As a teenager I really frustrated my dad…my mom too but I think my dad was more obvious about it. There is so much that I wish I could take back from that season in my life. But you can’t rewrite history.
There were numerous reasons for his frustrations…my lack of interest in school (grade 10 was mostly spent at the pool hall) and my extra-curricular activities that flew in the face of the values I was raised on.
It was tough on my dad…watching me coast through life with no ambition other than taking the path of least resistance every chance I could. It took it’s toll on him. It was a slap in the face and a deep disappointment.
One night, I came home late as usual, and my dad came to me and said, “Son, anyone can do what you’re doing.” At first I was confused, then just annoyed. He would go on to repeat this to me over and over.
Are you kidding me? I thought. I didn’t know too many kids my age doing the things I was doing. To me I was not following the crowd, but doing my own thing. Every kid should be good at something right? I was good at not being good. I was good at thumbing my nose at authority and going my own way.
But my dad never gave in and would continue to remind me that, “Anyone can do what I was doing.”
What I failed to understand back then is that I wasn’t living up to who I could be. I wasn’t reaching my potential or even trying. I was essentially taking the easy road, even though I was convinced I was wasn’t.
My dad was trying to tell me that I was falling short…that I was not reaching my potential.
While that was true of me back then, it’s true for many people today too. Hey, it could be true of me too.
Do you know someone like that? Maybe you’re feeling this way.
Most of us do similar things that don’t really set us apart…we sleep, we get up, go to work, we eat, we watch TV, we meet with friends.
But what sets us apart? What sets you apart from everyone else? How do you know?
Here are some clues that you may not be living up to your own potential:
- You’re not striving for anything
- You’re bored with your life
- You don’t know what your strengths are
- You compare your life to others around you
- Your life looks the same today, as it did last year at this time
- You dream about doing something but never commit to an action plan
- You haven’t failed in a while
Would any of those statements describe you? Which ones and why? Consider some of these ideas to jumpstart the changes you really want to make:
- What have you been putting off, knowing all along it’s something you want to pursue? Say it out loud…write it down…tell someone.
- Take a personality test…learn more about yourself. Who are you…really?
- Get input from those you trust. Ask them to tell you what they see in you. (I’m not suggesting you make a FaceBook post searching for responses from people you hardly know) but have a conversation with a few who know you well. Get a fresh perspective.
- Instead of comparing your life to someone else’s, just to beat yourself up about where you’ve fallen short, connect with someone you respect and learn from them.
- Stop thinking and start doing. In many cases, you already know what to do…it’s time to do it.
- Embrace failure as a path to success.
“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
If my dad was alive today, I hope that he would see something very different in me than he did back then…some of the fruit from his parental labour.
I do remember one special day. I was graduating from Seminary. A high school dropout had finally made it through college then graduate school to complete a Masters degree. I will never forget when I returned to my seat after receiving my degree, seeing my dad…giving me a standing ovation.
I guess he got a glimpse that day and maybe his words “Anyone can do what you’re doing” finally did not apply.
If you knew you couldn’t fail (even though it’s okay to) what would you do that you’re not doing now?
Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 30-minute discovery call. Lets talk.