It’s all up to you

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How is your life going right now?

Are you on track?

Are you getting what you want?

Do you actually know what you want?


Let me tell you, you’re in some deep shit, still hunting for the one thing you don’t even know what it is.

I want you to think of it as a race around a track. You’re in it going round and round. Most likely you are somewhere in the last third of the race. You know most of your competitors in this section as they are rarely changing.

You know you can keep up. Sometimes you push it and overtake a few in front of you just to be overtaken by them again in the next corner. You’re into the race and you don’t even know on which part of the track you’re right now.

You just concentrate on the race, look out for the flag to drive into the box to refuel and change your tires and to get out as quick as you can, not to lose too much time.

And then it happens. One of your tires blows, you’re spinning around, crash into the sandpit and come to an abrupt stop. You can’t believe what just happened. You’re out! There’s no way you can recover from this and get back into the race. Your race is over.

You’re standing there, completely devastated. You wonder what to do next. You’re out, you’ve lost. You’re watching the cars race by and sometimes you get a glimpse of the competitors you knew so well. You wave to them with tears in your eyes. What’s next?

The last time you’ve been out of the race was when you were young, just out of school, working hard to build your car and looking forward to joining the race. Full of optimism and sure you’re going to make it big.

You learned all the rules of the race and prepared to win it. Now you’re looking back at that time and wonder what you were thinking. You question yourself and your abilities. You’re sure that you should have to build a different car at the time and you regret all the things you’ve done wrong throughout the race.

You blame the people in charge of the track for not keeping it clean. You’re convinced that something on the track was the reason for the tire to blow. But it doesn’t really matter, you’re out.

You’re thinking about building another car, maybe from spare parts you still have stored in your garage. Now that you’re out of the race you can’t really afford to buy a new race car and nobody will give you any money anyway.

Some of your previous competitors feel sorry for you and throw you some advice or little bits that might be of help to cope with it all.

It takes a while to sink in, but you realize that your life is about to shift into a different direction and that will affect you and everyone that relies on you. Maybe you can get a job cleaning the track or help to change tires and refuelling the cars. In the end, all you really know is the race. What else is there?

On many occasion, you were one of the competitors that felt sorry for a fellow racer whose race was stopped abruptly. You gave him some advice and offered your help, but after a while, you forgot about him.

You had to concentrate on the race too much to be distracted by something like this. Now you wonder what happened to them. Did they get back in? Maybe at last position with an old car? But at least still racing?

You keep looking out for them and you see some holding on to the race. You find out that at the time they’ve got help from a family member with some money. But most of them are nowhere to be seen.

You’re struggling with yourself and after blaming everyone else, you realize that the blame is most likely on you. You should have looked out for debris on the track.

You’ve got careless. You keep watching the race for a while, but you’ve lost interest. It is not your world anymore. Your life is slowly shifting.

I’ve met you many times before. I was like you once, racing the track and got thrown out. I didn’t know what to do until I came to the point when I had nothing to lose anymore and with the pressure of losing something taken away, with the urge to race gone, I was free to see the race for what it is. Just a race!

I realized that I had a choice and it is my decision how I want my life to go. I realized that I can be a student again and build my life again whenever I want. My life isn’t over, it was just a race.

With the confinements of the race gone I was free to dream and decide on my next steps. I could decide what to do and define what is important to me. This was a liberating moment and it created complete new connections.

I stopped judging people on their position in the race or on their car. Without the race, they were just people. I found that the ones that get kicked out of the race are the lucky ones. They can see the race for what it is and have a chance to make a change.

It’s all up to you!

John Di Stefano

An entrepreneur at heart and founder of the Entrepreneur Academy in Brussels, Belgium. He is teaching and supporting entrepreneurs in the skills every entrepreneur needs to create a better life for themselves and the people around them.

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