Happy New Year, my friends! It is so exciting to open a brand new calendar on a brand new page! It almost seems as if the whole life can be reset, reloaded and started anew on January 1st.

I hope you have many grandiose and exciting plans for the 2017. I also hope that thinking about these plans makes you feel a bit scared. One of my favorite quotes is “If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.” I don’t know the author, but I wholeheartedly agree.

So, dream big! Bigger! Even bigger!!! How do you feel? Ready to start? Ready to grab a piece of paper, decide on the necessary steps and design your plan of actions? Or maybe the moment you go from dreaming to planning, you start feeling something else. Maybe a bit of a doubt. Maybe you are not ready? May be you should wait until you have more time or money? Maybe you should wait until your kids are older? Maybe you need a bit more confidence?

If this is something you struggle with,  I invite you to read the following message from my friend and inspiration Alan Badmington (reprinted with his permission). Those who read my book Letting Go of the Dragon may remember Alan’s story. If you never heard about Alan, I suggest your Google his name – especially if you stutter. Alan stuttered severely for half a century, until he decided to change something in his speech and life. Today Alan is an inspirational speaker in high demand, who charms the audiences around the world with his smooth, deep voice, eloquent speeches, wisdom and humor.

Happy New Year from Alan Badmington

As the years advance, I have become increasingly aware that the time we spend on this planet is relatively limited. The realisation that we cannot turn back the clock has caused me to appreciate the precious nature of each minute that we have at our disposal.

 I allowed my fears (and narrow self-image) to inhibit my personal growth for more than half a century. As a result, my life was, generally, unfulfilled.  It took me a long time to discover that there were more rewarding paths available for me to tread.  If we retain the status quo, then nothing different is ever likely to happen. Our future will simply be a re-run of the past. 

 Back in 2000, I felt dissatisfied with certain things that were occurring in my life, so I decided to examine the beliefs/behaviours that were producing those unsatisfactory results. When I identified areas that were not serving me well, I chose to abandon them in favour of others that would enable me to follow a more expansive and fulfilling lifestyle.

 Some people gain an understanding of what is required to enhance their existence, but justify not doing anything by claiming that they are insufficiently prepared to attempt change. They promise themselves that they will do something about it when they are better equipped.

 But, as we know, tomorrow never comes and yesterday never returns.  If we argue strongly enough for our limitations, we should not be surprised that they become a reality and impede our advancement/development.

 The following quote (attributed to Cardinal Newman, English theologian 1801-1890) sums it up nicely:

 “Nothing would be done at all if a man waited until he could do it so well that no-one could find fault with him.”

 (In this enlightened age, please feel free to substitute the appropriate gender).

 However, it is important to understand that when we attempt something different, we should never expect to be perfect. That’s not how we learn new behaviours.  Observe a young child attempting to walk for the first time and you’ll know what I mean.  A major (and rewarding) part of the experience is encountering setbacks and then developing the skills/tools/confidence to progress to the next stage of the challenge.

 As we move into the autumn/fall of our life, what we most regret are the things that we have not undertaken. I certainly have no intention of meeting my Maker with my “To-do list” incomplete.

Alan Badmington