Life has a way of pushing us over if we let it.  One of the main antidotes against being a pushover is to know what you truly want out of life.  The most difficult phase of life is not when others do not understand you.  It’s really when you don’t understand yourself.

What do you want out of life?  Where are you in your current state?  The happiest and most successful people I’ve encountered are those who have broken the chains of procrastination.  They might have been stuck at one point of their lives, but they didn’t stay stuck.  It’s common to come up with excuses why we can’t move forward.  It usually starts out with the word “but”, and redirects any focus on our “whys”. The “buts” keep us stuck.

What is stuck-ness? It’s a regression of the imagination, the feeling that things will always be the way they are right now.  Without a vision for your future and an acceptance of your current reality, remaining stuck is inevitable.

Don’t leave yourself out of your life!  And don’t leave your true friends out of your life either.  When we have a picture of the future and understand our current position, a drive is created in our soul.  Our friends–our mutual supporters–are more than available to help us on our journey.

Below are five of our friends who got unstuck.  They walked toward “the barking dog” and overcame their fears.  Here’s their story in brief.

Trudy was a divorced single mom, working long hours at a job she was unhappy with. She went back to school, got her degree, and was eventually nominated for Teacher of The Year by the San Diego School District for her work with “at risk” high school students.

“A person who wants something will find a way; a person who doesn’t will find an excuse.” — Stephen Dolley Jr.

Melanie was a single mom whose mother and sister were murdered before her eyes by her stepfather.  Her son was killed by the boy he was mentoring.  She now motivates harden young criminals to reverse their lives and created M.A.T.F.A. (Mentoring, A Touch From Above).

“Suffering expands your heart so more love can enter in and therefore more love can flow out.” — Lauren Miller

Cholene was a United Airlines pilot whose life was miraculously spared from 9/11.  It caused her to pause and reflect. She found new meaning in the life she already had. She, along with her partner, reached out to help and build a community center in Mississippi for the survivors of Katrina.

“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your personal example.” — John Wooden

Rachel with severe ADD, struggled through college and ended up teaching children with learning disabilities.  She has an incredible passion for this work, and she resolved to do what she wanted.

“Willpower is a muscle; the more you use it, the stronger it gets.”          — Martin Ginis

Vicki was a divorced mother. She is now a business consultant, author, and speaker.  She is a coach for Nike, Toyota, Gap, Merrill Lynch, etc.  She completely altered her life from that of a teacher and assistant principal to discover her “why”, and now teaches leaders and managers instead of children.

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” — George Bernard Shaw

These women could have come up with a hundred reasons why they didn’t have time or money to follow their passions.  After all, they already had commitments and ongoing responsibilities.  They overcame their fears and developed the confidence to go after their dreams.  In most cases it entailed learning a new skill or applying an existing skill in another context.  In every case they answered the question, “Who are you and what do you want?”

Their advice?  Don’t let your “but” get bigger than your “why”.  Even if the changes aren’t as drastic as these five, many have found a new satisfaction in the current job they are now doing.  If success in real estate is about location, location, location, then success in life is about action, action, action.

Life does not owe us anything.  These women had a deeper understanding that life had already given them everything they needed.  Their freedom rose from understanding that what was in their way was part of their way.

Don’t let your but get bigger than your why, is another way of saying “Don’t leave yourself out of your life.”

Their full stories are in the book, Who Are You? What Do You Want?  Four Questions That Will Change Your Life; Ukleja and Lorber.