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Carpe Diem!

Yes, Seize the Day!  These are the most important words you will ever embrace in your life!

I was watching Diahann Carroll on TV the other day.  This amazing woman is 77 and could easily pass for 40 – have you seen her on the TV show White Collar lately?  But her physical beauty is not what is most attractive about her.  Her inner strength, her strength of character, and her innate kindness and wisdom are what set her apart as an individual.

And guess what, you have those qualities inside too.  Not everyone uses what they have inside, they let their fear programs, their ‘that’s too hard’ programs, their ‘I have no idea how to do that’ programs, and their ‘little voice’ programs (not the one that belongs to your gut-level intuition – but the one that says, ‘Don’t seize the day, pull the blankets over your head instead!’) – they let all these old limiting beliefs stop them from going after the amazing opportunities that cross their path on a fairly regular basis.

Diahann Carroll was the first African-American female actor to have her own TV show (Julia) back in 1968, something that the ‘wisdom of the day’ considered impossible. Ironically, she got her start at 18 as the winning contestant on the TV show Chance of a Lifetime. Diahann is one of those people who lives by the concept – seize the day, take chances, go for it, step out, be bold, make changes, and be who you are meant to be.

Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did. ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Recently I was working with a client who wanted to change his life and was debating if he could ‘take the chance’.  He had a ‘safe’ job and yet he really wanted to step out and be his own boss as an entrepreneur.  He had been presented with an opportunity to teach a program that he was very excited about, and all the pieces were in place for him to make that step.

He wanted the freedom to work anywhere in the world, and this program (or others like it) presented the opportunity to make this bold change in his life as there was a growing demand for that very type of training.  Every time he got close to taking the step, he would suddenly draw back and surround himself with all of his fear programs and start to ask himself questions like –

What if I quit this job that is no longer fulfilling, and then can’t get it back?

How can I know I will be good at this?

I’ve never been an entrepreneur, how do I know I can succeed?

How can I be sure that I will have everything I need and not make any mistakes?

I don’t know how to market, what if I can’t find clients or students?

What was tripping him up was his deeply embedded programs that demanded he not make a move unless every single piece of the process is guaranteed, in writing.

I am all in favor of due diligence, and at the same time, as I look back on my extensive life, the only thing I can guarantee is that your greatest regrets will be the things you didn’t do, not the things you did.  And as a corollary to that, the perceived  ‘mistakes’ that you make will almost always prove to be doors to something even better.

Here are some of the new questions he asked himself instead –

What if I quit this job that is no longer fulfilling and I am thrilled at my new opportunities?

What are my goals and what do they mean to me?

How have I managed challenges in my life before?

Isn’t it likely that since I already have many of these skills, that I can expand them?

How have I created the past successes that have gotten me to this point?

How will my new entrepreneurial life look for me, what will I be enjoying?

When he started asking new and better questions – even more opportunities showed up in his life.

He had been afraid he wouldn’t know how to market this program, and so ‘miraculously’ an opportunity appeared for him to be mentored by a very successful marketer.  This is not an unusual event in people’s lives, when they gain clarity on what they want, what they want shows up.

What do you want in your life now?

Some of us are born risk takers and some of us take those attributes on because we have seen the payoff in our own lives and in the lives of others.

I have learned about life both ways – one by taking the chances and seizing the opportunities that present themselves, and the other by not taking chances and looking back on things that might have been. The gift I offer myself is that I don’t look back very long – I cut my losses and move forward with head up and eyes open.

Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, to few to mention… ~ Frank Sinatra

So if you are looking for guarantees in life, here is one you can bank on, I guarantee that nothing is guaranteed – so Carpe Diem! Seize the Day! It belongs to you.


Read more posts by Katie Garnett, Ph.D, Co-Director of The One Command Life.