I stopped caring, about everything. It was about four years ago now. I lost my dad to cancer. I left my longtime girlfriend and a job that was supposed to be my career. It hit me hard, all at once. Or maybe I hit it.

The sign read, Welcome to Rock Bottom

But then this crazy thing happened, I started building. Sure it took a while, but eventually I began doing things I cared about.New, scary, interesting things. I relearned how to love and learn, how to think and feel. I started to live by living instead of thinking — about fear or failure.

I realized that there are no rules; so I stopped acting like there were.

I was free to change and try, to start and stop. I could fail over and over (and over again). And when I did (and do) I learned something new about myself, my abilities, and my passion(s) — like the fact that I have more than one and that’s okay.

Don’t get me wrong, my life is not perfect. It never will be.

I miss my dad, a lot. I doubt myself, often. There are some days I’m so scared that I don’t even want to get out of bed. What have I done? I ask myself. I gave up on a safe and comfortable life, and for what?

And then I answer myself: For the opportunity to do something spectacular.

It gets me out of bed. It squashes that momentary funk. I get up and go and try. I still fail, most of the time. But, it doesn’t get me down. Until it does.

I don’t have a million dollars. I’m not famous. I don’t have a lot of things. I probably never will.

Which might lead you to wonder what I actually DO have. What I have to show after four years of building.

I only have the most important things; mainly happiness, gratitude, and abundance.

And if there’s one things I’ve learned, and been astounded at, it’s this:

When you Choose Yourself, if you’re willing to Love Yourself, if you can find it in you to pursue your personal legend, everything else will come.

It will take care of itself.

When you really want something to happen, the whole world conspires to help you achieve it. ― Paulo Cohelo

This piece all started as a little year-end reflection. It was for me.

But, then I thought about how hard it was for me to build, and how hard it is sometimes for me to keep building — to keep going.

I thought I was alone. I felt like I was the only person in the world who did everything they were supposed to do (and did it really well) then still felt empty.

No one would understand. No one would care. I was on my own.

But I am not alone. And you are not alone. We’re all in this together.

So if you’ve been thinking about changing or trying, I have one thing to say — do it.

Because you can. And if you want it bad enough you will. We all owe it to ourselves to try.

When you do, for better or for worse, share it with the world. Tell others. Be vulnerable (I am right now). Ask for help. Give help.

But, above all else, start building.

Then, don’t ever, EVER stop.

In an effort to practice what I preach, putting it out there and endless evolution, here’s my plan for 2014.

  • Read, speak, and write on matters of history and the heart, philosophy and productivity, exercise and emotions.
  • Train, test, and continue to transform my brain and body, to grow my mind and muscles.
  • Give more than I take — to give relentlessly in fact. To give for the sake of giving and expect nothing in return.
  • Cast off balance in favor of building a life worth living, as no persons are remembered for the balance they’ve maintained, but for what they achieved as a result of their willingness to forgo it altogether.
  • Earn a living and engineer my life in a way that coincides with my convictions; never contradicting or compromising them.
  • Explore people and places, ideas and interests without hesitation.
  • Be good and do good; always.

Here’s wishing us both the best of building in the new year. And, to quote a friend

May this year be full of things you authentically earned.

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