You are enough

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,   
which knew it would inherit the earth   
before anybody said so.   

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds   
watching him from the birdhouse.   

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.   

The idea you carry close to your bosom   
is famous to your bosom.   

The boot is famous to the earth,   
more famous than the dress shoe,   
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it   
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.   

I want to be famous to shuffling men   
who smile while crossing streets,   
sticky children in grocery lines,   
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,   
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,   
but because it never forgot what it could do.

Naomi Shihab Nye

Whenever I struggle with feelings of impostor syndrome or self-doubt, I return to this poem.

Whenever I feel like I’m not enough — not good enough or strong enough or famous enough — I read this poem and feel better.

I hope it can be a reassurance to you, too.

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Startup ≠ life

This week I had a friend in trouble.

Everything’s going to work out okay (thanks for asking). They’re going through some things, and I had the privilege of walking through some of the messiness with them, together.

And in doing so, I realized — or, I remembered — that a full and real life is so much more than the pixels we push and the trials we start.

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Hobbies without expectation

It’s okay to love a hobby the same way you’d love a pet; for its ability to enrich your life without any expectation that it will help you pay the rent. What if we allowed ourselves to devote our time and attention to something just because it makes us happy? Or, better yet, because it enables us to truly recharge instead of carving our time into smaller and smaller pieces for someone else’s benefit?

Mollie Conway

Trying vs. winning

From the box of unanswered (unanswerable?) questions:

Is it enough to try?

I’ve been taught that yes, yes, absolutely YES it is enough to try. Failing is fine. Just do your best, that’s all anyone can ask of you. I’ve heard this philosophy, I’ve preached this philosophy, I’ve lived it. As a parent, it is baked into my core. As a people manager, it is indispensable to motivating my team. We can control our effort, we can’t control results. All you need to do is try. Trying is enough.

I am Team Try through-and-through.

But lately, I’ve been tempted by Team Win.

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On Managing One’s Feelings, by Dallas Willard

Interestingly, “growing up” is largely a matter of learning to hide our spirit behind our face, eyes, and language so that we can evade and manage others to achieve what we want and avoid what we fear.

The child’s face is a constant epiphany because it doesn’t yet know how to do this. It cannot manage its face. This is also true of adults in moments of great feeling—which is one reason why feeling is both greatly treasured and greatly feared.

– Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy

Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters

by Portia Nelson

I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
but, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
my eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

V

I walk down another street.