Life is like a piece of meat. In order to get the most out of it, there are certain things that need to be done in order to ensure the best possible flavor, texture and satisfaction. Flavor is all about taste. When you taste something you experience it and life is all about experiences. The challenge is making those experiences high quality and meaningful. Texture is all about the feel of something. In order to live a fulfilled life, we must tend to our feelings in a healthy way as opposed to ignoring, disregarding them or acting on them before we truly understand them. Satisfaction is the culmination of everything because at the end of the day, you want to get the most out of every experience which will lead to you feeling great about yourself and your life. So the question is, how do we make these things happen? Let's look at how we prepare a piece of meat.
Step One: Clean the meat.
Cleaning out your mind and your life can be as simple as making the time to take a deep, cleansing and restorative breath more than once a day, or as complex as clearing out things and people that may be harmful.
Step Two: Season the meat.
Spice things up! This directly relates to a question that I like to ask myself and others. Are you just living your life, going through the basic every day motions to get by? Or are you experiencing life to the fullest by savoring every moment? Add some variety. If your level of living is on mild, kick things up a notch or two to medium or hot! Have you been wearing your hair straight with a part on the side for years? Adding the seasoning is as simple as adding some curls or cutting in some layers. Seasoning is about change. What can you do to mix things up?
Step Three: Let it marinate.
One of my signature statements when I teach, speak or facilitate a training is, "Let it marinate." This basically means to take some time to let it sink in so that you can process your thoughts, reactions and ideas about a particular statement or experience. Too often we go through life without stopping to take the time to reflect on our experiences. Reflection is a powerful tool because it helps us to learn and grow by thinking about what went well and what we would change or do differently next time. It also gives us an opportunity to celebrate our successes.
Step Four: Cook the meat.
Cooking the meat represents the actions that we take once we have cleansed, contemplated change, and reflected upon previous experiences. Your cooking, or actions must be well planned and timed. For instance, if we cook meat too long it burns or comes out tough. I liken this to when we spend too much time worrying about things that we cannot change or things that are beyond our control. Or when we sit on an idea or talent too long that we know that we should have released by now to make the world a better place. If we don't cook meat long enough or at the proper temperature, it may come out raw and ultimately make us sick. This parallels our tendency to make decisions and take actions prematurely. It's all about timing. There must be a balance.
I could go on and take this as far as eating, digestion and beyond, but I'll stop at having you consider what the necessary tools are for you to enjoy your dish that is your life. With meat, you'll need a fork and a sharp knife. What utensils will help you to dig in to your life and cut through the literal and figurative clutter?
This week, my challenge to you is to ask yourself the following questions...
What needs to be cleaned up in my life?
What needs to be changed in my life?
What do I need to spend some time mentally processing?
What is my plan of action?
What tools do I need?
Now let that marinate!