I feel lucky to be alive.
No, I’m not referencing about surviving my Last Bad Day. I’m talking about surviving my trip to the mall with my youngest on Black Friday.
Yes, I’m crazy.
As she waited in slow-as-molasses checkout lines, I waited in parking lots, witnessing my fellow shoppers “giving spirits” come to life. There’s nothing like a few F-bombs and parking-lot arguments to say Merry Christmas and boost the holiday spirit.
All that waiting got me to thinking: What are we waiting for?
We do a lot of waiting in our lives— from our commutes to and from work, to waiting in TSA lines, to waiting for our Shake Shack orders, to waiting for Spin class to begin. Eckhart Tolle would call this “small-scale” waiting. We can minimize it, but we can’t eliminate it. It’s part of life.
But what about the large-scale waiting you do in your life? What about waiting to take action to become your best self?
Before my Last Bad Day, I was great at large-scale waiting. I juggled my roles as husband, dad, son, friend, and athlete. And to top it off, I threw a busy career into the mix. I wasted too much time replaying regrets of yesterday or worrying about tomorrow.
To cope, I created little "waiting" stories.
“You will be happier after you get that promotion, Michael.”
“This is just a busy time. Things will slow down after the next sales meeting.”
"I can't wait to go on vacation. I need a break."
I was waiting for a future that always seemed better than the present moment I was living.
I spent little time being present; being here, now.
As a result, I lived my life backward, as Shakti Gawain writes. I was constantly in having-doing-being mode. I would tell myself stories such as, “After I finish the meeting, I’ll do things that truly matter. Then, I will be happier.”
Have you also told yourself this story? So many of us have fallen into the waiting trap.
What my cycling accident recovery taught me was the power of being-doing-having mode. It sparked my rehab mantra: Making tomorrow better, which helped me focus on being grateful for what I had today and led to more downstream gratitude.
Or, to put it in relationship to my time in physical rehab: I appreciate (being) the function I have today. Today, I will focus on getting stronger (doing) so I can realize (having) greater function tomorrow.
And trust me, honoring what you have now doesn’t mean you are settling for good enough. I had—and currently have—aspirations to enhance my life situation for my family and myself.
The difference now is that the pathway to my aspirations has changed. It requires less waiting and more being.
You, too, can make this shift when you acknowledge what you have today; when you accept that your success and the best version of yourself happens now, in the present moment.
It definitely doesn’t happen when you replay yesterday’s missteps or wait for a New Year’s resolutions to begin. It happens right now. It happens today.
So, ask yourself: How do I want to live my life next year?
Many of the leaders I work with admit they want more freedom, energy, wellness, fulfillment, and joy in their lives. What they learn is that they must “become it,” in order for their realities begin to shift. Then, they can develop their plans and begin to live their lives in the present.
How do you want to live right now?
Today is a beautiful day to decide to live with intention and purpose, and in the Now.
Haven’t you waited long enough?