You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot,
Do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity only comes once in a lifetime
~ Marshall Mathers aka Eminem
A few weeks ago, I was cleaning out some old messages from my Facebook account when I stumbled upon a post from my friend Jim Riffel.
His post simply read... "I have fulfilled a life-long dream and completed and published my first novel, A Coach at Heart".
I met Jim over 35 years ago when we both arrived on the campus of San Diego State and independently decided to join the same fraternity. Although I don’t regularly visit with Jim, I frequently see him at college basketball games where we are both season ticket holders.
Jim studied journalism at school and had once planned to go into sports broadcasting but ended-up becoming a writer for the local newspaper and an Associated Press correspondent.
And although I rarely read fiction books, I decided to support my friend by buying his book and reading it.
After perusing the first several chapters, I soon realized why I don’t read much fiction, but I was determined to finish the book, which I did a few days later.
As it so happens, this past week I once again saw Jim and his wife during the half-time break of a recent basketball game.
I told Jim that I had read his book and I could see in his face that he was elated.
Continuing, I went on to say that I truly enjoyed his strong effort and the historical context in which he placed fictional characters (a lot like the movie Forest Gump).
After which we said our goodbyes and headed back to our seats to watch the second-half of the game.
As I was driving home, I couldn’t stop thinking that I should have been a better friend to Jim and instead of giving him a wishy-washy review, I should have explain how proud I was to know someone like him... a published author.
The fact remains, that no matter what I thought of his writing style, he did it!
He wrote his novel... he didn’t think about writing a novel... he didn’t tell all his friends and family he was going to pen a book... he actually sat down and wrote... and wrote... and wrote some more.
His pages didn’t sit hidden away on the hard-disk of his computer. He published it. Amazon sold it. People (like me) bought it and read it.
No matter what I thought of the book... he accomplished something great by actually doing it...
Just like writing a book... each significant accomplishment in our own lives can be broken down into three parts... a beginning... a middle... and an end.
Each of these stages is equally important.
Each beginning comes from some unfulfilled dream.
Maybe it is our dream of getting a college degree, learning a new language, trekking in the mountains of Nepal, saving for a first home, or perhaps writing our own novel. We all have dreams of things that we want to someday accomplish.
Today is the day to start.
Starting something new is hard. The resistance to change is relentless and will do anything in its power to put up roadblocks in front of you.
Resistance gets its ultimate power from fear. We fear failure. We fear success. We fear missing out on something else because we are focused on what is in front of us. We fear what other people will think about us.
We believe that movement causes collisions... but in truth... the world is in constant movement... and the best way to avoid collisions is to keep moving rather than standing still (think for a moment what would happen if you decided to park in the middle of the freeway... ).
The best way to overcome the resistance is to just start moving in a direction toward you goal... start today... start right now...
So you’ve started... now it’s just one foot in front of the other.
There will be setbacks... there will be times when you know that you’re heading in the wrong direction so you’ll need to make a course correction... but you’re still moving.
Other things are moving around you... there are distractions... there are things that are screaming at you for attention...
Resistance is ever present... starting was easy as compared to the middle...
The middle means that you need to restart every day anew. It means that you need to overcome roadblocks, mental blocks and tests of will.
It is the part that becomes mechanical because we stop pushing ourselves to expand our horizons and our boundaries. We think that we’re moving forward... but in reality... we’re just running in place, expending a lot of energy but not really going anywhere...
When do we know that we are actually done?
There is the tendency to delay shipping just to make that one last revision... but that one revision turns into two... then three...
Pretty soon good isn’t good enough... and your thoughts are invaded by self-doubts and "what-ifs".
This is when fear has its greatest hold on you... because it’s now or never time...
First telling ourselves that we can jump from the high dive and setting out to do so is important... finding the motivation and willpower to climb each step of the ladder is attainable as we just put one foot in front of the other... but now we’re standing at the end of the diving board looking down at the water far below and we’re petrified. Now is the time to actually jump.
This is the moment of truth... the moment when we allow others to judge us and our work.
The remarkable thing is that we’re so caught up in what others think... that we don’t even realize that we’re seeking approval mostly from people who have never done what we’ve just done...
Why do I care what other people think of my marathon time... chances are they’ve never even run a marathon... so why should I care what they think?
Anyone can be a critic... an arm-chair quarterback... a supposed expert in something they know very little about... but we have actually done it and this is what separates us from the herd...
...and next time... we’ll do it just a bit better than the last time... because we now know that we can do it... and we’ll push ourselves to go a little further than the last time...
Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we support the dreamers... the people who are working toward their goals... and the ones who know how to finish what they’ve started.
Jim Kalb President
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