Some things stick to you the way the goodness of Martha Stewart’s golden caramels cling to all the tiny crevasses of your teeth (here’s the recipe; my peeps rave about them when I make them à la Marcus). And since discovering it years ago, Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice has stuck to me: “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” It’s been a compelling call to action to rise up. [Read more…] about Will You Rise Up?
Life is a journey. It takes us to many different places, some filled with optimism and joy, others clamouring with sadness, anger and distrust. But no matter where we find ourselves, we must find a way to shine — make the best of our situation — because anything is possible.
I’m on a journey that challenges who I think I am, and makes me doubt I can be who I dare to be. The scary part is that one question keeps poking at me: am I crazy?
Crazy to believe that I can achieve my goals? Crazy to believe that there’s an audience for my writing? Crazier to believe I can accomplish everything I set out to do?
No, I’m not crazy. Sometimes, though, feeling overwhelmed blinds me to the progress I’ve made. Am I headed in the right direction? I hope so. Brendon Burchard reminds us that “With the right mindset, focus, and habits, you can shape an extraordinary quality of life and contribute at world-class levels way beyond anyone’s expectations.” So, one day at a time, with courage and determination, I’ll keep pushing on.
Anything is Possible
If you have the courage to take on the challenge(s) staring you down, then anything is possible. How do I know? I look at the example of my friend, Lori.
Just before the Canadian Thanksgiving in October 2018, Lori was admitted to the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre here in Toronto. After fourteen years in remission, the breast cancer was back with a vengeance. She was in pain, couldn’t sleep, didn’t have an appetite and couldn’t keep down food. And her lungs were failing.
It didn’t look good. They stopped the chemotherapy and she was told that nothing else could be done. The doctors gave her seven days to live.
The first time I visited Lori in the hospital I could see the pain in her face, watched her struggle to shift in the bed, and held back my tears as her voice cracked with emotion when she spoke. Was the cancer winning? Were the doctors right?
Maybe, but Lori wasn’t about to give up. She told me she wasn’t ready and that this wasn’t her time. She would fight, and fight she did. Hard.
Lori left the hospital at the end of November. The seven days she was given to live stretched into two and a half months. Lori passed away on 10 February 2019.
Do the Impossible
When we believe in ourselves, in the power of our dreams, we can do the impossible. So, it’s not crazy for me to believe that I can become a bestselling author. It’s not crazy for you to believe that you can be a world-renowned neurosurgeon or the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
The important thing to remember is this: each task we complete, each step we take — no matter how big or small — is progress. That’s how we make our dreams come true.
I can’t promise that it’ll be easy or that it’ll happen quickly. It might take years or decades of trying, failing, and trying again. But when you show up daily, do the work, and believe in yourself, you dramatically increase the chances of your dreams coming true.
So, show up and prove that anything is possible.
Do you second-guess your calling? Are you afraid that you won’t succeed? Click Reply or leave a comment in the section below. I’d love to hear from you.
In her book, The Wisdom of Sundays, Oprah Winfrey writes: “The number one principle that rules my life is intention. Thought by thought, choice by choice, we are cocreating our lives based on the energy of our intention.”1 Or simply put: heed the call.
Whatever we want to do in this life, we must act with intention. If you want to be a writer, you write. If you want to be run for government office, at whatever level, you get out and engage with the community. Want to be a painter? Then paint.
It’s not always easy. What we want to do and what we think we should do are often in conflict with each other. There may be forces pulling you in a different direction, almost tempting you away from your heart’s true desire. Don’t give those forces the power to convince you that your goal or dream is too hard, silly, or completely impossible.
Don’t Be Discouraged
In your daily life, focus on the actions you can take to keep moving forward in the direction of your dreams. When your inner critic comes out to play, silence him. Think, too, about the company you keep. I’ve often found that people who ridicule your dreams are often the ones who gave up on their own. Stand strong. Be brave and bold. Because deep down in your gut, you know this is your calling.
Heed the call!
Do you feel you have a calling? And have you heeded the call? Click Reply or leave a comment in the section below. I’d love to hear from you.
Do you know what you want out of life?
If the answer is yes, do you know what you need to do to achieve it?
I know I want to be a writer. Wait a minute … I am a writer. I want to be a successful writer, the kind who makes a living from it. Maybe that means trying to become a New York Times or Globe and Mail bestselling author. Maybe that means going on a book tour. Maybe that means giving up my day job so I can throw all my energy into realizing my dream.
Maybe it means none of that.
Because I’m in crisis. I’ve been in crisis mode since the beginning of the year. I’m stuck in a ‘funk’ that, despite what I thought, I haven’t been able to pull myself out of completely. I keep asking myself: “What am I doing?” and “What’s wrong?” and “What is it that doesn’t feel right?”
Earlier this week I was in London, a city that has been like my home away from home since January. During my stay, I made a stop a Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street. While I was there, I picked up a book that had been recently recommended to me: Ray Dalio’s Principles. Afterwards, I stopped for a latte and scone at a café a few blocks away. It was a beautiful day, about 29°C, and the sun was shining. People were milling about the streets, weaving in and out of the shops. As I sipped my latte, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off.
I had a little time before meeting friends for dinner so, soaking up the bright afternoon sun, I opened the book and started reading. By the third page of the “Introduction,” my heart was in my throat. Reading Dalio’s first principle, I finally understood what was wrong … why I haven’t been able to lift myself out of that funk. Dalio’s first principle is this: “Think for yourself to decide 1) what you want, 2) what is true, and 3) what you should do to achieve #1 in light of #2 … and do that with humility and open-mindedness so that you can consider the best thinking available to you.” 1
Like I mentioned above, I know what I want: to be a successful writer. But what I need to do is have a frank conversation with myself — acknowledging my weaknesses and my strengths — about what that success looks like. Or maybe the better question for me to ask is what level of success am I looking for and can I live with it?
What is true… I know why I write (to make an impact in the world, no matter how small) and that writing is the only thing in life that gives me purpose and a sense of fulfillment. It is a way for me to be of service.
Where I struggle is in what I should be doing to achieve what I want in light of what is, for me, true. That is why this year has felt like I’m just spinning and going nowhere fast. When I’m honest with myself, I’m still letting fear — of failure and what others may think of me — hold me back. To achieve what I want, I need to do things in ways that I believe are best for me and not worry about what other people think. No doubt, that’s easier said than done.
2018 started out with some big changes in my life. I stopped drinking. I started paying closer attention to what I was eating, aiming to reduce my sugar and sodium intake. While I’ve been running for ten years, I’ve been pushing myself to run longer distances and started working out. These were the changes I implemented to primarily increase my energy level and improve the quality of my sleep. And the best part of all was that I also managed to drop close to twenty pounds. It wasn’t easy, but the results have made it all worthwhile.
Now, to achieve what I want to do I know I need to make other changes. I have my “5 Rules to Live By” to guide me through this transition period, but I know they’re not enough on their own. They’re a starting point. What exactly do I need to change? Honestly, I’m not sure. But I’m going to take some time to dig deep and think about the principles that will help me to get out of life exactly what I want. One thing is certain: I’m terrified. I don’t know where it’s all going to lead, how uncomfortable it’s going to get, or if I’ll even succeed.
But to succeed, I must change my habits and stay focused on what’s really important to me. As my journey moves forward, I expect to make mistakes along the way. At this point in my life, I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
I’ve been standing on the edge too long. It’s time to step off the edge and look fear in the face.
Are you doing what you should to achieve what you want? Do you have any principles that help you navigate through life? Let me know in the comments section below.