When I was 20 years old, I was attending college majoring in music. I had started playing drums when I was 5 years old so I was a percussion major. One day I wandered into the studio that had a large organ in it and there was a woman playing beautifully. It was an impressive site, the dual keyboards, foot keyboard, all those buttons and switches and a huge sound. I said to the woman, “Wow, I wish I could do that”. To which she replied “Well, why don’t you?”
It stopped me in my tracks, quite literally. I couldn’t think of a reason not to. I had just assumed I couldn’t. I was a drummer, right? I had been a drummer for 15 years. I was one of the best drummers in Chicago. A year later I was a pianist and an organist and had started composing. I left the drums and never looked back. You can hear my compositions at http://miamimusicworkz.com. It has been a lifetime love affair.
All it took to change my life completely and permanently was recognizing that the only thing I needed to do was make a decision.
We get stuck in our patterns of thinking and behavior and believe that we do not have alternatives. We do. We always do. Yes I was a young, unattached man when I made that complete change so it was easier than for someone who is say married, has a lot of responsibility and established in a career. But the principle is the same. And the principle is:
The decision comes first, everything else follows
Let me point out the one mistake we all make when considering a big change for our lives. We want to know how before we commit to doing what we want. We want to make sure its going to work. But it doesn’t work that way. Here is what I believe to be one of the basic laws of human experience.
In order to attain your dream, anything valuable or life changing you have to decide to do it first. The how always comes second.
When you commit to something then the whole human system goes into action. Without that decision the mechanism remains in its static state. Unless you get from “Gee I wish I could….” to “I am doing this no matter what” absolutely nothing is going to happen. Why? Because when you don’t decide your instructions to your body, mind and emotions are leave everything as it is. And they obey.
In my coaching practice I use a couple of different processes helping people move from “I wish…” to “I am…” But I am not a skills based coach. I am a transformational coach. I work with people to achieve their dreams from the inside out. I find that once the decision is made to do something that the skills become rather easy to acquire. The process of deciding actually makes us more attuned to the environment and opportunities which we didn’t see before become visible.
This is the natural functioning of the system. Stay the same unless there is a compelling reason to change. The most compelling reason I can think of is “I really want (fill in the blank)“. But it has to move to “I am going to (fill in the blank)”
Tell me again why you can’t do that
But what if you don’t have something that is compelling you like that, something you really want? Well either everything is OK as it is. That is great! You should be at peace. Or you, just like me all those year ago, had never been asked ‘Well, why don’t you?” and honestly attempted to answer that question.
If you are not completely at peace then you do have a dream you have kept hidden from yourself.
I can guarantee you. If you decide to make a change the change will happen. If you don’t it won’t. It is now and always has been up to you.