Tag: inspiration

Foundations

GROWTH

A friend of mine recently wrote a great book.  The publisher he submitted it to thought it was great as well, however they refused to publish it.  The reason?  He doesn’t have a platform in the area of his subject matter – a way to physically spread his message and he isn’t known as an expert in his subject matter.  The publisher’s suggestion?  Start a blog, publish a few magazine articles, garner a few speaking engagements.   He needs to create a foundation on which to establish himself.

You too, need a foundation for your pursuing your purpose.  Depending on your purpose it may or may not include a blog or speaking engagements, but you do need to establish yourself as a “subject matter expert” in your purpose in the minds of other people.  It’s the way you move forward. There’s a really easy way to do it – realize that you are already are (remember, it’s your unique purpose that stems from your very self) and start advertising it.  That means let people know what you’re up to:

  • When people ask, “What’s new?”  Tell them about your purpose.
  • If people are in a conversation that touches on your purpose in even the slightest of ways, say something like “That’s an area I’m expanding into…” and make yourself known.
  • Start discussions about people having purposes, and make sure to interject  yours along the way.
  • Volunteer for an event or organization that involves your purpose – you’ll expand your experiences, make valuable contacts, and feel great expressing your values.
  • Go ahead, be brave, start a blog and share yourself.

Do you have any other suggestions?  Please leave them in the comments section.

EXCELLENCE

When I first started telling people about my purpose (click here: Burn Bright – The Beginning) I got some blank stares and questioning looks. It wasn’t something I was known for.  One person actually laughed and basically told me that I had nothing to offer. It could have brought me down, but it was actually a catalyst. It made me stop and ask myself a question.  “Why am I doing this?”  It wasn’t “what do I have to offer.”  This made a difference.  When “what” is in the equation, it limits you to the availability of resources, and when those don’t appear to exist, you’re done for.  When “why” is in the equation it brings it back to the heart of the matter – your heart.  Your unique calling.  Your individual path. Your passion. Your creativity.  With that your resources never end.

PURPOSE

In the following video clip, Simon Sinek, leadership expert and author, touches on the importance of “why” (it focuses on marketing a product – so think of you and your purpose as the product you are marketing)

Being Intentional – Part I

GROWTH

When you make excuses, you deny yourself the opportunity to grow.
 (Tayo Adeyemi)

EXCELLENCE

Are you being intentional about pursuing your purpose, or are you sitting back waiting for everything to come to you?

Just because you know the direction that God is taking you in your life, doesn’t mean that there isn’t going to be some hard work and decision-making involved.  There are going to be many many opportunities come your way. You will not be able to take every single one of them, so you need to position yourself to know which ones you should take advantage of.

One area to be intentional in is building yourself a professional support system. This is different from a personal support system.  Professional means that it has to do directly with implementing and maintaining your purpose and its goals with people with SAME/SIMILAR purpose and goals.

For example, here’s what I do in my life:

  • Meet regularly with a friend who is a speaker, corporate trainer, and author to specifically to talk about business and ministry.  We provide resources to each other, discuss our challenges, help each other set goals, and celebrate our accomplishments.
  • Almost every month I drive about two hours north to attend the Northwest Christian Writer’s Association meeting (http://www.nwchristianwriters.org/). Almost always I dread entering the nation’s 10th worst traffic.  Almost always I wind up in the wrong lane for the exit I need going back home very late at night.  But always I wind up being glad I made the effort to attend.  There is something about the atmosphere when you walk into a room where 50+ people are gathered for the same purpose, who share your values, and who go out of their way to encourage one another without any sort of competitive spirit.
  • Find the industry leaders in my field and subscribe to  their e-mail newsletters, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, LinkedIn profiles, bookmark their websites, and join on-line discussions.

Even if your purpose is not typically classified as professional, you need to do research and find ways of connecting to similar-minded people.  They really are out there. It may take extra effort on your part, but it’s worth it.

PURPOSE

Discover your uniqueness; then discipline yourself to develop it.
(Jim Sundberg)

Strengths vs. Weaknesses

GROWTH

About ten years ago I began to enjoy the wisdom of Marcus Buckingham, the popular best-selling author and in-demand speaker.  His message is that a person’s unique personal strengths are the key to unlocking their potential (http://www.tmbc.com/home). I got revved up by this important truth; however, I had never really found a way to make it “click” in my life.  It was always in the back of my mind but I applied it pretty much hit-and-miss. I had lots of excuses about not having enough time, not having enough energy, not being in the right environment, etc., but deep down I knew it really was an element of fear that was behind my fully embracing what I knew to be truth.  Once I realized this I began to look at my life and discovered there were many areas that I was holding back in because of fear – in business, in relationships, and in my faith. It didn’t take me long to attribute it all to a fear of failure.  And so I began a quest to overcome it. Books, CDs, DVDs, internet sites, prayer, affirmations, declarations, etc. helped me to get down and dirty in my fight to overcome my weaknesses.  I finally achieved breakthrough when I had a revelation that doing this was WASTING MY TIME. In my ferocity to clear the path to get to my strengths, I was actually focusing on my weaknesses and diminishing my potential. I was doing the opposite of my goal. I stopped in my tracks and did some serious reassessment of my assumptions. It was then that I discovered that I was not afraid of failure, but I was afraid of success.

Nelson Mandela’s quote of Marianne Williamson’s Our Deepest Fear suddenly went from an admired platitude to a life giving testimony.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”

My fear of success had partly to do with the responsibility of sustaining it and the expectations and judgments of others.  This time the books, CDs, DVDs, internet sites, prayer, affirmations, declarations, etc. were focused properly. Instead of overcoming my flaws and limitations, I began to put concentrate on my assets – places I had an advantage – the knowledge, skills, abilities, and spheres of influence in which I was already successful.  As I pour resources and energies into these areas I continue to be amazed at the benefits.  I have more energy, I have a better attitude when things are challenging, I feel less threatened by the opinions of others, I feel less threatened by the success of others in my field, and, in a major bonus, I’ve found that when I focus on strengths that the areas of my limitations have adjusted.  They have either improved (my strengths have absorbed them) or they have totally fallen off my grid of self-assessment (they have no impact).

When you are moving towards your purpose in life, keep in mind that it’s not only important to re-evaluate yourself from time to time and the beliefs that you have about what you can and can’t accomplish, but also WHY you have those beliefs.

EXCELLENCE

“Excellence is not the opposite of failure.”
(Marcus Buckingham)

PURPOSE

“(People) who are making (their purpose) work are ascribing their success to intrinsic causes  rather than extrinsic. They’ve discovered their strengths, they seek their  strong moments, and they apply them with courage and diligence. They trust  themselves beyond anyone else and they take themselves very seriously. They take  a stand for their strengths.”
(Marcus Buckingham)

“And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” (Anais Nin)

GROWTH

There can be a dark place in personal growth. It lies in the shadowy slope where insight slides into morbid introspection.

Insight: when you observe and analyze yourself, you see into the underlying truth of your actions, motivation, character, etc. and are empowered to make a change in your life.

Morbid introspection:  when you become fixated on the observation and analysis and – when you are faced with the underlying truth of your actions, motivation, character, etc. – rather than clean up and move on, you become negative and brood about your weaknesses, doubt your abilities, and belittle yourself and your goals.

Very Simple Solution:  Is there really be a quick fix to this problem?  Yes, there really is… but quick does not necessarily mean easy. You have to make a choice and to apply it immediately.  It might not seem fresh and original, but it is tried and true: You must change your thinking.  It’s not about reciting the 3×5 sticky notes on your mirror reminding yourself you are greater than you think.  It’s not about listening to motivational messages in your car on the way to work or errands. It’s about being consistently responsible to cut short the pity party and make the change at the moment you discover yourself in the darkness.  It’s not easy – it’s a hard road to climb. But it really does work.

  • “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”
    (Philippians 4:8 from The Message version of the Bible)

EXCELLENCE

PURPOSE

There is a concept of “Purpose” that I find important to emphasize whenever possible:  It cannot be wrapped up in another person.

I find it incredibly sad when a young person says their purpose in life is to get married, or a parent believes their life goal is to raise great kids, or someone indicates their whole life is dedicated to supporting their partner in whatever they do. Not that these goals are negative, but they cannot be the whole focus of your life.  What happens when the young person gets married (or if they don’t), what happens when the kids leave home, what happens if the partner dies?

Our purpose in God is unchanging.  It carries us throughout our lives, in every stage, in every relationship, in every circumstance.  Whether married or single, whether children or none, whether someone runs alongside you nor not.

Let me be clear.  Marriage, children, and partnerships can all be very fruitful, productive, important parts of your purpose.  God can and will  use those things to move you towards your purpose, but they cannot BE your purpose.

Action is the foundational key to all success. (Pablo Picasso)

GROWTH

“Practice makes perfect” – so practice being proactive about your life. Does that sound scary? Just start by making small choices that are different from the ones you usually make and don’t feel threatening. What if you took a different route to work in the morning? What would happen if you went to a different branch of your financial institution? What if you changed what you usually order at your favorite restaurant? Simple, and perhaps silly, but taking small, safe-feeling steps will increase your confidence and lead to more and eventually larger steps. Don’t worry if it takes some time, you’ll get where you’re going. This is not a race, it’s living your life – better.

EXCELLENCE

I wasn’t exuding a sense of excellence earlier this week. Illness kept me in bed for several days and I discovered that when I’m feverish and exhausted, I am not a positive thinker. I thought about what I am trying to do here and the “who am I kidding” and “is it worth it” and “what if I fail again” moments were like bricks that wouldn’t stop assailing me. As I started to recover I found those bricks laying at my feet – still demanding to be answered, but not breaking me any longer.

Achieving excellence is not just about doing excellent things and thinking excellent thoughts and achieving excellent goals – that’s just one part. The other part is what happens when the things you do are not up to par, what happens when your thinking is garbage, and what happens when you discover that lofty goal isn’t going to cut it. What do you do when doubts and fears are overwhelming and you feel like bailing out?

Why don’t you cut yourself a break? When those bricks were slamming me I thought to myself, “I’m sick. I’ll deal with this next week when things better.” What would happen if, when those bricks come flying at you and you begin to doubt yourself, you cut yourself a break and say, “I’m frustrated/ stressed/ fearful/ unsure. I’ll deal with this particular question in a couple of days when things are better”?

If it’s something serious that still needs adjustment when things are better, find someone you trust to talk it over and you can deal with it. If it’s just the typical ups and downs of being a human being in search of excellence, your confidence will probably return and you can address them easily and move along.

PURPOSE

In last week’s blog I suggested developing a list of your individual gifts, talents, skills, abilities, tastes, desires, interests, affinities – things that bring you satisfaction and make you feel alive. I’m assuming that you have listed at least two things. This week, I would like you to take at least two things from your list and do something with them. Block out two 5-minute blocks of time this week – that’s 10 minutes out of the 10,080 minutes you’ll have available – and think about those two things exclusively. You don’t have to do anything about them, just think about them. Imagine yourself doing them and pay attention to how it makes you feel.

And if you’d like to share… I’d love to hear from you in the comments section…

Have the courage to hold onto the best and let the rest fall away. (DeWitt Jones)

GROWTH

Do you ever get tired of waiting for things to change? The economy, a difficult manager at work, an overdramatic friend, a situation blocking your path.  These have all, at one time or another, made it to the top of my “Would You Please Just Hurry Up and Change” list.  But my current number one offender is … myself. I really do want to change the world, and I really do think it’s possible, but if it is dependent upon ME changing – well there’s going to be a problem.

Oh, it’s easy to change the things I do:  recycle, volunteer, give more to charity.  But changing the way I think, which pretty much means changing who I am? That’s when my defense mechanisms go up. My first inclination is to throw a fit and start screaming, “Why should I have to change?  What’s wrong with me being this way?”  This reaction in itself reveals to me the importance of the change – moving from immaturity to maturity. My second inclination is to dig my heels in and say, “I’m tired of having to be the one who has to change, why can’t they/it be the one to change this time?” This petulant reaction triggers a question: what if the person or circumstance NEVER changes? Am I willing to stay stuck, just to make a point?  Are you? …

EXCELLENCE

… Pursuing excellence in our lives pretty much means that changing ourselves is a given. Changing the ordinary into extraordinary, changing average into greatness, changing the mediocre into superb, changing ourselves into the most excellent version of ourselves. That actually sounds pretty good to me.  So what are we waiting for?

PURPOSE

Last week I wrote, “I believe that God has created every human being with individual gifts, talents, skills, abilities, tastes, desires, interests, affinities – things that bring us satisfaction and make us feel alive.”  For most of us, these things are easy to list about ourselves:

  • “I’m good with numbers”
  • “I love to paint”
  • “Modern contemporary furniture is to die for”
  • “I want a waterfront home”
  • “Everyone loves my cinnamon rolls”
  • “I couldn’t live anywhere but New York City.”

But for some of us, we’ve lost our way.  The cares and concerns of life have become so tightly packed down around us, we can’t think past what is currently happening in us and to us. We feel stuck.  We feel like we’ve missed it.  We feel like we blew it.  If you feel this way, I want to give you permission to take five minutes out of your schedule to do the following:

  • Say this sentence to yourself:  “I want something more. I need something more.”
  • Remember what used to bring you satisfaction and made you feel alive and write them down.
  • Say this sentence to yourself: “It’s okay to want and need something more.  It’s okay to want to feel satisfied and alive.”

Next week when you visit again, bring your list with you and we’ll take a closer look.

%d bloggers like this: