In the mid ‘90s, one of my clients had a jar filled with candy. Inside of each candy wrapper, there was a saying. I chose one that asked, “If you lost everything you had, what would you have?” My response was “I would have everything. As long as I have myself, I have all that I need and I can rebuild my life with who I am”.
In 1996, I gave away everything I owned, my car, house and even a decent amount of money. I unloaded everything to fulfill a childhood promise I made to myself. I was leaving the US to live abroad.
Over the course of 2 ½ years, I lived in 8 countries in Central America and Mexico. I lived in jungles with no electricity or running water and I lived in cities. I crossed international boarders by horse, boat, bus and plane.
I gave up everything I had to have everything I wanted at that time. At that point in my life, that was what was important to me. The experiences I had were unlikely to occur in the US.
When I returned in 1999, I could only think about leaving again. I returned to the US as a pit stop to make enough money to travel again. While I wanted to travel, it did not hold the same importance as it did in 1996.
My desire was more connected to getting away than fulfilling something that was important. By 2001, I started a business in the US. While I enjoyed the business, it was less fulfilling than keeping my promise to travel.
In 2002, I spent weeks focused on one thought. I wanted to reveal what was important to me. To do that, I had to take myself apart and think of who I wanted to be in the future. The answer I uncovered was a childhood dream and a career aspiration in the ‘90s and required me to fulfill a promise. I wanted to lead and develop leaders. I sold my business and set up my life to fulfill my vision.
Is there anything so important to you that you would give up everything? If not, why not?
If you know what is important to you, take the steps to fulfill it. If the road has a number of problems that leave you feeling as though life has taken you apart and put you back together, you are probably on the right path. The feeling of being taken apart can seem scary because of the uncertainty. Yet, it forces you to be more than your past has ever required.
It is something to go after, not avoid. Avoiding uncertainty will only cause you to miss out on the riches you possess.
What are you willing to let go of in order to have it all?