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It was a glorious day on the water.  After dinner, people started to gather around the campfire.  The conversation was alive with stories that replayed the day’s events – the classic crashes, the great accomplishments and of course the fun and games.  Each story met with a round of laughter!

Eventually, the conversations moved on to thoughts about life and the question “how to get from here to there.”  And of course, it’s fun to listen to aspirations and dreams explained as the fire cracked.  Some people were more curious than others or maybe it’s better to say courageous.  You see in this conversation, I was not the President of the company, I was just the neighbor lady at the cabin for the summer.

Connections started earlier in the weekend, with an introduction, a nod to my oldest son and a thank you for the use of my paddleboards.  That night as I sat around the campfire, the conversation turned to me – the neighbor lady, and questions about my career.  Exactly how did I make all that career path happen?

To them, and honestly to most, it appeared to be a straight line.  And isn’t that true for all of us as we look at someone else’s life.  We see the results of the work, but somehow we don’t see the setbacks, the times things didn’t go as planned.  We just see the high points. Here is one thing I know; the line is never straight – up close. Everyone’s path diverts up and down and all around.

I truly love these conversations around the campfire.  It allows for a vulnerability and focuses everyone on learning to understand their potential so they can optimize it.  Too many times, we think it is only about figuring out the right move in our life or organizations we work for.  And while this is important work, the most valuable work is to figure out what you need to optimize you.  This is what matters to you.

And this is what will give you the courage to move forward. To seek experiences that help you learn more, get clearer, improve your impact and elevate your game.  By the way – it will make life more fun because you are living your life optimizing “you” and not playing someone else’s game that THEY think you should play.  Because that game isn’t winnable.

Life is the ultimate experiential model.  Our thinking and knowledge only represents potential.  It is our courage and discipline to practice being our best that allows us to optimize potential.

How is your practice going?  Mine has been full of adventure.  But I am glad for that.  It has made it worth traveling.  And I am thankful for the advice and feedback of my fellow travelers.  Their insight has been invaluable.

I look forward to hearing how your insight has allowed you to optimize your options.

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