How different would your results be if you approached everything like it was your one last shot at it? How different would your life be?
I was recently in Baltimore traveling home from a speaking engagement and experienced what seemed like endless airport delays, cancellations, weather and poor service from the rental car company, hotel and airline. While the rest of the passengers and I "endured" (I use this term loosely) the aforementioned stressors at Gate 2B, I noticed a family of four happily playing and joking around at their seats. A husband, wife, son and daughter looked like they were having the time of their life. I immediately thought: What on earth is the matter with these people? Are they crazy? Then the little boy, who couldn't have been more than five-years-old, removed his baseball cap. There wasn't a hair on his head! It was at this point that I immediately noticed the t-shirt he was wearing..."Make-A-Wish Foundation." Then it hit me, they were on their way home from having his wish granted; it was a trip to Disney.
The family was happy because they were enjoying the moment. The young couple looked older than their age indicated. They wore it on their faces and you could tell they had been through a lot. They will probably be going through a lot more, but for now they were all in the moment enjoying a magical weekend. They didn't know if they'd ever get another shot to do something like that together as a family.
The sense of perspective I gained at that moment was the slap in the face I needed<. What was I complaining about? Sitting in a warm airport, after good night's sleep in a safe hotel -- who cares how long I sat there, or how I was treated while waiting in a line?
You don't have to be going through a life threatening situation to capture this "one last shot" mentality. You just need to be present in the moment. The best example of this I know was the play of one of my seniors at the end of the 2004 lacrosse season. We were playing in the semi-finals of the conference championship. Disappointed that we were already mathematically eliminated from the National Championship picture, many of our players just weren't up for the game. One particular senior, Jimmy Herberson, was though. He played like a man possessed; every time he touched the ball he made something good happen. We lost the game 19-14 but he walked off the field that day as the most dominant player, scored half our goals (7g, 1a) and was named to the all-tournament team.
Jimmy was a great player, but he rarely scored more than two or three goals a game. Why seven on this particular day? Because he knew he'd never have another opportunity to play again, so he made the most of today. After all, we are really only guaranteed today.
Sometimes, we get so caught up in the daily grind that we forget how to play, we forget that our "problems" are really insignificant and are actually opportunities in disguise. Play each day like you've got one last shot. One day you'll be right.
How do you know how many more times you get to play the game? How do you know how long you get to be a dad or a mom? We buried my dad 12 years ago. He died with a lot of regrets. I know because he told me on his death bed and shared this one: "I'm sorry I never took you to a baseball game as a kid." That one regret had eaten at him his entire life, and he was dying with it.
This is the season of your life, so live without regrets. Research indicates eight out of 10 regrets were regrets of omission not commission. People look back and wish they had pursued their dreams and regret they didn't.
You are going into a new season of your life as April marks the start of the second quarter of the year. Tell yourself, "I've just got one last shot and will give it everything I've got." Tell this to yourself over and over again every day. One last shot to be a mom or dad. One last shot to be a leader. One last shot to be a son or daughter to an elderly parent. One last shot to play the game. And after it's over it's over. How do you know you aren't correct? We tend to think we've got 20, 50, 100 times to get it right. What if we don't?