We all have a story of personal development. Whether we know it or not, we are all always developing. Sometimes it’s for the better, sometimes it’s for the worse, but it is definitely happening. Due to the fact that I have made a lot of mistakes, my personal story has a lot of lessons in it. I want to share one specific one that I hope can add some value to your life. It’s about taking action.
From 2005 to 2007 I lived in Hawaii working for my church. While living on Big Island, I met a man named Frank Burgess. He wasn’t a member of our church, but he liked discussing ideas with us. So we would schedule weekly visits at his house. They always went well. He was very easy to talk to, warm, and just an even-keeled mainlander who found a comfortable life among the beautiful people in the beautiful islands.
One day we were talking about how we all have areas where we can improve. Some of us need more patience, some of us need more ambition, and really we all have something we can work on. Frank told us that he had some CDs that have really helped him out. He copied them for me, and I put them in my suitcase for the remainder of my stay in Hawaii. I honestly didn’t have much intention of listening to them, but I felt bad throwing away 24 CDs that were given to me. So, when I got home from Hawaii, I put them in the glove box of my car and they sat there as I started school and focused on work.
A few months into my first semester, I planned a weekend road trip from Phoenix, Arizona up to Salt Lake City, Utah to see a good friend. Being a 10-hour drive, I had a lot of time to myself. I remembered that I had put the CDs in my glove box, and recalling how adamant Frank was about listening to them, I finally admitted that I had nothing to lose, so I put in the first CD. I didn’t really know what I was about to listen to, all I knew was that it was a recording of some 3-day seminar in Anaheim where a bunch of people talked about leadership…and stuff.
The first speaker was Jim Rohn, a guy I had never heard of. He speaks easily, but powerfully. For the next nine and a half hours I was hooked on those CDs. I will spare you the specific details of everything I heard because the point of this post is not the content of that seminar, but the topics presented covered everything from confidence, to personal philosophy, to honest individual evaluation. That 10-hour drive changed the course of my life. I heard simple truths that completely shifted my paradigm of thinking:
“Through testimonials and personal experience, we have enough information to conclude that it’s possible to design and live an extraordinary life.”
”For things to change for you, you have to change.”
“Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.”
“You’re as good as the best, no better than the rest.”
Now, fast forward a few years, circa 2011, I thought to myself, “I am loving the arena of personal development, it has given me more confidence than I was born with, I have a clearer idea of what my personal success looks like, and I owe this all to Frank Burgess.” Had he never given me those CDs, who knows, Maybe I would have never been introduced. So I told myself I was going to reach out to him. I tried looking him up on Facebook but couldn’t find him. So a few more years went by. I thought about contacting some of my colleagues from the church to ask if they have touched base with him, but I never called them. I kept telling myself that I owed it to Frank to let him know how much his simple act changed my life.
One evening about five weeks ago, early April 2016, he popped into my head again. So I went back to Google, typed in “Frank Burgess Kona Hawaii.” A Facebook profile popped up for a Frank Burgess in Kailua-Kona. It was him! I was ecstatic. Finally, I could let him know what he deserved to know. So I clicked.
Naturally I scrolled through his timeline to see what he was up to, but immediately my heart sank. I saw messages like “Have a great day in the white light,” “Glad to have known you here on Earth,” “Happy Birthday in heaven!” Frank had just passed away in the fall of 2015. As I sit here typing this, two emotions resurface: sadness and anger. I am sad that Frank will never know the impact he had on my life and I am absolutely angry at myself for waiting! For OVER EIGHT YEARS I have been wanting to contact Frank! For OVER EIGHT YEARS I kept telling myself I’d do it! But I waited. I did not follow through with something that I whole-heartedly believe in: taking action.
I do not believe in regret, but I do believe in lasting lessons. This is a lesson that will not soon go away. Frank was a great man, a brilliant man, and a man I can say impacted my life in a wonderful way.
My experience in this situation has further reinforced the idea that we cannot wait to do something! Don’t put something off because you’re tired, don’t hesitate to move on an idea because every detail isn’t ironed out, and absolutely don’t hesitate to tell somebody that you care about them, or that they helped you, or that you simply appreciate them. Sharing that is a blessing to people. We ourselves love to hear how we have helped somebody else, why would we wait to give somebody that same gift? So whether it’s a business idea, an apology that needs to happen, or an application that needs to be submitted, don’t wait! I waited so long to do something that the window of opportunity closed.
Lesson: Seize your opportunities. One day, your last opportunity will have come and gone.