My friend sat across from me in my office during our weekly coaching session. He had received an assignment and was not satisfied with the results. As he reported to me on his activity he said, "I did my best."
"Don't ever say that," I replied, rather shocked at my own bluntness.
"When you say you've done your best, you are telling me that you cannot and will not get any better, that you have reached your highest potential, that you have no room for growth. Say that it was the best you could do at the moment, but never tell me that something was your best. You can always do more.."
You can always do more.
You can always be more.
You can always jump higher, last longer, reach farther, delve deeper, and perform at an increasingly more refined level. We are human - not only human or merely human but human with a capital H, fearfully and wonderfully made, created with uncharted potential and open-ended possibilities.
Fortunately, I did not offend him. He is still coming to me for guidance and encouragement and growing. He is more today than he was that day.
The M in More is for mastery and motivation.
Mastery is what masters us. It is that depth-level commitment to something or someone that centers our thinking and defines our existence. When I am mastered by something greater than myself, I know that I am not alone and I am not floundering for a sense of purpose. Who I am and where I am going is a settled matter. I attach my devotion to the ultimate values that are at the heart of all my commitments and I can begin to master the things that have vied in vain for that position.
We are mastered by so many things: an urgency, tendency, or superficiality until the moment when we submit to that one great center point of life from which flows our lives. Then we can take charge of the things that used to run us and we find that we are motivated.
Motivation is what moves us; gets us up in the morning and gets us going. It is about movement and motor function and it is powerful. It flows from the core of ones being or is of little but temporary value. Real motivation kicks us in the fannies and reminds us that we can always do more and be more.
When your get up and goes gets up and goes the other way, it is the mastery-motivation connection that empowers you to stretch on a reach for the prize.
The O is for opportunity and obligation - and they go hand in hand down the path of potential and growth. Like the shape of the letter, they round us out.
Opportunity is everywhere. We need to move from the place of being obstacle thinkers to opportunity thinkers. There is no obstacle that cannot become a propellant in our quest for more. There is no hardship, tragedy, or struggle that we cannot mount and surmount and ride to a brighter tomorrow.
I saw Danielle recently on a trip to the Bay Area. She's a teenager now, but there was a time when no doctor or other professional would have put a dollar on her surviving that long. She was born with severe spina bifida, mental retardation, blindness, and hearing impairments - and a heart as strong and stubborn as any I've ever seen. Then, she was surrounded by love and a can-do attitude and she has become more than anyone ever expected. She crawls everywhere she goes and pulls herself up to get what she wants. They said she would never talk, but she knows how to ask for her needs to be met. She knows people and calls them by name. She loves and is loved. She and her foster family turned obstacles into opportunities and everyone has grown as a result.
I have been moved forward by having known her.
Then, with great opportunity comes great obligation. Once you know it, you owe it. When you come to realize how vast the possibilities are, you are obligated to make the most of them and share the hope with others. I have a statuette in my office of a frog with a crown on his head. The caption says, "What you are is God's gift to you; what you make of yourself is your gift to God." We are obligated to become all that lies within us to be. We are made for greatness. Anything less is affront to the master design that envisioned our future.
The R is for reverence/respect which enables us to take responsibility.
Reverence is our attitude toward a power greater than ourselves that infuses us with humility and perspective. I know I have not arrived. I know I have not yet done or even imagined my best. I have a long way to go and there is a perfect ideal that holds me in awe. There is a wonder that causes my jaw to drop. When reverence kicks in, we can respect others and we can respect ourselves.
"One of you is the messiah," the old rabbi told the abbot of a dying monastery.
He pondered it and shared it with his brothers. No one understood, but in awe and reverence they took it to heart and started treating each other and even themselves with extraordinary respect. It created such an atmosphere of expectancy and graciousness that people started to visit to experience it for themselves. Soon, young men were seeking to enter the monastic life because of this amazing aura of respect that permeated the place. To think that each of them was potentially destined for greatness gave them permission and hope to become more.
Likewise, it instilled in them a sense of responsibility to handle every person they met, every word they spoke, every deed they did, and every object that passed through their hands with dignity. We have that responsibility as well. We are handling holy things. We are standing on holy ground. Our lives and the lives of the people around us are destined for greatness. As we pass through, let us add value to others and add value to ourselves as well. It is our responsibility.
And that sense of responsibility growing out of reverence and respect teaches us to be responsible for our choices, our actions, and even our thoughts. No one can spoon feed "MORE JUICE" into our experience. We must chose it and move toward it.
The final letter, E, is for effort and energy. Nothing comes to us that enhances our lives without someone's effort - usually our own, often a cooperative effort. We must take initiative to grow; we must be dissatisfied with status quo and eager to reach. It takes effort.
Success is a four letter word: W-O-R-K.
We take baby steps and those baby steps lead to leaps and bounds, but not without perspiration, frustration, aggravation, and agitation. Yes we need inspiration, innovation, and contemplation, but even they are useless without effort/
Buster whined and moaned like only a dog can do. He was sleeping on a pile of nails.
"Why don't he move?" Gus asked Homer.
"I reckon it just don't hurt 'nough," Homer quipped.
How badly does it hurt not to reach your goals, to stay where you are, to be stuck in the rut and stagnant in time and space? What will make a person put out the effort to change? We must pose the question to ourselves. Am I willing? Do I want it? Do I believe I can do and be more?
Faith says yes. Hope says yes. Love says yes. What do you say? The last word is energy and that is what many of us are out of. It has been depleted by disappointments, discouragement, and failure. But our failures are the cobblestones on the path the victory. We must embrace them and return to the basic question of what masters us. Once we know that - so deeply in our lives that we bleed purpose-blood, then we can get the energy from the fountain of possibilities.
You can be more. I can be more. We can be more.
I was driving 10 miles east of Porterville, CA. last week when I started to see some interesting signs. It was success this and success that and I was looking for a place called Success Valley. Then, it suddenly occurred to me that I had been on the road to Success for about 50 miles and never knew it.
Maybe that's the way it is with our lives. When we muster up all we have been given and refocus our attention on the prize. By golly, know t or not; we are on the road to success, the pathway to more.