“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”Albert Einstein
Prior to beginning my professional speaking and coaching journey, I don’t remember any grand vision of myself on my deathbed lamenting dreams unrealized. But on some level, I was waiting for my speech impediment to miraculously heal itself before setting out on the path toward my dream of becoming a professional speaker, traveling the world and impacting millions of people. Waiting on this sort of miracle could have easily created a life in which my dreams simply could not come to fruition. In order to ensure that a different reality came to be, I had to release attachment to a miracle cure for my speech impediment and press on toward my dream precisely as I was. Of course, I had my doubts about people’s ability to understand me and whether public speaking was a prudent pursuit for someone with a speech impediment but I was driven by absolute certainty that this dream was in my heart for a reason and would haunt me if I didn’t try my best to appease it.
Have you ever found yourself thinking, “I really, really want to go for X, but I need to wait for a sign that it’s the right course / a stroke of luck / a miracle before I could ever hope to do it”?
This type of thinking is seductive and time consuming. If we don’t identify it as merely one possible line of thought in a sea of many, we risk deluding ourselves into believing it is our only option. This option involves waiting for something beyond our control to happen before we grant ourselves the freedom to move forward. We close ourselves off to the reality we could experience had we chosen to move forward, following our desire regardless of the degree to which luck, signs and miracles participate in it.
Waiting and praying to win a lottery isn’t likely to magically deliver us into the life we want. On a practical level, you or I could wait our entire lives to win the lottery and find ourselves, at the end of our days, still not having won it. This would be a life spent scratching lottery tickets but not much else. On a more philosophical level even if we, by some chance, won The Big One, would that be enough? I seriously doubt it. I’ve come to believe that the purpose of our lives is not relying on chance or spiritual aid to make them great.
Waiting for the perfect circumstances to materialize
is simply not a substitute for the risk and reward
of participating in the journey of your life.
Can you get a lucky break? Yes, of course.
Do miracles happen? Yep!
But that’s not to say they happen in the way we hope they do or within the time frame we set for them.
Take the steps you need to, to close the gap between you and your dreams.
But Jason, why do you think I’m waiting on a miracle in the first place? I don’t have the ability right now to live the life I want to.
I can commiserate with that thought BUT I also know how often we chronically underestimate our abilities.
If you had asked me 20 years ago if I thought I had the ability to become a professional speaker, I would have said, “UMM, NO. HAVE YOU HEARD MY VOICE?!” From that vantage point I would have also likely explained that the only way speaking on stage after stage could be in my future was if, by some miracle, I was suddenly granted the ability to speak like a normal person. At that time, I had very little appreciation for the speaking ability I already had.
I’ve only gained appreciation for my gift of speaking along my journey of becoming a speaker.
Our talents don’t emerge
when we sit on the sidelines
hiding them. They emerge
as we use them.
My ability to speak grows the more I use it. To me this is almost a greater miracle than if my speech impediment had been whisked away by a magic wand.
See, we often neglect to recognize the miracle of who we are and who we can grow into. If we allow ourselves to approach life from the perspective that our existence itself is a miracle that is becoming ever more miraculous as we grow, then it’s also easier to see how miracles beget miracles.
Instead of trying to will a specific miracle into existence, I encourage you to work with the miracle that you already are. You may find, like I have, that miracles are much more rewarding as the byproduct of our efforts than if they had simply materialized without challenge or effort.
Don’t get me wrong, I still hope for big breaks to propel me along. On some level you could argue that I am waiting for them to happen but there’s a huge difference between waiting for things to happen while you’re actively working toward a goal or dream, and waiting on something to happen before you’re even willing to start down the path.
You aren’t stuck at a red light, waiting.
Your can wait for good fortune to come your way
AND move forward at the same time.
The clients I coach speak of big goals and dreams. Luck and miracles would, of course, help them achieve these dreams faster, however we can’t predict when or if they will come. So instead, we focus on what we can rely on: their ability to take steps in the direction they wish to go. Sometimes these steps are large, sometimes they’re small. Each step becomes a manageable goal that can be achieved and celebrated. As these steps accumulate, my clients can measure the distance behind them and develop increased confidence that their larger goals and dreams are, in fact, attainable, regardless of if or when luck or miracles come their way.
I’d like to offer an exercise to try:
- Think about your goals and dreams.
- Acknowledge the amount of luck or the miracle you think would make them attainable.
- Now, think about a manageable step you can take towards your dream, right now, without any luck or miracles required.
- Once you decide on a manageable step, rank it on a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to take it, with 10 being a 99.9% guarantee that you will take it and 1 being “I love thinking about this step but there’s almost no way I will actually take it?”
- If you ranked your step a 6 or below, come up with a smaller, more manageable step.
- Once you have a step ranked 7 or above: Take it.
The object of this exercise is to come up with a step you will actually take so that you start moving forward toward your goals and dreams.
As you move, you can still hope for luck and miracles to propel you along, but you aren’t dependent on them happening in order to move forward.
Let me know how your steps are going by emailing me at [email protected]
Happy Moving Forward!
JASON FREEMAN is a Professional Speaker and the proud owner of a Speech Impediment. He is also the author of “Awkwardly Awesome: Embracing My Imperfect Best” and a Perseverance Coach.
He excites and encourages his audience to break through the barriers of their own limitations using a method he created, called “doing your Imperfect Best ™”.
His Imperfect TEDx Talk can be viewed here.