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Between the Dash

Updated: May 16, 2022

I’ve been thinking about you a lot this week. I’m preparing a session on goal setting and goal achievement, and I’ve been thinking about the goals you set for yourself, but never achieved. I know you wanted to, and I know you had plans to. I know you even set aside some money and time, and, for a while, you worked really hard on those goals.

And then “life” happened. Your kids needed you at home, or your mom got sick. Your husband lost his job and you had to pick up the slack, or you were just too exhausted to go on.

You tried again, I know you did. And maybe you tried again after that.

I know you laid in bed at night thinking, “what would have happened if I’d finished? Where would I be right now?”

Do you think it’s too late for you? I promise, it isn’t. There are scores of women who didn’t even start on their dream until they were in their 40’s! Just the other day, I read an article about a woman who was 90 and went back to college because she always dreamed of getting her degree. And then there’s the story of Donzella Washington, who received her bachelor’s degree in social work at age 80, graduating magna cum laude and with a 4.0 in her final semester.

I think you’d be like her – going back to college now, and after all that you’ve learned in life, you’d be magna cum laude too and we’d all be so proud of you. But, not as proud as you’d be yourself.

Donzella said, “I want to inspire and motivate others that age is not a barrier. And I want to emphasize the life between the dash.”

Yes, there’s so much to do in that dash, between the day you’re born and the day you die. I know you don’t want to live the same day, over and over again, and call that a life. You’re way too smart and brave to do that. You’ve lived through too much to give up now.

Your dream isn’t dead, and you’re not too old, or slow, or poor. No. You’ve just got to have a little bit of hope and a little bit of courage to take that first step. Whether it’s going back to get your degree, or taking a chance on love again, or anything else you dreamed of doing.

Life is always going to happen. It’s happened to me. I started college when I was 15 and dropped out when I was 17. I went to a dark place in my life for almost a decade. I didn’t even try to do school again. I didn’t think I could do it. But then, one day, I took just one step. And after that step, another step revealed itself. And then the third.

And with each step, I got braver, just like I know you will too.

Do you want me to cheer for you when you take that first step? Because I will. Happily.

I’m positive that your biggest goal – even though it’s beyond your current capabilities – is within your reach. Do you know how I know that? Because you’ve always risen to the challenge. You’ve always found a way when you needed to. And yes, you might have put this goal down before, but I don’t believe that was for forever, and I don’t believe it’s because you couldn’t hack it. I believe that you made the right choice for yourself at that time.

And that time is over. This is a new time. This is a time to dream and set high ambitions. This is a time to challenge yourself again and go where you couldn’t or didn’t go before. This is time to admit to yourself that next thing WILL be your best thing yet.

Your life isn’t over. It’s not too late. I promise. You’re still in the dash.

Some people might think it’s crazy or stupid, but you know what? This is your dash, not theirs. And they might think you’re crazy because they aren’t brave like you are. They might think it’s stupid because they don’t understand that the spark put in you for this goal was put there by God himself. God is not stupid.

Your dreams are inside you and they mean something to you. It’s time for you to stop dreaming small for yourself. It’s time to leave 2020 behind and the frustrations from this year, the letdowns from this year, and the pain from this year – and the years past.

There’s a resilience in you. You’re not coming into 2021 from a place of exhaustion, restlessness, fatigue, exhaustion, loss, or pain. You’re entering 2021 with a big dream. I want you to gather the courage to try again, put yourself out there, and go ahead and rattle your life.

Break free from the fear and do something that scares you because the best dreams are the ones that are a little bit scary!

You’ve earned this moment. You’ve earned this space to make your life matter, because you matter. You deserve an extraordinary quality of life. That’s right. YOU. You deserve an extraordinary quality of life. Extraordinary dreams.

You’re going to fill this moment, this year, and this life with meaning.

Fight off the impulse to quit. Beat away the disappointment and cling to that spark inside you. The one that God gave you.

You’re not too old.

It’s not too late.

Your dreams matter.

YOU matter.

So, will you be brave enough to let that dream come alive again? To have courage to take the next step? Will you show your kids that they are never too old to change or try something new or make their life whatever they want it to be because you demonstrate that truth to yourself? Will you show the world that you are as resilient as you know you are? Will you show yourself that you matter?

It’s true. And I’ll say it again: you matter.

Come on. Let’s do this. Let’s make your dream happen.

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