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Tools Archives - Page 4 of 7 - The Meaning Movement

Category "Tools"

The Four Phases of Your Life’s Work (Which Describes You?)

- - Finding Your Work, Tools, Work

When I go on hikes, there’s this odd thing that happens. On the way in everything moves slowly. Everything is brand new. The trail twists and turns and every turn brings a new view and a new terrain to traverse.

This is some of the fun of hiking: you get to see new places. But it also is where some of the challenge comes into play. I know roughly how long the hike may be, but I don’t know how far I’ve come or how far I have to go. When it’s late in the day, your pack is weighing on you, you’re hungry, and almost out of water— the joy of the journey is often replaced by an anxious impatience to arrive. I just want to sit down, take my pack off, catch my breath, take off my boots and relax.

But then on the way back down the trail everything seems to move much more quickly. I remember aspects of the terrain. I recall that we crossed a bridge at about half way. I know that the steep section is only so long and that soon we’ll be past it.

The same experience happens on long runs or bike rides.

Once you’ve walked the path before, you have a frame of reference for where you are and what comes next.
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An Agile Approach to Life and Career Planning

You can’t plan your whole life out. It’s just not possible.

In his book Stumbling on Happiness, author Daniel Gilbert makes the point again and again that humans are consistently bad at predicting what will make us happy.

Isn’t that funny? We’re simply bad at anticipating in the present what we’ll want and what will make us happy in the future.

So even if you could plan out your entire life without any unexpected twists and turns, you’d have created a stagnant map to a moving target.

This is something I keep coming back to when it when it comes to career planning and your life’s work. For most people, your life’s work doesn’t change very much, but what will change is how you go about making that impact. You can say that your work is about helping people in a certain way, but you can’t necessarily be sure how you’ll go about doing that work 10 years from now.

Some of the difficulty in predicting and career planning is that at this moment you only know what’s possible at this very moment. Possibilities open and close in sets. What’s available and even imaginable to you right now is based on where you are and what you’ve been exposed to.

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The Psychological Necessity of Breaking the Rules

“We see you as an artist,” he said. His hair was long, thick, and wavy. His face thin and defined. His gaze intense and gentle.

Sixteen of us sat around a big solid wooden table, eating a meal together. We were all part of an Artist Residency at the graduate school I attended.

Somehow I ended up among them.

I didn’t think of myself as an artist. Though I studied music composition in undergrad, I always felt a bit like I was faking it— everyone else had a much greater mastery of their instruments and musical concepts.

I thought my main focus for the week of the Artist Residency was going to be writing music. It turns out it was something much deeper.

His words to me around that table were part of shift in how I thought of myself. It may seem small from the outside, but on the inside it was big. And risky.

I didn’t spend time around artists in my younger years. My family didn’t have a category for them. None of us were artists. In fact, I don’t know that I could find a single artist in my family tree.

We’d go to art events, but there was always a sense that those people weren’t our people. They were misunderstood and called “artsy-fartsy”.

Artists may make pretty things, but they didn’t seem to belong in our family.

It wasn’t until I was in my mid twenties that I began to embrace the fact that I really am a creative at heart, and that making is a big part of who I am.
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How to Deal With Anxiety (or How I Learned Mindfulness from a Navy SEAL Boot Camp Instructor)

- - Risk and Fear, Tools

The other day Stacia said to me, “I just love how in the moment you are! You want to get the most out of whatever is going on!”

It’s true. I really love living in the moment, and sometimes I’m pretty good at it. When we’re having an amazing meal, it’s not hard for me to eat a little more. When we’re having a great time with friends, it’s not hard for me to stay a little longer.

But if I’m honest, most of the time, I’m not very good at staying in the moment. Much of the time it’s easy to worry and be anxious.

There are a number of unknowns in my life right now.

The biggest is that we’re expecting! Ahh! Come November there’s going to be a baby boy as a part of my daily life.

Along with a little human entering the world comes a whole slew of unknowns. How are we going to make ends meet? How is a third member of Team Cumberland going to affect our life? What’s this going to be like? And on and on and on.

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My Four Best Writing Tips

- - Creativity, Tools

I was a part of a forum of writers and bloggers.  It was one of the first times I’ve talked about the craft of writing and blogging in public.

Turns out I have a lot to say! (You may not be as surprised as I am about that 😉 )

I wanted to share my four best writing tips that I shared on that day.
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