From her frozen gravesite podium, under the bland gray sky, and before “The People of Jack,” Rabbi Susan Talve explained the central message of the Kaddish, an ancient Jewish prayer: "Love more fully, live more fiercely...and make peace."
Sage and keen, the sentiment sunk into my diaphragm like a new embryo embedding itself in the walls of its womb.
(St. Louis winter sky at 7am in UCity)
In the vacuum of my father's death, there was no funeral where we, his children, could show up. No space to enact an intentional and communal acknowledgment of either his life nor its ending. The pain of his loss in the absence of a tradition, religion, ritual, or rite is a revolving brass cone, boring up through the organs of my abdominal cavity. It is white and sheer and so severely sharp that it leaves no blood. Just an exquisite circular slicing.
But Rabbi Talve’s words were a salve this afternoon. Even though I didn’t know Jack, I know from witnessing his funeral service that he, Tali’s dad, was opposite mine. He was large and connected and decisive, while my dad stayed small to shield against disappointment, shied from social interaction to shield against discomfort, and preferred the false safety of indecision over the perceived vulnerability of choosing a path. What if he made the wrong choice? What if someone criticized him? What if he failed?
That’s what my guru lady, Brooke Castillo’s teaching is all about. When she urges her listeners to pick an impossible goal, she is urging us to be decisive and to invite failure. She wants us to discover the much more powerful skill of bouncing back. She wants us to look our hesitations in the eye and say: So what if I make the wrong decision? So what if someone criticizes me? So what if I fail?
Because you know how to recover from all those things. You know you can survive the discomfort of them. You know you can grow from them. And so you can be fearless. Not reckless. Just fearless.
And that’s what I have to report this week about my $100K journey. Here’s a synopsis of what happened as I took my first steps toward the destination:
In addition to the domestic and professional demands of my regular life, I DECIDED to take two measurable actions: (1) to design, create, and have printed a brochure and business cards, and (2) to write this weekly accountability-and-sharing blog. As you can imagine, achieving those ends involved many small interim steps, including clarifying my target market and message, envisioning my role and title in this work, carefully managing my time, and reigning in (or perhaps harnessing) my fears. Along the way, unanticipated (but, let’s be honest --inevitable) obstacles laughed in my face. There was the night of insomnia that pummeled me for the next two days, the limitations of my knowledge around technology that had me weeping in frustration, the interruption of a plumbing problem, etc.
Still, I succeeded. And through all of it, a potent thought-thread emerged: when I countered all my doomsday thoughts with this ONE, I managed to get everything done, no matter how daunting the list.
Even if I don’t get it all done today, I have the skills to respond appropriately to any resulting problem-situations, and since not trying is certain failure, there’s no reason not to go out there and just try.
That’s it. That’s the thought that propelled me, despite the obstacles. And here are the results:
In the first week of January, I generated $2,624 from a combination of my fitness classes and RAPT, my new core strengthening program. For comparison, it took from May to October of 2020 to generate almost the same amount ($2,098).
So what measurable things will I do toward my $100K goal during this second week of January?
Disseminate the brochure and business cards to 25 strategic people & places.
Write another accountability-and-sharing blog post
Complete content for week 3 & 4 of my core-strengthening program, RAPT
Decide a launch date for my second session of RAPT & generate a list of people to invite.
In the meantime, I invite you to follow along. If I can succeed, so can you. If I fail, you can shake your head and wait for my next iteration! But while I am alive, I am going to take the lessons learned from my and Tali’s dads: be large, connected, and decisive. At the same time, I will embrace Rabbi Talve’s Kaddish offering: love fully, live fiercely, and make peace. We don’t know when we’ll be out of time. So do it NOW. All of it. Whatever you believe in and desire. Do it NOW.