Sunday, October 8, 2017

Getting Back on the Horse

Last month, in the article titled, "Finding Your Purpose In Life," I mentioned scheduling lunch with my friend, Tim Arthur. Well, this past week the two of us caught up at Randy's Pizza in Morrisville, NC. Like our recent telephone conversation, we were able to get in sync pretty quickly. We always do.

While we talked about a variety of topics, the one that hit me hardest came after a short walk down memory lane. Between the two of us, we talked about writing, our podcasts, and just being active all around. As I sit here and think about it, it was a good time. The sky was the limit and our future looked bright. Then, like the power company shutting everything off, it went dark. All of the activity that we were putting out there just stopped. No more writing, no more podcasts, no more events, no more speaking engagements, it just ended cold turkey.

"Can you imagine where you would be today if you never stopped?" Tim asked. I nodded my head in agreement. "Yeah, I would be in a much different place." I responded.

A brief silence seemed to fill the air as I tried to recall what I was thinking at the time. Why did I give it all up? I asked myself.

In an instant, I saw my whole life flash before my eyes. I have done this before. When things were going great, I made a decision to stop when it would have been easier to just keep going. I stepped down from leadership in my fraternity (both local and statewide), I stopped working out in the gym, I stopped actively building my business, I stopped writing, I stopped pursuing my doctoral degree, I stopped a handful of podcast shows, and I stopped attending local networking events.

Looking back, I recognize that it was a lot of effort, time, and money, but I enjoyed it a great deal. I was making a difference both personally and in the lives of others. I miss it.

As I revisit my notes, dust off my microphones, and quietly game plan my re-entry into the world I walked away from, I see those people who never stopped. Some have made huge gains while others appear to be in the same position that they were before. I get the sense that they are simply treading water. While they are still in the game, I wonder if they've lost the drive to keep pushing themselves like they once did.

From across the table, Tim smiled at me and asked if I remember the reason that I stopped. While I don't remember the exact words, I may have said something to the effect of "I needed money." I do recall struggling a bit financially and when I saw a potential lifeline, I took it. I went all in for a season and it produced some pleasantly surprising results. Unfortunately, I later realized that I gave up too much of myself, my passions, and my talent that I started feeling lost. Like a ship without a rudder, I was all over the place. While I enjoyed myself, something was missing. That something was ME.

I can either spend my entire life building someone else's brand or I can get back to building my own. In writing that, I have to remember what makes me happy, what makes me feel fulfilled, and what excites me each and every morning. "That is what I should be doing!" I silently tell myself.

It starts with me. Knowing where I plan on going and putting the energy behind it is something I am good at doing. However, I also recognize that I have slowed down and even stopped doing many things because others couldn't keep up, didn't like it, or had a different plan for me. Unfortunately, I gave in and here is where I sit.

Truthfully, I think I am much wiser now. I believe that I've learned a valuable lesson. For as long as God gives me the gift of life, I plan on running like Forrest Gump. While it may take me a second to get up to full speed, I am ready to get back on the horse and take full control over my life. I can do it!

As Tim and I brought that part of our conversation to a close, he said one other thing that continues to rest with me today. He said that I have a gift of encouragement and inspiration. During that time of our lives, he felt empowered and supported. I was a man who had direction and it oozed from every pore on my body.

While he may not have realized it then, Tim reminded me of who I was and it felt fantastic. Like the many personal successes I've experienced before, they are still possible. Not just for me, but for all of us. I may have started this article sharing my story, but this is really a testimony can effect us all.

Maybe like me, you've spent the last few years hiding your light. Maybe, like me, you've been holding back the talent, passion, and gifts God gave you. If so, let us take this opportunity to decide that we are better than that. We aren't doing anybody any good by hiding our true selves and the purpose we have been given. I'm not saying it will be easy, sometimes the road back is littered with challenges and stumbling blocks, but it can be done.

As we look in the mirror, understand that you are a Champion and you have been created to do great things. Now is the time to brush the dust off and let your light shine. The power to choose is within you. Let's stop ending what God has given us. You and I deserve to realize and become our very best selves. That journey begins today! Let's return to whom and what were destined to become.

Until next time...

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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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