We have all at some point said to ourselves, “I’ll get to it tomorrow, next week, next month and so on.” Whether we’re putting off calling someone, handling a difficult situation or, following our dream, we don’t realize that the promise of tomorrow is an illusion. We end up forgetting that Today is Yesterday’s Tomorrow!
In hopes of inspiring us to make each and every single day of our life count, Raymond Brisebois shares how he learned this valuable life lesson at 53 years old through the tragic death of his 16 year old daughter.
Meet Raymond Brisebois:
I went through most of my life living on the promise of tomorrow. I neglected the true value of each day. I had a good job and like most people, my motto was TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Friday)!
Counting the days till the week end.
Putting off facing certain situations or taking the first step to following my dream of starting my business.
This promise of tomorrow was all around me. I kept hearing it over and over again.
One day when our kids are older…
One day when we finally retire…
For me, it was: One day when I have enough money, I’ll start my business.
Even with seemingly insignificant things like calling a friend, the idea of tomorrow became my comfort zone. My temporary moment of relief from having to do something which brought the discomfort in having to face it. My intentions were always noble so my desk was covered with business. I wrote myself notes and stuck them on my computer as a reminder to GET IT DONE TOMORROW! Yup, I even included the exclamation mark!
Only, tomorrow never came and the notes kept covering up my computer and desk. So, I had become a very busy person, tomorrow was my busiest day which turned into a week, a month, years…
I saw my dream somewhere out in the distance, far, far away: one day!
I imagined tomorrow to be the best day to do EVERYTHING and never questioned it.
I was working for a company in sales for almost 30 years. In 2009, I lost my job. Twice. Now, for years I wanted to start my own business as a coaching consultant. I had coached a hockey team for ten years. I joined toastmasters in 2003 to improve my speaking skills. Coaching was deep, deep in my heart and soul. So, when I lost my job, I saw it as a sign to move forward with following my passion and life long dream. Shortly afterwards, my son who was working for a security company, asked me to go work for the company. He explained that they needed me on a few of their contracts. I took the job with the thought in mind, as we say in French “en attendant” (in the meantime). That “en attendant,” turned into years!
There was always something that kept me waiting. Something that made tomorrow seem like the better day. Today was never the right day to take the first step, to do even the smallest action for anything that mattered most in my life.
The turning point in my life where I awakened to the realization that tomorrow is only a promise, came with a very heavy burden and a total reorganization of my perception of life.
After my divorce, my relationship with Marianne, my daughter, had deteriorated. We had several disagreements which caused a long separation between us. Oh, I loved and missed my baby, my princess, but my pride got in the way of calling her and telling her.
I wanted to call her but, I kept putting off till tomorrow. “Tomorrow I’ll call,” I’d say, “Tomorrow, I’ll call her for sure.”
This went on until tomorrow eventually turned into July 4th, 2012. At around 11:00 PM, I received a phone call, “Marianne has just been hit by a train. She’s in the hospital in very critical condition.”
My world had just collapsed.
Three days later, as I held her little hand in mine, she took her last and final breath.
At 11h42 AM, the promise of tomorrow was broken. At 11h42 AM, tomorrow was no longer an option.
A week later, at Marianne’s funeral, I was asked to give the eulogy. At first, I didn’t know what to say, I was still in shock. I am a great believer of faith. I prayed and prayed. It’s funny because for years I have always chosen my topics to give a message through my speeches. But, this time, I didn’t choose the message, the message came to me.
“I was blessed with the heavy burden of the loss of my daughter to share my valuable lesson in living every moment and not neglecting each day we have with each other. Make every single day count. Today is the only time we will ever have. Don’t wait to finally realize this the way I have come to realize it. Every day, you are surrounded with people and situations as an opportunity to see the fact that tomorrow is only a promise, an illusion. Yes, we can all make long term plans. But, how you live today is what will bring you closer to them. Don’t dismiss or overlook the smallest gestures or actions you can take today, at this very moment which will make a huge difference in the most important things in your life. Putting things off is the easy way out, there’s a great loss when we leave things to time. In that time, the damage only gets deeper and one day it’ll be too late.”
We wait for the perfect moment or for when we will have it all together and be perfect. We don’t realize that it’s all part of the illusion of the promise of tomorrow. Making today count means living the beauty of doing. Just doing. It’s in the doing that we continue to learn and discover the joy of living. Perfection is an idea we have created which prevents us from living and we end up creating more illusory images of ourselves and of others. In my idea of perfection, I had created the image of pride which stood in the way of my relationship with my daughter. I would think, “She’s not calling me, I’m not calling her. I’m her father, she should give me the respect of calling me.” There were times where I felt, “I’m the adult, I know better, I should call her.” But, it was short lived. My pride would gain control and talk me out of it.
The loss of my daughter made me realize that I was the only one getting in my own way of taking action, however small or insignificant it may have seemed, towards the most important and precious things in my life.
I discovered that courage is completely over rated. We have the habit of imagining the journey we will have to go through to reach our destination. It overwhelms us and terrifies us. So, we have this idea that we don’t have the courage to face and overcome obstacles without even knowing what they will be. Every day, if we just pay attention to that one task, that one action to move us a step closer, it’s enough for that day.
It takes 30 seconds to make that phone call. It takes 30 seconds to get that difficult discussion started. It takes 30 seconds to get a few words written for your next project and so on. It all starts from where you are. It may not be perfect but you got started. In those 30 seconds, you don’t leave room for your thoughts to come in and talk you out of it. You get out of your own way and allow yourself to be.
I quit my job not long after my daughter’s passing and gradually took steps towards starting my own business. Today, I am my own boss, giving conferences, workshops and training sessions within organizations.
It all starts from where you are now and not wasting precious moments.
From where I live, I often get stuck in traffic. I’ve learned to appreciate and value this as my alone time, listening to my favorite music. Complaining about it is a waste of energy which adds stress and dissatisfaction in my life.
Life is so short, not because it ends too soon but because we wait so long before we actually start living it to the fullest. We have one life, live it now before it’s too late.
How about you? Have you lived on the promise of tomorrow? Will you take that small action make today count?