I remember it like yesterday. . . I signed up for Dale Carnegie Training—which is mostly about being able to communicate better with others as well as being a better human. I had the good fortune of having one of the old-time trainers, Bill Dyke. Bill had been with the company long-term and had known Dale Carnegie. Though up in years, Bill remained active and jovial, leading us through twelve difficult challenges as the weeks progressed. 

One challenge we were given was to finish something we'd put off for a long time or that had yet to find its finish line. I remember one fellow had done some remodeling and never put the window trim around the windows. For over fifteen years they had been trimless, molding collecting dust in a corner. He would finish that during our course. For me, I had my own back pocket project that I'd squirreled away for more than fifteen years. Bill asked me, couldn't I just give it a little bit more, even 10%? No, I told him, I didn't know where I'd find that 10%, I didn't know where else I could spare a minute. I felt totally maxed out. (It would take another year before I could finish it—or so I thought.)

Tom Petty sings about "Running Down a Dream," and I think I've been running after mine for as long as I can remember, even going back to my earliest years. I may not have always been able to define it, but I always knew and always felt guided as I moved the needle a little bit closer toward my vision of what that dream could be. Still, throughout, I've faced challenges, setbacks, missteps, and disillusion that always kept that golden prize just out of reach. Yet, I always found a way to give myself that little push forward to go one more step, one more mile, one more day.

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Recently, thinking about that journey and how far I've come, as well as thinking about all the twists, turns, surprises, and changes in outcome, I realized it might be a bit like climbing Everest. 

While I've obviously never done that for real, I imagine the climbers take somewhat of a general path when going up. They come prepared, complete with sherpas to show them the way. And yet, I have a feeling that part of their trek is uncertain and, to succeed, they must be flexible and diligent in finding their way. That's how my goal has been too. I can see the peak, I know where I want to go, but getting there hasn't been all that straightforward. The way up isn't always up, sometimes it's sideways or even a few steps back.

The diligent part, like Everest, has been in not giving up, not letting go, not turning back. Even when I thought it was not possible, I sought out that additional 10%, that "little bit more," which might not take me across the finish line but would push me a little bit forward, a little bit closer to where I wanted to be.

While writing this, the song running through my head was Journey's "Don't Stop Believing," with Steve Perry belting out those words to spur me forward. I am not at the finish line, but I am at one of the culminations of getting there. It's one of those steps forward that will take me just a little bit closer to the peak. Sherpas DP 63543119

What dream are you running down? Where do you need to give that "little bit more?' And not for others, because my guess is, you've already been giving them that little bit more of yourself, and that's why you haven't had that extra 10% for yourself. Sometimes (as the flight attendants say), you have to put your mask on first. You need to fill up your tank with the joys and passions that fuel you so you have that little bit more for what you are striving for as well as all those others clinging to you for their needs.

We can get there. We can see the peak. Just focus on that ONE next step forward. Worry about the second step only after you've taken the first. Let me know what you're striving for and I'll believe in its culmination with you. Together, we will give a little bit more.

(Note, this month's newsletter is late because it's clear to me that to give that "little bit more" something else has to wait. For me, that was this month's newsletter. I can't wait to share next time with some special announcements!"