They say home is where the heart is; wherever I may roam where I lay my head is home; home – where my music’s played, home – where my love lies waiting silently for me; and of course where we tell mama I’m heading. Yeah, I am a bit of a music nut sometimes – if you don’t get the references, Google it.
For most I suppose home is family, where you grew up, and to where you return. And yet for most of us, where we are is not where we live. We stay in a place of perpetual stress, death grips on what we hold most dear and no real hope or vision of change. Except that is only a limited perception of where we are. I hope to show you this month how I transitioned from that state of being, I call it a “broke (as in no money) mentality,” to where I am now – of living in the excitement of seeing “the dream” draw more into reality.
First let’s be clear about the “broke mentality.” Where we are in this area of life is we have managed to attract some value into our lives. In a recent speech I gave, I had a volunteer stand up, had her hold a doll representing a husband, then a few cookie monster toys to be the kids, a vacuum to represent maintaining a home (no I wasn’t being sexist – I actually planned to grab a male volunteer), money, and car keys. As you can imagine her hands were very full and her instructions were to hold on tight and don’t let go. Then I pulled a cell phone out of my pocket and said “life is calling – catch.” The crowd reaction was awesome as I tossed the phone through the air at her and unfortunately for me she caught it without dropping anything. My intention was to show that as we have a death grip on what little value we have now, we have no room to grow. And, when life throws us a curveball, everything falls apart.
I went on to explain that the reason we as humans fail to reach the goals we set is because we are trying to arbitrarily add to the pile of things we are death gripping – yeah I just made that a verb yo! When we live like this, we are always pulled in too many directions, never feeling valued or satisfied, constantly worried about losing what little we have, and are always saying no. As I saw the heads in the room nodding in agreement, I knew it was time to explain where we really live.
All of us have a passion inside. We have something in our lives that attracts us above and beyond anything else. For some it’s sports, the kids, the vehicles, but for me it’s communicating & helping others be awesome. This is where we truly live no matter what we hold dear. I have made many a bad decision to ignore my wife because I lost track of time talking with someone and helping them. I have also tried to stifle this love and only pay attention to her (and the family later in life) only to be miserable and to make her so as well. The balance I had to find was to always communicate and help others. I couldn’t put it all into work, the show, or friends and not be able to do it the same or more in my “home.” Once I gave the same energy and effort into my “home” – basically lived it with my wife, family, and myself – everything changed.
Over the last five years I have slowly but surely refined how I utilize my passion. I started off doing a small podcast that grew into a community of shows and hosts. At the same time I learned lessons on how to use that passion to better my marriage and be a better father. You see, the general mistake I was making – and I feel most people make – is that I sent my talents one way. That was out over the airwaves, and that made my wife feel left out and ignored. I realized that to truly follow my heart I needed to live it – and that is where home is. I had to realize that I was “doing” a show that competed with my attention for my wife, my kids, and my work. I couldn’t ignore the internal conflicts anymore. Through the year of 2012 I struggled with this concept – the ultimate resolution being I had to let go of something good in order to get something better. By letting go of the Bear Crawling Nation and a few other things not only willingly, but also happily, I did more than free myself up to chase my dream. I discovered that once I stopped “doing” and started living, things like “spending money on a stupid hobby” changed to ways & means appearing to us (my wife and I), allowing me to do things that could never have been done before.
I just returned from the New Media Expo which was an impossibility. Not only was it costly for a “hobby” I knew it would never fly with the wife. Yet she ended up being the one pushing me to go, finding ways to make it happen, and ultimately forcing me into the reality of what happens when you live your passion.
Before May of 2012 I was holding tight to the outlets I had built for my passion while trying to hold tight to the family, work, etc. That was a recipe for disaster, and little disasters came often enough. But, through first living the passion at home, my whole world opened up. So, I hope you see that where you are right now isn’t where you really live. We all want to feel relaxed, stress free, and to say yes more than no. What we have to do is live what we want in order to achieve it. As my wife and I say now “when it’s right we say yes. Then we allow the universe and God to bring it to us.”
Home for me is my passion. It’s not a place, or even a set of people. Home is where I come alive, shine like a rock star, and truly gain join by giving to others. As I now live everyday out of my love of communication & “helping others be awesome,” my life changed seemingly overnight at NMX. I could go on and on with the details of my adventures, the deeper meanings of what happened there, and how for me it was truly a dream come to life. And truly, I set out to write this article based out of what I experienced there. But really, there is only one phrase that can sum up what the New Media Expo means to me:
Email me your thoughts and stories: Charles@theothersideoflive.com