The Undivided Life Blog


I’d punch 20-year-old me if I had the chance

communication keynote speaker leadership Dec 07, 2022
Jeff Schiefelbein in his college days

“I’d punch 20-year-old me if I had the chance.”

Those were my exact words as I reflected on my life at 40 years old while listening to a group of young men talk about their wild college nights.

I saw myself in some of what they were saying and thought about the people I had hurt or disrespected when I was that age.  

I wished I could travel in time to give my younger self one good smack before telling him to swallow his pride, put away the anger, and spend more time in prayer.

As a 40-year-old man, I wondered if 60-year-old Jeff would ever want to do something similar.

During my annual coaching session that year, a teammate gave me an incredible gift.

He said, “your passion is contagious, but it loses its impact when you use foul language.”

Lightening ⚡ Bolt ⚡ Moment

That was exactly what 60-year-old me would say, too.

I vowed that day to drop the foul language and stop pretending that it was okay at work as long as I didn’t bring it into the house.

I advanced on my undivided life journey by matching my language at home, work, church, or the bar.

It was not easy, but it worked.

👉 Sixty days later, I replaced the bad words with euphemisms.

👉 Six months later, I noticed my rich vocabulary coming out of suppression.

👉 One year later, I had even removed bad words from my inner dialogue.

👉 Now, over four years later, my lack of foul language has dramatically purified my thoughts about others and myself.

I’m grateful to be living a life that older-me will find dignified and meaningful.

What will you want to change about your current self in 20 years?

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