courage

Life Becomes Real at the Point of Action

I love that quote from Plato. Reality is in doing, not wishing or wanting. Making the Decision. Starting. Persevering. When Diana Nyad was asked how she accomplished the swim from Cuba to Florida, she responded: “Just do it, find a way, never, ever quit.” Sounds easy.

Start with What – Not How

“How did she do that?” OMG that’s amazing – how do you do all that you do?” Questions involving ‘how’ lead you into a jungle of confusion. Never ask how. Only decide what. In an ideal life plan, you’ll have created your matrices of overriding life visions (e.g. happiness and joy, creative and meaningful work, health and fitness), then broad actions that will lead to the fulfillment of those visions, then specific actions that can be accomplished now. Always start with the vision, then work back to broad action. When an action shows up that is part of the vision, make a decision to do it. It wouldn’t have shown up if it weren’t meant for you. Make the decision to do it, despite all reasonable evidence that it wouldn’t be possible for you (the hows don’t line up).

Once you decide, and become committed to the decision, then committed to your commitment, all sorts of ‘hows’ will show up. The time off will appear. Extra money will show up. People and events will conspire to show up to help lead you to complete the commitment. But if you don’t decide, then commit to the decision, these hows never show up. I don’t know how it works but Goethe was absolutely right. It just does.

Don’t Know Your Vision or Purpose?

Flip a coin. Turn right. Do something. Move. Don’t wait until you uncover your meaning. The meaning develops while you’re on the way. Move in the direction of your most probable purpose, or one that draws you more than others. If you wait until you find your perfect purpose or your “why” before moving, you might never move at all. A completely new life can begin any day of the year, any hour of the day any moment of the hour, at the time that you make a decision that it will.

If you are reading this in context of organizational change, know that a clear direction is never needed for you to take charge and change your section or area of work. If you are aware of your company’s values and mission, you have the authority and responsibility to continually move in the direction indicated by the mission. As a leader, you need only begin to act like one. Behavioral change creates attitude change.

Make the Decision and Start

A wish won’t do it, a dream won’t do it, a Vision Board won’t do it, a resolution won’t do it. If you just ‘think’ and ‘believe’, you won’t ‘grow rich’ unless you take action. Self-mastery and accomplishment involves ‘acting upon,’ not just ‘wishing about.’ You have to actively work on what you want to accomplish in order to make it happen.

Do you find that you keep enrolling for new courses yet fail to apply what you learned in the last one? Attending seminars to find out more, taking sales courses to learn better closes – might be a beginning, but it’s only when you undertake and complete the thing that is hard for you, that your self-confidence grows.

How Strength Grows

Strength grows with the actions you take during the journey toward the finish. The steps are only the externals. The real reward lies in what happens in between. It is in the striving that self-esteem grows the most. The more you actively and positively engage in the challenge, the more you realize that you have the potential to emerge stronger. Henry David Thoreau said: “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

Thomas Paine’s 1776 treatise proclaimed that, “we are standing at a point where we can create a new world.” He didn’t say we are standing at a point where we can imagine a new world. The word create is an action verb that involves movement, or the ‘doing of.’ You might be standing at the threshold of new ventures or new decisions that might take you to where you have never been before, and you have a choice to make. ‘Trying’ to do it, starting it tomorrow, working only when you feel like it, allowing yourself excuses, wishing for it – these neither begin it, nor complete it. Just do it.

Never too late!

This morning an article appeared in the NY Times that I can’t get out of my mind.

Fernando Miteff was a graffiti artist until his mom threw out all his materials (“get a job!”). This powerful gesture threw him into despair where he stayed for almost 30 years. One day a friend asked him: ‘Do you believe in God?’ He said, ‘Of course.’ His friend told him to be serious for one moment a day for 30 days. Every morning, he said, ask God a simple question: “Can you please give me the information I’m seeking?”

Within a few days, the Universe conspired to provide him with answers (which it always does when we ask these kinds of questions). Angels showed up, he’s found his voice and is now expressing his art (and oh, is being covered by the NY Times).

I love one statement: ” … rather than lamenting the 27 years he did not create graffiti, he knows everything is fleeting, so he is savoring the present.”

timthumb   So starting today, I ask, “Show me what is next? What do you want from me?” I try to be still enough to listen to the answer.

And I won’t regret all the years I spent making mistakes, instead I will cherish those mistakes my angels allowed so I could get to exactly where I am now.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/02/nyregion/a-graffiti-artist-turns-a-subway-car-into-a-gallery-until-the-end-of-the-line.html?_r=0

Five Things You Should Never Do

Change demands energy! Here are five energy wasters that seem subtle, soft, and innocuous. But they are choices that absorb a lot of energy. If you make changes in any of these areas, you’ll have a lot more energy to spend on making worthwhile changes.

1. Don’t do anything for anyone over the age of 18 that they can and should be doing for themselves. This behavior weakens the recipient and usually causes resentment in the caregiver. Resentment is powerfully disabling and leads to other bad habits you don’t need. If you are rescuing anyone over 18, you are not helping them. Rather, you are meeting your own unmet needs and it is time to meet those from other sources.

2. Don’t try to fix them. Similar to #1, this drainer tries to change what can’t be controlled. The motivation is typically a kindly one, a genuine effort to make sure that others are safe. You believe that you have the answer to other people’s problems and if only they would listen to you, their lives would be better. Unfortunately, youNot to do create only resentment in both them, and in you–after all you have done for them! People don’t want to be told what to do. Your greatest gift would be to accept them the way they are. It’s not your path. Let them live their lives. If they ask for help then step in, but otherwise, read #1 again.

3. Don’t react to bad behavior. Take nothing personally, it’s never about you. Don Miguel Ruiz’s analogy of our individual theaters and personal movies is helpful. Each of us is sitting in front of our own films, in our own theaters. We are the star of our own movies, with our chosen cast of characters. Some have leading roles, some supporting roles, and many are extras. Issues develop when we demand to be the star of someone else’s movie, or we insist on a larger role than their script calls for.

People run their own script and their own movie. Other people’s behaviors are not directed at you. Stop being injured over the injustices that people do to you, because they are not doing it to you. They are just doing it. When you can get this, you free up more energy you need to prevent the injustices from being done in the first place. It is a more effective use of energy to instruct others how to behave in your presence, and what minimum standards you expect.

4. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Comparing yourself to others, either in a positive or negative way, is doomed to failure. Don’t compare. Instead, measure your growth as a rough percentage of change using your own baseline. Ask yourself: “Am I a percentage better at this than I was last year? Six months ago?” Perhaps 20% better? If so, your goals are being met. The only comparison to do is with your former self, and the only projections will be to your future self.

Others will always have more or less than you have, because they are walking on a different path. Is the path better than yours? No, it’s just different. You label it as better. Comparing yourself is a low self-image activity, one that you no longer need. It is energy not well spent, because it doesn’t change where you are and move you toward where you want to be.

5. Don’t get impatient. Not for them. For you. Sure, it can make you unbearable to be around. But you are just wasting energy getting mad at situations and other people, wishing they would do things differently, wishing they would get out of your way, wanting them to be different than they are. Hitting the elevator button repeatedly and yelling “Hurry up!!” won’t bring the elevator any faster.

Impatience is one factor in Type A Behavior. The hostility that goes along with impatience can, and will, kill you. Choose where you spend energy. Discipline yourself to ‘let it go.’ When you are tempted to intervene in others’ lives in ways such as giving advice or hurrying people up, just relax, take a big breath, and let it go. Repeat this sentence whenever you feel frustration with the way things are: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Lack of patience can result from a belief that the world should center around you and not interfere with your comings and goings. People should do things your way because you know better. If everyone did what they were supposed to do, the world would be a better place and you would be much happier. If you can see that this thinking isn’t paying off, congratulations, you’re half way there!