Has it been day's, weeks, months, or years? Is there someone important you’ve been thinking about lately to whom you want to reach out? Have you been wanting to play an instrument? Have you started writing a poem, short story, or book that you’ve been wanting to finish? Have you meant to register for yoga, schedule an appointment with the nutritionist, or find support to quit smoking? How about that business you've been wanting to start? When’s the last time you had a “date” with your partner or one-on-one time with your kiddo? Do you keep saying to yourself “tomorrow,” “next week,” or “next year?”
Oh, I know you’re busy. You’re working a lot! You have others to take care of. You’re exhausted. I know the feeling. There are so many responsibilities that get in the way of getting to those things you’ve been meaning to do; those things for yourself that you keep putting aside. How can you possibly find the time? I know it’s not easy to take the time you need for yourself, but it’s vital. You already know it’s important to your overall well-being.
Who’s your person?
Many years ago, I went to the doctor for my annual well-check, and she asked me how often I exercised. I said, “I don’t have time to exercise.” Her response was, “You’re just going to have to get up at 4:30 in the morning.” Some might say, “No thank you.” Personally, I needed to hear it and I appreciated the metaphorical kick in the butt. It was important to me to take care of my health and well-being and her genuine care and directness motivated me to take action. . . at 4:30 in the morning. At times, we need encouragement from others. Who’s your person? The one you’ll listen to and not brush aside. The one that will prompt you to take action.
For the last several years, I’ve been wanting to learn how to play the acoustic guitar. When I hear others play, the sounds immediately seep into my heart and soul forming a deep connection and meaning I can’t describe in words. For years I have wanted to learn how to create this sound, close my eyes, and get lost in it. The last time I played an instrument was when I took accordion lessons in the fourth grade. At the time, “Color My World,” by Chicago was the song that drew me in and where I felt the unexplainable connection and meaning. I played for one year and after winning first place in the cubby competition I hung it up and never picked up another instrument. Until now.
Who believes in you?
For my last birthday, my daughter bought me a guitar. She had heard me mention my desire to learn the guitar multiple times over the years and took it upon herself to encourage me with this gift. I was so touched because she wouldn’t have purchased this gift for me if she didn’t believe in me. I’m not sure I would have purchased a guitar for myself. First step to learn to play the guitar is to have a guitar to play. Check. Next step is to take action and find the support to learn how to play it.
One day on my way to the grocery store, I drove by one of those signs that is attached to skinny metal legs that stick in the ground. The sign said Guitar Lessons and included a phone number. I took a picture of the sign so I could later call the number. It was a few months before I made the call and until I did, my inaction weighed on my mind. Being in graduate school in Los Angeles, my daughter doesn’t have much in the way of extra money so this thoughtful gift meant a lot to me and prompted me to eventually take action. However, my commitment and following through was important to me personally.
I met with a very patient and kind instructor for a free and awkward first lesson prior to formally committing. I didn’t even have a guitar case. As I walked in with my guitar in the cardboard box it came in I said, “Don’t laugh.” I didn’t have the right kind of pick, so the instructor gave me one. I learned about placing my foot on a little stand, straightening the guitar vertically from my incorrect position, and learned the acronym Eddie Ate Dynamite, Good Bye Eddie (EADGBE) to know where to place my fingers on the strings.
Although a humbling experience, I made the appointment, showed up, and was present and ready to learn. It was gratifying to learn to play “Ode to Joy,” an actual song, in my first lesson. When I went home I was excited to demonstrate my new skills to my partner. How painful for him to watch me struggle with my uncoordinated fingers. I am certain my rendition of the song did not speak to his heart and soul, and he did not get lost in the lack of beauty of my sound. But it was a start and I felt happy doing this thing I've been meaning to do.
What’s your why?
Before I made an appointment with the instructor, he asked me several questions to learn a little about what I wanted to accomplish by learning to play this instrument. He asked me what type of music I like, why I wanted to play the guitar, what I would do when I gained skills, and what I might be worried about. I worried about whether my hands were too small and if I could learn how to read music again. Fourth grade was long time ago! I was nervous about the awkwardness and potential embarrassment of the learning process. I was and continue to live out of my comfort zone. After getting all of my concerns out in the open, I felt better, and the instructor was and continues to be assuring.
When we talked about the why, he also inquired about what I wanted to achieve? His questions helped me think about the possibilities. Did I want to play in a band? Who did I want to play music for? Was I interested in writing songs? None of these things occurred to me before he asked the questions. I just wanted to play and get lost in the music but am now thinking that writing songs is an interesting thought and is something else to explore in my unfinished life. One step at a time!
So, what are you going to do?
So, let’s circle back to the top of this blog. What is it you’ve been meaning to do and what are you waiting for?
It’s easy to believe there’s no time and even easier to put things off until later. I’ve done it dozens of times in my life. And each time it leaves me yearning and wanting an experience from which I can grow, learn, and explore. I don’t feel done and don’t want to be done with whatever my life is. Whatever today is, whatever you have accomplished, whatever you think the possibilities are, there is more to you at your core. More of you that has been pushed below the surface because of your responsibilities and the roles you have let define you. The number of possibilities cannot even be imagined. You just have to do something. Anything. Even the smallest of actions gets the ball rolling.
1. What have you been meaning to do? Write it down so you don’t forget. All of it. Pick one thing.
2. What are you worried about? What’s the worst that can happen?
3. Who’s your person? Or people? Set a time to connect with them for encouragement, ideas on how to take action, and for the metaphorical kick in the butt. We need our peeps.
4. What’s your first step? Write that down too and mark it on your calendar.
5. Now, tell yourself, “I have plenty of time.” What you put out there is more likely to be true.
6. Be uncomfortable and celebrate and share the tiniest of steps and progress with others.
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I'm on a mission to encourage as many people as possible to live and be their best versions of themselves. I've been on my own journey over the past several years and thought there must be others who have felt like me. Those who experienced self-doubt and let others, things, and roles define them. I discovered I'm not done in my life and realized there are infinite possibilities. So, I wrote my first book with the intention of helping others discover, unleash, and show up as their true selves regardless of the situation, and remove the barriers to fulfillment and possibilities.
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