Would You Do ...
If you knew you couldn't fail, you would dream like you did when you were young, creative, and fearless. You would create "big, hairy and audacious goals" and would not let anything get in your away of achieving them. In other words you would say yes to your dreams and pursue them like you crave air, food, water, shelter, and take care of other survival needs.
So, why is it that most people abandon their dreams and goals when they face obstacles? It could be for many reasons, but usually will result from not having a "why" which is larger than their "obstacles;" not being able to focus on that why until it is achieved and being enjoyed; and, failing to repeat the process which worked and abandon what did not.
I knew early on that I had to focus on critical areas to help me overcome poverty, a speech impediment, and growing up with other obstacles. I hope some of my experiences can help you.
Your Why Keeps You Going
In 63 years of living, nothing has been easy for me, but I committed early to a bigger why. Such included never being satisfied; refusing to be mediocre; never accepting society's opinion of me; not blaming others for my circumstances; and, always looking for ways to make an impact and help others do the same.
Most importantly, I believed if it were to be, then it was up to me.
Instead of whining or giving up, I used God’s grace; family support and guidance; luck (defined as when opportunity meets preparedness); personal discipline (from relatives, teachers, adults in the neighborhood); virtual mentors (Earl Nightingale, Napoleon Hill, Les Brown, Jim Rohn, Jerry Clarke; Brian Tracy, Charlie Jones, Randy Gage, etc.); my faith in God; and, a never-say-quit attitude to keep my dreams and goals larger than any obstacle I faced across my seven core lifestyle pillars.
These traits continue to keep me focused on the pathway to achieve and live my dreams.
Your Why Embraces Your Differences
In addition to having a speech impediment; being dark-complected; growing up in the south and in poverty; being raised by a single-parent; and, a few other special challenges (which I am happy they existed), I saw myself as very different.
Yet, I always looked for positive enablers versus focusing on the apparent negatives.
I read books and newspapers; daydreamed about travelling to places (especially during the summer); drew pencil circles, squares; and, wrote poems to capture my feelings.
Most importantly, I had an unbridled imagination. After working hard in the fields or doing yard work, I would star- or cloud-gaze under the trees. I fell in love with nature (e.g., sunrises, sunsets, moonlight, the wind, and rushing waters).
I also remember a post-military retirement conversation (August 1998) where I told a retiree that my dream was to earn over $100,000 per year, to which he responded that would never happen. I achieved my goal two months later with a senior manager's position at Xerox.
I realized my mistake was sharing it with someone who probably did not know anyone who achieved that fiscal goal.
As such, ignorance clouded his vision of himself and and almost impacted my vision, had I believed him. Ever since then, I achieved that annual fiscal milestone in each of the 16 years of work with Fortune 50 companies, private contractors, and the federal government (excluding two periods of 6-month layoffs).
Even in full retirement, I am realizing my fiscal dreams based on efforts and commitments during my active work life.
Bottom line: Identify your goals, stick to your dreams, adjust where required, and chase them until your final breath! After all, you can't take anything -- dreams or money -- with you when you depart this earth. So, give all that you can now.
Please don't sell out to get a promotion or be on someone's good list -- like the weather, changes do come in people you "owe" and how they view you depends on what you have done for them lately. Never trade in your integrity. The D.C. circus proves that. Learn not to accept random and meaningless apologies from clowns or circus performers.
Your Why Protects Your Dreams
Based on what you have read so far and already know, there will never be a "right" or "best" time to do what you really want to unless you start now and make the consistent efforts.
So, what keeps you full of joy -- not happy, but full of joy?
Imagine the difference achieving that thing as you go to work for someone else; drink that six-pack; eat that thick-crusted pan pizza; splurge on gifts; get happy during a church service, etc.
Once you find your why and decide to commit to it, please look in the mirror and promise yourself you will: (1) stop blaming the system; (2) work harder and smarter for the things you want; (3) make the sacrifices until you get it; and, (4) find a way to share your story and your resources to help others realize their possibilities.
Then, continue pursuing other goals with that same level of desire and commitment. "... perform at a Level 10 and never ever freakin' waver," as Paul Cummings constantly told me while training with him to market video emails to automobile dealerships in 2003! He also complimented me as being a Les Brown and Dr Martin Luther King composite speaker.
To this day, I am grateful to Paul for letting us spend time at his training center in the Tennessee valley; share his story to us; teach us how to be Level 10s. One of the best weekends ever.
If you get a copy of Paul's book from the link below, Amazon may send me a small commission, which does not affect the price you pay.
If you don't know what you want or how much you really want it, anyone [a stranger, family members, co-workers, pastors, politicians, etc.] can sell you their dream. You must identify your why early and imitate others who are where you want to be.
Don't make the mistake of imitating people just for cars, houses, money, etc. If you don't know their stories of struggles and pains to get those things, you will abandon pursuing their things as the obstacles get in your way.
Instead, use stories from the Bible; biographies; videos, virtual mentors; community needs; etc. to help determine your best path. Don't take your dreams to the cemetery. Seize them now!
Turn your potential into a reality each and every day for you, your family and community. The universe is waiting to reward you.
Your Why Says No to Your Naysayers
Your why can help determine a lot. Due to internal values and growing up where respect everyone first was a core value, I still have great difficulty with cutting the cords with people -- even those who I can plainly see provide me no mutual benefit.
Growing up as a wrestling fan and remembering Vince McMahon's favorite line - K... M. A.., I finally accepted the fact that everyone you meet can't remain in your network. Some of them must join your special club.
In quite a few cases, you must establish a K.M.A.C. and ensure you extend invitations or force membership upon those family members, friends, or co-workers who are not on your path.
Both Bishop TD Jakes and Dr Mike Murdock often referenced the fact that sometimes the people closest to you may not be ready to embrace the changes necessary for you to move forward. Rather than spend all of your time convincing them, it may be time leave them behind. I have walked away a few times in my personal life and professional career.
Your Why Helps You Give Back
Your why will ensure you are a spring and not a sponge. Living my dream also includes:
- Growing my home-based motivational speaker and travel writer business
- Spending time in the Mediterranean each year
- Capturing sunsets, sunrises, moonlights, water, and clouds
- Joint venturing with leaders to improve our communities
- Sharing my blessings with others to help ease their challenges
Most importantly, proceeds from my business results will help me share resources with youths who have conquered obstacles and committed to doing more with their lives beyond accepting the hand dealt to them. My focus is on those K-12 Graders in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.).
As an academically trained Biologist (B.S., M.S.) with minors in Chemistry and Immunology, I forfeited my opportunity to work long-term in the sciences, so I admire these youths who are pursuing their passion. They are the future of our communities and country.
Do You Want to Make Your Community Stronger?
Then, support the First Inspires Organization as a volunteer, adviser, fiscal contributor or better yet by being in the stands and cheering loudly when a competition comes near you!
If this organization is not there, support a local Boys and Girls Club; send some children to camp; tutor a child at a local school -- but do something to show our children you care about their success, especially in this very noisy world where too many adults are rudderless.
Please connect with me Facebook - SY2YDLLC to determine how we can mutually benefit and continue to say yes to our dreams.