Deb Sofield


A 5-Letter Word and a Lifetime of Damage

Share This!

Listen to Deb's Podcasts on


There is a 5-letter word that is holding you back from everything you tell yourself you want and need. It is a simple word with the strength to damage you for life if you’re not careful, and the word is “later.” If you’re not vigilant, it will be your downfall from everything that you tell yourself and others that you’ve wanted in life and love and happiness. “Later” is a 5-letter word and a lifetime of damage if you don’t start on the fix today.

Really, the idea that you can solve the issue (whatever it is) “later” is most likely the one thing you are purposefully choosing to put off today, which will harm your future in ways that you cannot begin to imagine.

The idea of “later” seems so innocuous, so unimpressive and, frankly, so unimportant, until it becomes important, and when the time comes, you’re probably not ready because you thought you had more time or you thought you could do it…“ later.” Hear me: stop waiting, and pull out that list and get going, or deal with the glaring issue that everyone is quietly talking about, or better yet, be the voice to solve the situation that has you and everyone else so uptight. With a bit of courage, you can face any situation and settle on an outcome.

I have been forthright from my soapbox this year, to encourage you to do what needs to be done for your amazing life and to stop wasting time and energy following those who are not going in the direction of your dreams. I have been candid with you about walking away from those who take advantage of you–those who are consistently tearing you down to cover their own limitations–and I’ve been consistent in hammering you to believe in yourself and your amazing gifts, using them to help, not only yourself to incredible success, but also to help others find their way to their best life ever.

So, I know you will not be surprised when I remind you that time is not on your side, and you need to step it up and do the things that need to be done before it is too late, because “later” will never come soon enough to save you.

Now, I can write out a list of things that I believe are important for you to consider. Things like repairing broken relationships with family and friends (the best you can without being dragged through the emotional mud of the past). Or mending fences with co-workers and neighbors who misunderstood a past situation (again, the best you can without rehashing old wounds). Or even taking a look at your own life to fix some of the brokenness of your past personal mistakes that are long gone and now you need to finally let go so you can live freely without the shadow of the situation hanging over you.

I can continue to encourage you to step out on faith to try for a new job, position or opportunity to provide a better life for you and your loved ones. I can even remind you of the mundane, albeit important, issue of cleaning up your house, garage, car and attic to get rid of broken pieces and papers from your past so you can rebuild from a clean slate for a clean start for a better future. Yes, I can rehash all of that, but you know all that, so let’s think of what else you can do to get unstuck and out of the rut of thinking you have time to do those things you’ve been mulling over. Let’s see how we can get you (finally) to finish, and push you to get going. Let me remind you that you don’t have time to waste. If you are not careful, “later” will come on someone else’s terms and you’ll have to, in a sense, pay the piper instead of being able to handle this on your own.

I am not sure what it is about the upcoming New Year that makes me want to shake some of you into understanding that you need to stop waiting and start moving because for some reading this today… “later” is just prolonging the inevitable.

For the life of me, I cannot figure out what you’re thinking, if you think the situation is going to go away all by itself–come on, you know it never does. It never goes away completely all by itself. You have to make a bit of space to move your past out of the door.

Earth to you! Wake up, please! There is no issue that you are dealing with that will simply go away until you make a plan for it to go away, be resolved or find a compromise.

I know you just want the person, situation or issue to disappear or be forgotten without doing anything about it. In a perfect world, you wouldn’t have to own up to the mistakes or situation that you find yourself in–whether it is of your own doing or not. But this isn’t a perfect world, and the people who have (in their seriously damaged mind) a reason to hold a grudge, complaint or resentment towards you will pull the noose tighter with each passing day, month or year until you are harmed irreparably.

You know there are crazy people out there who will wait until the end of time to exact revenge because you allowed the situation to meander without a final stop or resolution because you were counting on “later” to solve your troubles or hopefully make them go away. Oh, to be so lucky! Friend, hear me: “later” never comes soon enough to save you–you will have to make it happen.

For most, the issues that I have seen and heard that are causing the distress will not be physical harm, per se, but mental and emotional and they will cause you grief and pain just the same. For others, it will be dealing with issues of lingering resentment that rises and boils just below the surface and shows its ugly head when it cannot be contained any longer for a past perceived mistake or indiscretion, or even a current misstep. And still, for some, it will be the silence from those who usually talk that hurts the loudest. Whatever it is, figure out how to ease the tension and cool the situation down to a manageable temperature so you can slowly make a path for escape without being burned or injured.

Hear me, friend, your days of “later” are running out. So how do you make something happen sooner rather than later?

Here are a few ideas. (Please note: my suggestions might not be right for everyone, so you do what is best for where you are and who you are.) That being said, I believe it is important for you to allow the other person to say their piece and then be done. Set a mental, emotional or spiritual hedge of protection around you, set a time limit, bring a witness, meet in a public place and let them say their litany of self-identified issues they feel so passionate about. Let them feel heard, and you hear what they say; if it has truth or value, listen and learn, and if it is just more of the same crazy talk, listen and leave. You’ve been generous with your time to be present (but protected), and now the time is up, so agree to “let it be” with or without resolution.

When done, walk away. You’re free, and don’t think twice about their vindictive talk–some friends and foes you will be dealing with are, frankly, unhinged. This is a tough one, so I suggest you bring someone along to be a witness, not to talk, but to help you leave when the emotional outburst is done.

If you have been accused of stealing, losing or breaking something, try to see how you can have it repaired or go ahead and spend the money for another one (whatever it is). Yes, they will bellyache that it is not the same–it’s not–but it is the best that can be done at this time. Make the delivery, and then you are done. Even if you didn’t steal, lose or break the item in question, if it is still missing or broken, buck it up, get it fixed or buy another one and walk away. At least you’ve done the best you can so you (and they) now know the score. Arguing over if you were the culprit will not fix anything, especially if they think you are, so just buy it, deliver, smile and leave.

The hardest thing some of you need to do will be to leave the key on the counter and walk away. Splitting what you can, letting them take what they think is theirs, taking the rest and buying what you need to keep going. I can remember when I left a business I helped start. My colleagues were so petty and small they refused to let me have my calculator. Geez! $4 later I bought another one. I couldn’t fix their ridiculousness, but I wasn’t going to waste any more time on “later” when I could buy what I needed to start again, and so can you.

Yes, for much of your making something happen to beat the damage of “later” there will be a cost associated with it. But compare the cost of doing something today to the cost of a continued future of dealing with them and the situation–the cost of “later” to untangle yourself from them and their sticky grasp–and add up the value of the time and energy (emotional and physical) you’re wasting dealing with them because you’ve been banking on “later.” Friend, remember, later will never come, unless you make it happen.

Alright, I know I have given you a lot to think about, and in some cases, I understand that leaving well enough alone might be the safest and best for the specific situation you find yourself in, so be wise. You know better than I do about the people you’re dealing with, but just make sure you’re not allowing fear or avoidance to cloud your judgment when a timed, limited, witnessed conversation or a purchase or return of an item or a clean break and leaving the key on the table would set you free faster.

What I don’t want for you going into this next year is to let a simple 5-letter word called “later” to continue the damage of your amazing life. You deserve better. You deserve more. You deserve a fresh start, so work on the fix today.

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

Leave a Reply

    Recently Added


    Featured On

    Share via
    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap