What? You thought this was about sex? Sorry, though I’m happy to entertain you on that note. Drop a comment and I will be happy to write a blog related to your question/comment.
My family and I (wife, 5 kids, and large dog) set out on an adventure a little more than 10 weeks ago. It started as a 40-day RV trip in our brand new home on wheels that was inspired as we planned to visit family for a week, 2800 miles (4500 kilometers) from home nearly as far as you can travel in one direction in the continental United States.
And of course, being the visionary and adventurer that I am, I led my family into what would become an 8000 mile (13000 kilometers) journey through 22 states and 1 Canadian province. We learned a lot about RVing and as always, we learned a lot about ourselves, about our team.
We Needed to Adapt
It was exhausting at times. There are some things you just can’t plan. Like having your side window shot out by a bb-gun and some snot-nosed kid (or twisted adult) who likes to shoot passing vehicles. That’s definitely hard to plan and usually unexpected.
Burning up our tow-vehicle brakes while towing, that too is hard to plan. It does happen to more people than it should, but we’re not most people. And the reason we locked up our brakes was different than most. So even though we planned to avoid that crisis, we missed one angle of possibility: a $600 lesson learned.
I drove two-thirds of that trip. It was about halfway through before I was nearly exhausted from driving, writing and leading the PIQ Living team (who work on my group mentoring platform) that I was ready for my wife to take the wheel and her turn at learning to drive a 60 foot (18 meters) vehicle. She did a great job and it helped me to get Balanced once again.
Our trip was cut short with a call that my wife’s 86-year-old mother was dying. So we headed home to care for her those last days. Only 13 days after arriving home, we were back on the road again, this time 1000 miles (1600 kilometers) to have services and bury her mother next to her father who passed 10 years ago.
We had already been planning an Autumn trip through the eastern United States once again, the visionary and adventurer kicked in and we made the funeral the first leg of the trip. It was great as we were able to spend a lot of time with my wife’s family as well as with my family.
Making a Difference
My wife asked me to speak at her mother’s service and the preparation in my mind of what to say limited my sleep the night before. It was an intimate service and I wanted to speak about Legacy because funerals are a time when we all naturally think about our own mortality and Legacy.
My mother-in-law was not the friendliest of people. Not to her siblings. Not to her sisters-in-law. Not to her only child. And certainly not to her son-in-law. So in my lesson to the small crowd gathered, I found the humor in the first meeting between my mother-in-law and me which occurred at 4 a.m over 20 years ago. The most unusual time to meet your future in-laws.
And it worked. At the end of the funeral, even the most guarded relatives thanked me and encouraged me for my talk and how it touched them.
My mother, step-father, and sister made the long drive for the service which was so great to see. We always have great energy around them and they feel the same. My sister at the reception that followed gave me great energy and encouragement by noting how much she enjoyed watching how I serve others. Rather than focus on ourselves and relax at the reception dinner that we hosted, we instead focused on our guests, letting them grieve, share stories and enjoy the time and company of all who had gathered.
And it wasn’t until a week later, visiting with my mother that she mentioned the service. It was then I realized that I hadn’t heard what she thought of my talk at the service. So I asked. Her reply knocked me back a bit, something unusual from my otherwise very doting and very generous mother. She had said, “Oh you know it was awesome, but I’m not going to tell you that. Your head will just get bigger.”
Even though I knew her comment was more about her current struggles and her current environment, it still ate at me for another day until we discussed it again and cleared the air. I let her know, that was a very vulnerable moment for me, at that service. A 20-year contentious relationship was officially over and I wanted to reflect on it and get others to reflect on life. Even though my mother-in-law, who had some sweet moments, but was generally self-consumed to all around her, I wanted this closing chapter to be sweet, not contentious, not all in attendance just going through the motions. And it meant a lot to me to hear what my own mother thought of it all.
And again this morning my wife was reading one of my articles and complimented me on it. Sharing with me how it takes her, the reader, on a quiet, reflective journey through my experiences and the readers.
That meant a lot to me coming from my wife. So of course, I thanked her for the energy and mostly for the encouragement. And she replied, “Oh, you don’t need the encouragement, you’re so great at writing.”
We All Need to Know Our Efforts Count
And that is how we arrived at this article today. Know this: great or not great at something, we ALL need encouragement. I do. You do. We ALL do.
When we’re not great at something, we need encouragement to push through the challenges we will face to become great at it. There will be needy people along our path sometimes who don’t want us to be great at something.
And when we do become great at something, we need encouragement to push through the challenges we will face to stay great at it. What we call sustainability. There will be needy people along our path sometimes who resent that we are great at something.
So we all need encouragement. Don’t be stingy. Encourage others. You can use the Bucket Exercise to learn who in your life you should encourage the most and, equally as important, whose encouragement you should seek.
During our RV adventure which has now grown to nearly 9 of the last 11 weeks, we certainly had to lean on each other and my mother and step-father (who also RV) for encouragement.
And yes, we all need sex too so follow your curiosity below knowing that I am happy to encourage you all to have great, happy sex lives as well.