The universe gave me a lesson the other day, with a little help from me.
An Rough Start to the Morning
My morning began earlier than I had wanted – my future was on my mind and I was losing sleep. The topics: money, pride, and my new career path. Do I have what it takes? What if I look stupid? What if I fail? Is this career change a colossal waste of resources? Soon, the cat was crying – impossible to sleep through – and I was forced to get up and start my day when I really wanted to stay in bed and brood. But, I needed to catch the bus.
It would be more accurate to say that I had decided to catch the bus. I think the stress of driving has been getting me down. The bus is so calming and I can read and relax. I was looking forward to a leisurely ride to work.
After eating and dressing, I realized I had very little chance to be on time for the bus. I hurried out the door and knew that if I merely walked to the bus stop, about 400 meters away and hidden around a street corner, I would likely watch it pass by.
Should I run? What if I look stupid? What if, after running, I’m still late for the bus? What if, in my haste, I forget something, unable to drive home to get it?
I gripped my grocery bag of things and began to run. There I was, jacket flapping, unkempt hair bouncing, arms swinging. Pride discarded, I had a goal and there was one way to achieve it – 100% commitment. A leisurely, half-hearted trot was not adequate. And taking time to assess the situation was not an option. So, I ran.
When I felt the power of casting aside doubt and resistance to achieve the humble goal of taking the bus, I ran with even more resolve.
When I got to the corner, I saw the bus approaching, yet I still had 50 meters to run. Everyone on the bus would watch me striding to make it, and it wasn’t clear the driver would decide to stop or not. I’ve seen buses pass people by when they were not yet at the bus stop. If I were late, my failure would be seen by a bus load of riders.
Below: A photo I snapped of someone’s garage while running in central Austin.
I pressed on at a full run, bus only meters behind me, until I arrived at the stop. I felt the eyes of the bus’ passengers on me as I ran. As I approached the bus stop, I could hear the engine slowing. I looked up and the saw the driver acknowledge my effort. I had made it.
This small event on an ordinary day had immediate meaning for me. Despite how small and insignificant my decision seemed, I had learned quite a bit.
- Decide – Make a decision to pursue your goal.
- Go 100% – Your goal deserves your full effort. Put your full self and mind into the goal. Your resolve will harden your desire to achieve.
- Act now – Hesitating for even a moment can mean a missed opportunity. Once you identify your goal, don’t cheat yourself by waiting.
- Don’t let up – Distractions will come up. Your mind will raise thoughts of resistance. The universe will deliver challenges to slow you down. Relenting will only be a cause for later regret.
- Pride is irrelevant – If you fear failure, if you fear looking stupid, you are merely being tricked into giving up your goal. Acting out of fear is the quickest way to defeat. Your goal is far too important to give up because of erroneous fears or the perceptions of others. You deserve better.
What is your “bus”? What goal are you waiting to pursue?
Don’t let it get away.
PS (1/20/2012) – Here’s a great article by Dale Dauten and his collaborator on their Careerealism blog about changing careers during mid life: http://www.careerealism.com/career-change-old/