Shaping Your Life

I’m in Tempe, home to Arizona State University, in a coffee shop surrounded by people from college students to senior citizens and the full gamut in between.

As I peer into the faces of the college students, they seem so much more alive than the rest of us. Perhaps they are full of hopes and dreams. That would certainly be my desire for them—that they enthusiastically embrace where they are and where they are going.

How can we do the same? No matter your age, you have something in common with youth: your future lies ahead of you and it has the potential to be equally glorious.

“Never let your memories be greater than your dreams.”
Doug Ivester

We all know people who seem to have peaked in high school or college. They have memorized the words to Bruce Springsteen’s song Glory Days; it is their anthem. Is that you?

Maybe you also know some folks whose lives get better and better, no matter the age. If you’re lucky, you are one of them. These wise souls have mastered the Law of Attraction. Rather than focusing on what they have lost as time progresses, they pay attention instead to what they’ve gained. For example, you may not work as fast as some of your younger colleagues but you know the shortcuts. You may not have the same level of energy but you don’t need it because you know how to work smarter.

What dreams do you still have that are left undone? Who do you want to be? It is never too late to reinvent yourself. Whether you are twenty or 100 you have the power to decide, “This is who I want to be.” Making the decision is like planting a lightning rod that attracts the people and circumstances you need to reach your goal.

Your life is a work of art very similar to a sculpture. Imagine you face a large amount of clay in front of you. This represents what’s available to you in your life. As you progress (some call it aging), pieces of the clay start to disappear. Some pieces you proactively removed through the choices you made along the way; dreams you decided not to pursue. Some pieces got knocked off by external forces you could not control. New pieces of clay get added on when you focus on new dreams. But the sculpture is not done until the day you die. Between now and then, you can shape your life into anything you desire through your focus. You will have to work around those pieces over which you have no control but that is your artistry. That’s the uniqueness you bring that makes this your sculpture and not someone else’s.

We all enjoy stories of people who have triumphed over difficult circumstances to achieve their dreams. The only difference between them and you is that they have already done it; you can be on your way to achieving your dreams within the hour. It merely requires a decision. Once made, you will be reshaping your sculpture to represent the life you want instead of the default life most settle for.

When you are working on achieving your dreams, you will have that same fresh look I see around me today. It is a look of anticipation. It is a look that says, “I’m not sure how this is going to turn out but I’m willing to go for it.”

It is the look of artists as they gaze at the clay and excitedly wonder what beauty lies within.

Happy shaping!

Download a PDF of this column


James C - April 4, 2008

Do you address Rotary Clubs ?

I am the Speaker Chairman for the Scottsdale Airpark Rotary Club. We meet on Tuesdays for lunch at the Firm Restaurant.

Thank you

ddejesus - January 6, 2011


I am mortified to admit that I just now realized that there were comments on my blog and yours popped up. Please do not think ill of me–I am working hard these days to become more technically astute. I am no longer in the Phoenix area but if you send your contact information to I promise to let you know when I do plan to be there (I visit fairly often) and, if it works out, I would be happy to address the Scottsdale Airpark Rotary Club. I have heard great things about this group.

Again, my sincere apologies.

Warm regards,


Comments are closed