by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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You need to understand, the road of life is paved with flat squirrels….make a decision.

One of the worst things you can do is not take action in your life.  Let me break it to you now, because I know what you are afraid of, yes, you are going to be wrong on occasion.  No one gets it right every time, that is a given.  But you have to learn to make a decision and go for it, whether that is what to have for breakfast or to leave your current job by looking for a new one.  Big decision or small, you have to trust yourself to make a decision and then live with it.  Most things in life cannot be undone, or at least end up being a pivot to something new.  Your old boss may not take you back, but if you left for a new job that you didn’t end up liking, you can find another.  When I look back over my life, there are a few things I would have wish I would have done differently, but I cannot say that I am not happy about where I am today.  Therefore, the decisions I made led me down a path to get to this spot in life right now, and I made the right decision.  That can be very hard to see in the moment, but have faith, you will likely come to the same conclusions, too.

Inaction is one of the biggest reasons people end up unhappy later one.  If you listen to podcasts or read books from anyone who works with old people who are on their deathbed, the regrets are consistent.  A VERY LARGE majority of people regret the things they DIDN’T do, not what they did.  Chasing your dream never leads to a bad path; the outcome may not be exactly what you wanted it to be, but that does not mean that this endeavor was not worth it.  Case in point, I didn’t end up the number one racquetball player in the world, and I certainly didn’t get rich from chasing that dream, but I am the person I am today because I went for it.  I took action; I made a commitment to be the best I possibly could and I stuck to it and rode that to the end.   If I had gotten injured and had to retire, or I never made it to the tour in the first place, it was worth it.  I took my shot.  My history is different from everyone who also wanted what I wanted but never took action.  Yours can be too.

I love this quote from the movie The Matrix, as it sums up my thought process on this very nicely:

“I stand here, before you now, truthfully unafraid. Why? Because I believe something you do not?

No, I stand here without fear because I remember. I remember that I am here not

because of the path that lies before me but because of the path that lies behind me.”

I can make this statement myself because I took action.  I didn’t get to 50 and look back at my life and ask that dreaded question…What if?   Regret is an anchor you’ll drag with you forever if you’re not careful.

When you take action and you start walking that path, you learn. You grow and you expand your mind.  The old version of you gets left behind to some degree.  You change, and this is why taking action is so critical in the first place.  If you are not willing to change and grow and challenge yourself, you will remain the person you are for a really long time.  Some (forced) growth is inevitable of course, but when you willingly seek out challenges for yourself, you open up so many possibilities within yourself.  If you stay in a groove of comfortable misery, years can pass before you get to the point of breaking and a forced change.  I know people who stay in marriages way longer than they should, putting up with behaviors that would have been unforgiveable in the dating phase.  I realize there is too much to go into on this topic, but suffice to say that too many people have wasted far too much time being complacent instead of taking action.  They get flattened too, but it is one centimeter at a time.  They don’t get run over all in one shot, they slowly get squished under the oppressive weight of a bad relationship.  If you ever find yourself in this scenario, try as hard as possible to fix things and make it work out.  But at some point you HAVE TO pull the plug and say enough is enough.  You deserve better, but only you can make that decision.  Don’t end up a flat squirrel.

Shifting gears, this same philosophy applies to your job as well.  There were plenty of times during the build up phase of my current job that I was fed up and ready to leave.  I even went as far as sitting with a recruiter to have someone look on my behalf.  But as I weighed my options, I decided against leaving one last time.  I stuck it out, and I worked to improve things that made my job a grind.  When COVID hit, my company sent everyone home to work remotely.  It took a little bit, but I learned to love it.  I don’t see me ever wanting to go back to a 9 to 5 job in an office, it just seems untenable to me at this point.  I now have a ton of freedom and flexibility, and I truly have just about as perfect a job that I could have.  I travel a little but not a lot, going to a few conferences a year.  I am not held to a calendar or constant monitoring of my activities.  I am well compensated for what I do.  And it also gives me time to write, do public speaking, and even “work on the road” during a fly fishing trip a couple of times a year.  I just attended a conference for work, and did a paid speaking gig while I was there…  Magical.

I frequently speak with people who are struggling to find a happy medium between work and life.  I am not sure that many could find the type of balance I have created, but lots of people would give anything for just the chance to not wake up Monday morning dreading the next five days.  We all have bills to pay, mouths to feed, etc., but how you accomplish this is highly under your control.  You COULD go back to school and get a degree or add a new skill set that would change your life’s trajectory.  Yes, it will be difficult during that time, nothing worthwhile is easy.  My wife worked in the insurance business for several years, making decent money but not great.  She didn’t like the work, it was tedious and if you have ever dealt with the general public, you can imagine how many headaches come within a job like this.  She wasn’t miserable, but she wasn’t happy either.  So she decided to take action to change her circumstances.   She went back to school to become a nurse at age 40, and now she loves it and has doubled her income.  This new career puts our household income in a totally different bracket, and we now have options in life that we never had before.  She decided to make a change, and committed to it.  She took action, and after two tough years of the RN program, she is loving her job and the work schedule that she now has.

We have what I would consider an extraordinary life, and it is because we are both willing to take action and change our lives accordingly.  We took the chance to do something different, not knowing where exactly it would lead, but trusting that it would be better than where we were.  You can to.  You can do it.  If this is a new concept for you, start small and build your way up.  If you have a track record of making decisions and sticking with them, great, keep at it.  Aim higher, challenge yourself and grow.  You will not regret it.  I’ll leave you with this quote from Professional Golfer Johnny Miller:

” A person should not be measured by what they accomplish, but what they overcome.”

 

Well said Johnny…I wish you luck in your endeavors.

 

 

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