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The beginning is always today.

Mary Shelley
A s I begin this post, I’m sitting in the new home for our pharmacy operation. The vanguard of a complete move of our entire operation happening next week. The direct journey to this moment started 18 months ago but I see its seeds 10 years earlier and arguably another 17 years before that.

Watching our team leap into the new space and make it their own is incredibly gratifying. Change brings with it the thrill of the new and the possible. The laughter, the smiles, and the energy say it all. Seeing it from somewhat outside powerfully affirms my own sense of distance traveled and the hope present in those first steps.

Sitting here catching my breath from the whirlwind of renovations and moving details, I feel all of it acutely. For me, this is an inflection point. A milestone in my journey. Not a checkbox on some master plan but the result of following the signs laid before me and starting down a path. Not an end but the beginning of another chapter in a fascinating story. Another moment creating a bit more texture in my life…and in the lives of those sharing the adventure with me.

Every journey has a beginning; every chapter, an opening paragraph. The new year is upon us and presents its own opening act. Today is a first and tomorrow offers us the chance to carry it forward or begin again. The cycle of fatigue and renewal is one of life’s beautiful mysteries and a necessary mechanism for us to progress down this long road.

The cycle of fatigue and renewal is one of life’s beautiful mysteries and a necessary mechanism for us to progress down this long road.

With our transition into 2019 comes the chance to begin again. Before you is a new set of challenges and opportunities. Inflection points waiting to happen. Many of us will leap into the new year with ambitious goals only to get bogged-down and off course within a few weeks. The pull of inertia is strong and seeks to reduce us to a steady-state. Think back to January 1, 2018 – what were your hopes for the year past? How about your hopes on January 1, 2017?

The reality is that we tend to bob along on life’s river reacting to the bends rather than charting a course to anything in particular. Sure, we chase near-term horizons for health or career but it can be really difficult to see past next week let alone six months from now. Why bother looking too far down the road? Everything is going to change anyway.

Everything is going to change anyway…and that is precisely why it is important for us to look down the road. Standing still really isn’t an option. When change catches us flat-footed, its naturally disorienting effects only multiply. We need to move toward our own change and intercept life’s twists with our own momentum. The time has come to return to that moment in your life when you aimed for something ambitious and walked toward it with intention.

The time has come to return to that moment in your life when you aimed for something ambitious and walked toward it with intention.

Looking back at the more interesting movements in my own life, I’m struck by the unlikeliness of most of it, particularly when taking those first halting steps. The beginnings often veered wildly before reaching their destinations but those first steps always set things in motion. Always.

The time has come to take your first steps, hesitant or fearless, toward something meaningful. The time has come to move forward with intention, and in spite of the uncertainty, aspiring to more than you are right now. The time has come to say “I will not accept anything except my best and it all begins now.”

Begin by looking at your new year’s resolutions and stretch them out for 12 or 24 months. What might that look like? Not exciting enough? Then add something else or shift your vision in a different direction. Where might you make a dent in the world? Too big? Then, where might you make a difference in someone’s life? Where might you go if there were no limits? Who might you be if there were no excuses? What might you do if you actually believed it was possible?

What might you do if you actually believed it was possible?

Let go of the fear. Let go of the doubts. Ignore the naysayers. Defy the odds. Ask the question: “What if?” Trust yourself. Have faith in something more. Remove the negative and seek the positive. Don’t just resolve, act. Don’t just imagine, do.

Every great story begins with small steps. Your great story just needs to begin. It doesn’t have to be grand, it just needs to be yours. The time has come to start on your next great story. Not because life is forcing you, or you feel cornered, or because I say you need to. Now is the time because you are bigger than the challenges in your life and you are called to be more. You are called to be your best self every day. Start now.