- A car crosses the centre line of the road.
- The phone rings at 3 am and the police are on the other end of the line.
- The doctor holds the results of your latest test and asks you to sit down and close the door.
“Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.” Oliver Wendell Holmes
Perhaps you have music in you. Have you always wanted to write a book? Or a screenplay? Paint a paining? Or a create killer new App?
We all have something to contribute to the world. And maybe it’s not just one thing – maybe it’s a collection of things. Maybe it’s a lifetime of things. Whether or not you act on any of this this will depend greatly on whether or not you believe that you have a duty to leave a legacy. And whether, as Oliver Wendell Holmes pointed out, you refuse to wait until the timing is “perfect”.
Maybe your legacy is to create something physical – a bridge, a building, a book or a painting. Maybe your legacy is to create something that transcends time – music, great thoughts or ideas that change the future. Maybe your legacy is simply to leave your positive fingerprint on the generation that comes after you.
A legacy, by definition, is something that is bigger than it’s creator. It endures and it continues long after we’ve moved on from this earth.
So, what’s your legacy?
Whatever it is – DO IT! And DO IT NOW!
Let’s have no unsung songs. No unwritten books. Unpainted paintings. NO REGRETS!
Personal note: This summer, for reasons I still don’t fully understand, I was drawn to purchase a ukulele. I just kept seeing them everywhere and hearing about them, so I decided that I should at least explore this strange little instrument. I went to a music store and got the full rundown on all things ukulele from one of the staff. Two days later, I returned to the store and bought one.
Now you need to understand that although I have a great appreciation for music – I have never had any luck with actually making it. As a child I took guitar lessons which were frustrating and painful. In high school I tried my hand at singing onstage at a school variety show. All I can say about that experiment is THANK GOD it was before everyone had a video camera in their pocket!! But the ukulele was different. Only four strings, light, small and really easy to learn (see a TED talk from Josh Kaufman that backs me up on this.)
When my kids saw the ukulele they were super intrigued. My son wanted me to show him how to play. Within a single evening he could play seven songs! He declared that he wanted his own ukulele for his birthday which was just a few days away. So we went back to the music store and got a second one. And within a week we had returned for a third one so that my daughter could play too.
There is something so magical about the three of us all playing and singing the same song!
And last night, I was by myself and decided to look for more songs that I could learn. I remembered the old country songs that my father loved when I was a kid. A quick internet search and I was playing Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson songs that my dad used to sing to me as he bounced me on his knee. The next time my kids are with me – guess what songs I’m going to teach them?
My father died in 2000. My kids never got to meet him. And yet, thirteen years later, I am creating a link between my father and his grandkids through music. (Thanks for the legacy Dad! xo)
What about you? If you’re just not sure what you want to do – I recommend you check out my online course – Dreamstorming.
It’s a self-paced online course designed to help you get in touch with your true dreams. To discover and uncover the things that mean the most to you. It focused on six main areas:
Please – do yourself (and the world) a favour – don’t die with your music still inside of you!Comments
Two weeks ago I asked people to fill out a one-question survey in order to help me fine-tune the direction I’m taking with my Choose The Life You Want programs. The question was simple:
What stops you from Choosing The Life You Want?
I offered the following choices (and allowed people to provide their own answers or explain their choice):
I have to say – the results of the survey surprised me. I expected that “not enough time” and “not enough money” would be the top answers. But have a look at the results:
I was surprised by how many people weren’t clear about what they actually want in their life. I was also surprised by how many people expressed difficulty committing and taking action.
There were also a great deal of people who provided a more detailed response. I’m still combing through those responses.
Based on this valuable feedback, I will be making some changes to the Choose The Life You Want offerings in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
So? What do you think? Were you as surprised as I was? Feel free to share your feedback in the comments section.
Hi everyone – I’m hard at work on the Choose The Life You Want program and I want YOUR input. Please take a moment to answer one question (anonymously) for me.
(Simply click on the question to answer anonymously through SurveyMonkey.com)
Last week I wrote a blog post called “To My Kids…”
Writing it was an intensely emotional experience for me. I found it very moving to think about the future that I wanted for my kids. But I also found it very emotional because I realized that some of the advice that I was giving my kids… I was really giving myself – my younger-self. Some of those things were things I wish someone had said to me when I was younger.
I think the one that had the most impact on me – the one that actually reduced me to tears – was “you don’t need to have it all figured out”. As I wrote that line, I realized that as a kid, for some reason, I had it in my head that I DID need to have it all figured out.
In some respects, growing up with the mantra “I need to have it all figured out” served me well. I did well in school and was always on the honor roll. I was clever and able to pick things up quickly. But in other areas, that mantra left me paralyzed. I wouldn’t take any action unless I felt that I had considered all of the possible outcomes and had contingencies ready for each. I didn’t live as fully as I might have. I didn’t take many risks. I played it safe.
When I embraced my mortality, I realized how silly that was and changed my thinking. (Well, for the most part.) But as I wrote that letter to my kids, I felt so sad for the young boy I used to be – the one who felt the pressure of needing to have it all figured out. I imagined hugging him (my younger-self) and telling him all the things I was telling my own kids.
It was an incredibly emotional and cathartic experience!
And it left me wondering… why do so many of us do that? We say loving things to our children and say nice things to others, complimenting them, encouraging them, supporting them, and cheering them on. Yet we won’t do the same for ourselves. We can be our own worst critic – the harshest judge of ourselves.
What about this idea? When it comes to criticism – if you wouldn’t say it to your young kids, don’t say it to yourself either. And when it comes to praising, encouraging and supporting – acknowledge that you deserve to treat yourself as lovingly as you treat your children!
(And for a potentially unforgettable experience – why not write your younger-self a letter?)
Be the person you’re supposed to be.
And here’s the thing about that… you have to decide who that person is.
Not just decide – but choose. Actively choose. Each and every day you have to choose to be the person you want to be.
Because if you don’t choose, the world will choose for you.
But this isn’t about the world. It’s about you. It’s your life. You only get one and it’s happening right now, so choose the life you want.
And when you’re deciding what it is that you want, realize that you don’t need to have it all figured out. You don’t need to over-think everything. Just listen to your heart and let it guide you.
This next part may sound strange… but don’t listen to others when it comes to choosing the life you want.
Don’t listen to your friends when it comes to choosing the life you want. Friends come and go. It’s sad but it’s true. A true friend will support you and love you and understand, no matter what choices you make. If you ever make a choice that they don’t agree with, they’ll understand that it was YOUR choice to make. If they don’t understand that – then it’s time for you to let go of that friendship because you’ve grown in different directions.
Don’t listen to adults when it comes to choosing the life you want. We’re making things up as we go along and if you look around at the planet, you’ll see that we’re not doing a great job. Many adults will try to tell you what sort of life you want. They want you to buy their products or work in their companies and if you truly want to do those things, then go for it. But don’t make those choices based on what “they” say. It’s not their life – it’s yours.
And don’t listen to me when it comes to choosing the life you want. I’m your dad and I love you more deeply than anything. I only want the best for you. But I can’t say what’s right for your life. That’s for you to decide. And we all know I won’t be around forever. If you make your life choices based on my suggestions and guidance in an attempt to please me, where will that leave you when I’m gone? I may not agree with all of the choices you’ll make, but I know that they are your choices to make because it’s your life. I love you and I support you.
Speaking of not being around forever… You don’t have any guaranteed time on this earth either. So don’t, do not, waste a single moment on regret or fear. Accept that you’ll make mistakes – you’re only human. But
promise me promise yourself that you won’t let those mistakes stop you. They are only there to show you the life you don’t want and help guide you to the life you do want. Get in touch with your heart. Listen to it carefully – it will guide you well. Then make your choices and act!
And always remember… je t’aime!