Earlier this month my niece Alyssa graduated from high school. Sitting in the stands, the school band playing “Pomp and Circumstance,” I watched her and her classmates file through the doors and down the aisles to their seats.
She was bubbling over with joy and possibilities. And I got teary.
I was a tad surprised. I’m the cool aunt, not the emotional parent!
But then I realized what my emotion was about.
My greatest wish for her is that she hold on to this feeling of being able to create anything in her life. No matter what bumps, moments of despair, or twists and turns her life takes, I hope she never stops believing in possibilities.
And I hope she never thinks what I thought, or feels the way I did, in my late 20s when I was a Vice President at a bank in Los Angeles.
“It’s too late. There’s no way I can start over.”
I excelled at my work, was well respected, and loved the people I worked with. But I had no passion for my field of accounting and finance.
The only trouble was, I had no idea what I would be excited about doing.
More to the point, I knew it was too late to start over in a new career. I’d be crazy to throw away all the time I’d invested.
Um, I was seven years into my career.
I did finally uncover my passion – after another eight years – and discovered that the 15 years I ended up spending in my field were far from wasted.
So I want Alyssa to know that anything is possible … not just professionally, but in creating the life she wants. It’s true now, and it will still be true when she graduates from college and 7, 10, 20, 40 – any number of years down the road.
So, to help her – and you – hang on to those feelings of possibility, I’m passing along six of my hard-learned lessons.
Mindset matters. In the words of Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Action follows thought. Without action, not much is possible. And without a belief that you can, why bother getting started? Choose to believe in yourself.
Commitment breeds success. You can do anything you put your mind to. I proved it to myself when I passed the CPA exam with high scores. I’ve proved it again multiple times over the years.
On the other hand, I also have plenty of examples where I talked a good line about what I wanted to accomplish, but never did much more than dabble. It’s no surprise I wasn’t successful in those cases.
Whatever your dream or goal, if it’s something you genuinely want from the bottom of your heart, commit seriously to giving it your all.
Positive energy lifts you up and negative energy drags you down. Be intentional about the people you surround yourself with, the environment you create at home, and the places you choose to hang out.
Obstacles are made for climbing over. Life is filled with challenges. You can choose to be the person who rises up to meet them, knowing there’s more than one path to create what you want. Or you can view roadblocks as a sign that it’s just not possible.
Please pick the first option. It’s easier in the long run, and virtually always more gratifying.
And speaking of obstacles …
Fear of failure is the biggest possibility-killer on the planet. All my biggest regrets are the goals and dreams I didn’t pursue out of fear.
Yet I have no regrets about the things I tried that didn’t work out. The growth and learning that came from each of them, albeit sometimes painful, ultimately led to something good.
What you need always shows up when you pay attention … “randomly” crossing paths with an old friend who connects you to your perfect job … support from your friends in the midst of a crisis … or landing in a situation so miserable you’re finally compelled to overcome your fears and make a big change.
Choose your mindset. Commit to your dreams. Surround yourself with positive energy. Climb over the obstacles you encounter. Embrace failure as part of the process. And trust that what you need will show up.
When you do that, anything is possible.
“Our thoughts and imagination are the only real limits to our possibilities.” ~ Orison Swett Marden