As I sat stranded in a hotel room on New Year’s Eve with my children, halfway between Minneapolis, Minnesota and Fargo, North Dakota, I had this moment where I told the kids to throw on their pajamas, we grabbed some food, danced around the room, and made the most of it. And, it turned out to be one of the best New Year’s Eve celebrations in years. The kids loved it so much, they were hoping the snow and ice would have us stranded for a few more days!
A great reminder that life is what you make of it.
Sometimes when we think our life is falling apart, it is actually coming together exactly as it is supposed to be. Our limiting thoughts simply keep us blind to the possibility of what may be happening. When things are bad, it doesn’t necessarily mean we need to walk through life defeated. It means we rise and know this was simply a part of the plan – not our plan – but a plan greater than the one we had imagined for ourselves.
We see beyond difficult circumstances. We see beyond well-intended advice. We see beyond limitations.
As the roads cleared and we made our way north, a friend reached out to me. She and her husband are getting a divorce. In that moment, I flashed back to a conversation we had a few months back. Over a decade ago, before moving to Australia to be with her husband, she owned her own business. She is a unique blend of street smart and hustle, with a passion and zest for life that is contagious – all things she felt were lost as she navigated her way through a new country and being a housewife. The years had been hard for her, but in recent ones, she had found that zest again and was building a new business. As she came into her own, she worried her marriage would suffer.
I remember leaving that conversation frustrated for her. I was frustrated for all women who at some point or another felt the need to downplay their inherent need for success, independence, or simply needing more in order to keep their marriage and/or relationship intact. Living life consumed by this limitation that to be successful in relationships, they needed to compromise who they are.
Years ago, I had someone ask me, “when are you going to grow up?” At the time, I was living in Manhattan and had a career I loved and was thriving in. The question baffled me. As far as I could see, I was living a very grown up life and making grown up decisions for myself. When I pushed further to inquire what they meant, their idea of “being a grown up” meant getting married and having children, no longer chasing dreams or building careers. Settling.
In that moment, had I allowed their limiting beliefs to define my life, I would have given up my career, moved home, and married my college sweetheart. And I would have been miserable walking through life with blinders on – a human drone going through the motions, no passion or purpose guiding my life or decisions. Limiting what my life looked like based on the opinions of others.
As you can see, I didn’t listen.
How many times have you questioned your decisions or the course your life is taking because of someone else’s opinion? Have you stopped yourself from pursuing something because someone made you doubt? Have you leaned out instead of in because someone insisted you do so?
When someone else projects their idea of what your life should look like, that is them breathing life into their own limiting beliefs, not the truth. The truth is that we were all created to be something, to do something. Great or small, each an active part of the sum of all parts.
We all have a purpose and our lives have meaning.
Life isn’t meant to be lived asleep at the wheel. It is meant to be embraced. We are supposed to fall. We are supposed to fail. We are supposed to try. And we are supposed to celebrate all those things along the way.
Life is meant to be lived from that place just beyond limitation. Where fear is met with action. Where uncertainty is met with excitement. Where anxiety is replaced by wonder. Where you step forward and trust where life may take you instead of living life from the sidelines as an observer.
As you turn the pages of the calendar and set out on a new year, may you do so without hesitation or fear. When you think things are falling apart, may you find yourself embracing change. When you are filled with fear, may you replace it with love. And should you find yourself stranded in a proverbial hotel room in the middle of nowhere, may you dance the night away. May you live your life beyond limitation.
Cheers to a new week and the new year.