As I write to you today, Thursday December 19th, we are but 13 days away from beginning a new decade. And - whether embarking upon your seventh or second - this decade, like those that have come before, will be marked by transformative change, highs and lows, and ultimately - if we do what's needed - personal growth.
Throughout our lives, we all stare down countless opportunities, some of which we set our sights on, others we let fade out of view. The coming of a new decade is one distinct opportunity we are all fortunate to be afforded. The decision whether or not to focus in on this moment, however, is an entirely individual choice.
Ask yourself: Am I willing to do what's needed to set myself up for a fulfilling, fruitful, joyous ten years?
If so, get fired up! You've actively taken the first step in making a reality out of the life that, until this moment, has been confined to your dreams. Yet, as we all are aware, the journey to ultimate success - however you define it - cannot be completed by reading a blog post and answering Yes! to one question. The road is long, arduous, and bumpy...but, you've started, which is the first and most important step of all.
Now, I'm not going to walk you through steps 2 through (pick a number), one, because I like to keep these posts short, sweet, and to the point, and two, because there is no possible way I can define your journey to success for you - much less walk you down your unique, specific path. However, I will offer advice regarding what you can do right now that will get the momentum rolling.
These seminal moments in our life, such as the coming of a new decade, mark an ideal time to reflect. To think. To envision. To carve out a few minutes to ponder the following:
What good things will I make an effort to carry forward into the 2020's? Perhaps you've found your dream job, married a loving spouse, or found your groove at the gym.
And, perhaps more importantly, what bad things do I need to nix? Even though doing so may be the toughest thing you've had to do.
Just like that, you've cleared some mental clutter and should be seeing more clearly. Now, whenever you have a few more minutes to spare, begin piecing together a picture of your life - a picture taken on December 19th, in the year 2029. What do you see? Be specific. Are you surrounded by loving family and friends that support and care about you? Are you doing work you enjoy and find deeply satisfying? Are you living in your dream home? Driving your dream car? You get the point...
Got the image? Great.
This is where I leave you today. You have made the conscious decision to make this decade your decade and have even gone ahead and started your journey, crafting the life you want - no, deserve - to live. One of my favorite quotes is from fellow UW-Madison alumnus and current quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson - "the separation is in the preparation." Congratulations, you have prepared your mind for what's to come and have separated yourself from the old you and from those people and forces that want nothing more than to see you remain unchanged.
What's next? Go forth and do whatever it takes to get what you deserve! Always keep that picture in mind and don't quit until you realize - on 12/19/2029 - that what was once a mental image is now a physical reality.