New Castle News

March 14, 2013

Tim Kolodziej: We can do better than ‘just livin’ the dream’

Tim Kolodziej
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — “Today’s excuses are tomorrow’s regrets dressed in disguise.” — Steven Furtick

So, what’s your excuse?

Maybe it’s one of these ...

•I’m too old.

•I’m not smart enough.

•I don’t know what to do.

•People will think I’m an idiot.

•I can’t change direction now. It’s too late.

•Could I really earn money doing THAT?

•Is this REALLY what God wants me to do with my life?

Truth be told, some of those have been MY excuses in the past.

And, truth be told, some of those have become my biggest regrets today.

How about you? Which excuses will hold you back from living your dream?

Or will you choose a future of living with regrets?

“One courageous choice may be the only thing between you and your dream becoming a reality.”  — Anonymous

“Just livin’ the dream.”

I’ve probably heard that phrase dozens of times this year — and it’s always used in a derogatory sense.

In essence, people are really saying, “I’m stuck and I don’t know how to get out.”

OK, maybe.

To be sure, some of us really are mismatched in our work. Our career does not fit our calling.

We chose our current vocation because of parental or peer pressure, a steady paycheck, health benefits or we just had no clue what we wanted to do with our lives at age 17 and picked SOMETHING because it sounded cool.

Some of us, it appears, have spent more time planning a vacation than plotting our life’s work.

Others were more thorough and went to college to prepare for their “dream job,” only to graduate with debt up to their ears — and now they can’t afford to pursue their passion.

I’ll let Jon Acuff take it from here.

“Do you see the irony in taking out a student loan so you can get an education that enables you to get a dream job, only to be prevented from taking that dream job by that same student loan? Makes my teeth hurt.”

Crazy, I know.

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”  — Frederick Buechner

“Just livin’ the dream.”

What does “The Dream” mean to you anyway?

To answer that question, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when use that term?

Is it more money than you can count?

Is it sipping umbrella drinks on an island?

Is it a workplace that’s not filled with conflict, poor leadership and intense pressure to lift the bottom line?

Is it somewhere where you are appreciated for a job well done?

Or is it someplace where you can use your God-given gifts to make a difference in the world?

If your answer is the last one, I’ve got some bad news for all of you.

You’re in your “dream job” right now.

It’s only a nightmare because you’ve allowed it to be.

“Calling isn’t our job, it’s what we bring to our job.”  — David A. Shapiro

“Just livin’ the dream.”

I think that term is just a decoy for a lot of people.

Yes, a decoy.

You’re just embarrassed to admit that you actually like where you work and enjoy what you’re doing.

So, when prompted, you want others to THINK you haven’t settled. That you’re actually striving for something “higher,” whatever that is.

If your mind is wondering what others think of you when you mention your calling, then it’s really THEIR dream for you that you are chasing.

We’ve got to stop. Now.

Do you want to be an influencer? You can do it today — this second — from right where you are.

Doesn’t matter whether you drive a bus, sell sandwiches or clean toilets, it’s still YOU doing it. You, yes YOU, are the influencer, not your position.

In fact, you might have even MORE influence because you aren’t in a high profile spot. If you can unload trucks all day and still maintain a great attitude and your integrity, people will notice.

How many of you know “That Guy” or “That Lady” who lights up the school cafeteria ... or the convenience store ... or the toll booth?

Me too.

And they have influenced me much more than any TV star or pro athlete.

“Status is not the same as influence.” — Jeff McNicol

“Just livin’ the dream.”

Bigger isn’t always bigger. More isn’t always more.

As I mentioned before, I think there are plenty of people doing EXACTLY what they were created to do. They’re teaching. They’re lawyering. They’re doctoring. They’re serving.

They’re just a little scared that you might not approve because you work for a bigger firm. Or make more money. Or travel more.

Don’t buy into it. Our culture has a bizarre system of defining influence. A reality TV actor is a “star,” even though she’s been divorced three times and is in rehab. An athlete is “great,” even though he can’t balance a checkbook and owes child support to the mothers of his four children.

Call it celebrity. Call it status. But please, please don’t call it influence.

If you’ve got to pick between status and influence, choose influence every time.

Do you have to have THOUSANDS of people following you on Twitter to have influence?

What if just two people were moved to make peace with their parents because of something you said to them? That’s influence.

Do we have to have THOUSANDS of people reading our work?

What if four or five people changed their lives because of what you wrote? That’s influence.

Do you have to be a major college coach to be great at the craft?

What if just one junior high kid stopped selling drugs and started to drain jumpers because you took an interest in him?

You know, that could be you.

Today. At this very moment. Right where you are sitting.

And that, my friends and fellow influencers, is truly livin’ the dream.

(P.S. — Take a few moments to watch the video at right, or below. You just might delete the term “excuse” from your vocabulary.)