The Art of Being There

artIt’s an unwritten rule in relationships. In our minds, we are generally sure of ourselves. We’re convinced that, in good or bad times, we’ll be there for those we care about as required. We believe we have what it takes.

Then comes the test!

I’ve seen relationships crumble in the face of pressure of all kinds (we often think pressure means bad times, but good can also cause trouble). Usually, when this happens, the person in need of support is left shocked.

It’s easy to assume that you have what it takes to really be there for another. That’s the assumption that’s challenged when situations arise. Do you really have the capacity or you think you do?

This is one reason folks surprise themselves when the occasion demands their strength. They behave in ways that they never thought they could.

The principle is simple: you cannot give what you don’t have. If your capacity is low, your intentions won’t matter. You simply don’t have the energy, resources or aptitude to give adequate support of any kind.

Find out what you can handle!

Keep On Walking

KeepOnWalking2For almost 20 years, his career was full of what he considered, “studio defined failures”. He felt the films that he did during that period were “box office poison”. That has long changed.

In 2002 his movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was a huge success. Johnny Depp kept pushing until something happened; he’s got staying power.

According to dictionary.com, perseverance means steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

Greatness is not for the faint-hearted. Sometimes a ‘normal’ existence becomes more attractive considering all that those who seek greatness have to endure. Many go through some really crazy stuff, but always find a reason to keep going.

Former U.S. President, Harry Truman, said: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”. The price of any dream is usually high. That’s why those who are able to push through the frustration get to enjoy much recognition and respect.

A ‘clown’ is someone who desires greatness but is unwilling to pay the price.

The Boring Stuff

BoringThe idea of greatness conveys the feeling of grandiose activities that raid the spotlight, commanding the kind of attention that gets the honor and reward it deserves. However, there’s another truth.

Greatness from any angle consists of a string of mostly boring activities. Before the actor, Nicholas Cage, got on stage to receive his Oscar award, he had been through so many less glorious moments to get there.

It’s called small wins. For the Olympic gold medalist, it’s winning the small battles of: waking up early, daily maintaining a healthy diet, hours of training…the list goes on!

Greatness is a string of small wins.

Mastery of the boring stuff is what the masters do daily when nobody’s watching. They develop a systematic, consistent and focused approach to what they want to achieve. Slaving away in practice; perfecting their craft…usually for many years. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book, Outliers, explained this sighting the 10,000-Hour Rule.

People seldom start at the spotlight. Usually you do those seemingly insignificant chores that no one would applaud you for. Completely ignored, yet consistent! That’s the path to significance.

Are you ready?

Getting Good

MrsCarterMrs. Carter is phenomenal. I’m never tired of watching her: I AM…World Tour. She delivered consistently in a 108 shows. The woman had fans going wild. I also go wild, but for a different reason – her backstage performance.

I know that the spotlight is merely the result of hours of back breaking work. The best spend a lot of resources, daily perfecting their craft. Now, that process gets me very excited.

The greats are keenly aware about their current level of performance and where they want it to be. Hence, they develop a well structured growth plan to help them get better.

Good mastery of your craft is guaranteed to make the ‘fans’ shout – in any field. It’s a law. It’s automatic. So you need not worry about the ‘fans’…get really good and they will find you. Investing in your craft is good strategy.

I’m always working with the next level in view. I know what I’ve signed up for. It’s going to take time, energy, money, sacrifice, etc…to perfect my craft and I’m ready.

You enjoyed the concert, but putting it together was no walk in the park. Ask Mrs. Carter.

Safe Place

safeplaceLeaders have the unique ability to make or break others. You could have a crazy ‘Hitler’ kind of boss or one who is genuinely interested in your growth and wants to see you do well. Either way, the effects are tangible.

How do leaders go about the make or break business? Simple…

They create an environment!

This involves a systematic flow of words, actions and activities designed to shape you into the picture that they see. That’s the essence of vision; it’s a mind-shaping instrument.

Discomfort is released into the air when the visionary has limited scope and the leader is not able to see far. Hence, the environment becomes unsafe. Great ideas seldom grow or flourish in such a place.

One sign of danger is ego trip. The leader is too insecure to allow fresh perspective from others. Generally, they cannot be questioned or challenged and only what they think goes.

These leaders are careful to build systems where nothing moves without their approval. The team is not adequately empowered to make key decisions in their absence. And they wonder why innovation dies at their doorstep?

My Baby

wetry8These ones are strange. Not your typical infant. They’re small with well developed minds and solid will; grown babies.

Every idea is a baby!

They’re slippery little ones. Unlike a normal child, they move seamlessly from home to home. Ideas decide where they live.

Over lunch one time, a friend told me about how he once had an idea for a book. He held this thought for over four years. Only to discover the exact same title on a book shelf during his vacation in South Africa. Someone had written the book the year before. The idea moved!

Ideas demand complete obedience. You succeed with them only when you stick to the script. The map is delivered and the treasure chest is found when it’s followed. It’s their way or the highway.

Ideas are scope driven. Hollywood and Nollywood are two different systems. As an actor, you can decide to succeed in any one. Lupita Nyong’o plugged in her idea into the Hollywood system (she chose that scope), paid the price and is currently enjoying the rewards. You choose the playing field for your ideas.

There’s so much I could say.

Ping Pong

pingpong2Six frogs sat on a lily pad. One decided to jump off. How many were left?

The first time I heard that, without much thought, my answer was five. I was rightly wrong.

Six frogs is the right answer.

The frog only decided to, but didn’t jump. It had the idea.

When ‘great’ ideas hit our minds and we do nothing about them, guess what happens? Nothing! It becomes only a passing thought. Action is the bedrock of ideas; that’s what makes them great.

Once I was watching a martial arts movie. In one of the fight scenes, one guy started threatening his opponent. “I will destroy you”, he said. The other man replied, “Why don’t you shut up and just do it”.

The journey from idea to reality is often not an easy one. That’s why many enjoy the momentary thrill of day dreaming and promptly forget about the thoughts once the session ends.

Imagine Barrack Obama never acted on his idea to run for the U.S. presidency. We would have lost an important piece of history. It wasn’t a pleasant chat over coffee. He actually did it.