I recently had a conversation with someone who was feeling frustrated with life. They had been working for the same company for nearly 20 years and felt trapped. They were too close to retirement to change jobs, but they also felt so far from their dreams that they hated what they were doing.
This was a person who had dreamed of trying different things throughout his life, but he continued to be dealt challenges that forced him to resign his dreams for practical pursuits. I knew of his desires to travel, use his passion for history and photography, give flight to a career in aviation, or spend his days crafting beautiful things out of wood. He had instead spent most of his grown life babysitting immature adults and overseeing human relations problems.
It is not uncommon for a person to feel that they have fallen short of their dreams. I have many unfulfilled dreams myself. With every unfulfilled dream, there is regret. The key is not letting that regret defeat you and convince you that you are done.
As hard as it may be, I believe that regret is there for a reason. I believe it is there to inspire us to not let go and not give up on things in the future.
Full of Potential
I had a high school football coach who once preached to us how potential was a bad thing. At the time I guess I understood what he meant, that if we were only full of unfulfilled potential we would always fall short of our fullest capabilities, but it never sat right with me.
Even then I saw potential as something positive, something within us that is full of raw energy and emotion. I believe that as long as you have potential, you can choose to let go of regret and accomplish almost anything.
I recently read an interesting article by virtual mentor Michael Hyatt about Why Retirement is a Dirty Word and how we have so much more potential than the world might want us to believe. In it he shares a few reasons why ending our careers with retirement may actually be the beginning of our end. He echoes the message, that we have so much more to offer, no matter when or where we are in our life.
To my friend, who feels too old and too used up to do much more with his life and his potential, I say you are never done. You can choose at any time to do something different. You will fight the demons of practicality, and you may lose that fight much of the time, but you do not have to be done.
Start small and overcome a previous regret. Finish that project you always wanted to do, make that change that will allow you to do something different with your free time. You may even find the courage to make a dramatic change… like changing your job.
You get to decide if there is anything to change. You get to decide if you have regrets, and you get to decide if you still have potential. The truth is that nobody is ever going to be as hard on you, as you. You will always be your own worst critic and harshest judge. You are also the master of your fate and captain of your own soul, and therefore have the right to take all your potential and make something brilliant of it.
I believe in you!
Question: What would you do if you decided to make that long awaited change in your life? Leave a comment below.