Spring birds, like a symphony of high notes, along with the bass notes of mourning doves, create a spring song like no other. Bright spring greens fill the trees and the ground below, accented by deeper green cedar pines. As I look down, I notice the boards on the deck of the old porch have peeling paint, a reminder of summer projects ahead. All around, spring is my favorite season… that is, until summer, then fall and winter. Thank God for the variety.
What I like best about spring is that it’s a season of hope, and it’s hope we all live for. It comes in different forms, but, unlike a magic lantern, Santa Claus, or possibly-unanswered prayers, our hope, in many cases, is in our own hands.
Stop and think about what you hope for.
There are clearly things we can hope for but can rarely affect personally, though we each need to do our part if we can clearly see the role we should play.
Two speakers at my father’s services recently, recalling memories of my dad, repeated his mantra, which is exactly the one I grew up with.
He would say…
“If you don’t think you can, you can’t.
If you think you can, you can and will.”
Though the negative among us will challenge these words, perhaps they might not challenge them if they lived them.
Loving the Transformation
I’m not against negative people. I try hard to love everyone, and the best part about negative people is watching the twinkle they get in their eye when they finally get it … try it … and succeed.
Dad would say, “No challenge is too big. You just have to expand the possibilities of your thinking.”
And when he’d suggest something big to me, I often caught myself telling him the reasons it wasn’t right for me, or how it was too big, something I could never possibly do.
He would then remind me that every big dream accomplished in the world started out in someone’s head. Often, with disbelief.
“Push those negatives out of your mind,” he would say. “We all get them, but the key is to push them away.”
A couple of years ago one of my mentors suggested I launch a national television show on a major network. My immediate reaction was, “I can’t do that. Why would they want me? There are people much more qualified.”
Watching the Magic Happen
His response, as if he had been talking to my dad: “You certainly can’t do it if you think that way. How about you take the weekend, rethink it, and figure out how you’ll do it.” Two weeks later I had a preliminary deal for a show, and after a few weeks of discussion, a firm deal. Ultimately I had to push out my insecurities, and the more I thought about it, the more I believed it, and the more I believed it, the more I made it happen.
My grandmother always used to say, “Once you set your mind on something, you’re halfway there.” Once I had set my mind on this big, seemingly impossible idea, I overcame my fears.
You see, your belief has to be stronger than your fear. We all have fear. It’s normal. But if you want something badly enough, you’ll push that old fear aside.
When I meet people, I usually start by asking, “What’s your story?” They usually say, “What do you want to know?” I then say, “You choose. What’s your big dream?”
Typically, they can’t answer that question, but as I probe further, they realize there is an unrealized dream buried deep inside. They have pushed it down because their belief had not overcome their fear.
We all have excuses. They are very convenient. You know … I don’t have what it takes, I don’t have the money, I don’t know how to do it, I don’t have the degree, I grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, I can’t be as successful as my dad or mom, I’m not smart enough … I don’t … I’m not … I can’t.
Just because you have not done something does not mean you can’t.
Do you really want to be at the end of your life, looking back at all the opportunities missed because you did not try? To me, the biggest crime is giving up on your dreams.
What is your big dream?
What are you going to do about it?
There is nothing like a funeral to make you realize how fast life travels. Seeing cousins with great-grandchildren has a way of making you realize how quickly time sprints by. For me, other than the sadness of the moment and our loss, it was a good kick in the behind to focus on the big dreams. Yes, there is still time.
At 94, Dad was working 15 hours a day and he had just started a new business. He talked of the things he was planning to get done over the next 20 or 30 years. He refused to place limits on himself. God had other plans, but he never had to look back over missed opportunities. He always went for it. You can too.
Make time now.
Don’t give up on dreams. Ever. Never ever.
You can turn dreams into reality. There is no excuse, no limitation, no age restriction. You can find a way.
Make your list. Then ask yourself what excuses you’ve been wallowing in. Now push them aside, and start thinking about the possibilities.
You can climb the mountain. You can live that dream. You can accomplish the impossible.
PS: My friend used to tell me, “It’s easy for you to say because you grew up with a dad who has done incredible things.” Though it’s true that he helped me overcome my limited thinking, I can tell you stories of people who had every strike against them and overcame those circumstances. Excuses aid and abet the plot to hold you back. Do you really think God does not want you to be the best you can be? You were made for a purpose … but you need to push out the negatives, the excuses, and discover the magic that happens with an unlimited mind. Most of us spend more time watching television than thinking about our dreams and finding ways to make them happen. Imagine if you took that time to invest in yourself. Change would surely happen.
I’ve had a surreal experience this past couple of weeks. Thousands of people I don’t know personally have reached out with condolences. My e-mail, social media, and mailbox have been filled with very loving thoughts from so many. I feel surrounded by your love and concern. And though this has briefly knocked me off my game and required me to take a lot of time away from my normal broadcasts and interviews, I’ll be back soon because I have big mountains to climb. Thank you to everyone for everything you’ve done. It’s deeply meaningful to my family and me.