As I have acquired additional seasoning in life (aka gotten older), I’ve learned to appreciate words of wisdom from those even more seasoned than myself. I will deny writing this blog if you let this secret out, but one of my favorite mentors to learn from is the one and only Tim McKey. Tim is known for his famous “Timisims,” random sports trivia knowledge, and playlists like no other. Believe me, without this leader in my life, I wouldn’t know a quarterback from a linebacker, what “too much sugar for a dime” means, or why Tim talks about Billie Joe every 3rd of June.
I have been privileged to listen to Tim present dozens of times on many different topics. A couple of years ago, Tim was presenting on the topic of self-awareness to a mastermind-type group Vista hosts twice a year. At the time, this seemed like another touchy-feely, get-to-know-your-inner-self lecture. But the more I listened, the more I learned (from Tim, of all people!). The takeaway for me from this presentation was about “going with your second thought.”
Challenging myself to not go with the very first thoughts, words, or actions that jumped into my head meant giving my brain a moment to process before allowing my Enneagram 1 (gut triad) self to think, speak, or do. For those of us who are natural reactors, fixers, or doers, this simple life lesson can be a difficult one to learn and take to heart.
How second thoughts lead me down the path toward growth
Over the past couple of years, I have tried to reflect and become more self-aware in my professional and personal life. Honestly, up to the point of hearing Tim speak about second thoughts, I wasn’t taking time to pour into myself. I was just hoping I would acquire growth and development with more trips around the sun. If you had asked me then, I would have told you I was too busy and too consumed with day-to-day work to make time to invest in myself. If there’s one thing you should take away from this blog, it’s this: You are important. Your growth is important. As Tim would say, “We all have the same 24/7 – MAKE time.”
There have been four vital tools I have used to grow, both personally and professionally. These tools have made a great impact and have helped me dig deeper into who I am and why I approach things the way I do. I can honestly say the practice of pouring into myself has exponentially increased the rate of my growth as a person and professional. For me, books, podcasts, an impactful mentor, and moments of sincere self-reflection have made all the difference. I am much more self-aware now, not perfect, but more aware. Most likely, I will never have the poise and self-control my mentor Stephanie Demont possesses, but I am much more in tune with the impact I might have on someone, good or bad.
Because the path of second thoughts and the journey of growth for me means embracing the idea of generosity in spirit and knowledge, I wanted to share a few of my go-to tools.
In the presentation I mentioned, Tim also discussed the definition of the word sonder. Coined by John Koenig in his Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows: sonder is “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own — populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness — an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed…”
People are experiencing their own successes and accomplishments, trials and tribulations, life and death. I get wrapped up in my own life, and if I am not careful, forget there are eight billion other people in the world who have their own individual experiences. As you walk your path, remember it’s a great big world, and people are complicated. Take it easy on others and on yourself. “The more you practice self-awareness, the more your second thoughts will become your first.” — Tim McKey