Really? Yes, it is possible.
I am the Master of my fate: I am the Captain of my soul. — William Ernest Henley
I discovered this poem in the fifth grade while reading about English poets in the school library. Curious about the meaning of the word Invictus (Latin), I looked it up in the dictionary and the word unconquerable sat quivering ready to surrounder me like an armor.
I latched onto this word, and I’ve not let circumstances dictate the direction of my actions or decide my fate. It has since become the rudder steering my boat on the storms or calm waters of my life.
Therefore, this poem became the theme of my desires, failures, successes, and achievements.
Like other writers, I tend to be introverted and shy. Well, maybe not shy. But, as a kid, you could stare at me, and I would burst into tears. I felt imprisoned by my inability to communicate.
Secretly, I yearned for escape and daydreamed of adventure.
I found redemption in books about heroines, warriors, and prophets. Joan of Arc empowered me, the Biblical Deborah (my namesake) fascinated me, and Kahlil Gibran soothed me.
I transformed into an archeologist like Lara Croft (before she existed in video games). In my musings, I traveled the world in search of lost treasure and discovered ancient secrets I revealed for the benefit of mankind.
In other episodes, I acted as an instrument of God’s love in missionary adventures across the seas enduring persecutions and hardships with my face set like flint.
My imaginary life became the foundation from which I built the structures of my reality.
However, failure dogged my heels like a hound chasing a rabbit. I’ve had to begin so many times I’ve lost count. When failure looked me in the eyes, though, I was defiant. I did not become discouraged; I became determined.
I see failure as the training ground for success. It creates an opportunity to learn from the past and brainstorms new solutions and innovations for the present and the future.
For example, when I graduated from college and accepted a position with the government of my state, I had to work 999 hours as a temporary staff member before I could move into a permanent position.
Yet, at the end of my service, the governor instituted an indefinite hiring freeze for all state government workers. At first, I was devastated. Then, I took action and reworked my path of success, broadening the scope of my opportunities.
Still, things did not work out as planned (again). I faced defeat in many forms. The dragon of rejection reared his head over and over — professionally and personally — during the next 40 years.
Today, my definition of success is simple: resolute purpose. Success transcends all failures and overcomes all obstacles. Success is not the destination; it is the journey.
I will not retreat; I succeed, or I perish. This may seem a little over the top for some people, but I must operate this way. It’s in my DNA.
I do not want to keep the benefits of my successes to myself. I never have. One joy of success is to share what I have learned. If I help others meet their needs; my needs are met.
BUT, to reap the rewards of your success, you must take action. The first thing I do is clear my mind of all doubt. This can be difficult, however, with meditation and practice, you will be able to it.
The next step is to make a plan. This comprises a vision — mission — goals. There are many examples on the Internet about how to create an action plan.
My favorite is Andy Andrews’ Action Plan. He breaks down the what, why, and how to create a vision for your life. When you arrive at the site, just type action plan in the search bar. My vision statement is similar to Andy’s:
To encourage, inspire, & empower others to live lives of meaning & purpose.
I even produced a representation of what I wanted my success to look like.
I drew a stick figure of myself sitting at a desk writing on a laptop, little stick people jumping up and down excited to read my posts, depressed stick people smiling, and even a stick person in a hospital bed sitting up and helped by my words!
Once you have created your plan, you have to continually refresh and intensify your desire. Keep it before your eyes. Take copies and tape them all over your house. (I did!)
Think about your success because your thoughts become your reality. Feel your success, because when you attach emotion to your plan, you are likely to implement it.
Investment in your action plan organically grows and flows as you work it out. I invest in three things to make my garden flourish:
1. Time: You must schedule a time for reading, writing, marketing, or personal problem-solving. This is what will make or break your plan.
2. Money: What value do you put on your plan? Will you buy a book on overcoming fear or meditation? I invest money in classes and workshops to help me become a better writer. (Even though I sacrifice somewhere else in my finances.)
3. Passion: Are you passionate about your action plan? Can your passion stand the test of time? I have carried mine so deep inside, it is like fire shut up in my bones!
If I can do it, anyone can. I've been washed up, stomped on, and spit out more times than I can remember. I decided I didn't want to sit on my laurels and do nothing.
Listening to the still small voice, I gathered my courage and took action. But what was it? I did what was in my hands to do.
You can do the same. Take a deep breath, step out of fear into faith. Gird up your loins, put on your armor, and walk into your destiny.
And remember, YOU are the master of your fate and the captain of your soul.