In just one moment our lives can change—for the good, for the bad, forever. One little moment in time can define who you will be for the rest of your life. Why not make that moment in time right now for the good? Why wait until something is lost, taken away or failing for you to have your defining moment?
“Dad’s got cancer” or “they found a lump” are all too common words we have heard throughout our life. Everyone I’ve ever spoken to about those life events said their life changed forever in that minute. And everyone I’ve ever asked said if given the opportunity, they wished they’d handled some things differently. They all agreed that they were unsure why they waited until it was too late.
We wait because we defy fate. We teeter on believing that we either play the hand we’re dealt or that it won’t ever happen to us. We save those changes for some day or one day or tomorrow. What would your tomorrow have in it that your today hasn’t found time for?
Part of my writing today is for reflection and part is for empowerment. One of the biggest questions I ask myself today? Why is making change so difficult and why does it take something life-changing to well, make us change our life? My friend Andy Andrews taught me about a Union Army General who later became the 32nd Governor of Maine, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. Chamberlain penned one of my favorite quotes, “My future is immediate. I will grasp it in both hands and carry it with running feet. When I am faced with the choice of doing nothing or doing something, I will always choose to act!” Man that’s good! And if you haven’t seen Gods and Generals yet, Jeff Daniels plays the role of Chamberlain and its pretty powerful stuff.
The amazing part about Chamberlains life is that he was relatively unknown in the Battle of Gettysburg we hear so much about, but his life, his legacy and his words live on forever. You see, he made changes in an instant that became the defining moment in his life. He was wounded four different times and was even told that one of his wounds would surely kill him…and it did, fifty years later! You could say he had four defining moments in his long life.
So, let’s get back to you and me. What will be our defining moment? How could our morning be different? How could we better interact with our families? Who are we going to be to the people at work? What legacy are we leaving behind? How do we begin the process? Will we wait until a defining moment happens TO us?
Chances are the answer is yes. Yes, because we’re too busy being busy to create our own destiny. BUT, we do have the opportunity right now to change our attitudes, our character, our priorities, our relationships, and our future with one decision. That decision requires you to become a person of action. Right now, in THIS very moment, what you do matters. Every effort you make counts. Every word you say has an impact. Every life you touch will never be the same. You are already that powerful and your defining moment is now! I’m leaving you with 6 steps to creating your own defining moments:
- Define what happiness is to you and take stock in these things, especially the little things
- Set super realistic goals like doing one easy thing every day from your to-do list, then step back and admire your work
- Don’t do things that make you unhappy, and if you can’t find something that makes you happy, do something for someone else
- Say “I’m sorry” to people you need to say it to and while you’re at it thank them for the life lesson you’ve learned through the experience
- Say no. No, to the extra meetings, the after hours obligations, the spot on the civic committee. Taking the necessary “you” time, getting ample rest and pulling back actually leaves you rejuvenated and able to be a better mom, wife or employee.
- Ask for help when you need it. And know that it is a sign of strength to acknowledge your weaknesses and learn from others’ strengths.
Who knows what will result by the end of this week, but you may be on your way to defining your very own moment in time! Let’s do this!