If you’ve ever driven westbound toward New York City on the Long Island Expressway (the LIE, also known as the largest parking lot in the world), you’ll know the view I’m talking about. It’s the view as you’re traveling through Queens, up and down the hills and around the bends. You see the City spread out ahead of you, in all its glory. Depending upon how close you are to the Midtown Tunnel, you can see the Freedom Tower, the Empire State Building, and many other New York City landmarks. Yet, that’s not what I find the most impactful. It’s the sheer volume of these tall buildings, laid out on the grid, one after the other. Some taller than the next; as if they were reaching toward the sky to touch it.
I’ve seen this view many times; as a child and an adult. Each time I am in awe and I feel the “wow” factor, which distracts me from the insane traffic on the road in front of me. No matter what is going on in my life or in the world; no matter what I’m feeling or the kind of day I’m having and no matter how discouraged or broken down I feel, I’m renewed by that skyline each time. The energy is pulsing and palpable; the impossible becomes possible; the potential seems unlimited. The lights seem to beckon: “Come on over, and bring everything you’ve got. You can make it here!” I think The Chairman of the Board was onto something with his song.
I feel this energy every day when I walk around this city I call home. It propels me to get up; get moving. The neighbor’s door slams, the elevator dings out its arrival on my floor outside my apartment. Horns are honking outside and the construction crews’ jackhammers have been hard at work since the sunrise. There is action going on out there, and the city is saying, “everyone is up, they’re going to get theirs, what are you doing in bed?”
I thrive here and I think this is one of the reasons why. The pace drives me; the spirits of competition and achievement seems to flow in the water. Maybe this is the “New York Tough” that Governor Cuomo talks about. Just when I think I can’t take another step; when I think I can’t, and I should throw in the towel and quit; I see and hear the presence of all the other New Yorkers gearing up for another day; starting a second shift; transitioning to their side hustle; going out and getting it done. It lifts me up and fortifies me to go the next step, another hour, another day. I pick myself, dust myself off and try again. I am unstuck.
When my clients get stuck, I ask them to reflect on what moves them. Their answers sometimes surprise me. So I ask you, readers, what moves you? Where do you find the energy in your environment? What helps you see, if only for a minute, the possible inside the impossible and to keep going? I look forward to hearing from you…