Intentional is the New Cool

The 1990’s were an interesting time.  From Parachute pants to Al Bundy, it was a decade of personality.  Bill Clinton made smoking cigars cool again, although I heard Bush relegated them back to the status of “cancer causing”. This was a decade of mullets and grunge. Sad was the new happy.  I must have had the entire collection of the Bart Simpson “Aye Carumba” T-shirts. The 2012 comedy 21 Jump Street asked the ever nagging question of which is cooler, “back-pack on one shoulder or on two shoulders”.  I think the answer is two…two shoulders. What’s it mean to be cool.? Cool is trendy and fleeting. Cool 10 years ago is just stupid today! Cool is what people who haven’t defined their own “awesome” seek to become.  In essence, cool is someone else’s “awesome”.

The problem is that “awesome” is not a one size fits all…

pondering life

pondering life (Photo credit: Chimpr)

“I recently wrote about being influential rather than known.  While many people are known and influential,  too many are simply known (usually by chance) and do nothing with it.  Starting with your “why”, your actions must remain constant with your purpose.  It’s human to fall away from your purpose and your “why” in the heat of battle. Your purpose is clear and doesn’t change.  Trends and procedures change, but the ultimate goal does not.

When you live your life trying to be cool, you are living on someone else’s agenda.

If you like Guess jeans and a tight shirt, wear them.  Be yourself.  Don’t wear them because it’s what’s “cool”.  Nowhere is this more important than in your art.  Whether it be your writing, singing, crafting, or teaching, your art has value because it is YOUR art. You have a talent that should stand on its own.  Stay true to your purpose.  My purpose is to become Awesome by helping as many people themselves become awesome.  When I feel like my actions are being motivated by a need for validation, or anything other than my purpose, I stop. This is a dream killer. Living intentionally gives you the opportunity to filter these moments and get back on track.  Falling from your purpose and being so blinded by busy-ness to notice…that is not an excuse.  Living intentionally involves time for honest review and reflection.  Be on the look out for your motivations.  Inevitably they WILL get out of control.

What have you done in the last week that you did because it was cool?
Rocco De Leo
Advertisements

You Are An Impostor And Everyone Is Going To Find Out

In a recent  movie, Batman was called upon to “sacrifice” himself to save Gotham city from a ruthless and powerful tyrant hellbent on exploding a nuclear device in the middle of the city.  Superman will soon be on the silver screen again saving the world from assured destruction.  Who can forget ‘Spidey” flying around saving the pretty girl on flying skateboards?  Who is Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, or Peter Parker? These guys are my hope on my struggle from mediocrity into awesomeness.

Runaway

Runaway (Photo credit: Cayusa)

As a man wearing many masks (Dad, full-time employee, writer, husband-to-be, etc) I am constantly assuming many “superhero” roles.  Over time, I  have developed a pretty good work flow to manage the things that need to get done.  That has opened up many doors on my journey toward awesome. It was easier to complain that I didn’t have any time to do things rather than face the learning curves (and many of them) I face on a daily basis.  Now that I have figured how to move forward rather than treading water, I face new challenges everyday.  Managing a household and a full-time job while still making room for myself comes with a lot of  “awe”.    I get a compliment on how well I am doing with my kids, I think “if they only knew”. “Sure my son said please and thank you. But I forgot to feed him breakfast, he didn’t brush his teeth, and his lunch money is sitting on the kitchen counter and he’s already at school”. “Good job with that account, the sales are looking good”.  Of course, the customer needed my product, I was just the right guy at the right time.
I am just a big faker and afraid every one is going to find out!
Are these words of a crazy man?! Certainly not. I’m hearing a similar story from many artists, including one of my heroes, Seth Godin.  The fact that I am consuming content from these artists implies that they  have succeeded enough to be relevant and have a large enough platform to reach me.  That is awesomeness! My guess is that guys like Seth Godin, Dave Ramsey, and Rick Warren all have feelings of doubt and feel like they are faking it too.  Godin speaks directly to this in the Icaraus Deception. What separates me from them (besides a bunch of New York Times Bestsellers) is that they have mastered the art of singing along with the voice of doubt and have learned that they have something important to say.  Like the superheros, I must wear my different masks, and say what I have to say because it too is important. Batman, Superman, and Spiderman are not superheros because they are fearless or never doubt themselves.

They are superheroes BECAUSE they have fear and ACT in spite of those fears.

I will continue to be the superhero my family needs me to be.  I will be my own Superman and soar toward awesomeness.  You are reading this because you are either my mom and  are obligated to read it, or you are on your own journey toward awesomeness.  Well, my friend, you are not alone.
What things are faking your way through today?
Share this post. Tell your friends you are an impostor and you don’t care who knows because at least you are showing up!
Rocco  De Leo

How the Road to Awesome Took a Detour to Jerk

As a busy dad of 5, including a newborn, I am pulled in multiple directions.  My time is no longer my own.  I am on the road driving from client to client during the day.  I read (audiobooks) and  keep up with my favorite podcasts in the car.  My purpose in life is to succeed at helping others succeed.  As Jon Acuff says,  my Awesome is to help others find their Awesome.  I do it at work as well as in writing. First things first however, I need to keep up with the latest articles and tweets on awesomeness.  Twitter is a great place to keep up to date on your favorite topics.  If you missed it, I wrote an article on how I use Twitter.  In my infinite wisdom, I recently found the 3 perfect opportunities to completely suck at being awesome while learning how to be awesome.

The Jerk

The Jerk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Elevators are not for twitter.  Seriously!  I was literally tripping over an old lady in a wheelchair the other day as we were both exiting the elevator at a doctor’s office. My excuse: I was reading an article on my iPhone about how to be nice.  You may have seen my Re-tweet.  Epic Fail!
2.  Feeding the baby is not twitter time:  If you have ever had a baby, you know when the biological stuff is happening.  My little girl makes quite the “splash” when her system is a-go.  Unfortunately, this usually happens as I’m deciding whether to RT a tweet or via@personwhotweeted regarding a great article about being a blogging dad or parenting advice.  Of course my 3 week old appreciates this so much that she’s willing to sit in her “splash zone” for 3 or 4 more tweets.
3. Red lights should be twitter-free zones.  I say red light to make it sound not so bad.  Actually, the red lights I am referring to are the red brake lights that startle me as I scroll through my twitter feed. I recently discovered Pocket, the “read later” app.  I’ve never been twitter-elite enough to read the articles while driving, but I can tell a perfect “pocket-able” article with re-tweet potential with the best of them. No bueno!
In my great effort to be awesome, I have become a jerk. All is not lost however.  Here is a list of  5 things to consider when recovering from an acute case of jerk-itis associated with hypocrisy.
1.  Remember that today is a new day.  Don’t be so hard yourself that you give up being awesome.  Besides God, no one loves you more than you.  Sometimes, that causes you to get caught up in yourself.  Recognize it, and push forward.
2.  Take a YOU holiday.  Spend one day hyper-focusing on others.  If this doesn’t come natural to you, give yourself notes as reminders.  Be interested in those you interact with on a normal basis, but step your game up a bit.  Ask the barista at Starbucks about her weekend.  Compliment the bank teller on his tie.  Thank the police officer pulling you over for texting and driving for keeping the streets safe.  Be intentional.
3.  Take a “self-help” break.  I may be mislabeling “self-help”.  Jon Acuffs book Start was phenomenal.  It’s more than simply self help.  Brene’ Brown’s Daring Greatly was life changing.  5-stars abound.  Maybe, as Jon Acuff shares, its time to go to your own Central Park.  A place to “chill-out”.  As a reader, a fun fiction book, can take me out of myself and the pressure to be Awesome.
4.  Pray and Trust in Lord: As a practicing Catholic, my relationship with Christ is key to my happiness.  It’s also key to my awesomeness.  I  find myself praying for guidance and grace on a Sunday morning, and trying to create it myself by Sunday night.  No can do! Pray and trust in the Lord.
5.  Find perspective:  It always amazes me to reflect upon where I’ve come from.  I recently went for a long 10-mile run with very disappointing results.  I felt sluggish and heavy.  I realized that I have gained 25 pounds in 6 months.  That’s how long I haven’t weighed myself.  It snuck up on me and I had no idea I had gained so much.  On the other hand, I look at positives in my life that sneak up on me.  My relationship with my kids since I became a full time full custody dad 5 years ago has grown. Reflecting upon the communication at bedtime or dinner from when I got custody to the normal and relative respect and efficiency I see now provides tremendous perspective on days I feel like screaming.

Awesomeness isn’t easy.  If it were, it wouldn’t be so awesome.  Try too hard or try too little, you will make mistakes.  Try just enough, well you’ll still make mistakes.  Keep on keeping on is the key.  Share some of your irony  on your own road to awesome.  I would love to hear from you.

Rocco De Leo