Most of you reading this have at some point in your life been on a "first name" basis with starting over; that is, you have had to in some way, shape or form start some part of your life over from scratch. Perhaps you did a "life makeover" after a divorce, mid-life crisis, job loss, financial catastrophe or serious illness. Like a computer that freezes up or crashes your life took a nosedive and you have to "reboot". While these kinds of experiences are a real pain the caboose when they happen, they tend to instill (to borrow from the lyrics Helen Reddy's famous song, "I am Woman") a "wisdom born of pain". For some these experiences surely constitute a division of the proverbial "College of Hard Knocks".
One good-hearted soul who has rebooted his life on more than one occasion is entrepreneur and businessman, Jim Haverlock, who runs http://www.14ushop.com. Recently Jim wrote a very inspirational essay concerning starting over which he titled "The Big (not so easy) ‘Reset’ Button". Here it is in its entirety for your enjoyment and edification:
An office supply store has in their advertising a “large red easy button” that serves as an inspiration for this short message.
Many people find it hard to imagine starting over again. Whether it’s after a divorce, the loss of a loved one, or the development of a physical disability, it can be hard to even think of leaving the house again, much less address the changes that a person’s life will inevitably undergo.
In 1993, at the age of 53, I was assaulted by a “Dragon” (incurable progressive multiple sclerosis or P-MS), and as a result of the downward spiral of changes to my body, I became what is labeled as a “disabled person”. This reality was initially terrifying. I was still young, healthy, and fairly intelligent, but without my accustomed strengths, i.e., my vision for what I could become with the passage of time became blurry and uncertain. Because of this and the subsequent non-recovery – that is, my progressive challenge, no letting up ever -- I learned a lot about hitting that “big, not so easy, reset button, and by doing so it helped me understand that starting over can lead to even greater discoveries and accomplishments (albeit, of a totally different nature than previously imagined or planned).
A Chance at a Do-Over
If you are looking to begin again, you should first learn what is possible to pull off in your new life. Some areas will be easier to master than others: Learning to walk with a cane came easily to me though I continued to fall, broke bones, racked up injuries galore -- all of which proved to be my biggest foe. Since computers and doing web design and optimization work on the Internet were things I could do from a wheelchair, I set about learning these on my own, without schooling. I tied these new skills to an old one and created an online Internet shop that has provided me with enough revenue to live on these past 13 years, and to be mostly independent to boot. Finding inspiration, connecting with others in similar situations, and building confidence provided the necessary motivation.
A few thoughts for anyone facing a similar or parallel situation would be to search out a mentor - someone who has or is living a similar situation and who can provide advice on the current changes in your life and serve as an inspiration for your future.
If you want to get out of debt, you should find someone who struggled to pay off their own bills and did so without being harassed by debt collectors.
If you find yourself saddled with being a single parent, find a man or woman who is not only a single parent, but who also leads a prosperous company, volunteers for community causes, and still makes it to their son or daughter’s games.
I found that by moving to a new area of the country and making new friends I developed greater patience and abiding faith that I could eventually learn to iron out my own seemingly precarious situation, go shopping, and even travel far distances. This also inspired a whole new direction in terms of my writing.
Confidence was the other main issue I struggled with after acquiring my new found “Challenge”, and it can be the most important quality in terms of maintaining a positive attitude and making progress. Just like in the games I played as a child, the only way I was able to make it to the next level was to take informed risks, make mistakes, and then grow and learn from them. I made a lot of wrong turns in order to finally become familiar with my new neighborhood and find the path that worked best for me. I also learned (after being told by specialists in the medical field NOT TO travel, especially alone) that by stepping out I was able to make a two and half month trek ALONE, with my only luggage being a backpack, through Germany, Thailand, Singapore, Kuching Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, then back to Singapore, Thailand, Germany, followed by a train trek from Frankfurt to Paris (France). I even used an underground transit to the airport to catch my flight back home! This was a true, genuinely unforgettable adventure for me and one I would not have missed for anything. Among the many things driven home to me was this very simple realization: Since I could fall just about anywhere, why just do it at home? Besides, I gained friends in those countries that have stayed in my orbit for the past twenty years!
After trying real estate for two years I found many tasks more daunting than my challenged body could handle. However, even if difficult, it afforded me the chance to meet so many people in the area I live in. It also encouraged me to keep moving forward and to live each day to the fullest. After hanging up my real estate spurs I began spending countless hours learning to start my own Internet e-commerce business with the help of new technology, and I also learned to ask people for help when I needed it. From this I came to realize that we all should challenge ourselves to fail every chance we get. It helps to push oneself to learn new things, to meet new people, and to build new confidence. And at the risk of sounding like an ad slogan – I would remind my readers that life is short, so enjoy each day to the fullest. Do not be concerned with what family or friends say or think, just try new things until you find something that fits you and your new lifestyle. For me, it was also giving my life to God, the Creator (whatever name works for you), and then working on my spiritual life. This provided peace beyond compare, and a happiness that has lasted these twenty years. Happiness, a smiling face no matter the challenges one lives with, is infectious and attracts people. It also inspires those around you and provides for new friendships. Friends that accept you for who you are today, not the challenges you live with on a daily basis, or where you came from or who you were. Stick with family and friends who stick by you and accept that you cannot and never will please everyone – no matter how hard you try.
Sometimes the best plan is planning for a reset.
Find a mentor, or a good caring friend, and build your confidence; you might just find a hidden level of it that’s worth fighting for. Focus on helping those who are worse off than yourself; after all, there are many people who crave a friend, or food, or just someone to listen. Pray, meditate, find peace within yourself, smile at everyone, and most of all, enjoy today, for there may not be a tomorrow. Plan for the future, but live in the moment and count each one as a precious gift. Once that moment is gone we can never get it back, nor change it. Also we cannot live in the past nor change it for it is history. Do not carry past burdens or baggage on your shoulders, just let those go for good. Forgive others that have hurt you, forgive yourself and move on to enjoy today. Grow spiritually and the rest will follow.
Hit that Big, not so easy, reset button!!! Life will change for the better, believe you me!
To reach Jim click this link.
© 2013 by Jim Haverlock. All rights reserved. Used with permission.