Never Apologize

Recently I came across this ad, note, whatever you want to call it from Title Nine’s founder. (Title Nine clothing). I was sucked in by the beginning quote: “Never Apologize.” I for one do not have the easiest time apologizing. So, of course, I wanted to read further. I did and I was inspired. It made me want to go out and be active, yell at the top of my lungs, take a stand for others, the list goes on. Yet, this is more than that – this is more about living life to its fullest and never feeling bad, guilty, or sorry for your thoughts, actions, or feelings.

I am loud. I take up space. I hate remaining silent. I voice my opinions. I am not going to stop.

This post today is to encourage you to never apologize. As Missy says: Do, Lead, Assert. Bring it.

Lollipop of mediocrity…

Mediocrity. It is not a word I think much about, as I am not much for being mediocre. I am all about driving excellence, doing your best thinking, pushing the envelope, and iterating over time to hone a craft, project, or outcome. I have extremely high expectations for myself, and those in my life. I am not looking to surround myself with mediocrity. So when I came across this Fast Company article this week, and read a quote I had never heard before about Gap’s new CEO, Art Peck, I had to smile:

“The 59-year-old hates classic rock (because “it’s stuck in time”) and has a quote next to his bed framed by his wife: ‘Beware the lollipop of mediocrity. Lick it once and you suck forever’.”

After a quick Google search I found the quote is from Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys. It is a quote that helps to visualize mediocrity. In a lot of ways it is a good mantra to never settle, to always push, to create new ways of looking and thinking about our lives each day. Whether you are a firefighter, a school teacher, a boss, or you are in a job you hate, you always have a choice of whether you are going to come to work each day and be mediocre. What is the point of life if not to change, learn, and grow? How can you do that when you do not try to be a better person, friend, employee, or family member?

While I do not plan to frame this quote by my bed, it is a great reminder to continue to push myself (yes, I know I am already relentless). To never settle, to ask questions, dig deeper, and live my life to the fullest. I already have a very full life, but whenever the naysayers want to talk me down and bring me back to mediocrity, I will be reminded to stay away from the lollipop.

Never settle.

Should or Must?

We are constantly, moment by moment, being bombarded with decisions to make. Should I do that? What will happen if I say yes? What will happen if I say no? If I am direct, will he walk away? If I say what is on my mind, will I piss her off? What will my team think? I can completely understand what happens to folks when they fall into decision anxiety. Every once in a while my brain is completely fried and I have had a day of making decisions and I will say to Chris: “I am not making any decisions tonight, or this weekend.” He loves it (not really). Each decision tends to be either an easy one, or it is full of questions. Should I? Must I?

I just came across this article on medium.com titled: “The Crossroads of Should and Must.” It is quite lengthy for those of you with ADD, but so worth it. There are even sketches to help you along.

“Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It’s our instincts, our cravings and longings, the things and places and ideas we burn for, the intuition that swells up from somewhere deep inside of us. Must is what happens when we stop conforming to other people’s ideals and start connecting to our own. Because when we choose Must, we are no longer looking for inspiration out there. Instead, we are listening to our calling from within, from some luminous, mysterious place.”

I love this idea of “must” being who we are to the fullest. Our core. How often and how easy it can be to succumb to someone else’s opinion. The friend that tells you that he is just not that into you. The colleague that tells you what you are trying to accomplish is not possible. The family member that is scared to see you take the risk. There have been many “musts” in my life and I felt them to my core. They were decisions that upon all rationality those watching would have thought I was crazy, but it was the exact decision I needed to make.

As we embark on 2015, I am going to think more about my decisions and how I feel about should vs. must. Join me?