Recently, as I was flying home from Naples, Florida, I caught myself reflecting on where I am in life and started to connect experiences I’ve had and actions I have intentionally and intuitively taken in the past three years—you know—connecting the dots. I am a bit amazed at what I am discovering, the questions answered, and the questions remaining. Since I cannot predict the future, many questions may go left unanswered. However, I like this path and the dots that are being connected as well as the dots being erased or repositioned.
I challenge you to do the same. Do so with a great deal of intentionality, look for and connect the “Dots of Life.” What do you see? Do you need a #2 pencil with an eraser?
Connecting the dots is not always easy, and at times, the dots can seem so random—o r could it be we’re not paying attention to where they are taking us? Do we realize we have the ability to influence the dots we have in our lives and not take them for granted? Or do we brush things off with, “It is what it is!” I believe we do have a choice as to the dots that make up our lives and how we connect them. What’s more, each of us have a special #2 pencil to remove, re-arrange, and add dots to the design of our life.
Maybe you’ve tried to connect the dots but it feels too random; or you’re not understanding what the dots are “telling you.” Could it be you’re not engaging with intentionality? Sometimes, for many of us, it’s simply easier to shrug and go with, “It is what it is!” What do you think? It could be a fun conversation don’t you think?
As I was reflecting on the plane ride home from Naples, I realized that in the past few years, despite an apparent randomness to the dots (experiences) in my life, they are taking me in a direction—a direction that makes me smile and have peace. I am still not sure what the final picture will look like as we are all a work in progress and life will continue to add dots for us to connect. Those dots may involve detours that could change (or at least tweak) the outcome. Despite all of the uncertainty of life, I am feeling that the road ahead is becoming clearer, amazing, and rewarding. I have asked myself, “Bob, what are the dots of your life, how have they impacted you and what are the connected dots telling you?” Here are a few life changing discoveries I’ve made as I’ve “CONNECTED DOTS:”…What Dots have you discovered you have connected?
- I was hurt to the core (by something) and vowed to make a change to make sure it did not happen again (at least for the reasons it happened)
- I discovered the power and personal growth that comes from reading
- I discovered the work and writings of Brené Brown and paid attention to what she said, learning to stop hiding behind my amour of shame and guilt
- Intentionality opened my eyes as illustrated in the PowerPoint I shared earlier
- To be selfless and more patient
- I committed to explore and deepen my faith and its relationship with my life
- I realized that my work is not done and I’m grateful for the help of others
When they were young, I remember taking the kids to Disney World and going on the track to let them drive a “race car” (with me in the car of course). The good news is the Disney Race Track had a guide rail that kept the car somewhat in control and within the lanes yet retained the feeling of freedom of the driving experience. Thank goodness for the guide rails!
We all need to have “guide rails” to help us stay on track and moving forward. We all need to recognize that even though we want absolute control, we are never in total control and we should embrace this fact and rejoice that others are there to help.
What are the dots and experiences that help shape our lives and serve as our guide rails, help define who we are, and assist us in developing the depth of relationships we have and will have in the future? Here are a few guiding principles that have emerged for me: (What are yours?)
- Learned(ing) the power of patience
- Learned(ing) that control is way overrated and more often than not an attribute that is not a strength
- Loving and embracing reading. My diverse book list (over the past few years) is far too long to list, however, here are a few books that were impactful for me: (What’s on your list and why are they there?)
- Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout (I’m in the middle of it as I write this Rambling) by Rick Rigsby, Ph.D.
- Think!: Why Crucial Decisions Can’t Be Made in the Blink of an Eye by Michael R. LeGault
- 9 Attributes of a Man – Resolute Men’s Bible Study
- The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
- A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans by W. Bruce Cameron
- Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King
- The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
- Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
- The Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny by Laura Schroff, Alex Tresniowski, and Valerie Salembier
- Talking with God: What to Say When You Don’t Know How to Pray by Adam Weber
- Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink
- Being an open listener and considering counsel from others
- Learning to communicate vs having conversations
- To be proud, not prideful
- Learning to belong, not just fit in (Thank you, Brené)
- Taking risks and being vulnerable and real
- Digging into my faith and understanding that we are not here by accident
- Living and growing in my faith
Think about all of this, if our dots seem randomly placed, be patient and explore what they are telling us. If we do not like where we are heading, take the #2 pencil out, erase a dot, and perhaps add a few. And finally, no matter what our dots are telling us, know that CHANGE IS POSSIBLE.
Meanwhile while you have your # pencil connecting your dots, enjoy the ride and don’t forget to demonstrate and express appreciation for those supporting your dot connecting journey!