Dan Sullivan, a coach to entrepreneurs, had the worst day of his life some time during his 34th year.
On the same day back in 1978, he got divorced and declared bankruptcy. Horrible. But in another way, it was the best day of his life because he vowed it would be the line of demarcation between all the stuff that he’d been doing that led to his divorce and bankruptcy and how he would approach life moving forward.
And I love his approach. He gave himself 25 years.
He assumed that he probably started at age 9, building in the crap thinking and habits that led him to his tough situation he found himself in at 34. If it took him 25 years to build the bad, then he committed himself to taking the next 25 years to reverse and construct the good.
Two things pop to mind:
- We underestimate the deep work it took us to paint ourselves into whatever corners we might find ourselves.
- We overestimate our ability to work our way out of that corner lickity-split.
How do we think we developed the deeply ingrained habits and thought patterns that led to the results we’re now experiencing, both good and bad?
If you’re knocking out three Ironman Triathlons a year and hitting sales goals and have a loving spouse and well-adjusted children, you didn’t just wake up at 32 and nail those things.
More than likely, you either started very young with that perfect balance of nurture and push toward excellence or, at some point, had a clear shift in thinking or a bottoming-out in some area, and you began rebuilding your life.
Yes…. if you are bottoming out in your health, relationships, career, finances, or even an addiction, do you really think you can turn it around in 3 days?
Sure. You might be able to stop a behavior. You might be able to plug the hole, turn the boat around and head back to shore. But your brain ain’t gonna be rewired in a matter of minutes.
Here’s where you give yourself grace. You go long-haul with this change you want to make. You consider all the unraveling of old thought patterns and retraining into new habits that you might have to do.
And you make it a lifelong plan. It took you 10 years to make the mess you’re in. Give yourself the freedom of dreaming what you can do over the next 10 years to turn that mess into something beautiful.
Make tiny, intentional steps in a new direction. You don’t have to arrive next Tuesday. You got time. Just start walking.
If you need help getting your butt heading in the right direction, check out my Starting Well Challenge. Disregard the references to 2014 (I’m in process of updating it). The process knows no time boundaries.
Click here to get started and feel free to drop me a note if you have any questions….