I have seen friends walk away from relationships, jobs, and promising careers when all they really needed was some time and space to gather their thoughts, slow their heart rate, and rediscover their joy.
I’m not saying you should always, “hang on one more day at a time and wait for things to get better.” I am saying you need to recognize the changing seasons in your life.
Bobbie Gentry knew when it was time to stop, turn the page, and begin a new chapter.
Bobbie knocked the Beatles off the #1 spot on the music charts with “Ode to Billy Joe,” a song that she wrote, performed, and produced. She won Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the Grammy Awards. Eleven more of her songs made the music charts. She was a major headline act in Las Vegas and she co-hosted a successful TV series with country music superstar Glen Campbell.
America watched as Bobbie Gentry provided the music for a major motion picture about her imaginary Billie Joe McAllister, then performed “Mama, a Rainbow” for her mother who was seated in the studio during the filming of a television special.
The next day, Bobby quietly retired from the spotlight without fanfare, returning no phone calls, answering no letters, and granting no interviews. She had been in the spotlight for 14 years when she whispered, “Enough,” and walked away 41 years ago.
What triggered it? Nothing. She simply realized that a season in her life had ended.
Solomon spoke famously about the seasons of life in the third chapter of Ecclesiastes:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
… He has made everything beautiful in its time.
… I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.
One can think of the seasons of life in a few different ways.
Financially, we go from survival to acquisition to distribution.
Relationally, we go from seeking, to finding, to celebrating.
In business, we go from learner, to doer, to teacher. This is essentially the Hero’s Journey, a sequence of events that is nearly impossible to escape:
1. We meet the Hero in modest circumstances.
2. He encounters the Call to Adventure.
3. He meets the Old Man in the Woods who prepares him for what lies ahead.
4. He then rises to the challenge of adventure and discovers abilities within himself he didn’t know were there.
In the Bible we see Moses, Joseph, Samson, David and many others, including women such as Hannah, Esther, Abigail, Ruth, and Deborah as they encounter the Hero’s Journey.
In literature and in the movies, we see Bilbo in The Hobbit, Frodo in The Lord of the Rings, Daniel LaRusso in The Karate Kid, Simba in The Lion King, Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Neo in The Matrix, and Luke Skywalker in Star Wars.
Luke was just a goober on the backwater planet of Tatooine when he was called to adventure. Obi-Wan Kenobi was the Old Man in the Woods who prepared him for his journey.
Luke was again a goober with a wrecked spaceship in a swamp on Dagobah when he encountered Yoda, his second Old Man in the Woods who would prepare him for his second adventure.
Which Luke Skywalker are you?
Are you first-movie Luke in the middle of your first adventure?
Are you in-between movies Luke waiting for your second adventure to begin?
Are you second-movie Luke? And if so, have you learned anything from Yoda, that ridiculous little person you originally thought was a nuisance?
Or is there a chance you have entered the celebration and distribution phase of your life? Are you now the Old Man (or Woman) in the Woods, ready to empower Bilbo, Frodo, Daniel, Simba, Katniss, Dorothy, Neo, and Luke to succeed in their own adventures?
I would argue that the most fulfilling adventures of all are those of the Old Men and Women in the Woods, Gandalf, Mr. Miyagi, Mufasa and Rafiki, Haymitch, Glinda the Good Witch of the North, Morpheus, Obi-Wan and Yoda.
If you’re ready to encourage and advise the next generation of Heroes, please remember that the Hero never goes looking for the person who will empower them. The Old Man (or Woman) in the Woods simply appears alongside the Hero in the Hero’s moment of need.
Don’t wait to be asked.
“When a friend is in trouble, don’t annoy him by asking if there is anything you can do. Think up something appropriate and do it.” – E.W. Howe
Gosh, that was a long memo.
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Great. You’re going to love what Indy Beagle has for you in the rabbit hole.
Roy H. Williams
Rob Lohman was sitting in jail facing a 13-year prison sentence. Alcohol and drug addiction, gambling, bankruptcies, and a suicide attempt were just scenery along the road that brought him there. Rob was released from prison after less than a year. He has turned his life around and used savvy marketing to build a business guiding thousands of people to a fresh start after hitting rock-rock bottom. Your eyes will bug out as Rob tells roving reporter Rotbart that the same character traits that result in personal failure can be harnessed to rebound and achieve unprecedented success. The time is now. MondayMorningRadio.com