Sunday, September 06, 2009

Finding Our Way

The world is full of people that want to tell you what you can do, and what you can't.

Some are people who sit in stations in life that you might perceive to be above you. They certainly perceive their station to be above you.

Some are peers who simply can't help but give you their opinion of you as constructive advice.

Some are people that feel they must put you in your place.

Some are people that truly care about you – deeply - and want to help you avoid making the mistakes they have made.

In this list of people, I find only the latter to be worthy of consideration.

If you can weed out those people who truly care about you, then listen closely to their advice. You don't have to take it, but you certainly have to consider it.

I take their consultations seriously, for in many cases they may also have a stake in the paths I choose, and the outcomes those paths lead me to. They will be travelling these new unknown paths with me, and they will share equally in the rewards that result.

That is why it is so important to surround yourself with positive passionate people in your life – whose values closely match your own.

The people that I truly admire in this world are those that followed their dreams – undaunted by those who told their dreams could not be fulfilled.

It takes a certain discipline to move forward while others around you shout loudly how mistaken or foolish you are for choosing the path you're taking after you have committed to that direction.

In this lifetime, there is really so little time.

In the blink of an eye – opportunities we may think will exist forever evaporate like the morning dew of late summer, there until the sun moves overhead to absorb it back into the air.

We have to take these opportunities as they present themselves to you. You have to pounce on them quickly and decisively. Commit to them with the passion that brought them to your attention to begin with – for the next moment – they may be gone.

I would like to tell you that I am a rational man. Rationale with clearly thought out plans – drawn out into neatly diagramed specifications – each line clearly labeled to denote the relationships of each component of a solution to the problem at hand. In my profession this is true, but in life – my diagrams in my mind are much less detailed. But in my mind – as I think about the future moves that I will make in my life, I have only boxes to signify desires – passions – the things I would like to accomplish. And like a poorly designed system – these boxes that depict future ambitions often have no lines drawn between them to map out the avenues that I will take to move from one to another.

The future often seems to hold two possible paths.

One that is the series of clouds and black boxes that we have not yet drawn the lines between yet – let alone put a label to for clarity of the approach to reach each one.

The other is that path that looks quite clear – only because we have travelled it for some time already, and the line continues straight on to the horizon – with little changing – with few curves or forks in the road forcing decisions.

Perhaps the safest path to take moving forward is to stay on the straight line of known outcomes as long as needed until we find the opportunity to move closer to the paths with no lines yet drawn – and hope the lines will appear as the goals and objectives move closer into view. Perhaps the lines will be labeled like street signs, to give us confidence the roads we find ourselves on are the right roads to travel.


To move in such a new direction takes confidence in our abilities.

But it also requires the odd leap of faith.

And as we know that each step we take forward to move towards such disparate goals and objectives – faithfully and confidently – we have to believe that we are absolutely right in our conviction – and know that self-doubt is but a passing milestone as we continue our journey – and that doubt will also evaporate as we near our destination.

Along the way the naysayer's voices will sound louder as we encounter them. Their consternation more biting as our confidence starts to waver, more convincing as our commitment comes into question.

But hopefully you, as I have been so fortunate, will have those that truly care about you cheering you forward and urging you on to make that next step. To go where the naysayers declare you have no place to be. They will drown out those chants of "you're not good enough" or "you must be crazy for thinking you can do that" with their own encouragements of "just a little further now" and "you must work harder now, you're almost there!".

I have had the experience in life to have made some of these journeys already. I have had more than several occasions where my leaps of faith have taken me to better places than I was before. They have brought me now to a place of contentment with a beautiful wife and two lovely little girls. To a beautiful home. A loving family.

But again this need to take yet another leap of faith will soon stare me in the face. And this time my family will join me – so there is more at stake than to simply follow my own heart. I must also ensure that their needs are being met, that their goals and objectives are as equally included in my decision making as my own.

Because they are my voices of confidence now. Their voices will cheer me on past the naysayers who have already come out of the woodworks to try to deflate my ambitions. And they need also to feel the reward of where I am going – even though I know not truly where that destination exactly is ... just yet.

This time we will be going there together – and when we arrive – after the long series of little steps along the way are behind us – we will look back together and realize we are there.

The destination is merely the outcome.

The journey is a road of new experience we will obtain as we approach the destination. And life is comprised of journeys – not destinations. And each step of this journey – as small as most steps will be – will each add to the legacy of experience that defines us.

We will be judged by how we travelled the journey through life – not by the destinations we reach. And I have a wonderful collection of travelling companions. Companions who - with their love and shared commitment - will drown out the shouts of the naysayers.

And I will need their support every step of the way. And they will need mine.

Because the world is full of people that want to tell you what you can do, and what you can't.

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