A few nights back, before my husband and I began the nightly ritual of coaxing our children to finally shut their eyes and go to sleep, our family of four snuggled into “mommy’s and daddy’s” big bed to read a book. It was my daughter’s turn to pick, and she disappeared into her room, returning a minute later with one of our family favorites: Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
This book has a history in our home. When my husband and I moved from the Dominican Republic, it was the book my husband chose to read as a farewell to his middle school students—and, yes, there were lots of tears.
When my daughter turned one, it was the book we gifted her, determined to read it to her regularly to instill its core message: “Kid, you’ll move mountains!”
When my son was born, I began reading it to him, too. Its message took on a new meaning. Now, there were two little humans in my care. And I could think of nothing more important than them growing up to live a life of purpose, adventure, and meaning.
Reading the book to them that night, their little bodies snuggled up against mine, I couldn’t help but anchor that moment in time and memory. They are so small. They dream with abandon, without the governor of fear.
What if we could all do that? What if we could look past our heartache and doubts, and instead see the possibility of what’s to come? What if we could stop waiting and start making things happen?
You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place . . .
. . . for people just waiting.
I want my children to take their heads full of brains and shoes full of feet, and march forward into the wide world. To see the beauty and possibility ahead without the fear of what can happen.
I want that for you, too.
Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting
You’ll find the bright places
where the Boom Bands are playing.
Because let’s be honest, it’s easy to get beat down. To let life dictate whether you’re going to live a life of purpose and meaning or crumble under the weight of failure and despair.
I’ve been there, my friend. I know what it’s like to look into the mirror and think, “Is this it?” It’s been more than a decade since I shifted my life, since I made the decision to stop waiting for Another Chance and start making my own opportunities. I’m grateful every day that I made the choice to stop waiting.
Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
And now, nine years later, I cant help but wonder: Why? Why do so many of us keep waiting?
Why go to a job you hate every day? Or live in a town you dislike? Or live the entire year around two weeks of vacation?
Too many of us trust our fate to nothing but our mental constructs of the world (which are totally unreliable, by the way).
You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
I’m always searching for the antivenom to complacency. Because we only get one life, folks. We only get one opportunity to scale great heights and do exciting things. To buck the mundane and MAKE THINGS HAPPEN.
So, what’s the solution? I don’t have the full answer, but my focus has been on developing bravery.
For my kids, that means starting small—engaging in microbravery, everyday acts of courage that build up that bravery muscle. In my coaching, it means helping individuals and teams tackle the hard stuff: clarifying what they want and developing a plan of action to get there. (Seriously, is there anything scarier than having a tactical plan to achieve the thing you want most of all? Because once the plan is made, it’s all on you to make it happen.) In my life, it means shaking things up every now and then—right now, that means gearing up for a year in Thailand with our two kids and two cats.
Look, I fail. All the time. I get into routines and ruts. I make mistakes. But I’ve done my best to strengthen my bravery muscle and obliterate complacency. I’ve also formed a network of amazing humans who keep me accountable and moving forward in the direction of my dreams.
You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
What about you? Is there an adventure you’ve been wanting to go on? Is there a goal you’ve been wanting to reach but haven’t taken the steps you need to make it happen?
The time is now. Today is your day.
Your mountain is waiting.
So . . . get on your way!