Life is so interesting. We work hard for opportunities, for money, to reach our dreams. We set goals and kill ourselves to reach them. And even when our wants and wishes and dreams do start to happen, it’s not always what we thought it would be. Isn’t it ironic? How many times have you thought to yourself “Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it?” Well I’ve certainly thought that while standing at the crossroads of which amazing things in my life to say “Yes” to and which to say “No” to or maybe not No but “Not Now”.
You may be thinking, wow, Tobi you got what you wanted and you’re not happy! But it’s not that at all. What I mean is that life has this interesting way of offering you tons of choices and opportunities and many of them are good and a few of them are Great. And you have to be able to tell the difference to craft and create and mold the life you really want. Finding Joy…that is my objective. And for me, finding joy means saying no a lot.
One of my all-time favorite quotes and ideas is this…”You have to say No to the Good so you can say YES to the Best!” I have been highly focused on this quote for the last few years. It’s one of my mantras when life presents so many opportunities to me. I can’t say yes to everything. Well I can, but that doesn’t equal the life I want. I’ve tried it and it only caused me to be tired or overwhelmed or overworked or unavailable when the GREAT things happened. And that’s not at all what I was looking for. My family and my health suffered when I said yes to the good.
So today’s Secret Sauce is this…Say YES to the Best! Let that sink in. Say YES to the GREAT! Say yes to the BEST for you and say no to EVERYTHING else. This sounds simple but it’s really hard. How do you answer these questions? What is right for me? What do I want? What is my Purpose? Which is my path? How can I say No to this?
And what I often find is that what I thought I wanted turns out to be not exactly what I wanted. It may be close, but it needs a little work. Or it may be completely wrong for me. And that doesn’t mean that I am unhappy with what I get. It’s more like this…I strive for something and work hard to achieve it and I have fun in the process or at least I learn something. And then when I get there, I have to do what I call “Measure and Adjust”. I get to decide if the path I was heading down is the right one or if I need to tweak it a bit or even do a 180 degree turn. And you know what? Nothing is wrong with that. Nothing is wrong with changing your mind when you have more information. Nothing is wrong with wishing you could travel more only to decide you want more time at home. Nothing is wrong with thinking you want a big giant business only to decide a small one fits you best. Nothing is wrong with wanting a big house and then deciding you want less to maintain and less to pay for.
The exciting part is that we can determine our own destiny. And yes, of course there are some things we have to do for a while until we can say no to them. For example we can’t quit our jobs to start our dream jobs if we have a family to feed and no other source of income. But the best news is these choices are ours to make. And if we are going to be happy we have to go deep inside and see what we really want. And then we can start putting things into place so before long we can say no to everything that isn’t serving us, even that old “bill-paying” job that wasn’t part of our Best, because we have created a new way of living and supporting those we love that is truly right for us. Making these transitions are scary. But we have to have the guts to say NO to the good so we can say YES to the best.
John F. Kennedy said to those that “much is given, much is required”. And I know he likely meant this from a perspective of service to others and I agree. But I think this is also profound in just thinking about what is right for each of us. When we are given many opportunities and avenues in life, there is a lot required of us to make sure we are making the right choices. There is big responsibility to be true to ourselves and those we love and those we can help. There is the huge job of picking the path that lets us live in our sweet spot and live up to our potential and use our talents and gifts and to find joy and fulfillment. WOW! No pressure, right?
One of the biggest killers of picking the right path is FOMO. What’s FOMO you ask? It’s “Fear Of Missing Out”. Yep, there it is. That little devil sitting on our shoulder saying “But all your friends will be there” or “You’ve worked so hard for this and now you are going to change your mind” or “What if people think I’m a flake” or any other number of things that run through our heads when we know that we are saying yes to good and fun and fabulous, but it doesn’t align with what we say we really want. It isn’t the BEST. So beware of FOMO. It’s the thing that will keep your dream life just out of reach. Be patient my friends and be diligent. Say No to the good and make room for the BEST!
Here’s to wishing you the Courage in 2016 to make your life exactly what you were meant to be. Here’s to your BEST life.
And speaking of the best, sometimes the best for me means living life to the fullest with those I love, like baking with my daughter every chance I get. I gave you a glimpse of this beauty in my blog post yesterday. Yes, sometimes we CAN have our cake and eat it too and today’s recipe is the Best Cake Ever! My Sweet Potato Cake with White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Icing courtesy of Martha Stewart Living Magazine about 15 years ago.
Here’s wishing you a Sweet 2016 with those you love and to Living your Best Life (while eating the BEST cake)!
Sweet Potato Cake with White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Icing
- 2 pounds (about 3) sweet potatoes
- 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
- Unsalted butter, for pans
- 2 cups cake flour, (not self-rising), plus more for pans
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons brandy
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted macadamia nuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
- 1 pound white chocolate
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Coat potatoes with 1/4 cup vegetable oil, and place on baking sheet. Bake until tender, 30 to 40 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove skin, and mash flesh with a fork into coarse puree.
- Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. Butter two 8-by-1 1/2-inch round cake pans, dust with flour, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup vegetable oil; beat on medium speed until well combined. Add the cooled sweet potatoes; mix until combined.
- Sift together cake flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; mix into sweet potato mixture. Mix in vanilla and brandy until combined. Remove batter from mixer; fold in 1 cup macadamia nuts by hand.
- Evenly distribute cake batter into prepared pans, and transfer to the oven. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let pans cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack; cool completely, about 1 1/4 hours.
- Meanwhile, chop white chocolate into small pieces; set aside. Bring 1 cup cream to a boil; pour over chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Chill for 30 to 40 minutes.
- When chocolate mixture has cooled, pour remaining cup cream into an electric mixer; whip on medium until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture until fully incorporated.
- Cut each cake layer in half horizontally, creating four layers. Spread 2/3 cup chocolate frosting on one layer, then stack next layer on top, and frost. Repeat frosting-and-stacking process until each layer is frosted. Spread remaining frosting on sides and top of cake. Arrange remaining 1/2 cup macadamia nuts on top of cake, and serve.