motivation · reason · reflection · Short term

Small Wins Add Up

I venture a guess that you want to live a full and successful life. The question is: How do you accomplish what can seem to be an overwhelmingly daunting task?  I don’t claim to have the answer, but maybe this story will help you get started.

I awoke this morning feeling a little tired. I knew I had things to do and places to be so I powered through the groggy feeling and headed to the bathroom. Before I washed my face and brushed my teeth, I danced. Nothing special– just a little jig in front of the mirror to make myself smile. After I achieved that smile I cleaned away the sweaters from my teeth and the sleep boogers from my eyes.

Then I jumped in the car and headed out to meet my boss. He was picking me up and driving us to the airport to fly back to Spokane where we would prepare for another week of growth at work. As we cruised down Interstate 5, small talk and laughs filled the car. The Seahawks were playing in Seattle so we gave ourselves plenty of time to get to the airport.  We had planned for heavy traffic–but we planned wrong. There was not much traffic, which meant that even after checking in and making it through TSA security we arrived at our gate two hours before takeoff.

With two hours to kill, we had two options: #1. Get frustrated that we didn’t time our arrival closer to takeoff. Or #2. Enjoy the extra time we had by finding a way to entertain ourselves. With smiles on our faces, we decided on option #2.  We laughed, joked, jumped over airport chairs, and simply enjoyed ourselves. The time flew by and before we knew it we were boarding the plane and heading for home. 

I arrived home and unpacked my bag. I sat for a moment contemplating my next move. Should I take a nap or turn on the TV and zone out or find something fun to do?  (If you are still reading, you can probably guess which choice I went with!)  I decided to throw on a wind breaker and head for the golf course.

It was only about 90 minutes until sunset, but I knew I could get through nine holes. I started my solo trek along the course. Hole 1 consisted of a drive, a chip, a putt, and a putt. It made for a nice par on hole 1. Holes 2-8 were somewhat similar with a few shanks and duffs mixed in. All in all, I was still smiling and happy to be where I was. As I approached the ninth tee box I was feeling good. I was alive, healthy and exercising. I teed up the ball and pulled out the big dog (driver) to attack a 288 yard par four. My back swing was slow and steady. Pausing at the peak of my swing I began to pull the driver back to the dimpled ball with increasing force. PING! The ball took off like a rocket high into the air. As it reached its peak high in the pink sky, the corners of my mouth begin to turn upward. As the ball fell back below the horizon it landed softly on the short, lush grass of the green. I noticed that the golf pro was parking the last of the golf carts in the garage at the clubhouse, which was the backdrop of the ninth hole. He watched my shot come to rest four feet from the hole. I replaced the big dog and headed for the green. As I approached my ball, I noticed that the pro had parked the last cart and had closed the garage. I removed my putter from my bag, pulled the pin, and addressed the ball. Calming my nerves, I tapped in for an eagle. (A score two strokes below par.) I pulled the ball from the cup, replaced the flag stick, and swung my bag over my shoulder. “Not too bad,” I said aloud. As I left the course, the pro said, “Nice shot back there.” 

“Thanks. I made the eagle, so that was nice.”, I replied. 

“I know. I was watching you from the clubhouse. Well played.”, he said.

Chuckling a little I said, “Not a bad way to enjoy a Sunday sunset.” He and I headed out on our separate ways.

When I arrived home I reflected on the day and the small wins that I was able to accomplish:

#1.  I woke up and I got to dance.

#2.  I had the luxury of hot running water so I was able to clean myself and prepare for the day.

#3.  I arrived on time for my flight and once again enjoyed the thrill of flying in an airplane.

#4.  I shared jokes with my boss on the ride to the airport and we enjoyed each others’ company.

#5.  I got to golf, which is something that brings me joy and piece of mind and is a fun way to exercise.

#6.  I played the game well.

#7.  I appreciated that the golf pro acknowledged my play.

#8.  I finished golfing in time to see a beautiful sunset.

#9.  I got home safely.

#10.  I am able to share my successes of the day with you with the hope that you can gain something from them.

In short, I can’t tell you what it means to live a full and successful life. I do know that it looks a little different for each one of us. I also know that it takes a lot of small wins to get there, and I for one, think that the small wins add up to the biggest win of all…a smile and a satisfied soul.

I wish you the best in your endeavors and I trust that you will find a way to move forward in your journey of living active.

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