This is the tenth update of My 40’s Manifesto. The exercise of creating a manifesto and its tenets (the principles of my life philosophy) was designed to create the most purposeful decade of my life. After looking back at previous decades and feeling the sting of regret, this idea represents a promise to myself to live a life of meaning, intent, and purpose.
While the stars aligned last year and life with all its glorious opportunities opened up, this year feels a bit different. I am called to action, to step into power and affect change. It is akin to going from passenger to driver in many ways.
I await the birth of my twin sons – which could truly be any day now – and trust the universe knows what it’s doing. On the other hand, I take every opportunity to prepare for what will befall my family and I.
Things I value feel slightly different. For example, physical fitness is now connected to longevity. I want to ensure that I am around long enough so that I can see my sons grow into men. In this realm, I am also more interested in mental strength so that I can set a good example and be prepared to properly handle the challenges that come with parenthood. While these ideas were undoubtedly important before, the locus of importance has shifted.
Tenet #1: Pursure Fearlessly, Embracing Failure as a Teacher
I am learning marketing and its processes. It is a neverending cycle of trial and error. Here, I am finding success. Although now that I am taking the time to observe fear and failure at their juncture, I can see that I am taking steps not to confront failure due to fear. This is not necessarily fear of failure, yet my instinct provides a feeling that failure reveals an unredeemable fundamental flaw. At this moment, I understand it doesn’t. But fighting the instinct in the occurrence of these moments can be a problem. I have yet to develop the skill to recognize this fear arising in specific domains.
For example, people keep asking, “Are you ready?” referring to the children. I know I am not. Fear arises, but I recognize it and accept that I will have to learn on the fly. Alternatively, I am less likely to identify my fears in my business and “let go” as I do with issues of parenthood.
And so, it makes sense to prescribe action. For this tenet to be more fully realized, I will seek out and confront fear.
Tenet #2: Connect and Engage with Relationships
I feel good about this one. Personal relationships get an ‘A’ from me. I need to have more and create space for communication in my personal relationships. Although this may simply be representative of the degree of change in process. And really, the theme here is more. More connection, more engagement.
In my personal development, my theme for this year is “Making it Big.” This refers to allowing and growing my life in the areas of engagement and connection.
In my corporate career, I have confronted criticism and found something surprising. My lack of full engagement and connection with my team is often a self-protective maneuver to conserve emotional resources. I am attempting to not experience too much emotion with the team. Interestingly enough, I am capable of much more significant emotional investment than I am currently making.
And so my prescription here is, Invest Your Heart.
Tenet #3: Be Authentic
I had a fantastic opportunity last month (January/February 2023) to go to Italy. Italians are wonderful. For the casual part of the trip, I wore my signature black jeans and black v-kneck tshirt.
Allow me to preface my point. Italians dress up for every event. There is dignity and an expectation that how they present themselves to you is a reflection of you and your worth. This is an unspoken social law.
In my experience in Italy, a tshirt and jeans says, “I don’t think much about myself.” Comparatively, in the US, this style of dress sends a different message. It says something like, “I don’t take myself seriously, and I’m approachable.”
During the time I spent alone in Italy, how I dressed became a problem. I was treated differently. Service was more challenging to receive, many folks were flat-out rude, and people seemed to be insulted by my presence. I had a moment of crisis as I considered my situation.
Ultimately, I wanted to communicate the same message that I chose to in the US: “I don’t take myself seriously, and I’m approachable.” But in order to do so, I had to speak their language. And so I purchased a sweater and a button-down, and the treatment I received transformed. Entering a restaurant in my new clothes, I was immediately welcomed and treated with dignity and respect.
I was shocked at how important it became for me to adequately express myself in Italy, even during the short duration of my visit. In the end, I decided that in order to show up authentically, I may have to speak their language. At first, this felt like selling out. But then, I realized that it is an essential social need to arrive at a baseline of acceptable treatment. It was clear that the clothes I chose to wear were one tool of many to set the stage for authentic self-expression.
In this area, my first prescription is to Speak Their Language.
During the trip, I also had some significant experiences within group contexts. I have previously addressed issues about always wanting to be the “leader” of the group in my development. In the past, when I was not granted the title, I did not feel I could adequately contribute. What’s more, I felt I was letting myself down by not getting the “leadership badge.” I would disappear into the background, isolating myself from genuine engagement.
My simple prescription for this is to contribute. No matter the role, or the dynamic of the group, contribute. Contribute volumes! Contribution equals growth and connection.
Tenet #4: Allow Love
As I write this, I am discovering that I am perhaps too attached to titles and categories into which language can categorize things. In my personal life, I’ve come across this theme as well. I have found that I am remarkably choosy about the language that I want to use to describe certain events or things.
Language is a tool that shapes our worlds far more than we are aware of. However, it does strangely affect specific areas of our perception. The language we use can open the world up to us as quickly as it can close it off. This sort of thing was occurring in my close relationships, and it was preventing growth.
My most recent experience suggests that changing our language to Allow Love more thoroughly may be necessary. Certain language can create certain barriers to the actual experience attempting to be described. Because of this, it is best to be flexible with language and recognize it as a tool for creating and sharing our experience, not simply allowing us to percieve it.
The prescription here is to intentionally use language in order to Allow Love.
Tenet #5: Experience Deeply
Several times I’ve commented to my partner, “You will never be three, four, five, or six months pregnant again.” Once the boys are born, we will never see them move on an ultrasound screen or through the misshapen belly containing the womb which bears them.
I savor these moments. Though, as a very new parent (humor implied), I see these times slip through my fingers just as fast as they’ve arrived. And I expect this trend to continue as the boys grow.
But this bittersweetness and longing for moments passed only illustrates how valuable and cherished life is. Our brains want to keep us in comfort. Nostalgia is a method of doing so.
We often want to return and experience a fond memory again, but we do this in vain. And worse, we act at the expense of our current moment. Even if this moment is unpleasant, there is a lesson.
The secret to allowing for this is to intentionally create the space in which to do so. For me, this is in yoga, meditation, floating, and music. I have decreased the time spent in these “recovery” modes and correspondingly found that the cost is an increase want to hold on. Holding on takes a lot of energy and robs you of the current moment. Holding on often disqualifies you from the experience you so badly want to have.
My prescription for this tenet is Let Go To Hold On.
Tenet #6: Go Public
This post, my social media, and coaching is an attempt to share, create community, and contribute to something bigger than myself. I want to up the game. I have made great strides and significantly moved forward. But it occurs to me now that I need to take the first five tenets into the work of going public.
As I mentioned previously, my theme for the year is “Make it Big.” This implies growth in this area as well. I want to help others along the path of healing. This requires going public. But it also requires not allowing fear to have control, connection and engagement, authenticity, allowing for love, and creating the space for profound experiences.
This stage of life appears to be the purpose stage. And this is a fundamental tenet in the evolution of my purpose.
The prescription for this tenet is to Align.
What is your MANIFESTO?
What do you want your life to provide? What do you want to stand for? What do you want to express through the way you live your life?
Let us all know in the comments below!
Thank you for reading!
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