My birthday is next month. I’ve been thinking about the past year and all of the things that happened, that I experienced and accomplished.
I visited the Grand Canyon. I slept in an RV. I traveled to Japan. I skied, river rafted, zip-lined, mountain biked and paddle boarded. I started taking tennis lessons. I launched my 21 Day Project series. I became physically stronger, thanks to my almost daily Bar Method classes. I visited the Museum of Ice Cream and the Color Factory. I supported a lot of causes that are important to me, such as Beit Issie Shapiro and the Joyful Heart Foundation. I tasted the most delicious food truck meal ever. Not everything was perfect. A very close friend has suffered from severe depression. My daughter had surgery. SBC clients reported back to me that a competitor is spreading false information about us. Good or bad, the year passed. 365 days, 24 hours each day.
I’ve also been thinking about opportunities missed. Despite living a full year, there is a lot I did not do. There were days that I felt lazy. Days that I made excuses. Days where I didn’t accomplish anything I had planned. Of course, I think that’s pretty normal; even to be expected. In between all those Facebook posts of friends climbing mountains and visiting exotic locales, there are days we don’t see, where they lounge in bed eating Lucky Charms.
But as I look towards this next year of my life, I think to myself: What could happen? What could happen if I worked just a little harder, focused more intensely, took a few more risks?
What could happen?
I think back to an article I read several years ago about a woman named Liz Murray. She had grown up in terrible circumstances, with negligent, drug addicted parents. By age 16 she was a homeless high school dropout. However, she eventually attended Harvard University. At 17, she made a decision to turn things around for herself, no excuses. She had nowhere to live and had not attended school regularly for years, but she pledged to become a “straight A” student and complete her high school education in just two years.
This is what she said in the interview that really stuck with me:
“I said to myself: what if I woke up, and every single day I did everything within my ability during that day to change my life. What could happen in just a month? A year?”
I love this idea. I love it because she had a very concrete goal, and she decided to pursue it in the simplest, most focused way, one day at a time.
Many of you who are reading this post share a concrete goal of applying to graduate school. Many of you didn’t work on that goal yesterday despite your best intentions and desires. But today is a new day. Today you can draft an entire essay…or spend an hour on test prep…or put together recommender guidelines…or research programs. We can all binge watch Netflix tonight. Or, we can make a decision to make things happen.
I continue to contemplate my next year. As I define what I want to experience, I realize that the choice is mine. I’m inspired to set some ambitious goals and to take the required steps every single day.
Our time is now. What could happen?