Is It Sacrifice – or Loss?

Today is Good Friday … an important day on the calendar of Christians everywhere. Earlier today, as I was reflecting on this and the reason for marking the occasion, the concept of ‘sacrifice’ stayed on my mind, and I started to compare it to the concept of ‘loss’ … and I thought it might make a good topic for today’s blog article.

Specifically, I wondered about how these two terms differ. What makes something a sacrifice, as opposed to a loss? Surely we have all experienced both in our life. So what are some of the differences between them? Why is one considered more noble than the other? Why does one generate resentment, while the other does not? Is it just an attitude? Or is there a more profound meaning that can be revealed?

I Reached the Conclusion

… that it’s probably different for each individual, because of the sense of either ownership or entitlement that we attach to it. If we decide to voluntarily make a trade-off, we are usually doing so for some perceived benefit – whether it’s on behalf of someone else’s welfare, or for our own sense of feeling good … and sometimes even for our personal gain, depending on what the outcome of the trade is. We might comfortably label this as ‘sacrifice’ – to give up one thing in order to gain another.

Of course, sacrifice doesn’t always have to be material. We can surrender a point of view or a position in a discussion – some people would call it acquiescing, where they give up their opinion for the sake of peace or friendship or some other motive. So this would also qualify as a sacrifice, wouldn’t it?

So, then … When Does ‘Loss’ Steal the Moment?

Upon further reflection, I decided that loss occurs when something is taken from us, rather than given up – when we are unwilling to yield that which we so highly value – whether it be love, life, or possession. Someone or something reaches in and tears it from us. There is an irony or unfairness that we attach to it, and we are bereft at such forfeit. Our expectations have been ruptured, and we are left suddenly feeling no longer whole.

In either scenario, we in one moment ‘have’ and in the next moment ‘have not’ … and yet, with one we can accept and move on – and even feel at peace; with the other, however, we can become mired in bitterness, anger and sorrow. It would seem that the only barrier between the two extremes is the ‘attitude’ with which we face it. What a curious human condition, when one stops to consider it.

How Do Your Columns Stack Up?

In thinking back over your own life, do you carry the burden of resentments over a perceived grievance or injustice? Has something been taken from you, leaving you damaged or injured? Perhaps a loved one left without warning – or worse. Does the pain of it still burn in your chest? How long is long enough to lament a loss? At what point can you allow yourself to simply surrender that loss to the universe and allow healing to replace it?

If we can come to terms with the transitory nature of this life and all things within it, we are more likely able to find reasons to celebrate our many blessings – and to feel grateful for what we have had, or who we have known and loved, rather than lamenting that which we have lost.

Remind Yourself

However temporary it may be, remember that life is a journey, and that from our first breath to our last, our days are filled with a continual coming and going of people, possessions, and pursuits. The best we can hope to do is honour them while we can, and release them when we must.

… and in the meantime, stay focused on the good things in life!

What Lies Do You Tell Your Mirror?

When you look in the mirror – and I mean taking a long, studied look – what story do you tell yourself about what you see? Do you hear yourself being negative … loosely throwing around the ‘too’ word? How many times have we ever attached ‘too’ to a positive statement? Most of us follow ‘too’ up with something negative … too pale, too fat, too skinny, too old-looking, too tired … where are we going to find words of encouragement in that?

What would happen if we made a pact with ourselves, and only permitted positive thoughts to come through when we’re looking at ourselves? Can you imagine how different we would feel? And we wouldn’t necessarily have to even use the word ‘too’. Think of it: “… looking pretty good, today, self!” Or “… not bad, not bad at all, self!”  So that you’re being as kind to your ‘self’ as you would be to your best friend – because, hopefully, you have a loving relationship with your ‘self’.

And, okay … so maybe we’re not as young, as vibrant, as active, or as energetic as we once were. So what? That’s hardly ‘self’s’ fault. Each phase of life comes with its own unique evolutionary ‘modifications’, so to speak, and there’s no point in railing against them. Life is about the journey, right? Well, on most journeys the scenery changes as you travel along, doesn’t it? And so it is with life … as we advance in our journey to maturity, our outlook changes. So our journey’s changes are bound to be reflected in our mirror.

Years ago, I had a friend who used to repeat affirmations to her ‘self’ on a daily basis. Because my head space was entirely somewhere else at the time, I used to scoff at this. But as my own journey unfolded, I grew to understand the importance of ‘self talk’ and how it can either empower you – or quite the opposite. If you spend all your energy being critical, unkind, and intolerant towards your ‘self’ – and many people do – what messages are you internalizing? We must be very careful to nurture our ‘self’, because although in our conscious mind, we may have forgotten a lot of the unpleasant or negative messages or experiences we have connected with over the years, our ‘self’ hasn’t forgotten any of these things. So how can you justify being unkind to your ‘self’, knowing that it has borne the brunt of every hurtful or negative thing that’s ever happened to you, and has no way of forgetting? The more difficult your life has been, the kinder you should want to be to your ‘self’, to try and make up for its inability to selectively filter good from bad.

So when you look at your reflection in the mirror, instead of looking for what’s wrong, why not try to be encouraging and supportive and loving? Choose to see the inner beauty and strength, not whether there’s another wrinkle or grey hair. Acknowledge the journey that your face reveals. Look at the ‘self’ behind those physical features, and say a kind word or two. Chances are, your ‘self’ will be pleasantly surprised to hear from you.

… and in the meantime, remember to stay focused on the good things in life!

Finding Your Life’s True Purpose

Picture this – you’ve been working at a job that no longer satisfies you … in fact, you’re gradually starting to hate it. You know it isn’t what you ‘always wanted to be’, back when you took the time to dream about such things … before the ‘realities’ of life took hold. It was merely a means to an end … a way to pay your bills. But it’s been years, now … and you feel more like you’re moving away from your dreams, than moving towards them. The realization of this makes you frustrated – you feel stuck. What to do?

You know that you have abilities and skills that far exceed the requirements of your job … but your company doesn’t require those abilities and skills, so they place no value on them. That leaves you under-achieving, over-delivering, and ignoring your own life’s passion. Trading your days for dollars, and hoping that one day, you’ll somehow magically come upon that life-altering doorway, beyond the threshold of which you will be delivered out of your tedium and into your Life’s True Purpose.

[Okay – CUT! Fade to black …]

Maybe you can relate to that scenario – perhaps a little more than you’re even comfortable admitting. Truth be told, we’ve probably all kept an eye out for that ‘doorway’, at one time or another – because it’s important that we find it … in some way, shape or form. In fact, it’s actually critical … because it will indeed deliver us into the knowledge of our Life’s True Purpose.

Remember … there will come a day for us when, whether we’re ready for it or not, this will all end. No more sunrises or sunsets. Time will cease. All of life’s concerns will melt away into nothingness – your fame, your money, your authority – all will wither into irrelevance. All of your ‘busy lists’, your ambitions, your plans … they won’t matter. So too will vanish your successes, your failures, your resentments, your jealousies. Your gender, your skin colour, your intelligence, your social standing – these will be of no consequence. Everything that ever seemed to be so important as to drive you from day to day … all of these will expire.

So … How Will the Value of Your Days be Measured?

How does one measure a life? What will truly matter? Well, in this article, I reference the words of Nikolai De Leo, who goes on to suggest it would look something like this:

What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave. What will matter is not your success, but your significance; not what you learned, but what you taught. What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage, or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example. What will matter is not your competence, but your character.

What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone. It’s not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you; how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what. Living a Life of Purpose doesn’t happen by accident. It’s not a matter of circumstance, but of choice.

So … What’s Your Life’s True Purpose? …

These are powerful and poignant words. Think about how to apply them to your own life’s situation. Are you living your life ‘on purpose’? Or is your life living you? Do you face each day with conscious intention? Or do you simply take whatever comes your way? Are you willing to spend even 30 minutes in true introspection? To get back in touch with what or who you ‘always wanted to be’ … DO this, before you run out of minutes. Redirect your life towards the purpose for which it was intended. Search for that purpose – dig deep, be fearless, listen to your heart and trust your instincts.

… and in the meantime, stay focused on the good things in life!

What In The World Inspires You?

Not long ago, a mentor of mine asked me if I could define what inspires me. Naturally, my very first thought was, “Of course, I can!” And then I tried to come up with that definition … that’s when I realized it was a trick question. Sneaky.

So … okay – what does inspire me? Let’s see … well, as I sat and contemplated this, gradually I became aware that the sun was shining and there were birds chirping somewhere nearby – and in the realization of this, my mood was automatically lifted. Does that count as inspiring? How about watching my garden gently unfolding to embrace an early spring? That’s at least pretty uplifting, if not entirely inspiring.

Who Would Have Thought? …

Inspiration, I’ve decided, is a pretty broad term that encompasses many things. It can come from a simple thought – just a tiny seed of an idea in the beginning, but one that can grow into an incredibly inspired outcome. Or it can come from hearing a speech that arouses your senses or emotions. Recently, I heard a 6 minute speech from someone who wouldn’t be considered a seasoned speaker, but in all honesty, I think it was one of the most engaging speeches I’ve ever listened to. I felt completely inspired by it – and who would have expected that?

I get inspired when I read about ordinary people overcoming incredible odds to achieve something of great importance to them. I love stories like that, don’t you? Stories of courage or determination or resilience – ones that make you ask yourself, “Could I have done that?”  And also, I get inspired when I look at the beauty of nature, either in photographs or on HD TV – or even in real time. This week, I received by e-mail a photo array of some of the most exquisite scenery on our planet … completely awesome images that inspired me to get out my camera and test the bounds of my own photographic prowess. What I learned was maybe I’m not a world-class photographer, but those professional images still inspired me to re-think how I might compose a shot before I take it.

Never Underestimate the Power of a Little Hug …

Another thing that inspires me is receiving compliments or recognition for a job well done. Never underestimate the power of a pat on the back, or a little hug, to inspire someone to keep on striving. Whether it acknowledges a result, progress towards a result, or just the effort someone makes, a show of moral support and appreciation is such an easy way to keep someone engaged. It inspires me to ‘keep up the good work’, and ultimately lets me feel pretty good about my contribution.

Now that I’ve started thinking about all the things that inspire me, I could probably write pages more, but instead, let me ask … what inspires YOU? Where do you get your motivation, your gumption, your joie de vivre – what makes you keep dreaming or striving? Take a moment and see if you can articulate your thoughts in the comment box below. I’d really like to read about what inspires you, but I’ll bet you’ll find it’s harder to define than you thought …

… and in the meantime, just remember to stay focused on the good stuff in life!

So, What’s The Deal With Avoidance?

Now, here’s a topic that I think everyone can relate to at some point along the road – Avoidance! Not the kind of avoidance that’s simple … like avoiding that traffic jam, or going around that black cat just up ahead. No … this is the capital ‘A’ avoidance technique that we all use when we’re facing something we just don’t want to deal with – even though we know we will eventually be forced to.

But the thing about avoidance is that we know just because ‘we’ go away, this doesn’t make the ‘issue’ go away – whatever it may be … and the majority of the time, our avoidance really only exacerbates the situation. And I’m thinking here in terms of penalties, fines, disappointing people, missing a real opportunity, and/or other related unpleasantness.

You Can Run – But You Can’t Hide (Forever) …

So what’s the deal with avoidance? It isn’t like we actually believe that if we avoid something that we know to be compulsory, we’re choosing a practical strategy. What compels us to take that route? Isn’t it sort of the same pointless exercise as deciding to not file a tax return or pay your mortgage or … well, just fill in the blank with whatever it is that you might be tempted to try to avoid. I mean, you know it will catch up with you and will usually be even more ominous when it does.

I can see the logic, only if there really was a magic path we could take that would reward our ‘avoidance-ingenuity’ by excusing us from the responsibility of whatever it is we’re running from … like being on a reality show, where I would earn ‘immunity’. Yes, I would sign up for the road map to that path. But in all the years I’ve searched for it, I have to say such a path has eluded me. Maybe it’s been different for you?

Short Term Gain, Long Term Pain …

Well, in case it hasn’t … I think we have to look at avoidance as a failed strategy, as it relates to a responsibility. So instead, what would be a better approach? A few come to mind … for example, anticipating the inevitable arrival of said deadline or responsibility. If your reality is that by next Tuesday, you must have achieved a certain milestone, then a quick analysis will tell you that between now and then, you have ‘x’ number of days. Compare that against the length of time the responsibility or task is likely to take, and identify on your schedule the number of possible opportunities you have to do it. Rule out the time slots that border on other ‘avoidance-pending’ tasks, so that you’re not avoiding two or three unpleasant things in a row – which, if you discover that you’re practicing ‘multi-avoidance’ techniques, it actually might be signalling a more serious concern.

Once you’ve done that, then just dig deep to find the required discipline, and simply do it – just do it. And then it’s done. No more guilt, no more uneasiness, no more lingering pressure … it’s done. Ahhh! Feel the relief? And now you get to put a check mark beside it on your list – assuming you even have a list in the first place. List-keeping is a pretty efficient way of organizing your ‘tasks’ and an effective way to keep you from ‘avoidance’. Although you could actually completely glorify avoidance by not even putting it on your list in the first place, which in itself is your very worst indication of how ‘serial’ your avoidance has become. (Tsk-tsk!)

Successfully Avoiding Avoidance …

Another effective strategy to combat avoidance is to do those tasks on your list that are your least favorites first. Get them out of the way. Because remember, it isn’t likely you’ll be able to put them off forever, anyway … and the time that you create for yourself by temporarily avoiding your task isn’t likely to be purely enjoyable, because you’ll know on some level that you’re only delaying the inevitable – so in order to increase the quality of your genuinely free time, get your tasks done first, and then settle into the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve successfully avoided avoidance.

But in the meantime, remember to stay focused on the good things in life …

Get Out Of Your Way!

One of my favourite Mark Twain quotes is, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started”. And isn’t that so true? How many times have you told yourself you would love to do a particular something, and then hastily added “one day” at the end? How about the tasks that are in front of you even today – those irritating little jobs for which you just can’t seem to build up enough enthusiasm, so they languish as a reminder of how long your to do list is becoming. What’s holding you back?

All compelling questions, I’m sure … but what about the answers? Everybody has their own excuse for why they’re stuck in this vacuum called ‘inertia’. We all have good intentions, but it’s the follow through that doesn’t quite make it. I once read somewhere that ‘one day’ and ‘some day’ are not actual days of the week – and I chuckled, but then realized that lots of people treat them as if they were.

Look at some of the things that stop people from getting ahead:

It’s Too Much Like Work – Sometimes we decide that something is going to be far more difficult than it actually ends up being, once we get started. Hasn’t this happened to you? Come on – be honest. We let our inside voice – that Committee that governs our inner decision-making process – talk us out of taking that first step because it looks like it’s going to be a lot of effort for an uncertain outcome. But remember – you’re the Chairman of that Committee, and you can override all that chatter. Maybe all that’s needed is to re-think your approach and simplify your plan. Maybe you could scale back your definition of success or your expectations for what the outcome must look like. Maybe you should start small and build on your successes.

I’m Already Too Busy – Maybe you truly are a very, very busy person. There are many of them around, you know. But are you really too busy to work toward your dream? … Really? Or are you using that as an excuse to safely stay where you are? If you truly are so busy, ask yourself if your busy-ness is taking you toward your dream or away from it.

If you are not seeing how what-you’re-so-busy-doing will lead to your dream, then why are you doing it? Aren’t you sort of getting in your own way? Putting up your own obstacles and making that dream even more distant? Is that the best use of your time and energy? Are you waiting for a day to arrive that announces ‘today is the exact right time to begin pursuing your dreams’? I’m sure I don’t have to point out the flaws in that strategy.

I Don’t Know How To Get Started – Well, hearkening back to Mark Twain, just start. How do you know that first indecisive step you sheepishly take isn’t the exact correct step in getting you started? You don’t know – and you won’t know, until you take it. Just decide to start, and then shift your whole mindset into ‘now I’ve begun’. Then put pen to paper and start making a plan. Sometimes if you start at the desired outcome and work backwards, your path will reveal itself. Then you can look at whatever obstacles you see and develop a plan for overcoming each of them. Maybe you need to take a few courses to learn the skills you require; maybe you have to network with more people – so start doing research on where you can connect with these networks; maybe you need more money to get there – so figure out how much, and start looking at ways to resource that money (e.g. investors, joint ventures, savings, etc.) and work on a plan towards attaining it. Certainly, all of your answers won’t come overnight. But in starting, you can create momentum. Without starting, what you already have is all you’ll get. Like Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right!”

I’m Too Scared To Try – What you may really be saying here is that you’re too scared you’ll fail. Well, one of my favourite sayings is that “Doubt has ruined more dreams than Failure ever will!” … and I believe this to be true. Fear comes from many places – but fear can be eradicated through action. Are you afraid you don’t have the competencies required to achieve your dream? Then go get them. With the internet and the advances in technology, there is no reason anybody has to feel held back by a lack of training. Maybe you think you’re not meant to succeed, that it’s fine for ‘them’ because they live a privileged life. Well, maybe ‘they’ do … but what’s that got to do with ‘you’? Stop comparing yourself to others and start investing in your own potential.

Start believing in yourself, in your abilities, in your possibilities. Where does it say that you have to settle for less than your best life? Did you tell yourself that? If that came from you, then stop it! If it came from someone else, then why do you believe them? What makes them the authority on what you can achieve? Just get off the sofa and start! If you stumble, so what? Get back up and make a note of that bump, so you can avoid similar ones you might come across. Just keep moving forward, weaving your way as you go … before you know it, you’ll have a read on the landscape and you’ll have settled in for the journey. And isn’t the journey what it’s all about?

What’s stopping you from getting ahead? Well, the majority of the time, the answer is … you!

So until next time, remember to stay focused on the good stuff in life!

If I Had Just One Day

Earlier this week, I was asked the question: “If you had just one day remaining, what message would you want to leave the world?”  Yikes – that’s pretty deep! And it wasn’t easy to answer, once I started sorting through all of my various opinions on things. To select just one message … the most valuable thing that I’ve learned in all my years of walking around on this planet? That was going to take some time to think through.

But eventually, I decided that the one most important lesson that I’ve learned – and the single over-arching message that I would want to leave the world – would be … forgiveness. In all its many shapes and forms, for all manner of causes and reasons, my most important message is simple: forgiveness.

I’ve heard it said that “Forgiveness means giving up all hope of ever creating a better past” and I believe that’s about as profound as it gets. Who doesn’t have things in their past that they either regret or resent? I think the number would be small. Who among us hasn’t carried a grudge – even if only for a little while?

So let’s look at the cost of a grudge …

Let’s say somebody has offended you – maybe knowingly, maybe inadvertently. But regardless, you feel slighted and as a result, you let a resentment take hold. It’s easy to do. But who bears the cost of that? Who expends the negative energy to carry that resentment? Well, you do. And what does it achieve? Does the object of your resentment care? Probably not. Does their life change? It’s unlikely. Does yours? Almost always. Would forgiveness release you from that burden? There is no doubt – Yes, it would.

But how does someone forgive? Well, forgiveness is an inside job, first and foremost. We have to allow that human beings are imperfect life forms, and that everybody has issues and struggles and challenges – just because we can’t necessarily see them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. If someone has treated you badly, remind yourself that they probably have a situation in their life that has disempowered them so much that the only power they feel they can grasp is to be rude or unkind to someone else. Their bad behaviour is most often simply their situation manifesting itself through acting out. It’s their stuff. And if you take it on, it will become your stuff, too – but if you forgive them their bad behaviour, you get to walk away from it, free and clear.

Life is Short

Forgive them for being human; forgive them for their thoughtless remarks or deeds that hurt your feelings or caused you trouble; forgive yourself for taking their behaviour personally. The more you can forgive, the stronger your self-esteem will become – because you will know that it isn’t about you at all … it’s about ‘them‘. And in forgiving them, you are acknowledging that you are not the problem. Forgiveness takes grace and compassion. The opposites of grace is revenge and bitterness – nothing you should willingly embrace.

So if I had just one message to leave the world, it would surely be that forgiveness has the ability to dramatically improve our happiness and even the very quality of our life. And if everyone embraced life with a forgiving heart, think of how the world would change.

Our time on earth is far too short to hold onto resentments and bitterness. On your one last day – your one last breath – will any of those resentments really be important?

Honour Your Struggles – Greet Them With Awareness

In today’s post, I’m going to talk about an effective way to deal with problems …

One of my coaching mentors, Brendon Burchard, encourages us to “Honour the struggles that this year will bring …”  You may think it a strange concept, but if you can really get inside that thought, perhaps you will see its value.

For example, think back on your life and try to identify those times when you made significant progress in either solving a problem or achieving a goal. How good did that success feel? Didn’t your confidence soar?

But pull back the curtains of that memory just a bit wider and recall how you were feeling leading up to that success. Chances are, it wasn’t feeling as good, was it? Well, whether your challenge was financial, social, emotional, or even physical … life’s situations can become a struggle, there is no denying.

So, struggles will come. But if you greet them with awareness, knowing that they’ve been put at your feet to challenge you to learn, to appreciate others, and to transcend yourself in order to rise above that struggle, the weight of it becomes more bearable. The solution becomes clearer, and that clarity allows for a higher quality outcome.

It only makes sense, doesn’t it? If you refuse to confront your struggles in an empowered way, do they go away? No, of course they don’t. So what happens, instead? Ignored, they only multiply – like weeds in a garden. And what impact does that have? The original struggle becomes broader, because it compounds in complexity as it gains momentum – and it slowly takes over your peace of mind and starts to erode your self-confidence.

Now, let’s flip that reaction

Instead of ignoring your struggles, what would it take for you to see them as an opportunity for growth? Look at them strategically … identify what the likely outcome is if you do nothing. Take a look at that outcome and get real clear on everything that you don’t like about it.

Next, create a second scenario that puts you already on the other side of your problem, looking backwards at it. Really focus on this, and picture it as clearly as you can. Imagine that you had absolutely no barriers preventing you from effectively dealing with it. Then identify the issues you had to resolve. Envision what you had to do, in order to have successfully navigated your way to the other side. Who had to be consulted? What action had to be taken? What else had to be considered? Make a list – remember, in this scenario there are no obstacles to your success.

Let’s take a look at that list

Even though in reality you may have some barriers, is there any part of that list that you could implement right away to contribute in even a small way towards overcoming your problem? Of the actions remaining after that, which ones might need only a few more resources? Perhaps it’s a question of creating a budget; maybe you could take a course or learn online. If your struggle is medical in nature, you may need to make some lifestyle changes for the benefit of your health. Can you work towards that?

Whatever reveals itself as a barrier to your success, you can create an action plan to either reduce or completely eliminate it – even if it takes awhile to initiate. But unless you honour that struggle in a thoughtful and determined manner and consciously seek to rise above it, you may have a difficult time creating the life you want.

There are very few people who coast through life without any struggles – we all know that. High achievers aren’t people without struggles – they’re just people who honour their struggles and then devise a plan to conquer them.

Do something today that empowers you to overcome your struggles. Believe in yourself and take affirmative action to create the life you deserve!

But in the meantime, remember to stay focused on the good stuff in life!

 

 

 

5 Ways to Avoid Self-Limiting Beliefs

What does it mean to be obstructed by self-limiting beliefs? Well, it’s a fairly straightforward question, but the answer can vary wildly, depending on who you ask.

In my own view, if you consider that self-limiting beliefs are the diametrical opposite of self-empowering beliefs, you can begin to envision the scope of the answer. That is, ask yourself what beliefs you possess that make you feel confident you can achieve something
– or even anything, for that matter. Let’s start there …

As children, we are mostly fearless and will try almost anything – sometimes with not very good consequences, but that’s another issue entirely. Or is it? Maybe that’s where self-limiting beliefs begin. I can remember as a child, for example, my very first realization that gravity can be quite unforgiving – a belief I steadfastly cling to, even at this age! But I digress …

At some point, however, we give up our childish notions of unfailing abilities and we begin to re-shape our thinking to more closely align with the adults around us. And our peers are doing the same thing in their development. How much encouragement is our family of origin giving us as we develop our unique somebody-ness?  Because I’m convinced that this is where we either begin to grow in our self-confidence and our perceptions, or we begin to grow in our reliance on other people’s thoughts and opinions.

And we take that perspective into adulthood, where we find that we are either empowered or self-limited. Which are you? Maybe these questions will help you find your answer:

  1. Am I what I always said I wanted to be ‘when I grow up’?
    If you answered no, is it because you honestly changed your mind in favour of something better – or did you simply give up on that dream being achievable?
     
  2. What obstacles are in your way today, if you wanted to resurrect that dream?
    Limiting beliefs (I can’t do it, I don’t deserve it)? Sacrifice (but I’d have to give up too much comfort)? Resources (I’d love to, but we just can’t afford it)?  Have you truly looked into how much it might cost, and what arrangements could be made to accommodate you? Are you absolutely sure you’d have to sacrifice your comfort? Or did you just default to ‘I can’t do it – it’s just impossible, now’?
     
  3. How do you deal with your doubts?
    When you get a moment to yourself, do you close your eyes and internally visualize achieving your dream? Can you feel what the accomplishment feels like? Can you imagine it? Do you provide a supportive environment for your aspirations? Or do you sigh and say, ‘if only …’  Well, be aware that doubt has killed more dreams than failure EVER will – so make sure you’re not sabotaging your future.
     
  4. How do you empower yourself?
    In my experience, self-limiting beliefs are often protective mechanisms that try to keep us from repeating something hurtful from our past. Are you able to trace back your inner ‘guide’ to find out what it’s protecting you from, so that you can put it into perspective? Sit quietly and reflect. Can you bring that belief into the present, and release yourself from the fear it holds over you? 
  5. How does your self-limiting belief serve you?
    Tony Robbins tells us that there are only two pursuits in life, and that everything falls under one or the other – the pursuit of happiness or the avoidance of pain. Is there a way that staying where you are serves you, on some subconscious level? To answer this, one might have to be brutally honest with oneself … but the answer is key to our personal growth.

If you come to the realization that your self-limiting beliefs are interfering with the life you want for yourself, and you decide to start exploring ways to empower yourself, be aware that personal change takes time – and it affects many people besides you: your family, your friends, and your co-workers. Be gentle with yourself as you undertake this spurt of personal growth. Understand that a gradual integration of the ‘new you’ will be far more comfortable (and likely more successful) than trying to execute an immediate shift in values. You still have to be able to recognize yourself, when you look at your reflection in the mirror.

Until the next time, remember to stay focused on the good stuff in life!

What IS the Good Stuff in Life?

We don’t usually get to know how many days stretch out before us. Probably each one of
us makes assumptions on that point – we’re born, we struggle through adolescence and the teenage years; and finally we become adults. After that, because we’ve now ‘arrived’, we just do each day and perhaps subconsciously make assumptions that in the natural flow of life, we’ll grow old (countless years from now, of course) and then one day step peacefully into the hereafter, whatever that may be.

Well, this may be true for you … or it may not. But for sure, what you do have is today … it’s the day that was given to you for today – and that makes it a gift, and a precious one, at that. Each one of us starts out with the same potential 24 hours in each day. Part of it, we sleep away. Part of it, we are at school or at work … but part of it is available to us to experience individually, moment by moment, and in harmony with the world around us. It might only be a short period of time, but if we make sure that quality outshines quantity, it all evens out.

Look around at our world … what do you see that’s extraordinary? What do you pass by each day and hardly notice anymore? Look up at the sky – look at the clouds … the patterns they make against the vastness of space … this is a moment that will pass, never to be repeated. Those clouds will never again look exactly that way. Birds flying in formation, they’ll never again appear in exactly that same place against that exact sky. Every moment is a priceless snapshot in time.

Even the weather is extraordinary – although we’ve mostly become so familiar with it that we’ve reduced it to either ‘good’ or ‘bad’. But in reality, the weather is constantly different and new … there’s always something unique happening around us. The breeze blowing, carrying an aroma that it’s picked up along the way; the sunbeams dancing on a fountain; a storm cloud gathering in the distance – things are constantly changing, no matter where we are or what we’re doing, if only we would notice.

Hear the sound of a plane up in the sky; perhaps a songbird in the distance. Life is happening all around us, every moment of every day, and it’s always new and unique and extraordinary. How sad that so many of us have lost our connection with ‘awe’ and have exchanged it for regarding ‘the ordinary’… just another day.

There are people who walk in and out of our life each day – people we pass on the street,
in the mall, at the office, in the grocery store. Everyone is having a life, and every life is extraordinary in its own way … we’re all on a journey that we had no part in initiating. We arrived as babies, survived childhood into adulthood, and continue our evolution making the best we can out of our circumstances – for better or for worse. Every person has an incredible story – not just our story, but the story we’re adding to, day by day … the story of our ancestors. And we will become the ancestors of those who follow behind us, adding their own unique thread to our ancestral tapestry.

Life is fascinating, isn’t it? And how many blessings are we overlooking? Just to be able to use our senses – to see the vivid blue sky and brilliant white clouds above; to smell the sweet and pungent flowers of summer; to hear the trill of that songbird hidden deep within the rustling leaves of a tree – or the sound of children laughing in a nearby playground; to bite into a ripe and juicy peach that dribbles down onto our chin; to touch the incredibly soft muzzle of a horse … if you have some or all of these senses, you have many blessings already. For the majority of North Americans, we have clean and drinkable water; an abundance of food, dry and comfortable shelter, and sufficient clothing to cover us … most of us have family and loved ones, community, and relative security. We have more blessings in one paragraph than millions and millions of people in the world will ever have – could ever dream of having.

What IS the good stuff in life? All of these things, and more … we have so much to be grateful for, it’s hard to know where to begin. I’ve only expressed the very obvious gifts of life – I could go on for many pages, but I think you get the drift by now.

So what about your life, your circumstances, your goals? Are you living with intention? Do you have a passionate connection with your one amazing, incredible life? You have today – you have this moment … are you doing all you can with it? We don’t get any mulligans, so we have to make every day count for something. What will your something be?

Until next time … remember to stay focused on the good stuff in life!