on what I learned from the Marines

For better or worse, I was raised by a Marine. That means I learned to work hard, suck it up, and get things done uncomplainingly. I learned how to make my bed so a quarter could bounce on it. I learned to offer no defensive explanation when I got in trouble even if I could see no earthly way that it was my fault. I learned that the team is bigger and more important than I am. I learned that courage comes from the French word for heart and that courage is sometimes as good as love.

Like all childhood lessons, they’ve each had to be un-learned to some degree.

But one little useful thing has been showing up for me, almost daily.

“Don’t just stand there.” When you’re completely stuck or paralyzed with not-knowing, pick up a broom and sweep the room. Or take care of the task required by that one piece of paper on your desk you’ve been avoiding. Or that email at the bottom of your in-box. Do one small thing. One thing at a time.

And in taking one small action, the way starts to shake clear. Next steps reveal themselves.

Don’t just stand there.