Perspective, Wave Whisperers & An Unforgettable Trip to Normandy
What the D-Day sites taught me about grounding myself (by surrounding myself with mentors)
October 18, 2019
I saw the ocean before I saw the beach. And as we rolled into the parking lot, a sudden hush fell over the car. The five of us had been looking forward to this experience for months. And the trip from Paris had been filled with excited chatter. But as we closed in on our destination, the profoundness was beyond words.
So picturesque, I felt as though it leapt out of a children’s storybook. And yet so historic, it was the subject of world-renowned novels.
The small mound dividing the parking lot from the sand was just high enough for the beach grass to meet the sky, creating a pastel painting in motion. Threads of sunlight broke up an otherwise overcast day, and as I stepped out of the car, I was struck by a sense of peace.
The place commanded respect.
We were at Omaha beach. The largest and most renowned of the five D-Day beaches. It was the 75th anniversary of what was, at the time, the largest seaborne invasion in history. And world leaders had recently gathered to pay their respects to over 150,000 brave souls who’d landed along a 50-mile stretch to fight for our freedoms.
We made our way to the mound like baseball players ready to pitch. And as I came to the top, I paused to take in the view.
The beach seemed to go on forever… and the magnitude of what happened there suddenly hit me.
I wrote about my visit to the D-Day sites back in September 2021. I’d signed up for a writing course with the intent to write exclusively about my work. But I was reminded that our professional undertakings are shaped by our personal ones when I found myself unable to write my first assignment on anything other than this profound experience I’d had (despite forcibly trying to write about work from several angles).
I thought about my D-Day essay last week, when I saw this reply to a post I’d shared on pushing through fear to achieve your goals:
It’s a fair point. Compared to our grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ generations, most of us live a sheltered life free from war. And while that doesn’t negate the stress and anxiety we feel in our daily lives and work, it can be a powerful jolt of reality when we’re spiralling.
Putting Things in Perspective
I’ve shared in past newsletters how important it’s been, over the past eighteen months of my solopreneur journey, to surround myself with people who challenge me to think BIGGER than I’m accustomed to.
But I’ve realized in launching my course this past week that an equally valuable part of having people ahead of me in my inner circle is their deadpan reaction to things that seem stressful or intimidating to me.
For instance, I expected tons of reassurance about launching my course. Lots of advice and questions to make sure I had everything covered. But on the contrary, my mentors acted as if it was no big deal. They simply told me I had already “arrived” and was ready to rock it.
Their faith in me calmed me down when I could’ve easily started stressing about every potential mishap. And I realized the more I’m around people taking on BIGGER projects than I am, the more empowered I am to level up.
As I get closer to bigger goals, I see they’re not as complex, nor as scary as they appeared from a distance. Moreover, my track record for getting through all my past challenges and bad days is 10/10. Yours is too. That’s a powerful realization, right?
Thinking back to the beaches of Normandy, I can see the waves rolling in slowly and smoothly. I can hear them break before they glide up the shores and back again like a gentle melody keeping everything calm.
I think of people ahead of us in our journeys in a similar way. They can propel you forward like a wave taking you to shore when you’re otherwise drifting, and they can smooth you out when you’re crumbling under the stress of being outside of your comfort zone.
My question to you is, who do you consider your ‘wave whisperers’ and how can you leverage their guidance better?
Wishing you a wonder-full week.
All the best,
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