With the snow comes quiet. With the quiet comes thinking. With thinking comes ideas. And for me, with ideas typically comes writing. You lucky readers!
So as I was having my coffee and watching the sun sparkle on the snow yesterday, I was thinking about how different my life is today from the way it was six years ago. Some of the differences are from someone else’s choices.
But most of the differences are from my own.
I hear people make excuses a lot. I used to be a professional excuse-maker myself. It’s much easier to stay paralyzed in faulty thinking if you’re able to come up with excuses for WHY you can’t take action.
“I’m almost 50-years-old; who’s going to want to hire me?”
“I have a teenaged daughter and a special needs son; I don’t have time to get that certification.”
“I’m 25 pounds overweight; who’s going to want to date me?”
“I’m a professional excuse-maker; I like being paralyzed.”
With the exception of the final excuse, my guess is that fear is holding you back from taking action. There’s a Henry Ford quote that has motivated me more times than I can count.
Mindset is everything. If you decide you’re going be an overweight, unemployed, middle-aged blob, then that’s EXACTLY what you’re going to be. If, however, you decide to get off your butt, look your excuses right in the eye, and TAKE ACTION, you’re going to change your life in ways you haven’t even seen coming yet.
As you can probably guess, some of those excuses up there were mine. I was especially worried about never finding love again after my divorce. I ran through all the excuses in my head during the divorce process: I had already been divorced twice (gasp!), I was in my late 40’s (gasp again!), I had two kids – one of whom is special needs (gasp! gasp!). My conclusion: no one was ever going to love me.
Now I could have stayed stuck there. I could have set up camp for the rest of my life at that no-one-will-love-me pit stop. It would have been ok because I had learned to be alone and like it. I had learned to take up space in the bed, to eat when I wanted, to find joy in being with my friends, to enjoy the routine my kids and I had. It would have been a fine life.
But also during that time, I asked myself what I really wanted. I made lists – a ton of lists. I thought about what I wanted professionally, personally, romantically, economically, and spiritually.
What I decided romantically was that I wanted a partner. I wanted someone with whom to share my life. I wanted that partner to hold certain attributes that had come to matter tremendously to me: honesty, fidelity, integrity. I took a personal inventory to be sure I held – or was striving to hold – those same attributes because we can’t ask someone to give us something we don’t have within ourselves. Some of those attributes I had lacked earlier in life. I hold myself to higher standards now, and I choose to surround myself with people who hold similar standards.
I decided I wanted to reignite my teaching career. I figured out what I needed to do to certify in my state, and I have spent the better part of a year taking certification and endorsement tests. I got myself hired as a substitute teacher in the school district in which I live. I’m attending job fairs, handing out my resume, and networking in the schools. I was told by someone during my divorce I was too old to get hired. I could have bought in to that crap; I chose not to. I am the only one who gets to decide what I can and can’t do – just like Henry Ford said. And I know the perfect-for-me teaching job is out there.
I could give you more examples, but I think you get the gist. We each get to decide for ourselves which direction we want our lives to go. We can sit on the sidelines and make excuses, or we can jump into the game and take action. I see a lot of fear – I’ve HAD a lot of fear – and I have learned that the only way to chase fear off is through ACTION. Action takes you to the next step, and the step after that, and then the next step. Once you get that momentum going, no one can stop you.
All you have to do is believe in yourself.