If you don’t start somewhere, you won’t start at all.
I have this saying, “If you’re not going to do something today, then you aren’t going to do it tomorrow.” Well today, I’m making a podcast. Of course, there are doubts and questions filling my mind; I don’t have an expensive microphone or quality equipment. I’m sitting in my car with endless background noise surrounding me. People might not even bother to listen. Will my work still be attractive to my audience? Will I even be able to garner an audience? Following these doubts come the reassurances; if only my recording were high-quality, if only I could record this in a studio, if only I had a high-powered microphone, if only I had something to talk about, then, I could make a great recording.
It’s come time to break free from this impeding mode of thought. Years have gone by, and I know now that I can’t let any more opportunities slip away simply because I waited. Today is the day that I am going to make this podcast. I’m sure that you, personally, have many dreams caught up in ‘if onlys’ — those ideas that are sitting in the back of your head, waiting to achieve fruition, but remain static, unachieved thoughts. I’ve had plenty of these ideas in my own life, but without action, they are stuck inside, excuses preventing them from seeing the light of day. As a result, the ‘if onlys’ become ‘one days’, projected into some unattainable future moment. One day, it’ll be different. But soon you’ll have to realize that one day never comes. I’m convinced that if I don’t do something today, then I’m not going to do it tomorrow, which brings us here.
I don’t have the studio, the nice microphone, the controlled environment. Regardless of all the imperfections, I’m making my recording. And that’s what this is all about. I’m taking advantage of every moment that I have and with no regrets.
Some may wonder, what does life look like when we don’t waste time? Well today I completed my first day of a free diving certification. To do this I had to invest in equipment and devote an entire weekend to the pursuit, which meant sacrificing what would have potentially been a lazy two days — sleeping in, eating in front of the television, going to see a movie. I was out of bed and attentive behind my desk for the classroom portion, and ready to continue learning for the last half of the training in the pool. Where I could have been relaxed and idle, my mind was engaged and interested, and it’s situations like these when you choose to take the initiative that leads to great opportunities.
I want to share the surprise of what happened during my time earning this certification; namely, meeting new people. In these interactions, by making connections, I found myself opening up further opportunities that will help me on my quest to make the most of my life. I made a contact whom I would have never met on LinkedIn. Certainly, there are plenty of ways to build your network. I once sat behind a computer and invested greatly in making my LinkedIn profile and resume as pristine, refined, and impressive as possible. They say, “your net-work is your net-worth.” Well, let me tell you another way to build your network — events like this.
I met a man who is working on his Ph.D. in Singapore. Singapore happens to be one of the top-rated nations in the world for doing business, a fact that makes the idea of living there very enticing to me. Maybe you have similar desires to travel to another country — to speak the language, gain work experience, become immersed in a different culture and learn about other world views. I discovered that this gentleman had worked in Singapore for fifteen years. With this source of knowledge in front of me, I asked, “What does it really take to get a job there?” And he told me that foreigners are seen as taking jobs away from the people of Singapore. Thus, each job must first be offered to a native, and only if it is unfilled may it be offered internationally. This man happened to know of loopholes, websites to go to, contacts who could help a foreigner like me.
Who would expect to find a potential job opportunity during a free diving certification course? I was certainly amazed. The motivation was the certification, but I had previously ignored the human component; that other people would be present. I found that through a simple conversation, one may be able to find a bridge to the most unlikely of places.
This anecdote brings me back to my opening quote. Excuses, although sometimes valid, become barriers between us and our goals. I’ve learned to stop myself when a ‘but…’ or an ‘if only…’ presents itself, and to find a way to make my goals into realities. I had an exceptional time learning how to freedive, but perhaps the most meaningful part of this weekend was the unexpected — I made new connections with people from around the world. Being open to new experiences and devoted to making the most of your life can lead to amazing opportunities, so don’t miss them.