It’s Saturday, February 17th, 9:23 PM, and I am exhausted.
I just got home from snowboarding at wild Mountain, in Taylors Falls, MN. It’s a really shitty and pathetic hill, and I try my best not to go snowboarding in Minnesota - It’s always a disappointment - but I actually had a blast skiing and snowboarding with my family. I went with some of my family because my nephew, Justice, just turned nine. Nine years old… Unbelievable. I remember the day he was born. I remember the girl I was dating, I remember the clothes I was wearing, I remember the car I was driving. Time is a crazy thing. Justice is one of my best friends and we have already been all over the world together, but that’s another story I’ll save for another time.
As I was saying, I just got home from being away all day, and I am exhausted. You see, IVY, as busy as it keeps me, isn’t the only job I have. I work for a company called Honest Media, and this job has required quite a bit of travel as of late. Not that I’m complaining - Travel is a wonderful thing, and something I like to do every chance I get. I heard this quote about travel lately that I really love:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
- Titus. A man I met on my recent trip to Kisumu, Kenya.
I love this quote, and to me, it might be speaking about a number of things, but mostly about people. There’s something I always say about travel too, and it goes like this:
“The most valuable thing you will ever find in travel is People & Perspective. Everything else is just a bonus, including the view.”
In my travels lately, I have met some of the most beautiful people. Any time I’m traveling and I meet these wonderful people, I can’t help but think about the IVY community and how beautiful it is. A group of passionate, intentional, impact making, diverse, gritty and wonderful people. Everywhere I go, everyone I meet, I am reminded how blessed I am to be a part of a community of such people.
OK, back to the last 30 days:
One month ago, January 17th, I jumped on a plane. I went to DC and attended a charity ball for an organization Honest Media will be doing some work with in 2019 and beyond. It was crazy - Mike Pence showed up and spoke at the event! Whether you’re a fan or not, it’s still kind of wild. I came home. Less than a week later I jumped on a plane and went to Chicago. From there I jumped on another plane and went to Dubai. I’ve always wanted to go to Dubai. The tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, is in Dubai, and I have wanted to see it for about 10 years. It’s honestly kind of a bucket list thing for me, and was absolutely insane to see. We stayed in Dubai, just for a little bit, and then got on a plane and went to Nairobi, Kenya. We transferred planes there and finally landed in Kisumu. We spent a week there helping host a workshop with about 220 orphan leaders from 8 different countries. We also spent a lot of time out in the field photographing some orphanages, and families who had recently been reunified with their children. Much like IVY, Honest Media is a for profit business, but is very intentional to make impact and change in the world. We are partnering with an organization that is working hard to get 1 Million Children HOME in the next thousand days though a campaign my company built called 1MILLIONHOME. Yes, I know, it is a crazy big dream and goal, but you know what? We’re going to do it. I came home from Kenya and the total number of hours that it took to travel that far was 36. I felt tired. I was home for 1 day and then I left for Colorado with my team to meet with a client for a couple days, and then to go and scope out some snowboarding for the upcoming IVY Adventures trip we are taking in March! The snow was good. Much much better than Wild Mountain. I’m freaking pumped. I came home, and got to be here for 4 days this time! Last week I ended up taking a last minute client trip to NYC. I love New York City, but guess what? Yup, it makes me feel exhausted.
So, back to my car - Here I am reflecting on all of this and I can’t help but think about how awesome it is that I’ve been able to travel this much. I am so blessed. This is my dream. It’s been my dream ever since I was a kid. I remember being 12 years old and thinking,”I don’t care what I do for a job, I just want to be happy. I want my happiness to define my success, not my success define my happiness. As long as I’m happy, I’ll be successful” You know what? I’m really really happy….and exhausted. Honestly, that’s what I want. I want to get to 70 or 80 years old and be absolutely spent, knowing I left everything on the field.
As I’m sitting here, I started thinking about the “hustle and grind” culture. I started thinking about all of the kids that come up to me and try to talk about how all they do is hustle, and they’re trying to get on my level of grind, and honestly, I got a little bit sad. Guys, I am a hard worker. I have been ever since I was a kid. I love the idea that I can put my hands to work, and earn money from doing so, and I think it’s a beautiful thing to work hard. But the whole culture of hustle is NOT what matters. What matters are the time you take to stop and talk to a stranger that you might never see again, only just to hear their story and let them know someone is listening. What matters is the times it COSTS you to make impact on someone else. What matters are the times you sit still, not doing anything - not trying to produce anything. Just being still and giving thanks.
I love to work hard, but I refuse to glorify the HUSTLE in a way that celebrates it over the art of sitting still and being content. Yes, work hard, but don’t get caught up in the idea that if you’re not working yourself senseless, you’re not doing enough.
Recently I made a friend that tells me every single time she sees me, “Steve, you’re doing enough”. Those simple words are so meaningful and impactful.
I also want to note that as awesome as the past 30 days were, they were filled with fear, doubt, loneliness, exhaustion and sickness.
No matter what you see people post online, everyone struggles with all of the things I just listed. Don’t get caught up in the hype. Don’t let someone else paint an unrealistic picture that you constantly have to try and live up to. It’s not worth chasing.
To end this blog I just want to say something very simple:
Work hard, rest often.
And you are enough.
You are doing enough.
Stay humble and take time to stop moving. You’ll learn so much about yourself and the time you spend keeping yourself busy.