Michael Phelps has had an outstanding performance in the 2008 Summer Olympics. He has won 8 Olympic Gold medals and broken 7 Olympic records. Michael is being called the greatest Olympian that has ever lived. After all of the accolades have died down and the Olympics is long over I can’t help but wonder – what’s next? Sure he is only 23 and can continue to compete in the Olympics but it seems to me that it will be virtually impossible for him to have another showing like the one this year. Obviously he has accomplished and probably surpassed his personal goals. I know he is going to bask in all of the glory for a good long while. But then I wonder. What next?
Will he set a goal to win 10 medals? Is that even possible? I am sure he will have the opportunity to get on the lecture circuit and become a motivational speaker. But maybe that is not his cup of tea. So what next?
I believe that there comes a time in everyone’s life when they ask this question. And no, we all don’t win international glory and fame but we all come to a crossroads at some point in our lives. Perhaps you are the stay-at-home mom whose children are ready to leave the nest. Or you could be that female executive, successful and at the top of your game but all alone with no love life to speak of. You could be that father who works 80+ hours per week but spends little or no time with the family you work so hard to support. Maybe you are a college student beginning your senior year and suddenly come to the realization that the major you have worked on for the past 3 years is not interesting anymore.
The crossroads. What do you do at the crossroads? Some people become immobilized. I know a 1996 winner of Olympic gold that became depressed and unable to function without meds after his win. He met a goal he worked for all of his life and when presented with his “what next?” moment he stopped in his tracks. He may well have been depressed prior to his win but maybe not.
In my opinion we should all be prepared for the “what next?” moments in our lives. However, this can be difficult because sometimes we don’t even see them coming. We are forced to confront them head on without preparation. I am writing this today because I am having my own personal “What next?” moment. Although I am no Olympian I have to say that I am truly floored by the response to my blog post yesterday. I must admit that “I” thought it was a good post but had no idea that so many others would agree. I look at all of the comments and wonder how on earth will I respond to everyone. But respond I will because that is what I do. The “what next?” moment comes for me because I wonder is this it – is this “my” shining moment and will there be others to come? How will I write another post that lives up to the one from yesterday? Do I pressure myself to do it? Or do I sit immobilized basking in the glory of my one moment and then fade back into the recesses of my small corner of the blogosphere.
My “what next?” moment is filled with possibilities. And my decision is to return to what I always do. I write from my heart about things that I enjoy and let the rest follow. I will not write with hopes of gaining accolades – although I must admit having Da Goddess refer to my post as “The Post Every Blogger Should Read” is amazing – I will continue to write for me. I will still talk about my little one, post diaper cakes and travel the blogosphere. And hope that sharing my words may inspire, resonate with or even just make someone smile. I guess I have always been prepared for my “what next?” moment after all because in reality every day I write is a “what next?” moment for me.