My mouth dropped open. I was speechless. I couldn’t believe the words I was hearing over the phone. I was thinking about rescheduling my lunch appointment for the second time, but now I was the one being canceled. I’d rescheduled our lunch from the previous week to the following week thinking it would be better, but it wasn’t. After all, it was only one week. The decision was perplexing me so I decided to just call my friend, explain the situation, and we would make the decision together. But, now it is too late. The woman on the phone was telling me that my lunch companion had died suddenly the day after our canceled lunch. This happened over a year ago but I remember it as if it were yesterday. I would never see my friend again and that opportunity would now be loss forever. I couldn’t help but think about how precious time was, and that the only time we really have is now. It is only in the current moment that we can count on and live. This incident brings new meaning to the saying, “Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today.”
What’s the Lesson?
I had to ask myself, “What is the lesson I am to learn from this?” In every situation it is important to learn the lesson, otherwise our tests are repeated. Upon reflection I realized the importance of not taking anything or anyone for granted. I learned that what we do in the moment creates our past and helps us to realize the futures we dream of. The past is gone and tomorrow is not promised to anyone. I needed to focus on that statement, “Tomorrow is not promised.” All we really have is here and now.
So, what are putting off right now, that really should be done today? Better still, if you knew you wouldn’t have tomorrow, “What would you be doing differently today?” What would happen if you really lived like there would be no tomorrow. What would change?
My odds went from 1 in 15,000 to one in five in a year.
Last year at this time I entered a competition for my own show on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). There were over 15,000 video submissions, so my odds were roughly one in 15,000. When I entered the competition (with only a few days left to get votes), the front- runner was already 8 million votes ahead of me. But, that didn’t stop me. When you believe in yourself, you take a chance on yourself. I entered anyway. I however was not one of the finalists, but I still consider myself a winner for having the courage to get into the race in spite of such odds. I learned a lot and gained a lot from participating.
I Guess You Can Say I’m in the Finals!
My prize for entering last year’s competition was a re-igniting of passion that I had put aside many years ago to focus on raising my kids. Going through that process inspired me to “make space for my grace” and start doing something to make it happen. The very next week I signed up for television classes and continued them through the Spring of this year. Now almost exactly a year later through a series of coincidences that I like to refer to as God-incidences, I’m being considered for a major role in a pilot for a national television network. But, here’s the difference. Now my odds are so much better for there are only four or five other people being considered. So my odds in a year went from one in 15,000 to one in five. Now that’s progress and a reason to give thanks and be grateful! Wish me luck on Friday as I do a screen test and meet the producers in person for the first time. I appreciate your prayers more than ever.
On the crowded highway of life, you’ll get run over if you just stand still on the freeway. Sure you can move off onto the shoulder where the disabled cars are, but you can’t stay there forever and expect to reach your desired destination. If you stay on the shoulder too long, you’ll get ticketed, towed, or vandalized.
And, so it is in life. You’ve got to keep moving to keep growing, for to stop growing is to die. I’m not saying to not take time to pray, meditate, plan, and be guided. That’s should be a habit. I’ve pulled off on the shoulder of the highway of life many times to regroup and get my reference points clear, but then you’ve got to get back in the driver’s seat and get moving. Don’t worry about how far off your destination is. Don’t spend time worrying about how you will get there or what detours or roadblocks you might encounter. Just have faith and get moving. Do not despise your humble beginnings or small steps. Remember, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,” or in our analogy, one mile.
You are here! Most people are familiar with the maps in most malls that show you where you are now or the GPS maps that have the red star showing you where you are going. You must find where you are now and then locate your destination before you can figure out in which direction you need to go.
What Are Your Reference Points?
Reference points are critical to getting to any destination in life and you need at least three: 1) A Destination, 2) A Starting Point, and 3) A Plan. You are here and you are on your way somewhere! But where; do you know? One of my favorite songs of all time is Diana Ross’s ‘Mahogany’ from ‘Lady Sings the Blues.’ The lyrics that always motivate me to be aware and proactive are: “Do you know where you’re going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? Do you know? Now looking back at all the past, we let so many dreams just slip through our hands.” The words make me realize that time is precious and that if we idle too long in indecision, fear, and doubt that we can lose out. What dreams are slipping through your hands right now? Do you know? Click to continue reading about ‘Where Are You Going?’
Want to achieve a specific goal by a specific time? Then put a date on it. The more urgent the date, the greater chances that you will achieve it. Most of you are aware of my desire to have my own television show. Since the Oprah competition last year, I have been taking classes in field production, studio technician, Finalcut Pro Editing, and studio production. After the competition ended, I immediately signed up for the next class and have been taking them for the past year. I decided that I wanted to launch my show in September. Deciding to do something is not enough. I had decided last year, but just yesterday I filled out the final paperwork, and selected a date for my first show on the local cable MCM Channel 19. The date is September 24, 2011. Although I had been preparing for years, it finally felt real when I set the date. I told them that when the Oprah people call, I’ll have to bow out. So, even though I’m on hold for a part on OWN network, I’m proceeding on with my own plan.
Go on, Commit and Set A Date.
So what do you want to accomplish? Is it important? Does it excite you? You can keep hoping and wishing or you can set a date. Just setting the date gets the juices going. So, get busy now realizing your goals. You’re probably familiar with the adage, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” Busy people get things done because they HAVE to schedule their time. I was busy yesterday and had plans for today. But then, I got a request from a client last night to put together some training for teaching a course in Hawaii in August. The request had everything it needed to peak my interest. The only challenge was that I had to put the info together in less than 24 hours. It was clearly an urgent request. Did I get it done? You betcha! Click to read about 10 Tips I Learned About Getting Things Done!