July 21, 2015

Mom's Advice

About two decades ago, when I told my Mom I was worried about taking a chance and regretting my choice, she hugged me and said, “Trust me, honey, that’s not what you’re going to regret when you’re my age.  If anything, you will likely kick yourself a little for not taking more chances on the infinite number of opportunities you have today.”

And the older I get, the more I realize how right my mother was.  Life is about trusting yourself and taking chances, losing and finding happiness, learning from experience, appreciating the memories, and realizing that every step is worth your while…  But you’ve got to be willing to take each step.  You’ve got to give yourself a fair chance.

So here are some chances I would take if I were you – chances I have taken that I know you will not regret:

1.  Trusting your intuition on new opportunities. – Life is too short to wait.  Every new day is another chance to change your life.  Every great accomplishment starts with the decision to try.  Trust that little voice inside your head that says, “What if…” and then GO DO IT.  Give yourself a fair chance.  You would be surprised how often “what if” works.  And no, you’re not obligated to win every time.  You’re obligated to keep trying – to do the best you can do every day – to improve upon what you learned yesterday.

2.  Believing in your own abilities. – You have everything you need within you to become the best possible version of yourself.  Believe that you CAN.  Believe that you’re capable of pushing harder and farther than you have before.  Believe that you’re young enough, old enough, smart enough and strong enough to achieve your goals.  Don’t let false beliefs stop you from moving beyond yourself.  And certainly don’t get sidetracked by other people who are not on track.

3.  Making moves in the face of fear. – It’s often difficult to grow into your greatest self, but it’s a tragedy to let the lie of fear stop you.  So realize right now that fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in your head.  Be courageous.  Go after your goals.  Never let your fear steer your present or decide your future.  And remember, courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is far more important than fear.

4.  Taking a step forward today. – You will be dead one day.  Sorry to be so dramatic, but it’s true.  The question is: Are you choosing to live right now?  Take a moment and think about it.  Life doesn’t start when “this, that, or the other thing” is resolved.  This IS your time.  Life is now.  Do something with it.  Don’t wait it away.

5.  Making your goals a priority. – If you want to live a happy, fulfilling life, tie yourself to meaningful goals, not just to people and things.  Never put off or give up on something that’s important to you… not because you still have tomorrow to start or try again, but because you may not have tomorrow  at all.  Life is shorter than it sometimes seems.  Make today count.  Take just one small step a day.  Approach the start of every day with one little goal and end the day with one little word.  DONE!

6.  Working hard even when it hurts. – Remember, personal growth in all walks of life is a slow, steady process.  It can’t be rushed.  You need to work on it gradually every day.  There is ample time for you to be who you want to be in life.  Don’t settle for less than what you think you deserve, or less than you know you can be.  Despite the struggles you’ll inevitably face along the way, never give up on yourself.  You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and twice as capable as you have ever imagined.  Keep going.

7.  Upholding your standards. – What’s dreadful is to pretend that second-rate is first-rate.  To pretend that you don’t need love and respect when you do.  To lie to yourself and say everything is OK, when it isn’t.  Or to convince yourself that you like your work when you know darn well you’re capable of much better.  Bottom line: Love yourself enough to never lower your standards for the wrong reasons.

8.  Bouncing back after rejection or failure. – When you are rejected from something good, it often means you’re being redirected to something better.  Be patient.  Be positive.  And remember, no matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.

And of course, if you're struggling with any of this, know that you are not alone. Many of us are right there with you, working hard to feel better, think more clearly, and get our lives back on track. 

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