Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still. (Chinese Proverb)

There’s been a sense of something missing from this blog since I began it last month. It suddenly dawned on me that a whole chunk of my objective is missing.  Since my passion is to help others toward their purpose, there is now a separate section devoted to “Purpose.”  To make way for this,  the Exellence and Success sections have been combined (since the whole point is that true success is only found in pursuing excellence).  

GROWTH

Do you remember the very first time that you recognized that you had grown up a little?

When I was about ten years old I had a habit of throwing my jacket on the coat closet floor.  My mom would get after me about it and I would usually say, “Oh, it must have fallen off the hanger.”  One day I decided put a little zip into my story by actually putting the jacket on the hanger and then throwing the whole thing on the floor.  Ha! Worked like a charm! But the second time I did this, the thought came to me, “If you are going to take all the trouble to put it on the hanger and throw it on the floor, why don’t you just hang it up? It’s just as easy, and you won’t have to waste time later coming back to do it.”  When I put the hook over the rod, I realized something had changed in me.

Even as adults, our moments of growth don’t have to be earth shattering to be a turn in our life’s path.  Growth can be subtle.  A nudge to increase our awareness of a situation can lead us to a different point of view about what is really needed.  A prompt to adjust our attitude can keep us from an unwarranted argument.  A spur to revise our perspective can open us to new creativity. A check to hold back on a comment can save us from our own ignorance, or protect another’s character. These seemingly small things can lead to the expanding of our life in ways we might not see until we are further down the road, a little more… grown up.

EXCELLENCE/SUCCESS

Found on pinterest.com:

PURPOSE

The Westminster Shorter Catechism states, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”  It’s a great statement.  And it leads to a great question: How do we glorify God and enjoy him forever?

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. I am pretty sure that each person faces unique experiences and circumstances – things that challenge or threaten us. I am learning that the conglomeration of all the giftings and all of the hardships results in a person’s unique purpose in life. And I know that finding that unique purpose, pursuing it with excellence, and honoring God with it is how each person finds fulfillment. When you become what you are created to be, that  brings glory to God.  

Discovering our purpose is a matter of understanding our strengths and our challenges. Implementing our purpose is a matter of finding practical expression of it in our lives. Completing our purpose is a matter of . . . well, that’s not possible. Remember the catechism, we are to “enjoy him forever.”

“Life doesn’t give us want we want, it gives us what we go claim.” (Stephen Pierce)

GROWTH


“The most difficult battle you ever fight is the battle to be unique in a world that will marshal its every force to keep you the same.” (James Ray)

EXCELLENCE

It is 3:00 in the morning as I write this.  I am extremely tired, my eyes are blurry, and yet I cannot sleep.  My body is restless and my every thought leaves me either cranky or in despair: What did so-and-so mean when they said what they said earlier today? I think I hate them now. – cranky. What did so-and-so mean when they said what they said earlier today? Do they hate me now? – despair.  This state of weariness leaves me unable to measure the true weight of… something or other… what’s the word I’m looking for… anyway, the point is that I am not at the top of my game at the moment. It is not a good time to try to make a decision or try to accomplish anything of significance. When it comes to establishing excellence in your life, it’s important to know your limitations, your areas that need strengthening. It’s about being aware of times/circumstances that may cause you not to perform at your peak. You need to know when to hold back, wait, ask for advice, or even hand it over to someone else.  (Just don’t hand it over to “so-and-so” — I’m not sure about them at the moment.)

SUCCESS

Success is not about achieving a goal or being satisfied with an outcome.  A successful person is one who makes a daily choice to move forward through both accomplishments and setbacks, understanding that it is the depth of your work, not the width, that is the true measure of a lasting legacy.

“I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be.” (Albert Einstein)

GROWTH

Imagine my surprise when a 92-year-old woman asked to have a counseling session with me this last week. Figuring that it would probably not be about her marriage, her workplace, or her career plans, I was fairly confident it would be about a relationship (“Martha is driving me crazy!”) or something to do with a telemarketer’s offer.

As we sat on her comfy couch and had cookies and coffee, she began to tell me of her personal growth over the past three years.  She told me about her negative mindset and the problems it had created over the course of her life. She told of the weekend in 2008 when she read in the Bible:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

When she read it “all the lights came on” and she determined that negative thinking would no longer dominate her life and how in the last three years she had been transformed.

It was a lovely story.  But I was a unsure of exactly why she had called me – maybe she just needed a listening ear.

She reached out and she touched my arm.  “I still have so much growing to do in other areas.  I need someone to help me be brave. I need someone to help me keep on track.  Would you coach me a little bit?”

I was sort of thinking/hoping that there would be this golden moment in life where there would be a sense of everything coming together and for one brief shining moment I could say there’s nothing more to accomplish.  My sweet friend, and new client, reminded me that there’s always opportunity and time to reach for an even better life.  There’s always room to grow.

(permission was given to share this story, and changes were made to protect my friend’s identity)

EXCELLENCE

In perfection, there is always comparison with an external factor – another person, a previous attempt, a degree of accuracy.  It connotes judgment, the rendering of a formal, authoritative opinion. This is acceptable when it comes to matters of law, finance or the manufacture of a product.  It is shaming when used to define a person’s value or a person’s abilities.

Most dictionaries define excellence within the realm of a talent being possessed or a quality being achieved. And while excellence does imply the surpassing of a standard, that standard is not about attaining a goal but rather acheiving a  consistent demonstration — of going beyond what is required, of surpassing the expected, of contributing value.

Perfection allows for either success or failure. There is nothing more.

Choosing to expect exellence, from ourselves and others, always provides opportunities for advancement and expansion.

 SUCCESS

Actor Kevin Spacey gives a very insightful response regarding success in this YouTube clip:

http://youtu.be/p1GAouJFaGk