Be A Trier

Comfort zones. Several questions have come up lately about what holds people back in life, what prevents people from growing, and what causes people to have so many regrets in life, among many other questions. Without hesitation, my answer to all of those questions was “comfort zones”.

Take a look back at your life over the past year, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years. Are you the same person you were at each of those points in your life? Sincerely, I hope all of you are a different person than you were back then. Hopefully you have grown and have improved yourself. Now, ask yourself what has changed and why. Most likely, the cause of the changes in your life have been a result of comfort zones, whether you have stepped outside of them, or have remained stuck inside of them afraid to break out.

A long time ago, I started to learn that if you get stuck inside your comfort zone for too long, the opportunities you have in front of you that will make your life better will pass you by. Opportunities tend to come with an expiration date. You have to go after something as quickly as possible when that opportunity becomes available to you, or else you will miss out. You may never get a second chance.

The most common comment I recall receiving from all of my teachers throughout my school career, from preschool all the way through college, was, “You seem very smart, but you’re holding yourself back. You’re too shy. You need to ask more questions.” It wasn’t until after I turned 30 years old that I started to bust out of my shell and start to overcome the shyness that had been a major part of my whole life to that point. It’s something that I am still working to fully overcome, but the difference between my shyness level now versus 3 years ago is like night and day. There is no comparison.

So, what changed? Why did I leave my comfort zone behind and start to become more outgoing? The answer is simple. If you keep doing the same things, then you will keep getting the same results. If you aren’t happy with the results in any situation, then you need to change your approach. Try something new, and see what happens as a result of that change. Start small. If you like the new results, then slowly make more small changes. I’m not suggesting that anyone completely change their whole life overnight and see what happens because of it. People still tell me on a regular basis that I am insane for packing up my belongings and moving across the country by myself with no plan and no clue what I was doing. They’re probably right, but it was necessary for me, in many ways. That was nearly three years ago, and I still don’t know if I have a clue what I’m doing. But, I feel like I’m closer to finding out.

People I was close friends with before I moved would probably be surprised about the way I now approach life if they could see how I live my life currently. The last time I was able to go back home and visit was well over two years ago. I had started making some positive changes in my life at that time, but the changes I have made since then have had the biggest impact and have allowed me to grow the most as a person.

Changes as simple as trying foods and beverages I never would have tried in the past are small steps I’ve made. Those are easy. Those are things everyone should do. If something makes you nervous, try it. You may or may not like it, but you can at least find out. Maybe you will discover one of your new favorite things that you never would have tried if you had stayed inside your comfort zone.

The biggest changes are the ones that have the biggest rewards. As I said, I am far less shy than I used to be. If you want to know something about me, just ask. Even if you don’t ask, I may tell you anyway, if I feel it is necessary to do so.

Three years ago, I never would have imagined myself going up to a complete stranger and starting a conversation for no reason other than just wanting to talk to them. I have now done this countless times. When the opportunity presents itself, I will randomly introduce myself to a complete stranger when I’m at Walt Disney World. Once again, you may be wondering why I would do that. I have met some really amazing people by doing that. I have even made some friends that I still keep in touch with regularly that way. You just never know who you might meet in any given situation.

I learned back when I was in high school that you should never miss an opportunity to tell someone how you feel about them. Sometimes, life happens and you end up losing people who are important to you before you could bring yourself to tell them what you wanted to tell them. Few things in the world compare to the feeling of someone being taken from your life before you could tell them how much they mean to you. I promised myself back then that I would never allow myself to miss that opportunity again with anyone I would meet for the rest of my life. I’m proud to say that I have kept that promise to myself. Those people haven’t always felt the same way about me as I have felt about them, but I am still satisfied knowing that I told them how I felt. I tried.

The people I consider to be most important in my life aren’t major parts of my life by accident. I have made the choice to focus on those people. They are the people who have proven repeatedly that they deserve to be a part of my life. I try my best as often as possible to let people know what I think of them and how much they mean to me. Some people seem genuinely surprised. Some people blow it off and tell me I’m being too kind. I don’t tell people things like that to try to impress them or to make them think I care more than I do. The truth is, I probably care more than I am able to find the words to express. I have a lot less friends than I did a couple of years ago. I allow a lot less people to influence my life and my decisions than I did in the past. I have carefully chosen the best people possible to be a part of my life. Others were given a chance to remain a bigger part of my life, but they didn’t seem to care, so they were eventually phased out. I tried.

The things I enjoy most in my daily life are the results of the life I now choose to live. Life constantly changes and evolves. You have to keep trying and keep evolving. Try new things. Try discovering new places, new cultures, new beliefs, new methods, new ideas. Just keep trying. When you stop trying, you stop growing. When you stop growing, you start to question a lot of things. You start to question your life. Never stop growing. Never stop evolving and improving. Don’t get stuck within the self-imposed boundaries of your comfort zone. You can only accomplish great things in life if you try to accomplish them. Be a trier.

Advertisements

Still Positively Rolling A Year Later

Anniversaries and other important dates are always a great time to look back and reflect. I have done a lot of looking back over the past couple of days as I approached the one year anniversary of Positively Rolling Through Life.

I published my first blog post on July 20th, 2017. It’s almost unbelievable to think that it has already been a year since I started blogging. I still remember every detail leading up to writing and publishing that first post. The process took me about 8 hours, and I was scared to death when I finally realized that people I don’t know would be reading the things I was writing for the first time. My friends and some of my family were the only people who had read anything I had written before that night. Several weeks of convincing led to me finally deciding to give this whole blogging thing a try. I’m glad I finally decided to go for it.

I actually created this site on July 19th, but was nervous about publishing my first post, so I waited until after midnight to publish it, hoping most people wouldn’t see it right away. One of the most important life lessons I have learned over the past year is that you need to just do what you want to do, and stop worrying about what other people might think. That is a lesson that would have made my decision to start blogging much easier.

My life has changed a lot over the past year. A series of progressions in my life have led me to facing a lot of fears. I have conquered lifelong fears, not because I decided I wanted to put them behind me, but because I had no choice. In order to do the things I wanted to do in my life, and in order to take advantage of great opportunities that have become available to me, I had to dive in and conquer those fears. There was no easing into anything. I had to just make the necessary changes and do so as confidently as possible.

I am confident in telling stories to a bunch of friends or to my family. When I’m around strangers, I always hesitated a bit. Blogging has forced me to forget about those hesitations and just write whatever is on my mind. Instead of worrying about what people might think, I now hope people read it and are positively impacted by my thoughts.

Public speaking has always been one of my biggest fears. For as long as I can remember, as soon as I have become the center of attention and have had people focusing on me, I have started sweating and shaking, and have pretty much forgotten how to form intelligent sentences while speaking. While I still am learning and improving, a change in my professional life threw me directly into a situation where my only choices were to either face my fear or to quit. I’m not a quitter, so I only saw one option for myself. I now co-host a 30+ minute long golf show in front of an audience of complete strangers twice per week. I definitely need more experience before I will feel completely comfortable with the shows, but I have started to actually really enjoy them and look forward to them.

I think the biggest reason I feared public speaking in the past is because my mind was trained to think of those situations as giving speeches while someone is judging and grading me, like I did while I was in school. To me, these shows are just conversations with groups of people. I am able to share my knowledge with people. I can teach them, which is what I already do on a daily basis. The biggest difference is that I am teaching more people at the same time. Changing my mindset was all it took to conquer that fear. Really, if you think about it, any time you are speaking publicly, you are passing along information to your audience, so you are teaching them. Some people may not benefit from thinking of those situations in that way, but it definitely helps me.

As I look back at the year since I started this site, I am amazed at how much my life has changed. I have experienced a lot of things and have continued to take steps forward. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m closer to the life I want to live than I was a year ago. I think that’s all anyone can really ask of themselves. I am growing as a person and am gaining valuable professional experience. Every day, I learn something new. I have learned that some people aren’t worth your time or energy, no matter how close you once were. I have learned that things will work out if and when they’re supposed to work out. If it’s meant to be, it will happen. I have been reminded that you can never take anything for granted. If someone or something is important to you, never miss an opportunity to tell them how important they are, or to enjoy whatever it may be that is important to you.  I have been reminded to not get too excited about something until it actually happens. A lot of things have been promised to me, but nothing ever came from those promises. When you take things for what they are, rather than what they could be, then you will be less disappointed when they don’t work out as you had hoped.

I could list all of my lessons learned, but it would take forever. The most important things I have realized as I have looked back on the past year are: I’m moving forward, I know who is worth my time and effort, I am in control of my own happiness, I am better and more capable than I used to give myself credit for, letting go of certain things or certain people is both difficult and necessary, great things are ahead of me, certain people should have been more of a priority in my life sooner, and just live life without worrying about what anyone thinks. People who don’t support you have no business being a part of your life. Your happiness needs to come first in your life. When you make decisions that make you genuinely happy, your life instantly gets better.

There have been several times over the past year that I came close to moving back to my hometown… not because I wanted to, but because I thought it was my only choice. While I really do believe that certain things that are missing in my life would become possible if I moved back, I can’t help but remind myself that I left for a reason. I chose to move here for a reason. Things will fall into place eventually. Distance is just a number. You can always go back home to visit or keep in touch with people from a distance. But, if you aren’t happy somewhere, then you need to leave.

Life is full of choices. It’s a journey with a destination that is determined by the choices you make along the way. Choose wisely. Pay attention to what you really want in life. I think we all know deep down inside of us what we want. We just need to find the answer from within ourselves and find a way to make it happen. Keep searching until you find the answers to the mysteries of your life. You may be surprised to find out that you have searched for a long time for something that was right in front of you all along. Every day is a new adventure, live it and enjoy it. Make this world a better place than it was before you entered it. Inspire others. Lead by example. Don’t make anyone have to guess how you feel about them. If someone is important to you, tell them. If they make you happy, tell them. If you love them, tell them. If you aren’t sure, keep searching and find out. The more people I meet, the more I realize how much we all seem to have in common. You’re not alone in this journey through life. We’re all in this together, and we can all help each other to live a better life.

We will all find different ways that work best for each of us to go through life. As much as my life has changed, and is continuing to change, I know that I’m on the right path. I am slowly starting find answers to the questions in my life. I am starting to settle down. I am gradually finding more peace in my life. As always, I wake up every morning and continue positively rolling through life.

If It Makes You Smile, Make It A Priority

Imagine you’re driving down the road, or sitting in your office, or even just sitting on your couch watching TV when all of a sudden your mind drifts off. Briefly, you daydream about a specific person, place, or situation. When the daydream ends, you realize you have a huge smile on your face. If other people happen to be around you, they are looking at you like you’re crazy.

This is something that happens to me on almost a daily basis. I can be in the middle of doing something, and my brain will suddenly drift off to a thought that has nothing to do with what I am currently doing. I start to daydream, and whatever it is I’m daydreaming about puts a smile on my face. Every time, I wonder why it happens. I wonder why that specific thought took over my mind at that time. More importantly, it makes me wonder why I ended up uncontrollably smiling. The more I think about it, the more the answer becomes obvious… the thought I had is important to me. Maybe more important than I realized.

I think we all naturally want to be happy. When our minds drift off to a happy thought like this, we should just enjoy it and not question it. I think the answer is simple. If it makes us smile, then we should just enjoy the happiness that the specific thought we had has brought us.

When my mind drifts off like this and I start to daydream, it tends to be the same thoughts that are going through my mind every time. It’s always the same places, things, and people. It’s easy to start questioning everything and really wonder why the mind goes out of the moment we’re currently in and starts thinking about these things, but I think we know deep down why these thoughts keep coming back time and time again. Any person, place, or situation that is constantly on your mind is there for a reason. Don’t ignore that. Accept it. Embrace it. Life is complicated enough, don’t make it more complicated. Some people search their whole life for true happiness and never find it. If you find it, hold onto it. Never let it go. True happiness means something different to everybody. Whatever it may be, it will surely put a smile on your face. If it puts a smile on your face, know that you’re smiling for a reason. Whatever is making you smile should be a priority in your life. You can never smile too much. Do what makes you happy. Live in a place that makes you happy. Surround yourself with people who make you happy. Don’t over-think things. Your heart knows what it wants, let your mind follow whatever makes your heart happy.

Surround Yourself With Awesomeness

Something I hear people talk about all the time is finding ways to improve themselves. They want to eat better, drink less alcohol, exercise more, be happier, etc. But, something that is often overlooked is the influences in people’s lives. As independent as you may like to think you are, the people who are around you on a daily basis really do have a significant impact on your life. Choose wisely when you are allowing people to play a major role in your life.

For years, there were people I spent time with on a daily basis who always seemed to drag me down. Whether it was insults, random drama, or just negative energy, they were not the people I should have had influencing my decisions and my lifestyle.

Over the past few years, I have cut many of them out of my life. Some of them are people I cut off contact with because I knew they did not belong in my life. Others, just slowly drifted away from my life. There was no specific incident or anything that caused this removal from my life. We just didn’t have much in common and drifted apart.

Sadly, since I moved so far away from my hometown and haven’t been back to visit in over 2 years, I have started to lose contact with a lot of other friends that I would still love to see and talk to every day.

The craziest thing that has happened since I moved is something I didn’t expect. I have realized that certain people should have been more of a priority in my life when we didn’t live 1,500 miles apart. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I guess maybe I needed to leave to realize what was right in front of my face all along. A lot of friends that I used to see and talk to occasionally are people who now have the biggest impact on my life, from a distance. The decisions I’ve made and the life I’ve lived to this point have brought me to where I am now, and I wouldn’t change that, yet it’s easy to wonder how different life would be right now if I could go back and do the things I wish I had done knowing what I know now.

I have a very specific idea in mind of the woman I have always searched for and wanted to date… possibly even marry some day. I’ve already met her. We met years ago. She lives 1,500 miles away from me. Every day, she inspires me to become a better version of myself. Every day, seeing a picture of her, seeing her name, or even just thinking about her puts a smile on my face. Every day, I wonder if she even has a clue how much I think about her and how special she is to me. If she reads this, I wonder if she will have any idea she is the person I have in mind as I type this. Living this far apart, it’s hard to find the right way to tell her, even though I know I need to tell her.

When I look back at my old lifestyle, I remember how much fun I had, yet I cringe nearly every time. I had a blast living the way I used to live. I was also slowly killing myself and was dragging myself into a life I had no desire to live. I never thought about killing myself or wanting to die or anything like that, but I was falling deeper and deeper into a way of life that just wasn’t for me. I needed to make a change.

I had a lot of really great friends in those days, but I also surrounded myself with a lot of negative influences. The positive influences from that time in my life are the people I need to reconnect with. The people I should have made more of a priority in my life at that time are the people I need to hold close to me moving forward.

For nearly 3 years after I moved, I had no social life. I spent my free time at Disney World by myself. I have finally started to make some new friends lately. People I can hang out with on a regular basis. People who don’t live 1,500 miles away. I have been extremely picky about the people I have allowed myself to spend time with since I moved. This is my chance to really live my life MY way. I refuse to let anyone else screw that up. The people I have met recently are exactly the kind of people I need in my life right now. They are awesome people who want the best for me. I would rather have a few really awesome friends than a lot of “friends” who drag me down.

Whether it’s family, friends, co-workers, or anybody else, cut negative people out of your life. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary. You will be glad you did it in the long run. Negative influences and toxic relationships have no place in your life. You deserve better. You should demand better, and accept nothing less. When you remove negativity and drama from your life, great things will start to happen. You don’t need to force it. Take advantage of great opportunities when they come your way, and let life work out the way it’s supposed to work out. Remind yourself every day that you deserve the best. Know your worth, and surround yourself with awesomeness!!

Dream. Dare. Live.

Imagine the life you want to live. Imagine getting to wake up every morning to go out into the world and live the life that exists in your dreams. It’s a pretty amazing thought, isn’t it? Now, think about your current reality. Think about the differences between your dreams and your reality. Are you happy with your current reality? Would the things you dream of truly make you happier? What is stopping you from chasing your dreams?

Life is short. We all have a little bit of time to live and do the things we want to do. Don’t waste your time saying, “I’ll be happy tomorrow”, or “Maybe someday I’ll chase my dreams”. What if there is no tomorrow for you? What if there is no someday? If you keep putting off your dreams, then you will continue on the same path in life that you want to change.

My biggest fear in life is missing out on things. For as long as I can remember, the thought of missing out on something fun or important has influenced the decisions I’ve made in my life. I don’t fear failure as much as I once did. The older I get, the more I realize that failure isn’t the end of the world. You just learn from the experience and move on. Missed chances are different. If you miss your chance to do something, you may not get a second chance. If you try something and fail, then you can almost always find a different approach and try again.

I don’t ever remember a time in my life when I haven’t dreamed big. My dreams have been called “crazy” and “stupid” by people who didn’t understand them. That never stopped me from going after those things. Don’t ever let somebody else stop you from chasing your dreams. They’re your dreams, not somebody else’s. You are the only person who needs to understand your dreams.

Looking back on my life, I remember all the fun times I had with friends playing sports, my mom telling stories about how much she loved teaching, and how much I loved summers and spending the 4th of July at my aunt and uncle’s lake cabin most years. Those memories make me happy. They were some of the things in my childhood that led me to dream of a really amazing future.

I remember thinking how great my life would be if I could have fun while working. Sports were something I always loved, but seemed to only be a career option for me in my wildest dreams. Teaching was something that smart people did. It wasn’t something I ever pictured myself doing. When my mom talked about teaching, the biggest takeaway for me was that, someday, I wanted to do something that made a difference in peoples’ lives. The lake was a place for me to get away from my normal life and just relax. Looking out into the water helped me to forget about everything else in life. Seeing people in boats, on jet skis, and water skiing or tubing just seemed like fun. I looked forward all year long to summer and getting to spend a day (sometimes a few days) at the lake.

I always wanted to skip the colder months of the year and just live my whole life in summertime. The idea of going to work never seemed like fun to me. Going out to have fun and play sports was always enjoyable. Going to the lake and just being near the water never failed to put a smile on my face.

When I look at my current life, I realize that my dreams have changed over the years, but the things that make me happy haven’t changed. Every day of my life right now, I get to wake up and spend the day teaching golf. I see the joy on the faces of my students when they accomplish something they never thought they could do. The place where I now teach is next to a lake. When I look out into that lake every day, I see people in boats, on jet skis, and water skiing. Every day of my life feels like the 4th of July from my childhood.

The road that led to where I am today hasn’t been easy. I’m still not where I want to end up, but I’m getting there. The reason I am where I am now in my life is because I dared to chase a dream that was called “stupid” and “crazy”. I changed my whole lifestyle and moved 1,500 miles away from home by myself to a place I had only visited twice. I didn’t know anybody here and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I had a chance to live in a place that I enjoyed on vacation and was moving here to attempt to turn a hobby into a career.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a moment where it finally hit me that I am in a situation, in many ways, that is exactly what I always dreamed of in my childhood. Every day of my life is spent next to a lake, every day is spent at a golf course, and every day reminds me of my mom and the stories she was always proud to tell.

I have more dreams that I want to make a reality. Those dreams now seem closer to being realized. I’ve always wanted to wait for the right time to do things. Another lesson I am learning as I grow older is that there is no perfect time. You have to just go after the things you want in life. If you keep waiting for the right time, then you will likely miss your chance. Do what makes you happy. Be with people who make you happy. Live your life in a way that makes you happy. Better yet, live your life in a way that makes those who don’t dare to chase their dreams jealous of your life.

I want to keep growing professionally, but that is starting to fall into place now. My focus is shifting back toward my personal life. I’m not getting any younger. In a few days, I will turn 33 years old. I still want to fall in love someday, get married, and start a family. I always figured all 3 of those things would have happened by now, but life happened… nothing goes exactly as planned.

In nearly 3 years spent by myself, I have learned what I want in my personal life. I also realized that exactly what I’ve been looking for is exactly what was right in front of me years ago. Making things a reality now is a bit more complicated, but it’s not impossible. I’m certainly not going to give up. Happiness isn’t something that happens to you, it’s something you create. I look forward to finding the right way to create more happiness in my life than I have already created.

Whether it’s your professional life, personal life, or both, don’t just keep wishing for things to get better. Dream. Dare. Live. Dream of your ideal life. Dare to take chances necessary to live your dreams. Live the life you want to live. We only get to live this life for a short time, so make your life happen. If you want a certain job, get it. If you want a certain lifestyle, live it. If you want to fall in love with a special someone, fall… fall hard. Love them with all your heart. Love your life every second of every day. Live your dreams and make those who don’t dare to chase their dreams jealous. Don’t wait. Start now.

You Can Do It!!

The past few weeks of my life have been pretty eye opening in a lot of ways. I’ve been busy. I’ve been crazy busy!! I have known for months that my schedule was about to become busier. I have been hoping for a long time to become busier, yet the thought of so many things changing in a short amount of time started to freak me out. I started to get nervous and question whether or not I was prepared for the things that were coming my way. Although it was exactly what I wished for, I questioned my ability to keep up.

Worrying and doubting your ability to do great things seems to be pretty common. People want to achieve greatness, but they tend to worry about the steps that are necessary to take in order to achieve those great things they want to accomplish. Those worries and doubts are totally natural, but they are also a waste of time.

For me, the thought of having the freedom and being trusted to do everything I’ve wanted to do for years seemed like a lot of pressure. What if things don’t go well? What if I screw up? What if I’m not prepared? What if I’m not good enough? I HATE “what if…?” thoughts. If you want to do anything at all in this world, you need to just get after it. You need to jump in and just do it. Quit wondering, quit worrying, and start doing.

A couple weeks ago, I had a moment where everything finally clicked for me. I had that “Ah ha!!” moment where I finally realized what I was doing in my life. All of the things I worried about and questioned for months finally set in. I finally realized that I had made the transition I had been worrying about. I thought I was still in the process of making that transition, but suddenly I realized that I had completed the transition. Being in the early stages of my career, I am fully aware that I am still learning. I am constantly searching for ways to improve and grow. A little over 2 weeks ago, I had a day in which I was extremely busy, and my body seemed to go into auto-pilot. If you’ve ever heard/read about people being “in the zone”, this is exactly what I experienced. My instincts kicked in, and I didn’t have to think. I knew what I was doing, and I did it.

Later that night, I had a moment where I was alone and had a chance to think back a little bit. I finally realized the very things I had questioned and doubted about myself were the things I had done that day. It wasn’t difficult. It was actually very enjoyable. It was fun. I loved every second of it. It was the moment where I realized, “I can do it. I know what I’m doing.”

For those of you who are reading this, it doesn’t matter if you’ve had this experience yet or not. You will. Whatever it is that you are doing in your life, you can do it. You are good enough. You are smart enough. Maybe you need to gain more experience. Maybe your “Ah ha” moment hasn’t come yet, but it will. If you are in a position to do great things, chances are it is because someone else has given you an opportunity to do it. Very rarely are things done entirely by oneself. We rely on others to help make things happen in most cases. If someone gives you a chance to do something, it is because you have shown them that you are capable of doing great things. You have proven to them that you have potential. If you worry or doubt yourself, you just need to see the things in yourself that someone else already sees in you. It is there, you just need to see it. Stop being so hard on yourself. You will fail from time to time. That’s life… it happens. Everyone fails at some point. The people who succeed are the ones who learn from their failures and move forward. Failure isn’t the end of the world, it’s a learning experience.

Whoever you are, whatever you do, whatever your goals may be… if you go about things the right way and keep moving forward, then you will succeed. It may take some time. Life doesn’t work out when we want it to work out. Life works out when it’s damn well ready to work out. Nothing can be forced. Just keep taking steps in the right direction, and always remember that you began your journey for a reason. Whatever that reason is, keep reminding yourself of the reasons for it. Those constant reminders will keep you motivated. Don’t let setbacks stop you from doing what you want to do. Life is short, so make it whatever you want it to be. We all have the ability to do great things in this world. Stay focused and make it happen. You can do it!!

Take The First Step

I see and hear people on almost a daily basis talk about or post on social media about changes they want to make in their life. I can relate to this, because I have done the same more times than I could ever count. They’re suddenly a changed person and they are changing their lifestyle. It’s all focused on some kind of desired end result. There’s never any mention of the process that will lead to the result, it’s just, “This is what I’m going to do. I’m a changed person.”

What I have learned over the past few years and what I hope others will learn is that you don’t change your whole life suddenly. You make small changes over time that add up to overall lifestyle changes. The things you do consistently on a daily basis over a lengthy period of time become your lifestyle. If you suddenly wake up one morning and decide to be a completely different person, then that will probably last a day, or maybe a few days.

I have known this for years, but have struggled with reminding myself of this. I started a few weeks ago to remind myself of how to properly get back on track, and I hope this helps others as well… don’t focus on the end result, focus on the first step. The hardest part of any routine is getting started. You won’t become a new person overnight. If you set a goal for yourself and take one step in the right direction, then take the next step and the next step, you will be much better off. Don’t try to do 100 things at once. Don’t skip steps. Set a goal for yourself, decide on the path that is best for you to achieve that goal, and focus on one step of the journey at a time.

For several reasons, I stopped playing golf when I started teaching the game. I needed a break, but that break kept dragging on. I eventually started to realize that, in order to become a better teacher, I need to start playing again. Not only that, to get myself in better shape, physically and mentally, I needed to start playing again. I finally took the first step toward what I needed to do. The result led me to the next step. I have continued to expand from there.

No matter what your goals are in life, or what you want to accomplish, you can’t get on the right track if you don’t take that first step. Set goals for yourself. I have written in the past about celebrating minor victories. You need to set smaller goals for yourself along the way to achieving your ultimate goals. Achieving these smaller goals will let you know that you are heading in the right direction. Celebrating these smaller goals will allow you to briefly enjoy a small taste of the satisfaction you will feel from accomplishing your ultimate goals.

Don’t get ahead of yourself. Don’t overwhelm yourself. You can accomplish anything you want in life, but you need to remember to take things one step at a time. The greatest accomplishments in the history of our world were achieved by going through a process. Every process begins with a single step in the right direction. Simplify your life. Make a plan for yourself, trust in the process, and take the first step.

Never Give Up!!

I started writing this back in September. It is now May. This idea has been in my mind for a long time, but I think I needed to really experience it once again before I could finish writing about it.

It’s very easy for people to get these great ideas in their head about how perfectly things will work out in life. Everything seems so simple in theory… and then reality sets in. Things in life rarely go as planned. Whenever you think you have things figured out, life throws you a curveball and completely screws up your plans. When that happens, it’s easy to throw in the towel on your original plans and start over. It’s easy to try to find an easier path to follow, instead of facing that curveball and continuing on the same path.

Very little in my life has ever gone as planned. Things tend to start heading in the direction I want, and then something happens to change it. My life, as is probably the case with most of you who are reading this, has been an endless cycle of unexpected surprises.

I’m very stubborn when it comes to things I really want to do in my life. When there is something that I really want to do, I find a way to make it happen. Even when giving up on a specific goal is probably in my best interest, I will still keep going just to prove that I can overcome the challenges I face to accomplish my goal.

Three years ago at this time, I was visiting Florida to start the process of getting things set to move down here a few short months later. The following months consisted of a ridiculous chain of events that attempted to prevent me from moving and staying here. Basically, the way I overcame those challenges was by ignoring them. I made up my mind that I was making a change in my life, and I ignored anything and everything that tried to get in the way.

Those of you who know me well know that the past few years have not gone smoothly. When I moved down here, I was told that I would be in good shape if I could somehow find a way to survive my first five years here. That was the magic number, five years. I was told that my life would be incredibly difficult and frustrating for the first five years, but, if I could fight through it, that struggle would be worth it. Nearly three years into this journey, life hasn’t gotten a whole lot easier, but I am starting to see signs of things falling into place. I’m one of the fortunate ones. As much as life has tried to beat me down and then kick me while I’m down, I keep getting back up. I have friends who moved here for the same reason I did, and they have already thrown in the towel. They gave up and decided to find something else to do with their life.

I still have a long ways to go to get to that five year mark, but every day I am encouraged to see the progress I’ve made since I moved here. I had a very specific vision of my life here before I moved. The things I always imagined my life would be like are now slowly becoming reality. My personal life is starting to get somewhat closer to what I imagined. My professional life is on a path that I never could have imagined. I’m not there yet, but I’m headed in the right direction. My life now feels familiar. I won’t say it’s comfortable yet, but it feels familiar. It feels, in a lot of ways, like it did before I moved down here.

In all aspects of your life, things will change. Things will not go according to plan. Things will not be easy. You have to learn to not obsess over the setbacks. You have to learn to not focus on minor day-to-day things that won’t matter down the road. Stay focused on your long-term goals. Remember why you are doing what you’re doing. Remember how few people are brave enough to take the chances necessary to even start following their dreams. You’ve started and you’ve made progress. You’re already winning. You haven’t won yet, but you’re winning. Keep making progress. Even if it isn’t as fast as you would like, keep going. It will all be worth it in the end. Don’t let your fear of the unknown defeat you. Never give up!!

 

What If You Got All You Hope For?

I’ve been trying to find the right words to write this for weeks. I’m not so sure I’ve found those words yet, but I’ll try. Nearly every day, I hear people say: “I wish ______”, “I hope ______”, “I want ______”, etc. People are quick to think of material things that they want. They’re quick to think of things that they want at a specific point in time. While I was struggling to write this, I asked my friends to tell me what they would want if they could have absolutely ANYTHING in the entire world. I expected to get a ton of responses from people saying they wished they could have infinite money, multiple large houses, expensive cars, etc. I was a bit surprised though. I only got a few responses, and nearly everything listed was mentioned with the big picture in mind. The responses were the things I was hoping to get for a response.

I have given this a lot of thought over a lengthy period of time. Here is my list. Here is what I want in life:

Love… real, true, lifelong love.

Happiness… endless, genuine happiness.

Financial security… I don’t want to be ridiculously rich, I just want to comfortably enjoy life.

Good health… I don’t wish I could go through life without my disability, it’s a big part of who I am. I just want to be as healthy as I can be in the situation I am in.

Peace of mind… I want to close my eyes and drift off to sleep every night without any worries or regrets.

That is five things. How does this compare to your list? I want to be loved, happy, comfortable, healthy, and relaxed. I don’t think that is too much to ask for. If you really take the time to think about the things that would make your life perfect, what will you choose?

I am a very happy, positive person. My life isn’t perfect, but I’m pretty fortunate compared to a lot of people in this world. I don’t get carried away wishing for things, and I think that is a big part of why I’m so happy. I don’t worry very much about the things I don’t have. I don’t wish for unrealistic things. I wish for the things I am working toward. I am actively trying to make the things I want happen. I have experienced life enough to know that things will fall into place when they’re supposed to fall into place, not when I want them to fall into place.

If you get everything you hope for, would it really make your life better?

Somebody Thinks You’re Awesome… You Should, Too

Think back to the last time somebody paid you a really great compliment. How did you react or respond to that compliment? In my experience, many times, people respond by saying: “You’re too kind”, “No… you’re way too nice”, “It’s nothing, really”, etc. I hear it on almost a daily basis. I’m guilty of it, too. But, when was the last time you received a really great compliment, and just said, “Thank you”, knowing that you were deserving of such high praise? People are very quick to diminish the things they do well. People underestimate the impact they have on others a lot of times. In general, they just don’t give themselves enough credit.

When someone pays you a compliment, do you ever stop and wonder why? Clearly, you made a strong impression on that person, whether you realize it or not. Every day of my life, I wonder if certain people know how highly I think of them. I try to compliment them as often as possible, but I don’t think they fully understand how amazing I think they are. I know that they don’t think of themselves as being special in any way, but they are. They are to me, and I know they have to be to others, as well.

I receive compliments from people on a regular basis for various reasons, and I am starting to become more accepting of those compliments, but I still have a hard time accepting them, as I know others do.

Recently, I have had a few opportunities to take a step back and see some of the things that others see in me. I have met people who are in a position to inspire people that is similar to the situation I am in. I have been impressed by these people, and have seen and heard how impressed others are, too. It has been a good reminder for me that the things I do are different and stand out compared to the things most people do. It has reminded me that I should be proud of the fact that I stand out, and I should go out of my way to use the unique things I do to inspire others.

Over the past couple of months, I have approached several people on the driving range or practice green while I was working, and asked if they would like help with their golf game. The most common response I get is, “No, I’m a lost cause. I’m beyond help. Thanks though.” Every time, my response has been, “I’m in a damn wheelchair, and I’m not a lost cause. If I can do it, so can you!! Now, how can I help you?” About 95% of the time, I have already spotted and corrected the biggest flaw in their swing within the first five minutes. Every time, when they see the immediate progress they’ve made and are happy, I say, “But I thought you were a lost cause… what happened to that?” By asking that question, I hope I am able to help them realize that they need to think more positively and focus on their potential, not their flaws.

Last week, I got to watch a kid who only has the use of his left hand hit a few shots on the driving range. My initial reaction was, “How the hell does he do that? That’s amazing!!” And then I stopped for a second and thought about my own swing. I immediately realized that most people must think the same thing about my swing as I thought about this kid’s swing. Seeing how well he plays got me excited to work harder on my own game. If he was able to inspire me in that way, I have no doubt that I can do the same for someone else.

In the past, I have been completely caught off guard and confused by people telling me that they think watching me play golf is amazing. I don’t swing the way other people swing. My physical limitations have forced me to invent my own way of playing. My swing is my own. I am self-taught. It’s all trial and error. The more people I meet and the more I teach, the more I understand that I can inspire people just by being myself.

Honestly, I feel that there is nothing special about me at all. I do what I do because I have to find my own way of doing things. I don’t have a choice. But I know that people see me doing things differently and are impressed by what I do. Even during the worst round of my life, someone said to me, “Wow!! How did you do that?”

If you want to find a way to inspire other people or if you want to impress somebody else, realize that you already do. You don’t have to go out of your way to force it. Somebody is already inspired by you. Somebody is already impressed. Keep being yourself and pay attention when somebody compliments you. They’re complimenting you for a reason. Find out what that reason is instead of just ignoring it or diminishing it. Somebody thinks you’re awesome… you should think you’re awesome, too!!

Me at Legacy Club