A few months ago, Jennifer and I spent three incredible weeks in Italy. It was a dream come true for us, and it lived up to every hope we had going in. Well, most of them. Apart from all that we’d experience, it was my intention to find some quiet time away from the busyness of my life – to be still and hopefully receive some clarity and new direction. But I was in Italy, people! If there was a moment of stillness, I promptly filled it with a slice of pizza, a bowl of pasta, gelato or a walk to see something I couldn’t see here. I’m still shedding the seven pounds I brought back as a souvenir, but it was totally worth it.
On the last night of our trip, Jen and I recounted it all. How had we been so fortunate? How was this our life?
“Any regrets?”, she asked me. ”Anything we missed that you’ll be sad about?
It didn’t take much thought. It had been nagging me for days. I’d squandered my opportunity for stillness, and I was sad to be leaving without a new piece of the puzzle. As I laid my head on my pillow, I offered up a quick prayer. I admitted my mistake, and asked that I wouldn’t miss anything meant for me because of my neglect. But we were leaving the next afternoon, so I had little hope for an epiphany.
There was a cafe across the street, and I awoke to the sounds of cups clanging, bicycle bells ringing and general Italian awesomeness. It was earlier than I would have chosen to wake up, so I was fighting it. I was in that ‘in between’ state when you’re not really asleep anymore, but you’re also not fully awake when I heard it. From somewhere inside me, two little words.
It didn’t make sense to me at first. I pushed the thought out of my mind and tried to get back to sleep. A few moments later, though, I heard it again.
At this point, I knew I wouldn’t be going back to sleep, so I chased the thought. What does that even mean? One of my defining traits is that I’m a reasonable person. I reason my way out of problems. I reason my way to my goals. Why would I wanna change that? It didn’t make sense. I tried to push it away again, but the conversation had been started.
“Chance, you’re so reasonable, it gets in your way.” What? I didn’t agree. (I know. I didn’t agree with myself. It’s a certain kind of crazy. I’ll admit it.) But as I got up and began my morning, I chewed on it and by the afternoon, I began to step into the fullness of the words that woke me up.
I’ve spent a lifetime assessing possible outcomes for my actions, and then pursuing the best of what I can predict. I often push beyond where other people might choose to settle. I might even push beyond my own comfort zone. But so often, I’ve stopped short of being outlandish with my hopes or expectations. I might strive for a giant step forward, but were I to creep over that line – if I began to dream bigger than what seemed logically attainable, I’d snap myself out of it. That’s too much! Not for you! Who do you think you are?
For example, in my field, with my experience, it’s reasonable to think I could earn x amount of money. As a matter of progress for my family, I might hope to earn 20% more this year than last. That’s a pretty bold goal. It would require a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, but it might be doable. But what if I wanted to make 50% more? Fifty percent… Now that’s just crazy! Even if I tried, that couldn’t happen.
Be realistic. Be practical. Be reasonable, Chance.
So many of us set our sites on the best of what we can easily see ahead of us. But why are we shooting for what we can make happen? Shouldn’t we be reaching beyond what’s expected for something extraordinary?
What if you were meant to live an uncommon life?
You were, you know.
What if you truly believed there was greater purpose for you?
What if you expected greater things than you could easily predict?
Let’s be done with being realistic! We’ve accepted those limits for far too long. Let’s rattle some cages! Let’s believe for things that would blow our minds were they to come true. And let’s do the work that could make it so. The worst that could happen is that we’d wake up with hope and direction each day, investing our lives for something we’re passionate about – something worthy of our effort. Even if we came up short, that’d be a pretty great life.
Spend some time with these questions that are rocking my world.
If I reach for what’s reasonable for my life -
Who will I likely become?
What will I do and have?
What could I give?
How could I help?
What’s a reasonable legacy for a person like me?
Now – reach beyond reason. Consider your heart’s cry and your life’s message.
If you leaned into the best of who you are, making the most of the rest of your days -
Who could you become?
What might you accomplish?
What would you have?
What could you give?
How might you change the world around you and beyond your reach?
What could you leave for generations to come?
You were meant to be unreasonable.