Are you one of those people that tells yourself that you left it too late? The ship that held your dreams has sailed. You are all out of second chances to live the life you always wanted (not that you can remember what that actually looks like) and now you just have to suck it up, dig in, and see out your days as best you can.
Well, if you are, you are most definitely not alone. And, even if you don’t see yourself that way, I’m willing to bet that, in secret moments, when no-one else is around and you don’t have to paint a smile on your face, thoughts not too far away from those I just mentioned float across your mind. Maybe you are pretty good at seeing them off right now, but, trust me, there looms a day when seeing them off will no longer work.
Which is why I want to get one thing straight. And hear me right when I say this, because I get that it really may feel like you are backed into a corner with nowhere left to go but the slippery slide into existence, but those beliefs are flat out wrong. You haven’t left it too late. The ship full of your dreams has not sailed. There is always another chance, and you never have to ‘suck it up and see out your days as best you can’. Never.
Don’t believe me? Thinking to yourself ‘that’s all well and good for you to say, Andy, but you aren’t me, with my life, my challenges. You didn’t make the decisions I made, or the mistakes for that matter.’?
Well, you don’t have to believe me. And you could think that. And yes, if you did think that, on one level, you’d be right: I am not you; I haven’t lived your life, or made your choices or mistakes; or faced your challenges; but I have lived my life. And you and me - we aren’t so different.
And the thing that makes us not so different is this: no matter how many bad decisions you make, how many mistakes you find yourself in the middle of, or what challenges you face, there is always a choice.
You see, no matter how bad (or, indeed, how good) it gets for you, or for me, there is one thing that binds us together: in every situation and circumstance, we have a choice. A choice to respond with submission and resignation, or a choice to rise up and grasp opportunity. A choice to throw in the towel, or a choice to find another way. A choice to settle, or a choice to live.
And you always have more choices than you think you have. The choice to settle or live, the choice to submit or rise up, or the choice to give up or find another way: those are not binary choices - a simple either-or. Those are choices rich with nuance, overflowing with possibility: choices that will meet you right where you are, and carry you one step closer to where you want to be, or one step further away.
And, yes, some of those choices will be tough. They may push back the boundaries of what feels do-able. They may move you further outside your comfort zone than you ever intended to go. They may bring immediate results, or they may take time to manifest the outcome you hope for. And there may be struggles, challenges, disappointments and setbacks along the way. But no matter what they entail, those choices remain.
And here’s the bottom line: the choice you make is yours, and yours alone. The way things turn out - that’s on you, no-one else.
Yes, I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true. I have made choices, some good and some not so good. I’ve even tried to placate my sense of failure by trying to convince myself that those flawed decisions I took were the product of ‘having no choice’. But that’s a croc. I always had a choice. I may not have liked the choices I had, but I had them all the same. And the choice I made was mine, all mine.
And that’s why it’s so important that you figure out just who the real you is; because, when the choices you make line up with the person you really are, no amount of tough decisions or struggle is too much. But you can’t make those choices until you know who that person - the real you - is. And, until you make those choices, you will never truly live the life you were made for.
And that, in a nutshell - the fact that figuring out who the real you is is central to whether you live or exist - is pretty much why Kate and I have spent the last twenty years invested in not just pursuing our own adventures into who we really are, but in helping others do the same.
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