The inspiring story of Thomas Edison and his 10,000 attempts to create the light-bulb should give us the encouragement to never give up. Yes, that’s right! Edison tried more than 10,000 different ways to make a glass bulb light up, and at least 9,999 times were failures. I bet it was hard for him. I bet there were moments of frustration, hair pulling, and even the odd time he felt like throwing in the towel. But he never did. I’m sure he had to continually rework his plan and stay focused on his dream of putting electric lights into homes around the world. Something in him believed that he could do it. Don’t ever assume it was easy—not for Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Babe Ruth, Amelia Earhart, Susan B. Anthony, Joan of Arc, Martin Luther King, Jr., Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama . . . or even for your own parents! There are millions of empowered people who have blessed our world by stepping into their power—we just don’t know their names. Whether your aspiration is to do something on a global, national, regional scale, or on a level in your own backyard, your dreams matter . . . and manifesting those dreams takes effort. Don’t ever kid yourself! What I remind myself of is that it takes more drudgery to get up every day and go to a job you hate. It takes more exertion to live in an overweight body, dependent on medication. I know firsthand that it’s downright draining to be in an unfulfilling relationship or to be around someone who is negative or condescending. To me, that’s far harder than the energy required to keep the faith, believe in your dream, and take action! Nobody ever said it was going to be easy . . . but what’s the alternative? Are you ready to stop waiting for someone . . . anyone . . . to wake up and notice you—notice your talents, needs, wants, and desires? Are you ready to accept yourself for who you are (for all your supposed faults, weaknesses, addictions, fears, syndromes, and dysfunctions) and love yourself regardless? If so, you are ready to become an empowered person! You’re ready to begin creating a magnificent life! I’m sure you’ve given yourself too many “outs” in the past—too many permissible excuses, but they just don’t cut it anymore. You have a choice: to keep doing what you’ve been doing or to do something you’ve never done before. Sure, this may scare you and maybe you’re not exactly sure what to do yet. You’ll find out. You’ll make the calls, do the research, and discover your next steps. You don’t have to know the whole journey today; you just need to begin moving in the right direction. Remind yourself that you’re worth more than you’ve been. Your life is worth more than you’ve been living. Don’t beat yourself up, guilt yourself, or blame others for your situation. It is what it is, and you’ve learned so much along the way. You’re not going to wait for anyone to give you permission to be you. You’re not going to wait anymore for someone to come along and give you the money you need to start that business, set you up on that blind date, or fix your dysfunctional family. You’re taking charge. You’re going to treat yourself the way you want to be treated and stop resisting yourself and your dreams. You’ll no longer resist asking for help when you need it or doing the things that may feel a little uncomfortable. From this day forward, assume complete accountability for your life. You must take charge of it and do what you need to do to create a life that is genuinely yours: a life that has purpose, meaning, joy, and value. You will no longer rob yourself of your dignity, integrity, and self-respect by blaming, waiting, hoping, and praying that someone will give you the things you want. You know that if it’s going to be, it’s up to me. You know that to achieve an empowered life, you must reach higher. You must step out of your comfort zone and your need to seek permission to live your greatest life. Make a list each evening, just before going to bed, of the seven essential action steps that you need to take the next day—seven steps that will bring you closer to your goals. Start each morning with the most important step. You are the master of your destiny, the captain of your ship. Every choice you make (or don’t make) is yours. Never give up!