Smack In The Middle:
Never Stop Improving..
What I Learned About Life From Lowes
In those rare moments when I get to watch TV, I prefer to watch my shows On Demand. That way, I get to skip those annoying commercials. Sometimes I run across a show where “fast forward and other functionality may not be available” and I’m forced to wait it out. Ugh. Hate that. (First world problem, I know.)
A few weeks ago, while waiting for my show to start back up, I saw a commercial for Lowe’s home improvement store that really got me thinking. Various people were doing things to spruce up their homes like installing new floors and hanging a chandelier. A voice actor says a few lines and ends it with the Lowe’s tagline “Never Stop Improving.”
Of course, the commercial was created for us to look around our homes and find things that need to be improved. Their hope is that our walls could use a coat of the trendiest, must-have color or that our kitchens are in dire need of new cabinets. When you think about it, there’s always a reason to never stop improving your home.
My home could use some improving, but that’s not what I took away from the commercial. It was as if the voice actor was talking directly to me because what I heard was, “Alexis, never stop improving yourself.” I’ve been hearing this tagline for a couple of years and the reason it probably stands out now is because of where I am in my life.
I decided to investigate why I felt so intrigued by this little statement. A quick trip to Google took me to the Lowe’s newsroom where I found this: “‘Never Stop Improving’ is not just a tagline – it reflects our customers’ mindset about their homes and their lives.”
“Never Stop Improving” definitely reflects my mindset about my life. This is a time that is traditionally known for new beginnings. As I grow, I truly feel like every moment encompasses the world and is ripe for starting fresh. For me, that means I always have a chance to find ways to improve myself.
I don’t write New Year’s resolutions so much as I have a constantly evolving list of goals—a living document, if you will—of things I want to improve in all aspects of my life. I make my goals big enough to cover a lot of ground, but not so big that my journey is more discouraging than uplifting. Here are three of my goals:
To spend a few minutes every day contemplating how wonderful life is.
The unexpected inspiration for this came early one morning. I stepped outside to take out the trash and I looked up. The sun hadn’t quite risen, but I could see the blues, purples, and pinks of the night sky giving way to day. There were more stars than I’ve seen in a while and there was a sliver of moon. It was perfection. I thought about how beautiful this world is and how magnificent it is to be alive at this time.
To do something that requires vast reserves of courage.
My goal is to learn how to swim. I’m 38 and I can’t so much as float. Open water makes me uneasy and nervous. I nearly drowned in a Minnesota lake when I was 14 and that left me with a serious fear of being so deep in water that nothing is under my feet. It’s time to challenge that fear. I feel certain that doing that one thing I don’t think I can do will open more doors of courage and bring other new beginnings.
To challenge my ideas and beliefs.
The things that we think and believe are extremely powerful. They propel us forward, but they often hold us back. We use them to make judgments and decisions. Sometimes our ideas and beliefs are things we unconsciously use to clip our own wings. What if everything we know (or think we know) isn’t true? Or what if they were true then, but they aren’t applicable now? Part of constant improvement for me will be to question myself, but not as a way to pick at my insecurities. Rather, it is a way to alter my perspective. 2013 was a year of having my mind blown by finding out that some things I knew were true have little to no basis in reality. I look forward to making 2014 and beyond more of the same.
This year, this month, this week, this day, this hour, this very moment, I rededicate myself to never stop improving. Hold me to it!
How will you “never stop improving”?
Alexis Trass Walker lives in Gary, Indiana, with her husband and four children. She is managing editor of Good Enough Mother. Read more about Alexis on her blog www.lilliebelle.org or follow her on Twitter @LillieBelle5.