The only guarantee in life

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If you spend too much time
thinking about a thing,
you’ll never get it done. ~ Bruce Lee

In my recent post—“Are you ready to do the thing?”—I talk about the one thing we’ve always dreamed of but have never done. For each of us, that thing probably looks different. Yet no matter how many good intentions we entertain, it won’t happen unless we make it happen. Or until we’ve run out of time. This, for me, is the catalyst. Because if I imagine a future in which I never did “the thing,” I could never forgive myself. I’m at a point where I’ve exposed my fears—of failure, of wasting time, of not being good enough (you name it, I’ve thought it)—and simply run out of excuses. And here’s the bottom line: There are no guarantees. We will never know if we’re good enough, or if we’ll fail. But there is one certainty: we won’t know unless we try.

What are you waiting for?

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Breaking free: rote action is no action

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I write about change. About Someday. About setting goals, taking baby steps, chasing dreams. Extending kindness and sparkles. Eliminating toxic people from our lives; hopefulness. Perseverance. What’s next. And then I “get” busy. Push it all to the back of my closet as I flit from task to task. Pretend I’ve taken hold of life by its proverbial horns. But my tiara is tarnished and I’m tired and all I want to do is jump off the non-stop roller coaster and figure stuff out before it’s too late. I think, for me, discontent no longer points to an unrealized purpose but, rather, my own personal purgatory where life isn’t just passing me by (see “Take action…”). Instead, it’s the rotten stench of anguish and despair that almost suffocates and renders me ineffective. Rote action is no action. Busy-ness can only put off, so long, what must be accomplished to escape from the grip of fear: of failure, regret. The unknown. So, what’s next?

How will you break free?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Never the perfect time: sticking to our priorities

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You know when you plan to do “the thing” and there’s always another thing that comes up? Because life. Last year I devised a plan to apply for my MFA in 2017. My goal was to apply by Feb. 1. Then life happened and pushed out my application to May 1. Now it might be July 1. I mentioned this to a friend who said, “It’s like having kids… you are never really ready for it, just adapt when it happens and, surprisingly, it usually works out just fine.” He’s right: because life. Another friend is embarking on a new adventure of her own, denoting a big change in her life—which means conquering her fears. Change and fear are often synonymous with life, but we do our best to adapt, or to overcome. With that in mind, after work I didn’t pass go or collect $200 but, instead, drove home, stopped procrastinating and made significant progress on my application paperwork. Because life.

What must become your priority?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Fear is *not* a favorite F word

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Fear

Fear can be debilitating. Fear of… failure, the unknown, change, making a mistake, saying the wrong thing, getting hurt, causing pain, running out of time, missing out. Regret. The other day, I made a decision, set my plan in motion and, for several hours, I felt at peace about it. Only, when it came time to execute ‘said’ plan, fear seized and held me captive, resulting in an aborted mission. The solution? I must confront my fears, head on, instead of running away from whatever situation I’m facing. Otherwise, I will never be able to make peace with the past and move forward into the present that’s waiting for me to delight in. But this requires courage that I have yet to access, and confidence to trust in the process. It also requires daily positive affirmations that, indeed, I am good enough. And keep in mind: There are no mistakes. Just life lessons. So that’s one fear we can all say goodbye to.

What is your biggest fear?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Habits are choices… good or bad

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habits are choices...

I’ve got a bad habit. Okay, numerous bad habits. As I engage in these harmful rituals, however, I realize the resounding reason why stems from fear. Oftentimes when I am challenged to step outside of my comfort zone, when change is inevitable or painful and/or I desire to avoid a certain situation, I seek solace in habitual patterns—even if these patterns are not good for me. I create a panacea for the unknown with something known, a temporary fix that is all-too-often self-destructive. In particular, I excel at stuffing my feelings with junk food and drink and then cursing myself the next morning when I awaken puffy, sad and no closer to a resolution. I sabotage any strides I might experience because it’s easier to fall back into my safety net of familiarity. And then I wonder why my life doesn’t change. But today is a new day. Time to make better choices.

What is a bad habit you can replace today with a better one?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Make each moment outstanding

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motivation

[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

What do you really, truly want to do with all that you have? This is your chance to make it happen. Don’t waste this moment regretting other moments in your past, or fearing moments to come. Live this moment with joy, gratitude and positive purpose. Let go of the thoughts that bring you down. Live today in a way that lifts you up, and all of life with you. Stop repeating the same old tired excuses to yourself and to others. Choose now to be free of the limitations you’ve invented for yourself. Everything necessary for joy and fulfillment is with you right here and now. Because all it really takes is you, and your choice to fully live. Stop waiting, stop wishing, and stop putting off the rich fulfillment you know can be yours. Now is your moment to live like you mean it, with all that you have, so seize this grand opportunity and make it outstanding. ~ Ralph Marston

How do you make it outstanding?

Trust yourself

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Trust yourself

[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
~ Sylvia Plath

In my opinion, self-doubt is counterproductive to any cause.  Whether you’re writing a book, training for a marathon, participating in a Bikram challenge or hinging your hopes on Someday, once you allow doubt (a close relative of fear) to creep in, your enthusiasm and/or motivation tends to dwindle.  Has anyone ever questioned your intentions and then suddenly the idea or goal you were so excited about seemed silly or unattainable?  Or maybe you wanted to prove your naysayers wrong and ramped up your efforts.  Regardless, insecurity is not our friend because it poisons potential.  Instead, we need to be overcomers in order to transform self-doubt into self-confidence.  We’re the only ones who know how badly we want something.  So we’re the only ones who can determine what it will take to push through the uncertainties and come out ahead.  Trust yourself.  It’s better to fail than never to try.

What is your worst enemy to succeeding in life?

Never give up

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Never give up

[Image credit: David Castillo]

Never, never, never, never give up.  ~ Winston Churchill

I ramble a lot about either changing the things we can, or quit complaining.  But what about the things we have no control over?  For instance, from the sidelines we can watch our friends and loved ones as they make choices we feel are not right for them.  But there’s nothing we can do about it.  However, when it comes to us, I think there’s (most) always a choice.  Maybe the timing isn’t right to act on change currently.  Or perhaps fear is holding us back.  Or it could be that we feel we’re being torn in completely opposite directions.  Whatever the reason keeping us from moving forward, the above quote says it all.  If we don’t hang on — whether it’s a breakthrough in our health or job situation or a struggling relationship — we’ll never know how the story may have turned out.

Are you ready to throw in the towel, or are you willing to see it through?

Doubt paralyzes

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[Image credit: Jeroen van Oostrom]

Fall down seven times, stand up eight. ~ Japanese Proverb

Doubt can be debilitating.  Who doesn’t struggle with feelings of not measuring up (see Never settle for second best) or faulty judgment?  If you are a doubter, you know it can be as destructive as fear if allowed full reign.  It may paralyze progress or prevent us from pursuing our dreams, figuring out what works and what doesn’t and how to get back up after we’ve fallen.  And not once or twice, but as many times as it requires (provided we take the first step to begin with).  Doubt also begets second-guessing — of whatever it is we strive to do or to be.  Remove doubt, and we discover (to the irritation of our naysayers) that we do measure up but according to our agenda, not theirs.  So what if you fall down seven times?  Stand up again, dust yourself off and know with absolute certainty that it’s always the write time to believe in yourself.

Are you defined by doubt or assurance?

Life: one big trial and error

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

As a rule of thumb, a good portion of my life follows the precept of trial and error.  Whether it concerns my new diet, parenting, relationships or even my job, if my attempts at a particular outcome fail, then I try to readjust my thinking or approach for the next time I may be confronted with a similar situation.  Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of trial and error, however.  We must make the right decision the first time without the benefit of a “do over.”  Although I ramble a lot in my posts about fear holding us back, perhaps it also keeps us from making a wrong decision.  Or maybe it’s the right one, just the wrong timing.  Either way, if we don’t take a chance one way or another, we might never know if that one choice could have shaped — or altered — our own personal Someday.  The trick is figuring it out before it’s too late.

Are you the trial-by-error type, or is a sure thing required?

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