Are you living your life by design or by accident?

Last Friday I flew in on a red eye flight from L.A. to D.C.  I had a meeting that morning and when I mentioned I’d just come in from California (which was on a Swine Flu Emergency Health Alert at the time) the person I was speaking to said, sort of jokingly but not really, “I hope you didn’t bring the swine flu with you.”  The next day, at one of my sons soccer games, I was introduced to someone and when I extended my hand to shake theirs, they said anxiously, “I don’t think we are supposed to be doing that anymore.”

“Struth!”, I thought to myself, “Talk about paranoid.”

Which got me thinking, how come everyone is so fast to panic about all the bad things that might happen to them? What’s with the hyper sensitivity to catching a virus that quite frankly, isn’t that likely to be caught! Why is everyone so preoccupied with all the bad things that might befall them?

Now I’m sure that you aren’t one of those people whose been walking around with a gas mask, sterilizing your hands at every stop light and refusing to shake hands, but perhaps you have found yourself  feeling anxious about the future, and what it holds for you. If so, then I’d just like to ask you, “What do you WANT your future to hold for you?” You know it’s nearly June, nearly the half way point for 2009, and it occurs to me that this year is going to be behind us before we know it given how fast it’s already gone.  That being the case, if we don’t focus our sights on things that we want to achieve and experience before the year is through, we will probably not achieve or experience anything particularly exciting.

I know one thing for sure. I do not want to spend one more day, or hour, or minute of 2009 watching news broadcasts that incite fear. I do however, want to accomplish a few things. I want to be able to run 3 miles in 30 minutes by the end of June (that’s a lot for this girl who always called herself a ‘non-runner’), I want to take my kids camping, I want to have a fun summer, I want to get through the pile of books beside my bed (rather than watch TV)… and yada yada yada, the list goes on.  But what about you?

What do you want to do before the bell chimes midnight on December 31st this year? For all it’s worth, my coaching tip of the day is that unless you come up with a few cool goals that excite and inspire you (and very likely also stretch you in some way… most cool goals do!) then it’s extremely likely that your experience of 2009 won’t be as rewarding and fun and meaningful as it could be.

Now don’t make yourself wrong for being where you are today (though do remove the gas mask if you’re wearing one).  Rather just make a decision to focus your time, your energy and your multitude of talents on doing something really worthwhile tomorrow!

Actually I highly recommend that you take it a step further. Get a pen and paper and write down the way you’d like your life to look 5 years from now. Write it as thought its already happened, What are you doing? Who are you doing it with? Where are you living? How do you feel? Are you 5 pounds lighter or 20 pounds heavier? (suggestion: if in doubt, select the former).

Life is so darned short and you really only have one shot at it.  I was in Chicago earlier this week to speak at a conference and while there, visited the Navy Pier. Daniel Burnham who designed it, and much of Chicago, had a motto that said “Make no small plans”. I reckon it’s a pretty cool motto and suggest you take it on yourself.  After all, we human beings fail far more from timidity than we do from over daring!

So stop worrying about what ‘might happen’ and instead be decisive about what you want to ‘make happen’.  Live your life by design, not by accident.

If you’d like to watch a recent interview on how to stay strong and confident during these fearful times please click here.