Charity Water!

I am so inspired when I heard about charity water! It’s absolutely brilliant. I know I am late to the game here! We work tremendously hard in so many industries to help people. As someone who currently works in the medical field I see first hand how much energy and resources get poured in to solving problems that often times that don’t get solved. We do a lot of good for a lot of people, but something like WATER is a no brainer…

We don’t think about it when we have such simple access to it, but I can’t imagine not having access to clean water. For those that don’t have it, providing safe water is giving them life. Enough said.

Watch this video by Scott Harrison, Founder and CEO of Charity Water!

Read

Reading allows one to enter into someone else’s story. It’s a lot like getting to spend time with the author. Which is amazing to me because I can choose to figuratively spend time with just about anyone from history living or dead. Want to spend time with Chip Gaines? Pick up Capital Gaines. How about Nelson Mandela? Go read A Long Walk to Freedom. You get the point.

This truth is incredibly powerful and useful! How much would you be willing to pay to sit down with your hero from history and try to understand them better? If the answer is more than $20 you are missing the point.

I’ve noticed that when I get to spend time with certain friends that I start borrowing expressions and even habits from them subconsciously. It’s very important to carefully select who you allow your inner circle of influence to be. Don’t misunderstand me, It’s good to have a wide range of friends with different beliefs, but the ones that you let influence you on a core level are critical. I’ve heard it said that if you want to know someone, average their 5 closest friends. More on that in a different blog.

I urge you to read the book Grit but Angela Duckworth. I found it incredibly useful in recognizing that my habits and “self-talk” are massive driving forces in my life. This book is painfully eye opening, challenging, and offers the reader valuable tools to connect their hard work and dedication to the realization of their dreams. I enjoyed the time I got to spend in Angel Duckworth’s headspace while reading Grit!

PS

I challenge YOU to read a book in the next 30 days. Time starts the second you read this sentence. Email me what you choose to read and I will help hold you accountable to finish it! Jake@jakekirkwood.com

You can change

A few years ago my wife and I had the opportunity to visit the Louvre in Paris. It’s spectacular for many reasons but one thing I still think about are the staircases. I was fascinated by the fact that the center of the steps was worn down from people walking on them for years. If these stairs could speak they would have many stories to tell.

As the steps in the Louvre can attest, we form habits that leave their mark in our life. For better or worse, our repetitive actions and thoughts turn into tracks that we more easily default to again and again. We literally create mental pathways that grow stronger through repetition (look up neuroplasticity). For instance, when one chooses to dwell on the negative aspects of a situation it trains their brain to see things from a negative and pessimistic point of view. This cultivates depression, anxiety, fear etc. The next time a similar situation arises their brain will more easily fall into the grooves they have already created.

This is a truth you can use to your advantage. I’ve met people that honestly believe they can’t improve at things. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. They always seem to be the same people that secretly want me to never improve or succeed at anything either. I want to be the opposite. I want to see people around me win! Your success doesn’t make me less successful, instead it serve as an invitation to dream more! Besides, the most successful people I know are the ones that love people really well. We are better together. Insecurity sees the achievements of others as threatening. Love celebrates the success of others.

Do you know anyone that always leaves you feeling uplifted and valued? I have a few friends that are incredible at spreading joy and reassurance. They are so comfortable in their own skin that they make you feel more confident just being around them. Not surprisingly, these same friends are generous and not intimidated by others around them having big wins. If you are one of these people I applaud you.

The good news is, you can change the way you think and the way you live. Audit your habits and cultivate ones that make you the kind of person you want to be. Don’t have self defeating dialogs that you play in your own head. Practice being who you truly are…

 

Discover Passion

Everyone loves a good story. The best stories usually revolve around a character wanting to achieve a goal or realize a dream and getting to walk in their shoes as they fight to make that a reality. If Edmond Dantès in Count of Monte Cristo never escaped prison would anyone care to read the rest? If Bilbo never left the shire it certainly wouldn’t have been a grand adventure. What happens when you can’t define what you want? Does the story stand still? It’s in pursuit of the goal that transformation and growth happens, right?

Not being able to define your dream feels a little like being a horse in a race and the starting gate never opens. You desire to run and live your passion but you feel like you can’t even start the race. Can you relate?

In a conversation I had with a mentor almost a decade ago I asked him what he’d do if he could do it all over again. His answer was simple. “I would figure out what I love, then find whoever in the world is doing that thing the best and sit in front of their office until they let me in.” I know this concept can be incredibly powerful, if only I knew what that passion was. Not all of life feels this way, my family/personal life is on point, and if I could only choose one I’d choose what I have every single day. I just know that from a vocational/professional standpoint there’s much more waiting more me.

This topic of discovering passion and finding a way to express that through the work you do has consumed my thoughts since I was trying to choose a major in college in 2008. It finally dawned on me that this topic itself may be the very passion I’ve been looking for.

When my wife was growing up she had a mentor who was a nurse. This woman inspired Betsy to consider what it would be like to work as a nurse and something about it resonated with Betsy. This passion didn’t inspire all my wife’s friends to become nurses, but something inside Betsy related with the love this mentor had for nursing, and through that experience she discovered her passion. Sometimes you just have to see someone love something to realize you might love it too.

As I’ve struggled to define my passion I’ve discovered a lot of useful habits and tools that I’ve acquired from mentors, experience, and a whole lot of frustration. I’m incredibly excited to start writing and making videos about this process. The hope is to bring stories to light that serve as clues and inspire us to live with more intentionality. I certainly have not arrived and don’t pretend to be the expert. But the journey is starting go get fun.

It would be a honor if you check back for more content if this topic interests you or someone you know!