“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain
In 1982, I passed up an opportunity (during my undergraduate college years) to work as an intern in the Press Office of President Ronald Reagan. This was an invitation-only fellowship opportunity and I was invited. I would have lived in our nation’s capital and worked in the White House for several months; Washington D.C. is one of my favorite cities. I would have had an incredible, life-changing experience, no doubt. I passed, and I regret it today.
“I can’t afford it.” – I could barely afford college. While much of the fellowship cost was covered, much was not.
“I have serious problems with Reagan’s policies.” – I used to refer to “Reaganomics” or “trickle-down economics” as “Pee-in-the-gutter-so-the-folks-downstream-have-something-to-drink economics”.
These were the thoughts that kept me from pursuing the opportunity…or so I thought.
Like all of us will be from time to time, I was faced with an opportunity that seemed to require more from me than my own capacity to believe in myself would allow. I focused on the obstacles to the opportunity and allowed those obstacles to become my excuse for saying “no”. Those obstacles were very real, but not insurmountable. I never gave myself the opportunity to solve them. I never even gave myself the opportunity to consider if I really wanted to go. I focused on the consequences of going, but never gave a thought to the consequences of not going.
Fact is, I was afraid. Of all the obstacles I would and could have overcome to accept the invitation, fear was my biggest obstacle and I never even acknowledged that fear was paralyzing me. I love my life today, but honestly I wonder how my life would be different had I not allowed fear to by my guide in 1982.
Your fears today may only be half as powerful as your regrets tomorrow.
- What opportunities do you have that seem to require more from you than your own capacity to believe in yourself would allow?
- What are the rewards – what great things could change for you – if you boldly pursued the opportunity?
- What are the consequences if you do NOT pursue the opportunity?
- What obstacles might get in the way or make things difficult for you? (Fear is nearly always an obstacle in some way.)
- Think of two or three potential solutions for each obstacle. Choose the best ones to implement that sufficiently address each obstacle.
- List each step it will take to implement your solutions. Assign a date for when you promise yourself you will take each action.
- Keep your promises.
- Live a courageous life that his worth telling stories about.
“…throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” It all happens at The Intersection of Purpose and Now.