Brick Walls are Cool in the Midwest Too
Turns out brick walls are cool in the Midwest too, specifically Michiana (combination of the border towns between northern Indiana and southern Michigan), where I ended up for the past few weeks and watched the weather change from snow to sun back to snow.
Everyone laughed when I said I came for the weather, it was the more light-hearted way of describing why I would leave Southern California for a soul-searching trip on the tail end of a typical Midwest winter. I romanticized the laid back nature of my trip and took advantage of everything I could. I also thought a lot about the line between marketing and transparency in personal relationships. And if I learned anything, it's that no matter how much your rent is, the people sitting in your living room will determine your productivity, happiness, and overall outlook on life.
Day to Day
The fact is, the trip wasn't all soul-searching. My second film, Crowning Jules, is in pre-production and our crew was in town for several meetings. (For a chance to be in the movie and to learn more, click HERE.) Other than working, my day to day, all to the soundtrack of Brad Paisley's "Flyover States" playing in my head, was filled with:
- Working on my stickshift skills in a '94 Honda Civic (this car is the backbone of America and turns out what better state to learn to drive a manual transmission than in Indiana, "The Crossroads of America."
- Playing fetch with a black and white cat named Bruce.
- Getting back into the gym and knocking out some fitness goals.
- Sipping on locally sourced Indiana Whiskey
- Reading "Scary Close" by Donald Miller and feeling like he must have followed my personal relationships around for the past 10 years as the central case study for the book.
- Attending Oasis Granger, a local church on the forefront of the Grace Message movement
Tim Ferris, one of my many man-crushes, talks in several of his essays about the idea of time wealth and income arbitration; basically the concept that your money can go farther in a far off country. For me Indiana was a far off country and this was the first time I felt what he was talking about as I took advantage of the laid back lifestyle in every way I could.
Dropping the Act
This was the subtitle of Don's book and he was exploring what caused him to desire applause instead of intimacy. Kind of ironic timing for picking it up, I'm a marketer at heart and it's easy to talk big about any project I'm working on or any trip I'm taking. Every time you're asked the question, "What do you do?", is a chance to market yourself and whenever I go somewhere new, the question comes several times. Truth is I have a great answer to the question.
It's easier to answer the question for strangers I'm meeting for the first time rather than friends and family I've known my whole life or become close with. I like the rush and am addicted to the idea of meeting someone new. I like performing and managing my impression on others. I like coaching others on how to manage their impressions on others. Admittedly, building intimacy is something I know little about or have experience with.
I also don't think oversharing is the solution, because I've been on that side of spectrum too and that creates its own set of challenges.
Life to the Full
If you're building a platform to share a message or have the desire to do big things, take risks, live life to the full, or however you phrase your dreams; pursuing them is eventually going to cause a divide in your life. There will be awkward conversations with a few people you grew up with that don't understand why your social media is suddenly talking about things that are foreign to them.
If you stop moving when that happens you'll never make it to your dreams. Remember that someone's advice or criticsm usually reflects more on them and their experience than exactly on your experience.
Go somewhere new, even if it's Indiana, and you'll find out about yourself, and you'll have a new appreciation for home.