I look at the start of another new year; we celebrate it as the mark of new beginnings, bigger plans, and grander dreams. No matter what culture you find yourself a part of, the new year has great significance to us as humans; it is the annual reset button for our lives. Yet, as I observe the world around me, year after year, nothing really changes. Plans are sidetracked and dreams are forgotten, as the daily grind grabs at our attention and drives us back into the status quo.
For many, a New Year’s resolution is seemingly simple: lose some weight, make more money, spend more time with the family. However, even these simple New Year’s resolutions are lost in the chaos of an unrelenting world that seems to stab at our very souls. At the very least, our well-intentioned plans are set aside for seemingly more pressing issues – bills to pay, deadlines to meet, unexpected trials. Perhaps for many of us, it is simply a matter of losing the magic will that we felt as the clock struck midnight on January 1st.
Another year will soon pass and we, once again, will find ourselves in the exact same spot, next holiday season, full of hope but never really knowing how to capitalize on that feeling, never really knowing how to change. For years now, I have lived as a man on the fence, trying to live a double life. Perhaps that is what holds us back. Straddling the fence, waiting to see which side has greener grass once spring arrives. The grey darkness of winter leaves a lot of questions unanswered, so we sit, waiting and watching life pass us by.
Meanwhile, all the good we thought we could do withers away as spring turns into the scorching heat of summer, and we are left panting, sweating, and toiling away, still on the fence, plowing two gardens. On one side, we plow whatever comes our way, dodging obstacles, and merely trying to survive. On the other side is a much smaller garden, where we attempt to cultivate our dreams, our true purpose. The problem is that while we sit on the fence, we become unbalanced and our focus is pointed towards trying to keep our balance instead of cultivating our garden. By the time fall comes around, all we are left with is dying grass and weeds on both sides. We call it a victory that we stayed on the fence, we kept our balance, yet we still find ourselves uncomfortable on our precious perch.
The Bible tells us in Matthew 6:24 that we cannot serve two masters. The verse is specifically speaking about trying to serve both God and money, but I think that there is a much larger take away from Jesus’ words. Whether you call yourself a Christian or are still looking for answers, the truth remains that we cannot sit on the fence and expect to accomplish anything with our attention divided. I believe that the problem with serving money is not in the pursuit of wealth, but actually speaks to the issue of maintaining the status quo. If all we seek is the money needed to maintain our current lifestyle, or greater still, if our primary focus is latched onto the idea that all we can do is fight to maintain our balance on the fence, nothing new can be accomplished. In order to really make a difference, we have to be willing to pick a side. To move forward, you eventually have to get off the fence. You have to decide what really matters to you, which garden to you want to see thrive: your dreams or your life as it stands today.
This year brings a unique new challenge to my life. My wife is pregnant with our first child. By the end of February, I will be a father to a son. After 9 years of waiting for God to make our family whole, and when all hope of a child was gone, we were blessed with the unexpected pregnancy. I am ready to be a father, but this change also challenges me to rethink who I am and what my life is supposed to be about. I am now responsible for another life. Who I am will reflect who my son becomes. I don’t want to teach my child to be a fence-sitter, which leads me to an even more daunting task. I have to choose who I will be as a man. At the age of 30, you would think I should know this by now, but the truth is that most of us never really get off the fence. Our society teaches us to value complacency. Just be a good worker, keep your job, build your business, and provide a roof over your family’s head. But what if you feel the call for something different? Am I willing to risk the comfort of my family to fulfill my calling?
For a moment, let me just speak to the men that read this. We are taught that our life is all about protecting our family, building a lasting legacy, and ultimately maintaining the status quo by sitting on the fence. Don’t rock the boat, becomes our motto. A happy wife makes a happy life…we have all heard that saying, but what if there is more? What if following God means creating waves? OK, I know that some of you are just looking for my business advice. You read my articles for the 3 tips to better marketing, etc. But I would not be doing you justice if I told you that there was an easy 3-step process to meeting your New Year’s resolutions. The fact is that creating a meaningful life is not all about you. As a business owner, I have to wonder what the legacy of my success will actually accomplish. Sure, I have high hopes for 2014, but what does that mean for my unborn son? If I fail to get off the fence but provide a comfortable living for my family, what have I actually accomplished?
Our world is broken and year after year, even the simplest of resolutions falter, not because we lack the willpower to eat healthier and do a few sit-ups, but because we refuse to get off the fence and be who we were meant to be. Why take a stand, when our perch on the fence is so well-built? I can’t speak for you, but for me, 2014 will be a new beginning. Yes, I will continue to build my business and share with you my tips for success, but along with that comes a newfound responsibility to take a stand for what I believe in, to fight, and to live in such a way as to show the world that I am off the fence. Will you pick a side with me, as we go down this new adventure together? I will continue to share my story with you – all I ask in return is that you keep reading and when you’re ready to make your stand, let me know.