We often feel overwhelmed by life and all the choices we face and the decisions we have to make. I think life is much simpler than that. Much, much simpler.
The truth is that you only have two choices in life. To step up or give up.
Let me introduce you to Stacey, someone whom I’ve met a couple of times through a mutual friend.
Stacey comes across as an ordinary, normal person. And in many ways she is.
But in other ways, Stacey is one of the most extraordinary people I’ve ever met.
Less than a decade ago Stacey’s father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, the same disease that afflicts actor Michael J. Fox.
No one wants a loved one to get ill and certainly not with a potentially debilitating disease like Parkinson’s.
I’m sure Stacey dealt with a lot of anger and fear and frustration due to her father’s disease.
But instead of letting those negative emotions overwhelm her, Stacey stepped up.
She stepped up with love, with courage, with hope, with commitment.
She started a non-profit called Promises for Parkinson’s which is dedicated to raising funds for scientific research aimed at finding a cure for Parkinson’s.
The story doesn’t end there though.
A few years later tragedy once again hit Stacey’s family.
This time it was her youngest son. And it was something far, far worse than Parkinson’s. Her son was diagnosed with Leukemia.
Once again Stacey was challenged by life.
And once again she stepped up.
She spent months away from her husband and older son, doing whatever was necessary to save her youngest son’s life.
All the while continuing her non-profit and raising ten of thousands of dollars for a cure for Parkinson’s.
I have no doubt that Stacey would prefer that these things never happened to her and her family. I’m sure there were lots of sleepless nights and that she often felt alone, and scared, and overwhelmed.
But she didn’t give up. She didn’t allow her negative emotions to stop her.
She tapped into everything that makes life beautiful and worth living. She rose above the negative emotions and fought back however she could.
Here’s the thing. Life will challenge you. It won’t challenge you in the same way Stacey was challenged.
But you will be challenged. Over and over and over again.
And when it does, you have two choices. You can step up like Stacey did or you can give up.
If you choose to step up, there’s no guarantee what the outcome will be. But at least you can hold your head high and say that you gave it your best, that you fought back, that you didn’t give up.
Do you want to live a meaningful life? Do you want to feel like your life has purpose?
You don’t need to live a life like Gandhi or Mother Teresa.
You just need to start stepping up a bit more when challenged by life.
And if you really, truly pay attention to your life, you’ll find opportunities to step up every single day. Ordinary, everyday moments that are calling to you.
So what’s it going to be? Are you going to let life knock you down and give up? Or are you going to be like Stacey and step up with love, and courage, and hope, and commitment.
The choice is yours. Life is waiting for your decision.