One thing is for certain: we are all mortal and we will all die.
We don’t know when or how – yet, the truth is that death is inevitable. Many of us have had more than one ‘wake-up call’ relative to this reality. A dear friend or neighbor may have passed away earlier than expected. We may also have had our own personal experiences with ‘facing death’. I have lived through every single one of these scenarios, and have realized, particularly of late, that these can indeed be gifts for which we can choose to be grateful OR we can bury ourselves in bitterness.
You may be asking what in the world does this have to do with leadership, business, and our professional journeys. In a word: everything. It is obvious to most what this has to do with life – and how we choose to live our lives. Yet, I believe our lives AND our professional journeys are integral to one another. They are not separate; even though we have all tried (at least once) to compartmentalize our lives into chunks of time. Sure – we do this to optimize our ‘time’….I ‘get it’. Yet, we need to remind ourselves that it is all one life. Tied together. Integral. So, when I reference there is power in knowing and embracing our mortality – what exactly do I mean and how can we embrace this? A few thoughts:
- Time waits for no one.
In my first book in the “Is This Seat Taken?” book series, I focus on the concept of truly being present in the moment. We really never know who will cross our path or what opportunity may be right in front of us – if we would just open our eyes and ‘be awake’. One story, which readers unanimously have told me changed their life, is about a little girl named Kristen, whom I met quite serendipitously. Her story is poignant, sad…yet uplifting. Suffice it to say, through my brief interaction with Kristen, the reality that the present moment is really all we have was crystalized. I learned we MUST seize it – with all the gusto and passion we can muster. Our lives are SO SHORT and too often we are ‘waiting’ for ‘The perfect time’, ‘when things slow down’, ‘when the children are gone’, ‘when I retire’….the list goes on and on. Yet, I can say without a single reservation: time waits for no one. Period. We have a sacred responsibility to engage – take the reins – carpe diem! I also know for sure – we will never ever regret the choices we make when we follow our heart – we will regret those decisions held back by excuses without merit.
- Fear can be a paralyzer or a catalyst.
Let’s face it, it can be very scary to move outside our comfort zone and embrace an opportunity which is unfamiliar. Yet, what I have learned is that fear can be a paralyzer, when we get stuck in our old routines. The alternative is to use fear as a catalyst to expand, stretch, and continue to learn and grow. For example, I was introduced to an opportunity almost 3 years ago which was completely outside my wheel house. I was attracted to it due to the international global brand, the high growth market segment, the ability to integrate this into my other career without confusing my brands (aka: keeping them in alignment), and the tremendous go-to-market strategy fully leveraging social/digital commerce which has reinvented the industry we are penetrating. Had I held back (which part of me was tempted to do), I would not be building the high six-figure (soon to be seven figure) business which will serve as my residual retirement income. So you see, how we respond to FEAR is 100% our choice….and can be the door we have been waiting to open!
- We must JUMP – as without jumping it is certain that we will remain in the same place.
One thing is for certain, without moving forward – or in some cases JUMPING – we will stay stagnate…..figuratively and literally. And we must remember, if we jump and we are not sure we like the direction in which we are heading……we can always veer to the left or veer to the right. Steve Harvey shares a tremendously motivating perspective on ‘jumping’ and I loved it. It will INSPIRE you – no question. And let’s face it – he has most certainly had his share of public embarrassments (!!)….he CHOSE to veer right or veer left….and look at where he has landed!! Click here to watch this short yet POWERFUL video…you will be so glad you did!
- Nothing is permanent.
Many of my clients stay ‘stuck’ because they are afraid of making a mistake or a poor judgment call. They will stay in a ‘bad job’ because they are afraid if they move, the move will not be a ‘good one’. Yet, my question is always: what is the worst thing that could happen….and what is the best thing that could happen? We have to remember that nothing in this world….nothing…. is permanent. We can always change jobs, recreate our lives, rebuild our future, and rewrite our legacies. Again, it always comes down to how badly we want it AND the choices that we make.
- It is never too late – ever – to contribute and create the life we want to live.
In my second book in the “Is This Seat Taken?” book series, I wrote about individuals who re-invented their lives from, in most cases, a less than favorable position. This could have been bankruptcy, alcoholism, a lack of direction, corporate betrayal…..the list is as varied as it is long. Yet, every one of these individuals teaches us through their lives – how to embrace the cards life deals us – and still ‘win the game’! It is 100% a mindset. We can define success on our own terms. Success is not dictated by society, our peers, our family, or our competitors – unless we grant them that privilege. The way I look at this is: we have one life to live – and it is MY life. Thus, it is my responsibility to be true to my calling, my strengths, and how I believe I can make a difference in the world. Oh – and if I am not sure where, why, or how I want to contribute? Then, I keep moving, stretching, learning, and listening until I realize (or stumble into) THAT is what brings me joy and fulfillment. Finally, comparing myself to others shortchanges no one but me – and is a colossal waste of time and energy. And what I also know for sure is this: As long as we have breath – we have a purpose for being here. It is our job, our responsibility, and our privilege to ‘lean into’ that purpose and embrace it with chutzpah. No-one else can do this for us – we own it. Period.