Most of us know:
It’s important to refresh ourselves.
re-cast the vision.
re-make the life-clay.
learn. grow. get better at
what we do and who we are.
(The same-old, same-old needs to be broken up
through inspiring away time.)
Because “away time” — taking time and changing physical space —
getting a heaping dose of learning and growing —
hoes up rocky ground,
plants potential-filled seeds,
and super-packs nutrients deep down into the umber soil,
super-charged for the growing season.
(To change metaphors, without the away, the likelihood of jumping forward is more like a pathetic hop. From my own experience, just sayin’.)
Conferences. Retreats. Trips. Meetings. Classrooms.
In backwoods cabins or skyscraper hotel rooms —
It doesn’t matter where to go, as long as the GO
gives the POW-BAM needed
to recommit, rework, and instill —
ultimately, putting us on the path we’re meant to walk.
(to be better. because we can all be better.)
immersed in time away, the fallow marl crumbles
and little sprouted bits poke their bright green through,
We return home.
Hope-filled. Ardent. Eager. High.
(the mountaintop view still crisp in our mind)
Then, IT happens.
The proclivity (as normal human beings)… to drop. it. all.
(followed by silence. crickets. looking left and right, with no one in sight)
How do we bring the mountain top home?
(My question, right now, after coming home from MFA-mountaintopness
with a group of brilliant people with grand skills and even better hearts.)
The question rings loud in my ear:
How do we take what we experienced and put it into practice?
Because reality has a way of biting at our heels, barking, drowning out the memories and fresh approaches gained — approaches that, if held to, can take us on a whole new journey filled with positive attitude. new perspectives. new skills. new ideas and approaches and, yes, through the journey, new successes.
My answer is simple. Two words:
schedule and accountability.
(“Well, now. That sounds incredibly boring.”
Hm. Not really. Let me explain.)
“Schedule” is not a dirty word.
Schedule is our friend.
All those new and wonderful ideas gained on the mountaintop
only flourish through repeated action.
Repeated action only happens in a schedule.
<<Making the doing real.>>
(“Intentions Minus Actions = Squat” — James C. Hunter)
Frankly, for myself, I don’t care how boring that is. Unless I put time into doing what I just learned — consistently — then change won’t happen. We’re creatures of habit, no matter how bad the habit is.
Look at any athlete. Schedule matters.
Schedule makes masters. Masters of craft. Masters of attitude. Masters of good decision-making. Masters of good skills and good outcomes.
And mastery brings results.
(a life you got because you made it so.)
“Accountability” is not a dirty word.
Accountability is our friend.
It’s our responsibility to find a friend who cares enough to be the voice of responsible discretion. Someone on the same track, who has the same values, visions, and aspirations. We’re creatures of disappointment — to ourselves and to others — without accountability. No man is an island, no woman is an island, no journey can be walked alone. If you (or I) become islands, we cease to become who we’re meant to be — who we CAN be.
Masters of life — those who live with joy, who can navigate change and trial, and who become more filled with the powerful stuff of humanity — are those who are accountable. Master accountability, and your life — my life — changes. For. The. Better.
The mountaintop puts fire in our bones.
But it’s schedule and accountability that makes the coals glow hot,
unable to be extinguished
by reality and every-day life challenges.
All three matter: Mountaintop, Schedule, and Accountability.
I’m infinitely glad for my MFA mountaintop.
But I’m even more excited about my daily schedule and the people who will hold me to it.