Thursday, September 19, 2013

Because I Can

The number of people who doubt themselves astounds me.

I’m talking excessive doubt here, not run of the mill everyday I’m not so sure about this doubt. And along the lines of excessive doubt … people who always, always assume that they can’t.

What a depressing existence to keep schlepping through every day doing the same old thing because it’s what you assume you have to do. Not because it’s something you enjoy or because it’s the right thing to do. (Some might consider things like paying bills and maintaining tax records “have to do” items, but I maintain they’re just the right thing to do. You do actually have a choice, but fines, a lack of electricity, and jail time aren’t especially desirable options.)

A music teacher of mine banned the word “can’t” in her presence. I suppose enough frustrated, whiny students would drive you to that, but it’s a good teaching strategy as well. And a good strategy for life.

You haven’t lived until you’ve played Bach at top volume in a big empty church while practicing for Sunday. Even when Bach is not on the Sunday agenda. Because you can.

I went to Chicago last weekend. Because I can.

I had a regional conference to attend. And one by one my usual circle of traveling companions dropped off the trip for a variety of reasons. I could have expanded the search for a carpool and a hotel room by another circle or two. I could have skipped the conference altogether. But I needed some motivation and an adventure. And I am sure not gonna sit around and wait for that sort of thing to just fall in my lap.

By the grace of God, of course … I make things happen.

Short aside. When people say they can’t afford something, while sometimes that is indeed the case, I often find that they

(a) have other priorities, sometimes whacky priorities
(b) aren’t creative enough
(c) won’t ask for help in being creative
(d) won’t take the time to explore how they might be able to afford it
(e) are so stuck in a rut and so don’t believe in themselves that they assume they can’t.

So Ms. Road Warrior used a combo of frequent flyer miles (but a fraction of what I have) and cash, found a very reasonably priced hotel room at the airport, and rode the L into downtown Chicago.

Have I ever ridden the L before? Nope. New life experience. I did promise my mother I wouldn’t ride the train late at night, so I splurged on a cab at 12:30 in the morning. (Shhhh, no one tell her that I would have cabbed it anyway because I’m well-traveled enough to know that’s the right thing to do.)

And what did I gain from all this?

A sense of accomplishment. Motivation. Inspiration. Nuggets of information I can put to use. Large amounts of personal attention from some successful business people – mentors of mine who I never see often enough. Large amounts of time with friends, both old and new. A bigger network. Examples to follow. New words to use. New stories to tell. And an unforgettable view from the 95th floor of the Hancock Building.

You are the CEO of your own life.

You are the leading lady (or man) of your own life.

Act like it, people. No excuses.


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