Are You Letting “What Ifs” Get the Best of You?

hand holding golf balls

I have a new friend named Larry Celano. He and I met on the golf course in Arizona, but that isn’t the amazing part of my story. Meeting Larry was a special occasion because not only was his attitude an inspiration, but he also hit golf balls while sitting down.

I’ve got something to tell you: Larry’s golf swing is better sitting down than mine is standing up. Larry golfs from a seated position because he was injured when the U.S. invaded Panama in 1989, so he uses a special adaptive cart called the Solo Rider.

cindy and larryIt’s fitting that Larry has discovered an outlet in life that gives him the freedom to enjoy his passion, especially since he was injured while fighting on behalf of independence.

Think about it: nearly 250 years ago, your ancestors and mine were celebrating the ratification of the Declaration of Independence, establishing the United States of America.

We get to enjoy so many freedoms that we sometimes take for granted, thanks to early patriots and leaders like Larry. For instance, we have the freedom to move, think, and make choices in ways that give us personal fulfillment and happiness. So many people in the world don’t have the liberties we have to think for ourselves, choose our own words, and act on those feelings.

Something Larry said struck me: “I take pride in what I do … I’m one of the top seated golfers in the country …”

Everyone should have the ability to take pride in something they do, whether it’s for a job well done, helping others, raising a family, or showing us what’s possible, like Larry has. Healthy pride is about effort, persistence, and the cultivation of behaviors that make you a better person.

I often think of my recovery from cancer and the barriers I was willing to kick down because I was fighting for my life. One of those barriers was the risk of absorbing all the “what if” guilt over decisions from the past. Had I not created what I called my “time capsules,” I might have wallowed in negative thinking.

Time capsules were the images I created in my mind to compartmentalize the cancer, push it away, or bury it mentally. The time capsules encased every choice I had made up to the point of my diagnosis. Everything I had eaten, drunk, breathed, or put on my skin, and every minute I spent exercising or lounging or working or playing. All my experiences, good and bad, led me to the point of my cancer discovery.

That was where I was. I had these time capsules in my body, these little things trying to do me in, but I was going to make them work for it. In fact, I was going to exhaust them until they had no more fight in them or I had no more fight in me. And I’m tenacious in a fight.

You could say I was taking pride in my mental fight to beat those time capsules. I chose my words, my mindset, and how I acted throughout my recovery. I like to think that Larry was also saying he takes pride in how he’s living a full life because of his approach and how he’s overcome adversity.

In honor of our collective independence, what freedoms will you leverage to live a fuller life, a better you? Looking forward to your answer.

Be positively altered,

Dr. Cindy M. Howard

P.S. Get inspired! If you’ve got an audience who would love to learn how to embrace adversity, empower themselves through decision-making, and win the power of perception, let me know! I’d love to speak at your next event.

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