Thursday, February 23, 2012

Discovering the Purpose of Our Lives

"You were born an original. Don't die a copy."
~John Mason

A core reason for our unhappiness is discontent with the life we have. It sounds obvious. The truth is we often hunger for another life; or of portions of others' lives. By instinct, envy grabs us. And we appear helpless against it.

But against this flow is the opportunity to wrangle with our essences of originality.

First we must get to know these essences of originality. Then we explore barriers to the acceptance of these.

RESEARCHING OUR PAST

Whilst some of us have had deplorable pasts, and the rest of us have portions of our pasts we would prefer to forget, we will not progress toward the acceptance of ourselves unless we reconcile the role our pasts have played in the becoming of us.

As persons, we are who we have become.

All of what we have endured has gone into the psychic melting pot that comprises us.

There is no healthy rationale for continuing to endure shame because of what happened to us. We had little if no role in the construction project that was, with our parents and guardians as builders, our childhood. We were subject to the elements at play back then. Even the healthiest of upbringings will involve some sense for ongoing shame. None of our parents were that perfect that they made no mistakes. Besides all this, we were born broken.

Accepting what is gone, by doing the inner work to get there, is crucial in being able to move forward.

REDEFINING SUCCESS

Perhaps this is an exercise we need to continually practice. Creating a definition of success that fits with our unique history and personality is a great task. It is a decision and an action of significant assertiveness.

As we accept our essences of originality, taking stock of who we are, we are ideally placed to know what and who we are becoming.

A life that is throbbing with purpose is a good life. Everyone has the same task. When we discover who we are and what we are about our purpose becomes clearer or is affirmed. We are a success when we are on the right road of our purpose.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Want to Get Motivated to Keep Going? Review All The Milestones You've Already Passed

Not all of us are able to stay at 110% in full military power all the time in everything we do. For those that cannot muster the strength to stay motivated, after they've been knocked down by a ton of bricks, and believe me I've been there, there is something you can do. You can review all the milestones that you've already passed. You can consider all the adversity you have overcome. You can remember all that you've been through to get where you are today. Let me explain why.

You see, when you see how far you've been, and you consider all those milestones you past to get to where you are now, you realize that you can't go back, that you can't quit, and that you must never surrender. That will motivate you. The other day, I was talking to an acquaintance and he mentioned that there was this individual who dropped out of college, and had foregone his desired future.

At that point he had a literal mental breakdown and he gave up in the mind, and refused to go on. But why I ask, he had come that far. Apparently this individual had always won, but not without hard work and sacrifice, still he had never experienced the adversity of defeat, something is often needed to build the strength of character to motivate one to get back up, dust off, and to go again.

In considering the overwhelming psychological trauma this individual faced, it sdemed it would have been a perfect time for him to reflect how far he'd come, and reevaluate what he had to do to keep going forward. He should've set more interim goals along the way. Set a new strategy and course to keep going, to motivate himself, but he didn't. I don't want this to happen to you, instead, I want you to consider what I've said, and use it to keep going.

Some people have coaches to help them along the way, but the best coach is truly in your mirror, it's you. You know what you've gone through, where you've been, and where you want to be. It's time that you did a little reviewing, stepped back from the picture, and out of your box, and then you'll see it clear his day.

Winston Churchill used to have a favorite saying that he repeated over and over; "if you have to go through hell to get to where you're going, don't stop," and his other quote which is quite famous is this; "never, never, never, never ever give up!" or something to that affect.

Okay so, you don't have to take my advice, take his. Consider what you've had to go through to get to where you are now, you've been through worse, you can do this. Think on it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Overcome Inertia - How Do You Get Started on Your Success Journey?

Yes a journey of one thousand miles does indeed start with the first step. The challenge for most people though, is to find that inner drive and desire, to actually get off their butt, escape their comfort zone and for them to take that first teetering step and then to stay inspired enough, to keep taking steps every day after that. Success as you know is never an event, it is a process.

Know "WHY" You Want To Achieve It

The level of success you will get to enjoy is directly proportional to how well you can overcome the self that wants to give up and replace it with the self, who wants to succeed. The first step in this process of becoming and remaining inspired is of course to decide "WHY" you want to achieve anything. Once you have uncovered the deep rooted reason why something is important to you. The thing you want to achieve will grab a hold of you and you will be inspired from within to do what it takes to achieve the desired outcome.

Know What Success Means to You

Until you know what success means to you specifically, you are flying blind chasing after a phantom, you may not even want. Invest the time to define what success looks like, feels like and sounds like. In other words what will you have, be doing and need to be, for you to feel successful.

This is not as easy as it sounds. Society has trained us to believe that success is about how much money, power and fame we have and in some cases, that is exactly what success will mean to you. The challenge we face though, is that for many people, success is about time with family, great relationships, good health, meaningful careers, making a real difference to their world etc. Yet they are programmed by what they believe they should want by society's norms and expectations, so they never feel completely committed to their goals. This makes them feel distant form their dreams and stops them from ever fully committing to their goals.

Action Idea: Have the courage to uncover what is really important to you, really introspect and discover what success really means to you and you will have unlocked the most powerful driver for your success. When the actions you take every day are aligned with your inner needs and highest values, nothing will be able to stop you. Every challenge will be seen as an opportunity to learn and grow. You will no longer need any external motivation, to take the daily actions you need to take to succeed. You will be inspired from within.

See Any Temporary Failure or Setback as an Event

Any success journey is going to present you with challenges; even things which will make you feel like you have failed. The secret to success is to always view any stumbling blocks as merely a temporary inconvenience, only an event on your success journey. I know this is an old cliche, but try to turn every stumbling block into a stepping stone. Don't just try to stumble over any setback or roadblock, step boldly onto any challenge, learn what you can, discover the possible opportunity hidden in any challenge and use this as a catalyst to propel you to new heights of achievement. See challenge, setbacks and roadblocks as the fertilizer for your success. This shift will help you to quickly overcome challenges and stay focused on your goals.

Is it Possible to Be Driven and inspired Every Day?

Despite all our good intentions, regardless of the level of success anyone may have achieved, everyone has times, when they really don't feel like doing the things they know they need to do, to succeed. This is normal and just part of being human. The difference between those who become super achievers and those who live unfulfilling lives, is yes, the super achievers, know why they want to achieve something, they know what success really means to them and they see failures as merely events. But the real differentiator, comes down to the super achievers having the mental fortitude, at those crucial moments in their lives when they really don't feel like taking action, they are able to conquer complacency and move themselves to action. Do not allow yourself to give up, just because things may be tough.

Joining the Dots

    Success is about knowing what you want
    Why you want it
    Having a plan to help you to achieve exactly what you desire.
    Knowing what success really means to you
    See challenges as events and opportunities to grow
    Remain focused on the outcome you want to achieve
    Reward your successes
    Connect your daily actions with pleasure rather than pain.

When you introduce this process into your life, you will be inspired every day. In other words any idea or goal you have, will grab a hold of you. You will no longer be pursuing something. You will feel driven to achieve it.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

5 Emotional Keys to Breakthrough Your Performance

Emotional Intelligence, or what is more commonly known as EQ has been considered as one of the key requirements for good performance and success in school and at work since Daniel Goleman popularized this concept in 1995.

Emotions are like energy that fuels our behavior, speech and actions. You know how you performed when you felt positive emotions like confidence, motivated, and excited. You must have also delivered less than ideal performance when you felt negative emotions such as anger, sadness and fear.

Conventionally, most of us are taught to suppress our emotions so that we can be logical and rationale in our decisions, speech and actions. While you may have used that to survive unpleasant situations, that doesn't strengthen your emotional muscles and maturity for better performance.

So how do we manage, master and even leverage on our emotions to breakthrough your performance and achieve greater results. Let's take a look at the 5 Emotional Keys to Breakthrough Your Performance.

1. Emotional Awareness

Most of us deny our negative emotions without knowing that in doing so, we are actually energizing the negative emotion. Denial is a form of suppression, and in suppressing the emotion you are actually allowing it to grow and strengthen within you.

Suppressing an emotion also takes away constructive physical and mental energy away from you. So the way out is not to deny, but to be aware of the negative emotion that you are feeling by acknowledging and accepting it. It is as simple as saying to yourself "Yes, I am feeling angry."

When we become aware of our emotions, it also means we know our emotional reaction patterns. When you are hit by a negative emotion, you normally react in a particular way. For example, when you are sad, your usual reaction could be to withdraw and keep to yourself.

So for a start, sit down and identify your negative reaction patterns to these common negative emotions: anger, sadness and fear. Then ask yourself what is a more positive response for each of the emotion. Commit to responding in the more positive manner the next time you experience the negative emotion.

2. Emotional Control

While suppressing our negative emotions is not healthy, there are occasions where we are not able to express that emotion. For example, when you are angry with your boss or client, you probably cannot express your anger verbally toward him. At that moment, you will need Emotional Control.

Emotional Control is not suppressing that negative emotion, but to keep it down for the moment and do what you need to do to resolve the situation. In this case, you might just need to keep quiet and listen to what you boss has to say, or stay calm and listen to the grievances of your client.

After you have done what you need to do to resolve the situation, find a private corner or place and have some time to yourself. In your mind, revisit that incident and get in touch with that negative emotion again. Let it arise in you, and feel it until it dissolves away.

3. Emotional Engagement

Let's change the angle and talk about positive emotions now. While negative emotions have a downside effect on our performance, positive emotions do the inverse. When you feel a positive emotion or several positive emotions, you will naturally perform better, won't you?

When you feel confident about a task, you will approach it with so much certainty and be able to draw upon your mental and physical resources to complete it. So the key here is to engage your positive emotions; that's emotional engagement.

The best way is to tap into naturally occurring positive emotions. For instance, you could eat your favorite food or listen to your favorite tune to put yourself in a positive emotional state when you need it.

However, often it could be inconvenient to create naturally occurring positive emotions. You could be a few minutes away from going to deliver an important examination, interview or presentation, where to find the food or music? That's when you can tap upon positive emotions from your past.

Simple close your eyes and in your mind, visit a few past events where you felt positive emotions like success, happiness, confidence, motivated etc. Ensure that you are adopting a first party view in each event.

4. Emotional Freedom

Many people and workshops advocate managing our negative emotions so that we could deliver better performance and results in school and at work. However, if we have to continue managing our negative emotions, wouldn't that be quite tiring? What if we could be free from common negative emotions? That would be nice, wouldn't it? That's Emotional Freedom?

Perhaps it is not easy to achieve Emotional Freedom, for each of us have collected own fair share or emotional baggage over the past many years. Yet there are some people amongst us who live joyfully and successfully in all areas of their lives because they are free from negative emotional energy.

Let go of the emotional baggage that you are holding onto inside you. They could be past unresolved issues, past relationships, past pain, past heartbreaks, and past negative events. If there is a person or an event that when you recall still brings negative emotions in you, that's an emotional baggage. Go resolve it, and do so just one at a time.

Resolving it could mean forgiving the person, giving the person a call to apologize, talking about or journaling the event, or even seeking a professional coach or therapist to assist you.

5. Emotional Wisdom

Emotional Wisdom is the ability to see the message behind our emotions. Emotions are communication from our subconscious mind to our conscious mind. Emotions tell us that there is something not right within us that we need to give attention to.

For example, if a certain type of speech or action always triggers a negative emotion in you, there must be a root somewhere in your subconscious mind that needs resolution. The question is then do you have the Emotional Wisdom to recognize it, search for it, and resolve it?

You have Emotional Wisdom if you could appreciate the no-so-nice events in your life such as career setbacks, relationship failures, and health breakdown as calls for attention to your internal psychology. With Emotional Wisdom, you would see what is taking place as just temporary and can be changed by resolving your internal conflicts.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Give Yourself Permission

We are all busy, and there are so many demands for our time! We have to be here, take the kids there, go see parents, family, and friends. There are things you have to do for work, activities, parties, social outings, sporting events, organizations, I am sure you get my drift. Even finding time to read this newsletter may feel like reading a 100-page book to some of you. It has always amazed me how quickly requests for information, obligations, and invitations piled up. I would never be home, or even available if I went to every event I was invited to or said yes to every invitation I received, neither would you. I am always honored by the request that people send and I know that there are always some great events and experiences that I miss, but what about balance.

There was a time in my life when things got totally out of hand. I was trying to please everybody, I did what other people "expected and wanted me to do" because I didn't want anyone to be disappointed. I seemed to be going from place to place, smile, camera, and action, but I was stressed out, sick, tired, and angry, because I didn't have any time to do what I wanted to do. Although, they were all great things, work, church events, great causes, hanging out with friends and people who I loved and valued, my family and me were suffering because it was all TOO MUCH.

It all came to a head one night when I was driving home from church. I was livid that this cop stopped for "no good reason" and I had an attitude. He asked me if I knew why he stopped me and I had no idea. I was exhausted, and on autopilot, I realized at that precise moment that I couldn't even remember taking the 50-minute drive home. It was scary for me to think of what could have happened to my child, and me or what I could have done to someone else in that state of exhaustion. The nice police officer must have seen the shock on my face, and appreciated the honesty and let me go, but it was a sobering moment.

Something has to change!

My life was filled with obligations. I should do this and I needed to do that, but there were very few opportunities for me. I was guilty of giving more than I had to give, and something needed to change.

A Look Inside

For years, I had been encouraged to take one for the team. As I child, I remember being told not to be selfish, and to think of others, but this kind of thinking had almost gotten me killed. What I learned through this experience is balance is a gift you give to both yourself and others; you can't take care of anyone else, if you don't take care of yourself first. You are important too, and you need to honor yourself and the gift inside of you.

With that realization and some help I implemented these strategies, hopefully they can help you, as well.

1. No, IS your friend. Say no or say nothing, unless something really resonates with you, remember, your time is limited, if you say yes to everything you may end up shutting the door to something you really want to do. When we were 2 years old, we said no all the time, and it was fun. I encourage you to reintroduce the skill. No, is great, and it can protect you from saying yes to the wrong thing.

2. Ask yourself why? Why do I want to do this, is it so I don't hurt someone's feelings, or because I am afraid of what they will think or say if I say no, or is it something I really want or need to do? Occasionally, you have to take one for the team, but if that is every event or every invitation there is something deeper going on, be honest. You will NEVER make everyone happy, so at least, please yourself.

3. Do you really have the time? Look at your schedule; do you really have the time? Is this realistic, and what will a "yes" cost you. If you haven't spent any time with your family for a week, perhaps you need to say "no" to them and "yes" to your family. I don't know how many people have lost husbands or wives, or had their families fall apart because they felt neglected and didn't know how to tell the other person it was too much. People expect you to take care of your own household. You are supposed to set healthy boundaries so don't expect them to be there when it falls apart because you didn't use wisdom.

4. Ask yourself this question, If I said no, what is the worse thing that could happen? This is a great question because you get to come face to face with your fears. Most of the time our imaginations are on overdrive, we think of the craziest things the people who truly care about you will understand and accept no, it may take some time, but be honest.

I realize that this will be a big shift for some of you, it was a big shift for me, as well. The messages that we heard all our lives about how we should act are strong, and they are often validated by the people who don't want us to change. Give yourself permission to make time for you, not occasionally, but often, I know you can do it, and I can't wait until you see what happens when you do!
Blessings!