It’s finally here, the time of year when we see if we have staying power or not.
Twelve days of January have gone and those who set big resolutions are asking themselves, “What was I thinking?”
Those, like myself, who didn’t even think about resolutions, are breathing a sigh of relief and celebrating the season for what it really is, a time of reflecting and rejuvenating in order to approach 2016 with new vitality and focus. Now is the time to make the first two or three months of this new year really meaningful.
Here is one thing that should get you geared up for a successful 2016.
You made it through 2015. Things may not have gone exactly the way you planned, or maybe they did. Still you made it. Give yourself a pat on the back. This is the time of year to pause and celebrate the person you are today. Yes, there are still changes you want to make, but for now, celebrate and honor you.
For those of you who journal, take the time to memorialize what the past 12 month journey of 2015 was like. Write about the highs and the lows, the ups and the downs, the setbacks and steps forward. Embrace it all. Those experiences have allowed growing and excelling to take place.
What about your expectations, goals, and aspirations for 2016. Yes, now is the time to write them down and plan out what it will take to make 2016 the year of expansion and accelerated growth.
For those of you who blog, then share your story with us. Teach us how you did it; what you learned, and show us how we too can achieve great success through, dare I say it, hard work and determination.
Share your stores of how important it is to be kind and generous, thinking of others as much as yourself. Let us know where you came from and how far you have journeyed. Yes, it doesn’t hurt at all to remember your roots.
Finally, tell us who gave you love and support during this time of change or growth. Who were those influencers and supporters of all you accomplished? Hey, having an attitude of gratitude can propel you way faster than you ever dreamed.
Indulge yourself. You have a full year ahead of you. Take this time to focus and plan. You owe it to yourself.
“Let go of the past and go for the future. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
The graduates are coming!
One by one they walk up the steps, move across the stage, and accept their diploma.
The time it took to accomplish this wonderful goal, whether 2 years, 4 years, or even more, will now be fully sealed and secured by this rolled up piece of paper.
All those late nights, tests and papers, essays and presentations are now behind.
No more pulling your hair out or burning the midnight oil while you guzzle down cans of energy drinks.
The hard work is done. Your labor was not in vain. The years of sacrifice is evidenced by this beautifully embossed diploma.
Some graduates walk across the stage looking very serious. With determination and purpose, their minds are already mapping out the next five years of their lives. Others walk with a smile on their face, a little bit of disbelief still in their eyes. They are pleased with their accomplishment, yet unsure of what to do next. Nevertheless, they are satisfied with a job well done. Then there are those that strut across the stage, big grins on their faces.
One turns and looks at the crowd, pumps a fist in the air and lets out a big “Yes”. A cheer comes from where family and friends are seated. It was a rough ride, so victory is all the more sweet.
Many of you have wanted to give up along the way. The assignments were hard, the pressure too high, and the setbacks just never seemed to stop.
For you who stayed the course and did not throw in the towel, you have earned this milestone celebration. You are people on purpose. Fear once held a big place in your life, but not now. You will accomplish anything you set your mind to because courage is now a part of who you are.
For you who stepped off for a moment, but stepped back on, I’m proud of you. You’ve come a long way in keeping unrealistic fear from taking its grip and hold. You have truly earned your diploma. You are a champion because of your determination and perseverance.
For you who have stopped and started, screamed and shouted, thrown in the towel and picked it up again to complete this course. I salute you. Go on and raise your hands in triumph because you did it.
Now, my question to you is – What’s Next?
Well, I say that it’s time to expand your vision, raise your sights higher, and move to the next level. Chapter 2 is about to begin.
You have your plans and goals, your dreams and visions. It’s all about moving forward courageously one action step after another.
Now, with that degree in your hand step triumphantly off the stage. It’s time to step forward to success — your success!
Watch out world! The fearless Graduates are getting ready to soar.
“We can aid each other in the independent visions God has given us, but we each as individuals have our own mountain to climb, our own journeys, and our own accountability to God.”
Tonia Renee Lee, Live Inspired, Not Bound!
In a couple of days I am headed to Houston, Texas for the book lunch of Kick Fear to the Curb: 5 Action Steps for a Courageous You. The PWN Publishers team did an exceptional job. They made my typewritten pages look like a real book. Jessica Lin, photographer, stood with me in the sweltering summer heat and took shot after shot to come up with the wonderful cover image. She is also responsible for the two awesome pictures of me on the back cover and inside page. My hats off to this wonderful professional.
I just got word that the books are hot of the press and already out the door. All I can say is Houston, prepare to launch. October 24 through 26 I will be at the National Black Book Festival, host venue, the Fallbrook Church located at 12512 Walters Road, Houston, Texas. Over 100 hundred authors will be showcasing their work with many, like myself, launching their first book. What an exciting time. Only 3 days to go.
Houston, begin countdown. Get ready to Kick Fear Now.
What started out as a bucket list item turned out to be another learning experience on this journey of self-discovery. I thought I was going to hike up a mountain for 4 days and arrive at my goal tired with muscles hurting, but exhilarated at knowing that I had “done it!” This was my plan. Alas, as many of you know, even the best laid plan has a way of changing course on you.
Lesson Learned: Preparation is the best tool when trying to accomplish any goal, but despite the amount of preparation and training you do sometimes your plan, or plans, will change.
It will be difficult, but there comes a time when you realize Plan A is not working, so it is better to move on to Plan B. On my hike up the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru, altitude sickness got the better of me and my carefully made plans were slowly falling away. Here, in a nutshell, is what happened.
The first day and a half of climbing was fine. We moved at a steady pace up the first section past Piskakucho and when we reached camp at Wayllabamba some 2980 meters above sea level the altitude was almost bearable. I say almost, because when I arrived at the camp I immediately proceeded to vomit up everything I had eaten that day. When nothing else would come up I stood up straight only to find my head spinning like a whirlpool. I did not realize it yet, but I was experiencing my first bout of altitude sickness. I felt that after I had some hot tea and a good night’s sleep all that would be over.
Lesson Learned: Always be Prepared for Any Outcome
I woke up the next morning feeling less than 40%, but decided that I would be alright. A cup of tea, some quinoa porridge, and I could press on. My stomach was still queasy. My eyes were bloodshot, but I was okay. I was ready to take whatever day two had to give me. Big mistake!
Things did go well, for a while that is. I did move at a slower pace than most. The hike got steeper and my breathing became more labored, still on I went. My lungs felt as if it was trying to break free of my chest. My heart was racing fast and furious. The thud, thudding grew louder in my ears with each agonizing step that I took. All I kept asking myself was, “What is going on?” “Why do I feel this way?”
Lesson Learned: Regardless of how many people are in the group or on the team, you are still responsible for your own actions.
Our guide, Vlad, hung back with me. Patiently, he coaxed and cajoled, trying to make me feel good. Nevertheless, I could see in his face that he knew I was struggling. His years of taking groups up and down the Inca Trail allowed him to assess the situation very quickly. The altitude was taking its toll on me and I would not be able to tackle the next leg of the journey. It was far too steep and the air would get much thinner.
Lesson Learned: There is more than one way to accomplish any endeavor you aspire to attain. Your real challenge is to be flexible and open to what might happen along the way.
It was an agonizing time but I had to make a choice. I could continue on, moving slower and in more pain, or I could turn around, somewhat defeated, and go back down. The hike down would also be slow and painful, but the pain would be to my ego, not my heart and lungs.
I sat down on a big stone and suddenly the tears began to pour. Tears for the pain I felt in my chest and the fact that I was finding it so hard to breathe. Tears of grief because I knew I had to make a decision there and then whether to labor on or turn back. Tears of relief because I knew that once the choice was made it would be the right choice.
Lesson Learned: You do not have any idea how small and insignificant you are in this great big world until you stand facing a mountain or are surrounded by a range of mountains.
As I walked down the mountain with just the guide and porter accompanying me, I had a deeper revelation of what my purpose in life is. The journey was not about succeeding. Instead it was a journey of inspiration, motivation and exchange. I was able to spend time with people I had never met before who touched my life in such a special way. I was allowed to hear some of the dreams, desires and aspirations of several of them, as well as get to know them on a more personal level. All because half way up the mountain my plans changed.
Lesson Learned: Fear stems through everything that we do.
If we allow unrealistic fear to remain long after the perceived danger has passed, then we are allowing something that was only a short-term challenge stop us from moving forward in our lives.
Lesson Learned: It’s not about me, it’s about you.
My purpose is to give practical help to people who want to overcome the unrealistic fear or fears that stop them from accomplishing the goals and dreams that will lead to a successful future. If you are one of those people who want to Kick Fear Now, then you’ve arrived at the right place.
I know that most of you would not even think about doing such a thing as climbing a mountain. Nevertheless, you can step out of your comfort zone by doing one thing that you have never done before. Even better, do one thing that you have always wanted to do but unrealistic fear has prevented you from doing it.
This is what I did in the early part of July. Wanting to step out of my comfort zone, I undertook the exciting venture of hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. According to the itinerary supplied by G Adventures, the tour group I went with, the 4-day hike is “physically challenging but worthwhile.” It was also “within the ability of most reasonably fit.”
Well, I like to class myself as physically fit, plus I enjoy hiking up and down hills and mountains. So off I ventured, knowing that I was quite fit and able to endure to the very end. Boy was I wrong.
Climbing or, in my case, hiking a mountain is a challenge. Your expectations at the beginning of the journey are often immense. The adrenaline is flowing and you feel you can conquer anything. It is as you continue to ascent up, and the way gets steeper, that you realize how small and insignificant you are in comparison to the big, beautiful mountain you think you can conquer.
You learn a lot when you climb a mountain. You learn even more if you are unable to finish and have to come down defeated. That’s right I did not finish the 4-day hike. In fact, due to a number of things, including altitude sickness, I came back down on the second day. Needless to say I was not too thrilled, but I had accomplished an extraordinary goal and it not only lifted my confidence and boosted my self-esteem, but it let me know that change is possible if you give it a chance.
So, I am back and I’m here to let you know that you can eliminate unrealistic fear from your life. You can Kick Fear Now by taking one action step after another. That’s what I have been trying to do myself and it is what I am encouraging each one of you to do for yourself, even if you only accomplish one small action at a time. Yes, there will be setbacks along the way but it does not mean you give up. Instead, you just find another way to complete your goal.
One of the things I learned from my climb up the Inca Trail is that you can’t go up a mountain and not come down without a revelation. For many people it is a spiritual revelation, for others, a physical or mental revelation. The fact is the journey is yours. When you begin, only you know what you want to accomplish. Your experience is yours alone. Your revelation will open your eyes to the person you really are capable of being.
Removing unrealistic fear from your life is much like hiking a mountain. Conquering it begins with taking the first step. So find your mountain today, whatever your unrealistic fear is, and walk out of your comfort zone. You may be in for a big surprise.