August 29, 2012

Your greatest gift...

I woke up at 6am this morning, an hour and a half earlier than usual, but not because I had do.  I had no booking to rush to, airplane to catch, casting or meeting to attend, just a day working at my studio on my own schedule (which is baffling to some people, I know).  Mornings are my most creative and ambitious time of day. As l lay there in bed in the dark, a million thoughts came flooding into my brain.  For whatever reason, today I decided that successful people don't waste time asleep, and closer to 6am would be my new wakeup time. The truth is, no one is making me wake up this early, but why wouldn't I? And why did it take me so long to realize this?!  I took a moment to reflect on my life and the opportunity I have to wake up at 6am to pursue my dreams and goals on this planet.  I had a bit of an epiphany: this might be one of the best gifts I can give myself: to get up and take full advantage of the most ambitious time of day!  Let me explain.

Perhaps my trips working in very poor countries and traveling the other parts of the world has made one thing very clear to me... in America, we are so undeniably lucky and anything we want to do and achieve is possible.  People from certain other countries would do anything to live here and have the opportunities you and I have, and we get that opportunity freely each day.  Today I decided that sleeping past 6am wasn't taking advantage of my opportunities... and any other successful person in this country wasn't sleeping.  They are running businesses, changing the world, have families, teach, give, contribute, create.   Every second we are put on this earth is a new opportunity for change to happen, new doors to open and new relationships to be made.  I concluded to myself that the only reason a person can't be successful in this country has to come down to one thing: pure laziness.

I also took a moment to ask myself if I was contributing anything meaningful to the world and how I could be doing more. I decided that I could be a better friend, a better girlfriend, share my gifts (art) with others and give more to others- in fact, I am sure we all have room for improvement! We all need a sense of purpose and meaning, and I think this happens best when you find a way to contribute to the world or someone else's life.  I am reminded of those in my life who do this daily and I admire because of their contributions: my boyfriend- the professional speaker who changes people's lives each day with his positive words. My nutritionist: who educates hundreds of people around the country to make healthier choices ultimately saving their lives. My friend who owns a St. Paul dog shelter and finds innocent animals loving homes. Our educators, mentors, inventors, givers, role models of the world... our next President Elect. My point is- it's our privilege as human beings to help others and make a change. 

Lastly, nothing bothers me more than someone who gives up and can't stay committed to their goals and dreams.  I have a hard time understanding how people can accept mediocrity in life and throw in the towel when things get uncomfortable. Your achievements and goals are supposed to be tough and uncomfortable.  It is a part of the victory once you get to the top of where you are going.  There is no excuse to not wake up each day and be persistent with your dreams and goals.  If you want it, get it! Quitting: never acceptable.

So, here's a quick recap of my morning epiphany:
The greatest gift in life is not one that anyone else can give you, but it's one that you can give yourself.  It's the feeling you get when you take full advantage of life's opportunities, accomplish something meaningful and refuse to give up on your dreams.

Oh, and for the record, I will not be voluntarily waking up at 6am on weekends.  A girl's still gotta get her beauty rest!  
"...for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" -Steve Jobs