“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.