Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Next Step

I cannot even begin to count the amount of people in my life that have had some kind of fantastic dream or aspiration that has inspired me to chase after mine. I truly count it as a blessing to know so many creative and driven individuals who have been willing to open their lives to me and share their success and failures. 

The presence of these individuals in my life has truly put things into perspective for me when it comes to pursuing my own dreams. So for those of you that are reading this post, I want to truly thank you for being setting an example for me and for my future children. The way I see it now, following your dreams is like gambling with house money, even if you get cleaned out you still get to go back home to where you started.

As I was lying next to my wife the other night as usual my mind began to wonder. I kept asking myself the question “who are you?” On the outside I appear to be just a simple young guy from Northern Springfield Missouri. I don’t drive a fancy car. I don’t have a trust fund. I don’t have a 6 figure job and stock options. I don’t live the rock-star lifestyle. What I live is hard work, church on Sunday, and enjoying the time I have left with my family and friends.

Certainly some of those higher profile options would be nice, but are they really necessary to fulfill my purpose in this life? Me personally, I would say no way. I don’t really need any of that. My life is perfectly fine just the way it is. I have a beautiful wife, a job that pays the bills with some to spare, a wonderful and supportive family, some great friends and a cat who doesn’t hate me. What more could you want?

Now before you actually start to believe that I live the perfect life, let’s come back down to earth a little bit. Sure I have been extremely blessed with the things that I have, but trust me it has not always been all roses. I have had my personal battles just like all of the rest of us. I have had to worry about money and how I was going to pay my bills. I have been unemployed in a tough economy. I have failed classes, had my heart broken, mended and then broken again. I have said my life sucks so many times I actually started to believe it. I have been alone with no way out and just wanted to quit.

No person in this world is immune to life forever. Sooner or later some aspect of it will push you to your final limits. The times that we struggle should humble us for our future victories.

My Dad  told me when I was young that the only difference between the guy who ends up living on the street and the guy who becomes a millionaire  is that one of them had a person in their life to back him up after he makes a dumb mistake. In hindsight I thought well Dad isn't that awful nice of you to take care of me if I mess my life up. 

That is not what he was really trying to tell me. He ended the conversation that night with two words that I will never forget and I would like to share them with you. He said "Michael, I've got your back so Go Be" and you can always come back here if you mess up."  That night my father gave me one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. What he means by "Go Be" is the confidence in yourself to chase your dreams without thinking of failure. To "Go Be" truly means to go out and be who you want to be, do what you want to do. Go all in without hesitation. When I started to think this way, my dreams started to become realities.

The actual difference between the millionaire and the guy who ends up down on his luck is the assurance the millionaire had to take his shot. He knew even if he blew it, things would end up alright. He could always go back to where he started and try all over again. Isn't it true that failure tends to either crush us, or makes us stronger for the next time. There really is no gray area in between.

The true moral of the story is to use life's failures as a drive toward making improvements, not as a lingering shadow of misery. If you believe you can achieve!

Like my first post I want to leave you with a quote, this time by my favorite athlete of all time. 

"I've failed over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed."- Michael Jordan

So what is actually holding you back from taking  your shot? Is it money, education or experience? Or is it that fear of failure  and the worlds ending? I challenge whoever is reading this to go all in this week, in whatever you do. If you conquer the fear of failure, then when you actually try and fail you will know you gave it everything you had. I think we can all live with that, and be ready to try again.

Thanks for reading.


"Go Be"


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The First Step

Monday mornings.. they seem to be everybody's worst enemy.  The long layover from the weekend makes rolling out of bed for the start of the weekly grind just that much harder. Oh how I hate the alarm on Monday morning,  but we have all been there. Here's to another week of that 9 to 5 glory, oh joy!

About 6 months ago I became a 9 to 5er. For those of you who do not understand this then I truly feel for you since you more than likely are not in the club, but rest assured your day of redemption is coming! And yes in case you were wondering I am just trying to make you feel better. The good news is now I actually understand why our middle school teachers and councilors emphasized college to us even before we could drive.They wanted this for us as well. Shoot everyone wants to be a 9 to 5er. If you do not pursue these hours you are either lying to yourself, or you are getting paid way to much money to work a crummy shift which by all means I am sure you are not complaining (too much).

Being a 9 to 5er sure has great benefits. It assures you of ample time to sleep in, and then enough time for activities in the evening. Hooray! Epic Win! (Insert hipster slang of choice) Alright you get the point. But now that I am a 9 to 5er, I absolutely loathe doing anything productive before 9am or after 5pm. I am so lazy and worthless as soon as 5:01pm hits, that I can barely even muster the motivation to write this  post. This is just a tad problematic! I can actually feel myself spiraling out of control. I find myself dead tired, all the time. My clothes are fitting tighter by the week, my breathing is heavier, my heart beats quicker, my energy level is just non existent.

What the heck has happened? Heaven knows my wife has seen it and if I was her I would even be frustrated with me too. At church this Sunday our pastor pointed something out. If you do not take care of yourself today.. how can you be any good to anyone who may need you in the future. This  wake up call was significantly worse than the Monday morning alarm. I know its cliche and boring to point out but its time for a change. It is time to take my life back.

The initial stresses of moving, getting married and starting a new job are long gone and its time to act that way. Its time to turn off the tube and spend more time with my wife. Its time to start catching the highlights instead of the whole game. Its time to get up earlier and get some exercise. Its time to start eating right. Its time to start living life on my terms so I can enjoy what time I have left.

Its time to start building my future and the time is now, not tomorrow. Tomorrow is just another excuse to continue failing. The 9 to 5 workweek deep down may be what we truly want out of life and you will get no complaints here. I just want the 5 to 9 lifestyle to start working a little harder for me.

I will leave you with a quote from a favorite author of mine   

"What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step."--C.S. Lewis