So just do it, now…

March 18, 2019

I save quotes from the Jack’s Winning Words blog because I think I’ll someday use them to inspire a post here. That was the case with today’s quote – “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.  The second best time is now.”  (Chinese Proverb)

Every now and then something that we meant to do just gets left behind and forgotten. We get busy with other things or other people and leave projects unfinished or let old friends drift away. I saw a recent episode of Chasing Classic Cars in which a man was selling a 1978 Datsun 280 Z that he had parked in his garage 40 years earlier. He had purchased the car and put about 2,000 miles on it during the summer months. He had some small problems with it, so he parked it in the fall with the intention of getting it out in the spring and make the needed repairs. Some 40 years later, the car still sat exactly where he had parked it and now he had decided that he was probably never going to get around to those repairs and it was time to sell.

Life is full of little stories like that, which usually use the words coulda, woulda, shoulda somewhere in the telling.

You have old friends that you used to be very close with, but life got in the way and now talking-2it’s been years since you’ve talked. You had a favorite bar or restaurant that you used to hang out in, but you started trying new things and it’s been a long time since you visited your old haunt. Maybe you promised your mom that you’d come visit her regularly in the retirement home, but with the kids school activities and other things putting demands upon you, you just didn’t get the time.

Maybe it’s not an old thing that has been forgotten but a dream that was never pursued. Perhaps you always meant to get back to school and finish up that degree, but family came along and there was always a reason to put it off. Maybe it was that sport that you hoped to take up or that hobby that you always wanted to pursue. Perhaps it was that person that you always wanted to meet or ask out, but were to shy to approach.

Whatever the unfinished things are that sit in the back of your mind and nag at you every now and then, the time is now. The tomorrows that you promised yourself youlife-choices would use to do those things eventually run out. Stop putting things off and just do them. Realize that it’s not that you don’t have the time, it’s that you aren’t using that time that you have to do the things that you want to do. You are letting the living of your life get in the way of the life that you’d like to be living. Take back control of your life and do the things that you’ve been putting off.

So, get that old dream out of your mental garage, dust it off and make it happen. Rekindle old relationships and fulfill old obligations. Do the things that you coulda, woulda and shoulda been doing.

It’s a great time to plant that tree today!

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Take the first step…

June 23, 2015

“You can’t ever take the next step until you take the first.”  (Deacon Jones). Of course, I saw that first on the Jack’s Winning Words blog and it’s an important piece of advice. Many people spend their lives dreaming about something or hoping to someday accomplish some specific thing, but they never take that first step. Others try to skip over taking the first step, hoping that they can jump into something in the middle somewhere – life doesn’t work like that either.
turtleMany things can keep us from talking the first step, but most of the time it’s usually fears. Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt or FUD, as we called it in the business world that I was once a part of, was actually a strategic weapon that many companies used to gain advantage or to overcome a disadvantage. In life FUD often has the effect of stopping us from taking those critical first steps towards some goal. Fear of rejection prevents us from asking the girl of our dreams out. Fear of failure stops us from trying a new way of doing something; a way that may well have been the best path to success. Uncertainty makes us hesitate just long enough for the moment that we had been waiting for to pass. Doubts about our looks or our clothes or our abilities or whatever keep us from even trying. Don’t let FUD rule your life. Take the first step.

Another saying that seems to go along with today’s quote was also recently on Jack’s blog – “Giving up is the only sure way to fail.” ― Gena Showalter

I suppose that never taking the first step is a way to sort of “pre-fail” instead of a way to prevail. Some people have theafraid ability to rationalize that avoiding that first step is a good thing, because then they could never fail at whatever it is that they are avoiding. Many of these do nothing people go through life telling themselves that they coulda done it if they wanted to and that they woulda done it had it not been for something that was out of their control. Later in life those same people lament that they shoulda done it when they had the chance. Don’t be a coulda, woulda, shoulda person. Take the first step.

Sometimes that first step can seem very scary; however, as I’ve written here before, I suspect that most of the things that we are afraid of as we step off are things that exist only in our imaginations. The human mind is an amazing fiction writer and, given its head (pun intended) to come up with the worst possible scenarios, it will work overtime to conjure up Lions and Tigers and Bears – oh, my! The good news is that our minds are also a great visualization machines that can show you the path to success. Most great athletes visualizationpractice visualizing their shots or their games. They see themselves being successful. They see the winning putt going in or the three-point shot to win the game hitting nothing but net. Successful business people also use visualization to imagine the perfect presentation or the customer saying yes and signing the contract. You can also use visualization to look ahead and see success in your life. But, before it can make a difference; you must take the first step.

So think about the things that are still on your “to-do” list for life (your bucket-list, if you will); the things that you really wanted or hoped to do someday; the goals that have been floating around in the back of your mind for some time. What’s stopping you? What are you afraid of? Many of the obstacles that you see ahead are real and not imagined; so, you’ll need to visualize yourself overcoming those hurdles. Practice in your mind ten times; a hundred times; as many times as it takes to “see” yourself being successful. Explore the various alternatives and pick the best path to that success for you. Be prepared to deal with setbacks and to capitalize on successes, but most important – take the first step.

Sometimes when you take that first step it will be like the first time you jumped off the high dive at the swimming pool ashigh board a kid. It scared the crap out of you and you were sure that you were going to die or at least feel a lot of pain. But afterwards, when you popped up to the pool surface and realized that you did it and you didn’t hurt yourself, you couldn’t wait to get back up there and do it again. Most things in life that you are afraid of won’t really kill you, even if you fail initially; but, you’ll never feel that exhilaration of having done it and survived until you take the first step.

Look at it this way, yesterday was Monday and you took that first step. That didn’t kill you, so now you can go on to the next step. So, have a great week ahead the journey has just begun because yesterday you took the first step.