I love that my work gives me the opportunity to talk and interact with so many women. Because talking to women is just about my favorite thing in the history of forever! I love hearing their stories. Whether that story is about where they are now, where they’ve been or where they are going, it always fascinates me. Of course, the best stories are those that are upbeat and positive. That doesn’t mean those people have lived a charmed life. More often than not, it’s exactly the opposite. They are the stories of how women turned ordeals into adventures and turned trials in triumphs. They took setbacks and turned them into set ups for bigger and better things. Those people are my heroes. They are my inspirations and they empower me beyond description.
The saddest stories I hear, interestingly enough, are not the ones that share horrific, devastating details of illness, death or life shattering events. But rather it is those from people who, unbeknownst to even themselves, have chosen to live a mediocre life. They get themselves into a rut, anchor down and refuse to see past the dirt walls that entomb them. And the really interesting thing is that they don’t realize that they chose to live that life.
I decided to step back and try to understand the difference from these two groups of people I so often encounter. It became very apparent that economics had very little to do with it. Just as many of what I’d call “well off” people struggled with the same things as those who were challenged financially. And I found just as many energized happy people who lived paycheck to paycheck as I found people living in the lap of luxury who described their life as boring, miserable and unfulfilled.
Bottom line, here is what I learned. Mediocrity doesn’t just happen. It’s the result of decisions we make over a period of time. We are what we settle for. And, let’s face it, even though past choices we made probably seemed like the right thing to do at the time, things change. And at any given moment, we’re always one decision away from a totally different life. But we must be willing to change and see the cup as half full and not half empty.
It’s easy for us to come up with excuses around why we don’t or can’t change. Time and money are good ones. But don’t we define what is important by what we dedicate our time and resources to? Could we work harder, get up earlier, or stay up later? Could we shun our mobile devices or turn off the TV? Could we, gasp, cut back on retail therapy or fancy lattes???
The challenge is deciding what is really important and then go for it. Keep your eyes on the goal of what you want your life to look like and feel like. Once you understand that happiness is s state of mind and not a place or destination, you’ll realize the journey is a lot easier than you thought. And once you muster the passion to take charge and broaden your horizons to encompass those things, nothing will stand in our way. You’ll live a life that is not only worth living but one worth loving as well.
You’ll find that the process will affect others too. When you are bubbling with the excitement of life it’s hard for anyone to be a “Debbie Downer” around you. Becoming who we were always meant to be and living a life of fulfillment empowers those around us. More often than not, our evolution inspires others to reach for their own happiness, lean on others less, and blossom wildly in the process. By raising the bar on our own life, we raise that bar in the lives of others too. As they watch our success, they reach for their own potential as well. Our decision to go for it very well may be exactly the change our circle of influence needs to make life better not only for ourselves… but everyone around us.
Go ahead. Take the chance. The possibly of an incredibly wonderful life awaits you.