain

- - Courage, Desire, Work

suffering for your passion

Passion is about desiring something so much that you’re willing to suffer for it. Nothing is only good, fun, and easy all the time. To pursue a passion means that you are willing to endure and suffer to bring about that meaning in the world (see last week’s introduction to suffering for you passion for more).

I want to get more specific about the way we think about passion. Passion is energy and desire. Energy and desire comes from meaning. Meaning comes from your experiences and story.

If passion is about desiring an impact, then do whatever you can to give as much of yourself and your time to making that impact.

Most people will spend a majority of their lifetime working. 8 hours a day. 5 days a week. 48-52 weeks a year. 30+ years of their life. That’s more time spent working than doing any other singular activity outside of sleeping. Listen to this:

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Suffering For Your Passion

- - Courage, Desire, Work

Our culture loves to talk about passion. It’s a hot word. “Find your passion.” “Follow your passion.” Etc. etc. etc.

I’m as guilty as the next person of using and misusing that word. Passion is about what moves you. Passion is about what makes you come alive. In short, passion matters.

What we don’t realize about passion is that it’s not just a feel good fun word to throw around (like it’s cousin “yolo”). Passion costs you something.

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Focus — the art of exclusion

- - Purpose, Work

It’s been said that focus is the art of exclusion. I’ve found this to be tremendously helpful in my life and work. So often I have tried to find focus amidst a bunch of things I have going on, and it has felt nearly impossible. The problem was that I wasn’t able (or maybe ready) to choose one thing over all the others. I was trying to choose one direction, while still maintaining all the other options (that mental picture alone is exhausting).

Focus, on the other hand, and the exclusion that it requires can be very freeing and liberating.

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Find Your Voice by Using It


find your voice

Roughly once a month for the past year a small group of people have gathered in a wine cellar tucked away beneath a restaurant in Seattle. We gather to tell stories.

This group was birthed from a desire to use this beautiful space and a desire to create a place for people to bring parts of themselves that they want to be known to others. The structure of the evening is quite simple: each time we gather, one person brings an experience to the group and the group then interacts around it, with it, and in it. We start the night with a couple bottles of wine (ok, sometimes more than a couple) and some hors d’oeuvres. We then gather around a long, large wooden table— 16 seats attentively occupied. And then, the person of the evening (chosen by volunteering and/or some gentle pressure) begins to share.

I’ve noticed something interesting with almost every person as we’ve prepared for their night. At first, you don’t know what to share about. As we talk about this group (which goes by many names) with each other we often ask, “do you know what you’re going to share on your night?” Most reply, “I have no idea.” Or maybe, “I have a vague idea, but I’m not sure.”

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