The way I see the world has changed dramatically over the course of my life, and now, I embrace perspectives that allow me to find the opportunity for growth in literally every situation I encounter.
I have prided myself for a long time on being positive and optimistic, but over recent times I have taken this outlook to an entirely new level. I am now best described as an extreme optimist, in the same sense of the word as extreme fire danger, or extreme sports. I am now the person who is attracted to new chances to thrive amidst a challenge like a heat seeking missile being drawn to its target. To pull this lifestyle off, I must follow this one rule relentlessly:
Be who you want to become.
When I am confronted with challenges and trials, I demand that in that moment, I act like the person I want to be, my ideal future self. When I am angry or frustrated, I don’t indulge my temper, but rewind my feelings on the inside and try to deconstruct the threat that I have perceived. When I am tired and just want to stop, I remind myself that I am the one who set my schedule for the day, and that the goal I am pursuing is worth pushing through with.
I have come through quite a journey with this approach. While I have certainly not yet arrived at the fulfillment of this philosophy, I can say with confidence that I have continued to give it a red hot go, and I am getting better at it as time passes. Even falling short of the goal can provide an opportunity to examine my motives and actions, and I can say in the spirit of full disclosure that I have had plenty of opportunities to reflect on how I could do better with living up to my best self.
Returning with Alec to Wagga from the year of Godfreys training was a massive relief, and it gave me a chance to put my money where my mouth was in being who I wanted to become. We lived for the first few weeks in the Caravan Park but with no shop set up yet, we relied on the generosity of Alec’s mum to cover our expenses there. This was tough and humbling, but we had passed the point of no return a long way back, so we could only offer modest thanks in return for her kind support.
It wasn’t too long before we were up and running, and the shop was an instant success. Alec really was a master salesman and we were an amazing team on the sales floor. But the best bit by far was setting up my new home, which was the first home that I had ever had that was just mine. In being who I wanted to become, I had made some decisions to build on the foundation I had set in Sydney, and I knew that in this season I needed to step up and live like the person I was learning I could be. I needed to actively embrace my best self, and be true to that person every day.
The changes that resulted from this new mindset were truly miraculous. After living on his own for years, Alec moved home to live with his parents in the outskirts of Wagga, and he experienced a new connection with both of his parents that brought him deep, fulfilling joy and an enhanced sense of self and family. The value of this restored relationship is immeasurable, and it proved to be especially priceless only a short while later when Alec’s dad finally lost his battle with cancer. Alec was devastated by this loss, but he took deep solace from the fact that he had become close with his dad who had extended genuine care and respect for Alec in this new intimacy.
Setting up my new home was world changing for me, and it gave me the change to invest everything I was into the life I had created only in my imagination. The only pathway to happiness for me was to get my kids back, so I took a big gamble and rented a three bedroom house to accommodate them even though they still lived with their dad in Wodonga. I furnished the kid’s rooms first, and bought them doonas and toys and pictures for their walls to make the home that I was hoping they would live in. Despite having no couch or dining table, the space my children needed was set up, and I had positioned myself for only the best outcome. I had invested everything into being who I wanted to become, and with extreme optimism, I knew that I couldn’t settle for anything less.