Stolen

I feel the need to point out something that may appear obvious but apparently isn’t according to most people.

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Listen up. People – adult, live human beings with red blood running in their veins cannot be stolen. Belongings can be stolen. Cars can be stolen. Babies can be stolen. Money can be stolen. Even hair (ouch) can be stolen. But get this – human beings cannot be stolen. They can be kidnapped, which means taken against their will in exchange for a ransom demand before their return. Key phrase – against their will.

So when a person in your life one day ups and leaves please do not make excuses for them and say they were stolen. Because live human beings cannot be stolen. They upped and left of their own free will and accord; for whatever reasons that they felt necessary. To put it very simply, they made a decision to leave. Ask yourself a simple question; when stuff is stolen from your home or your car stolen, what do you do? You make a report to the police right? So why don’t you report these “stolen” people to the police as well?

One of the most frustrating things that coaches/therapists/counselors deal with on a daily basis is that the ones who are left behind seemingly get stuck at this point and became fixated on the person(s) who “stole” their loved one. This effectively ensures that they never move forward, refuse to deal with the reasons why the person left and basically stagnate in life leading to a medley of other issues. Meanwhile the person who was “stolen” is enjoying their life (or not) but most importantly, completely oblivious of the turmoil they have left you in. Largely self-inflicted I might add.

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My question to such people usually is; why would you waste your time pining over someone who made an adult decision and executed it? What value does it add to your life to constantly moan about it when it will not change the said decision? Most importantly, why would you give someone so much power over you, just for the satisfaction of painting yourself as the victim?

Bottom line – life is short. Move on. Time spent moaning about it is time taken away from doing other constructive things focused on You. Because guess what? They don’t care. So why do you? In my experience, this is usually just a form of denial to ensure that you never have to face the real reason they left – whether it has to do with you or not. Plus this denial allows you to wallow in self-pity assuring yourself that they will be back, crawling on their hands and knees for forgiveness.

Whether this happens, and whether you take them back or not is really up to you. However, please be aware that no one can steal a person. If they left, it was because they chose to. Wake up and smell the coffee. Deal with it.

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RollerCoaster Clarity.

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For the past two months or so I feel like my life has been on a roller-coaster of sorts. Turns out that running a coaching practice (part-time) alongside a full time regular job isn’t a piece of cake. Add to that trying to launch a whole new enterprise on transformational leadership and change management plus keeping the boys in my life smiling and I was basically spinning!

The one lesson that I have learnt during this time is this: Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it!

You see, right before this roller-coaster episode of my life, I had been forlornly regarding my life as too slow and not exciting or challenging enough. I did not feel that I was utilizing my skills and passion to their full potential and I was generally feeling that my progress was too slow for my liking.

Now it’s quite true that life is strange and things happen when you least expect them to. Suddenly, in the course of a couple of weeks, I had numerous queries regarding my coaching practice with people requesting for sessions out of the blue. I took this in stride since I love coaching and promptly snapped up the opportunities. However, life was not yet done with me. Two major responsibilities were dumped in my lap, both requiring my time and attention. Suddenly the hours in the day shrunk to non-existent, and I began to feel overwhelmed at the immense pressure. I was literally coming apart at the seams and the balls that I was juggling began to fall to the ground one by one. I felt I had spread myself too thin and in typical cave-woman fashion, I dropped everything, shut down and bolted myself into my cave to figure out what to do.

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The one thing that conflicted me the most was the fact that all these were excellent opportunities – people would kill for them. I kept feeling that if I didn’t grab them now, then they would be gone for good and I would regret it for life. The more I kept feeling like this however, the more I retreated into the safe recesses of my secluded cave, shutting out any and all attempts to help me.

What I kept coming back to again and again, was my vision. My direction for my future. It was like a guiding light in a stormy dark night. You see, that’s the one thing that I am irrefutably grounded on. I know exactly what I want to do in terms of fulfilling my purpose and I more or less know how to do it. So I finally had to ask myself a really tough question; as excellent as these opportunities were, did they fit in with my overall vision? Would they lead me to my vision or away from it? Would I wake up one year from now happy that I had taken them on, or miserable as I was one year ago and feeling like what I did had no meaning?

What some of us may not realize is that too many opportunities are just as bad as none at all. A year ago I would have simply signed on to everything and somehow pulled it off, regardless of where it fitted into my vision – at that time I was wandering around in circles and grabbing onto anything and everything just to remain sane. This time however was different. As a result of being very clear on the direction I was moving in, I actually turned these opportunities down and returned my focus to what really mattered to me and what ultimately gets me out of bed every morning.

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As I went through this process, I realized that numerous bad decisions are made by people daily simply because of a false belief that opportunities are limited. You know, the whole, “once in a lifetime opportunity, grab it now because it will never again be offered to you!” How many of us have bought houses, cars, land, taken a job, gotten into a relationship etc simply because you thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime deal? Only to later realize that something better came along or you just weren’t happy with the decision you made? I know I have been victim a couple of times.

Truth is, that’s just a sales gimmick. Opportunities will always exist – they were there before we were born and they will be there long after we are gone. What makes an opportunity distinctive is timing. If you’re not ready for it, nothing will come out of it no matter how much you try to force it. As a good friend of mine often quips, “sometimes time chooses the person.” Meaning that, when it’s your time, even you will not be able to stop the roller coaster and you will actually enjoy the ride – you will be ready for the ride.

If you’re reading this today and you’re not clear on your vision or your direction, drop me a line. My passion is helping people discover their direction, develop their vision and in so doing, find their future and fulfill their ultimate potential.

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The Second Time Around…

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I was never much of a believer in second chances. Especially in the big stuff like career choices, investment decisions and of course the biggest, Love. I always figured that once you had picked a particular path or made a choice, you were pretty much stuck with it for life. It also did not help that I knew (and still know to date) numerous people who were stuck in careers or relationships they weren’t really happy in. A common factor across all these people was that they had chosen to stick it out, not really believing that second chances existed for them, or that they could be happy should they opt out. I guess something to do with the old saying “Better the devil you know….”

So there I was; stuck in a rut. In a career that didn’t fulfill me at all but paid the bills so I figured what the heck. I was also recovering from the gut wrenching heart break of what I thought was the love of my life till it all fell apart months from the altar. And I had pretty much convinced myself that no one gets a second shot at that kind of love, it just wasn’t feasible. So I made do. I woke up every morning and went through the motions of life without really living. I filled the void of loneliness with meaningless friends, endless banter and the temporary comfort of liquor-induced euphoria. All the while convincing myself that I belonged there, since people didn’t get second chances – at least that was what I thought.

Then one day it was just no longer enough. I couldn’t continue just existing anymore. I couldn’t take the whirlpool of the black hole anymore. But I also had no idea how to get out. So I locked myself in my house for about 4 months to just figure out what I wanted to do. At which point my Second Chance literally walked into my life. Interestingly our lives collided at the exact point that we both desperately needed second chances, but didn’t honestly believe we deserved them. But we both took a risk and decided to take a chance. A second chance.

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I can now honestly say that second chances, once you take the risk and bite the bullet, are the best things in life. Why? Well for one, you have learnt from your mistakes the first time round and you apply the lessons. You have also learnt to appreciate what you have because you know what it would feel like if you lost it. You also know what it is like to fail, so you do your darn best to succeed. You have also learnt that no one is perfect, least of all you. You are therefore more giving, more selfless, more listening, more understanding, more compromising. You have learnt how to take your head out of the fantasy clouds and are very realistic in all the decisions you make.

 Alot of people I know are terrified of the leap of faith that a second chance requires; especially in the face of loss or pain from the first time around. But I also now know that those who do take that leap of faith never look back. They move on to third, fourth, fifth chances because they now have the faith to keep rising; no matter how many times they fall. I have learnt that the first step isn’t the hardest to take. It is the second, after you have fallen.

If you’re stuck today, look up. Your second chance is waiting for you.

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