Have you ever heard someone say this in response when you asked, “How’s it going?” Think about it. When we see our family members or friends at a get-together, we often ask, “What’s going on? Anything new?” What’s the usual response? I usually get “nothing” or “same shit, different day.” Or something along those lines. How about you? Very rarely do I get an answer with enthusiasm. Am I the only one who thinks that life is a hell of a lot more than “same shit, different day”? Am I the only one who feels that we are made for so much more? That life isn’t about going through the same old mundane routine and complaining about how so and so didn’t do what they were supposed to do? Can’t we have a more meaningful conversation besides what store has the biggest sale around this week? Or what the latest gossip is? Life is so much more than this. I’ve realized bored people talk about other people. It makes them feel better. Average people talk about events. People who are excited about life talk about the next steps they will take in their lives to become who they are meant to be. Which one are you?
I know that’s a strong statement to start off with. That might even come across as judgmental, but I want to call it like it is to start this book. I feel that many of us, including me, can miss the boat on what life is all about. In this book, I want to talk about things that people don’t talk about. I want to talk about things that people ignore or just keep down inside them. I want to talk about things we are afraid to let out or feel aren’t important enough to bring up. Or maybe if we talked about them, we would be judged or viewed as different. I don’t want this to be another book that just motivates someone for a weekend and has no lasting effect. I want this to get to the core of people and make them think differently in a positive way. I want this to draw things out of people that they knew they had in them all along, but they were just too scared to admit or discuss. I feel like I was created to write this and exploit it.
I was always afraid of being different. I wanted to be noticed, but I was afraid of being so different that people might push me away. I have so many thoughts and memories in my head that I just wanted to write these down before I forgot them all. We all have a story to share. We all have something to bring to the world through our unique gifts. I feel like mine was the gift of influence, and I would be just plain selfish if I didn’t use the gift that God gave me. Or maybe I’m scared that I will come to the end one day and realize I never used it to its full potential. Fear either paralyzes or it propels, and a friend of mine once told me that fear isn’t a good way to make decisions. I say my next couple sentences because I need to say it even though I don’t believe it all the time. I am here to influence. I am here to share my story, and I am loved. I have the power to change the world one person at a time. We all do. I was meant to write this book.
I am scared to think what people might think of this book, but I am willing to take the risk. We all have risks to take and I’m here to take one so others might be inspired to take their necessary risks in life, to jump when they don’t know what will happen next. Life is full of optical illusions that appear as dead-end roads, but in reality, most of these dead-end roads are just choices we must make. In this book, I will share stories that I haven’t told everyone and some, no one.
I’m here to say that life does not suck. There is freedom to be had. There is peace in the uncertainty. Life doesn’t have to be dragged on just because others are moving forward. We can quiet the storms. We can stop for a minute and actually think about what we are doing with our lives and make the choices that need to be made.
We were meant for greatness and to live fulfilling lives, to break chains that need to be broken, and to love others when it’s not fair. We were meant to be vulnerable. The world needs it. Fear will no longer be the reason why I make decisions and why I won’t be vulnerable. Or at least I’m going to try it. I won’t let fear slow me down when the world tells me I can’t succeed because it’ll be a waste of time. There will be days and moments I fail in this, but it was never about being perfect. Could it be there is a sort of freedom in saying I don’t have it all together?
If I’m being honest with you, it has taken me 6 years to write this book. I’ve rewritten it two times. I told myself while writing this book that there are better books out there. They can say it better than I; however, just like you, my story is worth being told. And so is yours. That is what drove me to finish this book. Our stories should be shared, and we all have unique purpose and destiny to our lives. We are all at different points in our lives, and we all have a next step to take. This is mine. I just keep learning so much and am afraid I’m going to miss something if I release this book, but I’m not going to let that fear stop me anymore because I’m never going to stop learning. We never graduate from the school of taking next steps. We are never complete. Whether we are 18, 48, or 88, we all have a next step to take. We all have a new destiny to fulfill in order to become who we were created to be. If you’re not dead, God is still using you.
Also, I have learned many of the insights in this book from others over the years. I have learned other ideas in this book from personal experience. But also, I have heard a lot of it from previous sermons, books I’ve read, or mentors in my life. I am a sponge when it comes to absorbing information and anything that will help me in life. I don’t think I’ve been what the world would call successful because I learned anything different or had the “Secret sauce.” I just implement ideas I love right away and take one next step at a time.
I’m going to ask rhetorical questions in this book and say things that might sound like I am questioning my convictions. Believe me, I am not. I want permission from you to dive deeper even though I’m not physically with you. I want you to decide whether to move forward or not with your next step. In the end, we all make our own decisions for our lives. Life is about choices. I don’t want to preach or come across as a know-it-all. I just want to share my story and what I’ve learned.
I don’t want this book to just entertain you or make you feel good about yourself. That’s why we have YouTube Videos. I want this book to inspire you to take your next step, and I want that next step to inspire you to take more. We can’t always start in big leaps, and in fact, most stories don’t start that way. Mine didn’t. I urge you to not read this book in one sitting. Please stop and answer the questions after each chapter. Physically write your answers in this book. Mark it up and highlight. I want you to digest everything this book has to offer. I just want people to focus on their next step every day despite popularity, apathy of others, or how difficult it might be at times. Despite all that, we have a choice every day to take a next step. What’s a next step exactly? I’m glad you asked…
A next step is moving forward with anything that brings you into greater freedom and purpose.
I’m excited to share my story and encourage you to keep taking next steps as you read this book. Not all at once, but one step at a time. I also encourage you to read this and stop to ask yourself the questions at the end of every chapter. Physically write the answers in this book and plan your next step. It will be very obvious to you what next step you will need to take. We all have one. Mine was finally finishing this book. I am taking my next step so you, the reader, can take yours.