Have you ever noticed how many people are waiting for xxxx before they do yyyy? It almost seems like they’re 'on hold' until their children are older, they have more money, they’ve paid off the mortgage, their health is better….
Whatever the rationale, they’ve invented a perfectly good reason to defer what they truly desire. Resigned to the belief that they can’t have what they want, they sit back and let life pass by. It’s kind of like Samuel Beckett's famous play Waiting for Godot, where the entire plot centres around Estragon, Pozzo and Vladimir who are waiting for someone who never arrives and something that never happens.
Sure you may need to be patient and bide your time but only for so long. Success never came to anyone who was merely wishing, waiting and hoping for it to land in their lap.
What’s waiting really costing you?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an advocate of instant gratification! This isn’t about seeing something you want and getting it now. It is about having a dream and doing whatever you can to make it happen without excuses. Challenge yourself and be honest. Maybe the rational reasons you’re deferring your dream are really fear of failure excuses for not stepping up and making it happen.
If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, would you have any regrets right now? On the other hand, if you knew you couldn't fail, how different would that be?
Perhaps the true wake-up call comes when those you love tell you that your 'play it safe' risk aversion is dragging them down and holding them back. Many relationships fail when one partner stays stuck while the other wants to spread their wings.
You do deserve it!
For over 20 years a friend of mine gave his beloved grandmother a beautiful cake of expensive French soap for Christmas. A gentle and humble person, she opened her gift each year with genuine delight. Although she knew what the gift was, her eyes lit up and she smiled as she deeply inhaled the soap’s beautiful perfume. Every Christmas it was as if it was the first time she’d received such a lovely gift. My friend smugly declared himself the ‘favourite grandson’.
This wonderful woman died peacefully at 82. When my friend was helping his father pack up her belongings he opened a drawer in her dressing table and was stunned to find 25 cakes of carefully placed, unused French soap. Slowly and sadly it dawned on him – his grandmother had never felt she deserved the beautiful soap enough to use it.
Many people deny themselves happiness because they feel they don’t deserve it. So focused on feeling unworthy or where they’ve fallen short, they totally overlook the successes they've achieved and positive differences they’ve made to others along the way. We all make mistakes and trip up from time to time but that’s no reason to not create a positive future. Perhaps it's all the greater motivation to make the most of the life you have left.
Defining moments are great catalysts for change
You’ll always remember the moments that shape your life, taking it off on a new course. For some it may be the birth of their first child; for others it could be divorce, a health scare, the death of a loved one or redundancy. Whatever it is for you, a defining moment is one where you know without a shadow of doubt, that life from here on will be different. Everything happens for a reason – you just might not realise what the reason is at the time.
Zero birthdays (30, 40, 50 etc) are often times when we reflect on what we’ve achieved and try to create a crystal ball to determine what lies ahead. Even if it doesn’t smack you in the face, a gently dawning defining moment could also be the perfect excuse to redesign your life and take action now.
The Great Life Redesign shares the true story of Steve’s chance meeting with a stranger at a railway station and how it set him off on an adventure that would see him walking the Kokoda Trail and many other exciting adventures. The message behind Steve’s story is that rather than looking for reasons not to do something, find just one reason to do it!
Whatever your defining moment, use it as a springboard to take a giant leap towards how you want life to be. Your goals don’t need to be ambitious and grandiose – they simply need to be meaningful and compelling.
In the immortal words of Alfred De Souza who believed that happiness is a journey not a destination,
Work like you don't need money
Love like you've never been hurt
And dance like no one's watching.
So, when would now be a good time to stop waiting and step intentionally towards your dreams? Go on, there's really nothing stopping you.