How could this be? When I was only seven years old, my father died of lung cancer. I still remember, New Year’s day 1971, and my mother telling my sisters and I that he was gone. The ripple effect of that day did not become clear to me until I sat down to write the words that you are now reading.
A recurring theme throughout my life has been not waiting to act once I knew I wanted to do something. When I was eleven years old, I wanted to be a magician. I started learning by using those cheap tricks you buy at the department store, and in two years I was performing magic shows not only for my family, but at events for local senior citizens.
When I was fourteen I recall deciding that I wanted to run the perimeter of the village of Scotia, New York where I grew up. I changed into shorts, a t-shirt, put on my sneakers and was off. I ran two miles that day and I can still remember the feeling of pride and exhilaration when I flopped onto the couch in my home living room.
That trend continued later in life when I worked on and completed a doctoral degree while working full-time, and again when I wrote my first book Dream It, Live It, Love It while working a very demanding full-time job. I don’t think it is a stretch to claim that the most important factor in the achievements I’ve made in my life is my lack of apprehension in starting to work on a long-term project or goal, once I’ve decided that I want to achieve it. Second most important may be my stubbornness in staying at it through the ups and down, starts and stops, and other challenges.
I’ve had many people tell me that one thing that keeps them from starting to work on their long-term goal is that they worry about what they will have lost if they start, yet don’t achieve the goal. I struggle to understand this, because for me, the journey and adventure that starts with that first step is as fulfilling as reaching the final objective. Along the way, precious lessons are learned. If I never completed writing my first book, what would I have lost? I would have invested lots of time, yes. I would have spent some money, yes. But, look at all the amazing people I got to meet and all the great things I got to experience and learn. Lose? No chance. I think the only way you lose by starting on your adventures is if you believe that you cannot grow your capabilities.
Do you believe that you can?