Written By: Mark Smith
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I have a lot of bad memories from swimming pools when I was a kid. I was insecure, completely untalented as a swimmer and with zero body fat my lips would turn blue and I would shiver uncontrollably during torturous 5am swim team practices. I also have some indelible anxiety drenched memories of standing at the end of the high dive board overwhelmed with the visual of how far away the water seemed. I had three choices at that point...#1 kick it into reverse, have eight other kids back their way off the ladder and then shamefully slink away never to return to the pool ever again, #2 hold my nose and weakly jump with no spring whatsoever while hoping not to drown or #3 boldly and majestically attempt a swan dive that would garner the respect and admiration of the on looking crowd. While being the safest route physically #1 had presented some real social problems. That type of cowardice would get around the school and make some sort of all time sissy legend of out you.
So that was out. #3 offered the greatest reward but also the greatest opportunity for humiliation and embarrassment. Yeah, you would be a rock star if you stuck the dive, but so many things could go wrong. You could also make a foolish legend out of yourself by belly flopping with enough noise to make everyone in the pool turn, look, point and laugh. Or with zero percent body fat and serious shrinkage possibilities from the ice cold water there was a chance you could lose your swimming trunks and then experience the ultimate George Costanza humiliation. (Sorry for the very old Seinfeld reference.) Given the dangers of #1 and #3 I pretty much always went with #2. You could fly under the radar with little to no humiliation. It was boring but it was also safe.
We are all now standing out on the edge of a very high diving board called 2012. This year is your opportunity to be great, or not so much.
What's it going to be for you? Abdication, hiding, non participation and abject cowardice? Safety, boredom, sleep walking, routine and mediocrity? A belly flop that will have the whole community talking about your failure? Or will you absolutely, positively STICK your courageous, soaring, majestic dive into your fabulous future? Let's all commit to the later! Life is too short to settle for mediocrity.
Every year I am amazed at how many people treat the dawn of a New Year as if it were just another week. They put one foot in front of another, do what they have always done and they don't really hope and dream for much more than they currently have or do. That isn't living, it's just surviving. What has got to get better in your life? Make it happen! I am not going to be delicate here. Have you allowed yourself to become fat and out of shape? Why live that way? You don't have to. Is your sham of a relationship broken, distant and almost completely unfulfilling? Are you settling? Don't! Fix it! Therapy can produce amazing results if you put your heart and soul into it. Do you not make enough money? Why? What is your vision to overcome that this year? Is an addiction kicking your butt and taking your lunch money? You do not have to let your problems or issues bully you. You can get smart enough, healthy enough and strong enough in 2012 to punch your bully in the mouth and then make your life into what you want it to be.
Invest in activities, habits, relationships and opportunities that give back to you, give you insight, make you stronger, multiply better opportunities, get you paid and make you happy. One of my real life, scary high dive, usually jumped instead of majestically diving areas was my pattern of staying in a relationship that was good, comfortable and convenient because I didn't have the strength, courage and faith to walk away from the good and go looking for something great instead. Good is the number one enemy of great. I have chosen to attempt a mighty swan dive in that department. I am in the air. I have ended the good relationship. I might very well belly flop in love. Locating a great, healthy, real to life relationship as an overly busy 52 year old therapist ain't gonna be easy. Who would want to date a therapist anyway? I don't care. I believe. Ms Right is out there and I'm going to find her. Maybe the scared little kid in her is willing to take chances in 2012 too?
Life is too short to settle for just the good. In October I started to invest in a program that has paid amazing dividends for me - P90X! With my previously documented out of sync holidays I missed a lot of workouts and didn't eat right. In spite of my spotty commitment to the workouts I am still down 20 pounds and I have cut 20 years off my age on the basketball court. After watching me take someone to the basket hard (which I hadn't been able to do for years) my hoops buddies have been yelling "P90X" as I run down the court with a big smile on my face. It has done wonders for me. My doctor told me to keep doing whatever I was doing differently because my blood pressure numbers were awesome for the first time in years. What processes in your life give back to you much more than you give...church involvement, a weight loss program, investing in the stock market, therapy, seeing a Personal Trainer? My involvement in our Men's Group has been a very healthy and positive investment that has helped to launch my Recovery Process into better places.
I am currently working on an E Book on Abandonment. I am going to finish it and get it on our site for sale by September 1st. I am currently scheduling whole weeks off just to write. It is going to happen. It is the next step that I need to take to get my voice out in the world where it can help someone. In his classic book studying great companies 'From Good to Great' Jim Collins discussed what he called 'BHAG's' or 'Big Hairy Audacious Goals'. The companies that were able to progress from good to great had Big Hairy Audacious Goals. If your life is going to progress from good to great you will need to develop some Big Hairy Audacious Goals for yourself.
I would like to shift most of my income coming from face to face therapy with clients to coming from selling my E Books online and it is going to start happening in 2012. What do you want to happen in your life? You can have it if you want it bad enough.
A fortune cookie fortune taped to my mirror reads "A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline." What is your dream? What is your plan? What is your deadline to make it happen?
I am going to be a beast physically in 2012 due to redoubling my efforts with the new P90X2. I am going to be a beast as a writer in 2012. I am even going to be a beast in finding love in 2012! I bet you have never before heard of anyone committing to being a beast in finding love before, but why not? These are my Big Hairy Audacious Goals for 2012. And I am going to STICK my swan dive or die trying! They are what make getting out of bed each day interesting and exciting. It is fun to dream big. It is infinitely more fun to consistently attain the BHAG's that you have rightfully set for yourself!
What are your Big Hairy Audacious Goals? Are you going to weakly step off the diving board because you are afraid to take chances, because you feel the need to play it safe and because you just don't believe in yourself enough? When it is gut check time for a discipline in your life are you going to shiver and let your lips turn blue? Or are you going to spring high into the air off the platform of 2012 and soar with great faith into your beautiful, majestic and magical future? That choice is yours every single day, every hour and every minute of this year filled with opportunities. It is just you all alone on the end of your diving board. What are you going to do?
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