My Best Advice . . .

Yesterday was a pretty amazing day. I had the opportunity to be a part of a conference dedicated to caring for the caregiver. A day which was intentionally designed to refresh their spirits and renew their tired and weary souls.

I gave the opening keynote on The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon, and focused on the power of positive energy. I did my best to give a great, inspirational talk. The day itself was filled with breakout sessions on art therapy, recreational therapy, meditation and prayer . . . you guys it was amazing.

I gave the closing keynote at the end of the day on a book called The Carpenter, also by Jon Gordon. It’s themes are Love, Serve, and Care. In this particular keynote, I focused more on “self-care” than on caring for others, because I have little doubt that this audience, filled with therapists, behavior health specialists, oncologists, and nurses, already understand how to care for others. It’s kind of what they do. But caring for themselves? That’s usually where they cut themselves short. I did my best to share practical advice and tips, and to weave the heartstring-tugging with the humorous stories.

I felt really good about the message I had delivered. I mean, ok . . . as speakers we can ALWAYS pick ourselves apart and so for the last 24 hours or so I’ve been rehashing the places where I know I could have/should have added more, expanded a point, places I got off track, etc. It’s human nature to self-critique a bit. But for the most part? I feel really great about it. I know I gave it my absolute, 100% best effort.

More than anything though, I woke this morning feeling a different type of feeling. In fact, most keynotes and workshops I typically leave thinking: Please don’t think I’m the expert. Please don’t think I do everything that I shared from the podium yesterday quite perfectly myself.

There is that danger, I think, when one is standing in front of an audience and dispensing advice, to sit in the audience and believe that the person in front has it all together. Can I tell you something? They don’t. To the contrary, I fail my family, my friends, my self, and most importantly, my GOD every day. Behind the scenes, I’m the messiest person who’s so far from “having it together” you guys.

The things I shared yesterday (and in any keynote) were the things I’ve found to be goals to work towards, ways of living that help make life better, help make an outlook more positive and help make a journey lighter. But they do not make it perfect. These are things I’m working towards and striving for, but I am so far from perfect.

I shared yesterday something I wrote in 2008 “With purpose and intensity I race for my goal. I race, and yet mark out a steady and specific path to achieve that goal with integrity and diligence. Allowing no distraction to divert me from this path, I turn my face and heart nearer towards Christ, for I know He is the ultimate finish line.”

I’m racing. I’m running the best race I can. I try not to let distractions divert me from my path. But many, many times I still stumble. Can you relate? My best advice? Know what you’re racing towards, and keep racing. Run the best race YOU can race, and run your OWN race. Know that your race will be different than anyone else’s. And know that you can’t possibly understand what their race is really like, because you’re not inside of their running shoes.

Peace, my friends.

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