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 we truly want out of life.  This comes down to a decision to choose you.  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?  What is your vision for your future?  What are your strengths and passions?  Where are you in your current state of life?  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.

In our book, Who Are You? What Do You Want?, we define stuck-ness as a regression of the imagination, the feeling that things will always be the way they are right now.  A vision for your future and an acceptance of your current reality is the best way to get unstuck.

Don’t leave yourself out of your life!  Believe in you.  Listen to your soul. Trust your instincts.  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.  Our friends–our mutual supporters–are more than available to help us on our journey.  Our personal courage becomes contagious to those around us.

Below are five examples of women who used our four-dimensional model.  Each one of them could have had a hundred reasons why they didn’t have time or enough money to follow their passions.  They already had commitments and responsibilities.  Yet they overcame their fears.  Here’s their story in brief1.

Trudy was a divorced single mom stuck in a job as a waitress.  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.

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).

Choelene, 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.

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.

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.

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 follow their passions.  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”. This enabled them to break through the chains of procrastination.  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. They would tell us that success in life is about action, action, action.

We’ve all been reminded that life does not owe us anything.  These women knew that, yet 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.

These selfless women were caring for themselves.  Their journey was not an act of self-indulgence.  It was an act of self-respect.  In doing so they took a lot of people on the journey with them.

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

1Their full stories are in the book, Who Are You? What Do You Want?  Four Questions That Will Change Your Life; Ukleja and Lorber.

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2 Responses
  1. Hi Mick, I really enjoy reading your posts. I firmly believe also that people hold themselves back with “but.” It’s easy to make excuses, and it is tough to be honest with oneself. But once we let ourselves trust ourselves, we can realize full potential.

  2. Mick Ukleja

    Right on Ryan. I’ve used my share of excuses in life. Yet when we call them what they are, we are able to move beyond them.

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