The American Declaration of Independence says that all of us are created equal, endowed with unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If you think carefully about each part of this declaration, and if each part was reality for each person in the world, we would be living in a very different space. The declaration is aspirational of course but what is life without hope?
What’s happening in the news both close to home and abroad is often disheartening, shocking, frustrating, distressing. It can leave us feeling helpless and angry. It can leave us feeling afraid. As a mother I watch what’s happening to little children in Gaza and it brings me to tears. The image of a little girl who could have been no more than three or four shielding the eyes of her teddy from the destruction all around her will stay with me forever. They are just children like yours or mine and they don’t stand a chance because of the choices adults make.
As a coach I work with many people who feel helpless. Who feel locked into their jobs, mortgages, the hamster wheel of trying to make everything work. I listen to people who have labelled themselves as X all their lives (shy, stupid, not good enough) and so all their choices subconsciously link back to affirming these beliefs. I listen to mothers who are guilty about having careers, not having careers, wanting permission to go after ‘less’, wanting approval to go after ‘more’. These conversations invariably begin with a focus on what they can’t do, and throughout the coaching process we flip things so that we only focus on what they can do. The relief is often palpable. The possibility that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel, a way through that they hadn’t allowed themselves consider before, opens up a whole new reality for them.
It’s a cliché but life is not a dress rehearsal. This is it. What’s happening today is your life and if you’re not living your dream, is that something you choose to accept or do you want to take action and do something about it? So much in the world is outside our control but many of us are privileged to live in a society that allows us freedom. It’s our responsibility both to ourselves because we deserve it, and to others less fortunate than us who through a twist of fate don’t get to make their own choices, to honor this freedom.
So this is a call to action. What’s your dream and what one step can you take today towards your own pursuit of happiness?