Sunday, December 26, 2010
"Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."
- William Jennings Bryan
Can you believe that 2010 is nearing its end? The New Year is fast approaching and, like millions, you may already be thinking about resolutions. According to research, weight loss, exercise, and smoking cessation top the list, followed by money management and debt reduction.
While I agree that New Years is a good time to reflect on areas of our lives to improve on, it is also an opportunity to begin working toward what we’ve always dreamed about… opening a restaurant, owning a home, or a change in career. But before any of these goals can be accomplished, we must take the first steps toward making it happen.
I’ve heard that when the artist Michelangelo looked at a piece of marble, he saw the form already finished within it. His work was simply to chip away the outer casting. The same goes for each of us, as we go about carving the lives we choose to live each day. But after “staring at the marble,” we must take action to get energy flowing and create reactions. Trust me, I know first-hand that the initiative to begin can be the hardest. Change can seem scary, as it involves risk. But I guarantee that when you begin chipping away at what stands between you and your dreams, you will be amazed by what you find.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
· Research the basics. What knowledge do you need to get the ball rolling? This may involve taking a class, visiting websites for information, or speaking with people in the industry.
· Network. Attend events to meet others who are doing what you want to be doing. People are typically flattered when you ask their advice, and those contacts may come in handy in the future as you become established.
· Volunteer your time. Seek an internship in your chosen field or simply volunteer a few hours on weekends. This can be a win-win as you develop new skills, meet others in the industry, and provide valuable work to a worthwhile cause or organization.
I know for sure that we are all capable of achieving the things we most desire, through careful planning and consistent execution. But when the time is right, set your plan in motion by taking the first steps. I wish you the very best in the coming year as you go about making your dreams a reality.
What are the first steps toward your dreams?
Sunday, December 12, 2010
“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”
- Henry Ford
Lately I have been reading a powerful book, Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck, which has positively changed the way I feel about what is possible. The book centers on helping individuals discover who they truly are in order to tap into and live the lives they deserve to lead. One section in particular caught my attention…
Once upon a time there were two women who lived very different lives… One had controlling parents, few close friends, couldn’t establish a long-term romantic relationship, barely made it through college, and worked a stressful job with long hours. The other woman came from a family who cared deeply about her happiness, had a close-knit group of good friends, experienced one romance after another, was admitted to an elite graduate program, and later landed her dream job.
At cursory glance, it seems the second woman led a better existence. But guess what: The two women are actually one in the same. The only difference is the way she chose to see her own life. I like to call this phenomenon flipping the script … telling your story in a way that celebrates the heroine in you, rather than the victim. I am not suggesting that you see every situation with rose-colored glasses, but rather than wallowing in self-pity over what could have been, how about looking at the beauty of what is…
The author suggests an exercise that will help you flip your script. Write a brief time line of the major events of your life. Now read it. What story are you telling? One of woe, hardship and despair; or one of courage, perseverance and determination? If the former, rewrite it, this time recognizing that while you’ve made mistakes, you’ve also learned valuable lessons; and though you’ve met tough challenges, you have also successfully navigated your way through them.
And while we’re on this subject, please be aware that others can negatively flip your script, and taint how you see your own life due to what they’ve been through – if you allow them to. As I’ve dealt with this first-hand, I finally came to realize that often, people perceive things as they are, not necessarily as you are. And what’s more, some people are just never happy unless someone else is unhappy. So, surround yourself with positive things, people and experiences that contribute to your personal growth, to keep you moving in the right direction. In the words of the author, Ms. Beck, “Most people think they’ll believe in their own potential for success when they see it; the truth is you’ll see it the very instant you decide to believe it.”
Your comments are welcome.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
“Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.”
- Raymond Lindquist
Recently, I read an excerpt from writer/comedian Steve Harvey's new book on relationships, Straight Talk, No Chaser, in which Steve described how his mother taught him a valuable lesson about the power of letting go. In his pre-fame days, Steve saved for a new car. His old vehicle had long died, yet it was still in his parent's driveway on cinder blocks because he didn't want to let it go. Unfortunately, his search for the “just right ride” didn't go as planned. After a few weeks, he expressed his frustration to his mother. Her advice was simple: Get rid of the old car – which served no purpose – in order to make room for a new blessing.
How often do we hold on to things that no longer serve a purpose?
Clothes we haven't worn in years; ghosts from boyfriends' past; jobs that are no longer fulfilling. It's impossible to pack new clothes into an overflowing closet, launch a new romance with previous-relationship baggage still lingering, and secure your dream job if you won't seek the one that you deserve. The same goes for friendships; sometimes they're meant to last a lifetime, but as people grow and change, relationships may shift. Or perhaps your “friend” has hurt you repeatedly, yet you won't let go.
As you continue on your path to live purposefully, ask yourself, “What do I ultimately want my life to be?” Perhaps what you hold dear no longer serves a purpose, and may actually block you from achieving what you most desire. Also ask, “Does this relationship/job/etc. really serve me?” And further, “Does it facilitate my growth?” If not, why are you still participating in it? Sometimes we have to let go in order to make room for what teaches us new things or challenge us in ways that we never thought possible.
I realize that the aforementioned examples are ones of choice. But life is full of uncontrollable situations, so the decision to let go may not be ours, such as lost jobs, foreclosures and divorce. As hard as these situations can be, I still believe that, “When one door closes, a window opens.” This may be hard advice to swallow at first, but over time you'll find your way, regain the essence of what you've lost, and have “more” than you had before.
I'm currently perplexed by a situation that has me wondering if it's time to let go. But I've experienced this before and somehow, the end results are always better than what I had previously. This is true because when we're forced to say goodbye to one thing, we're being called to do another. If you are at a crossroads that requires you to let go, I sincerely wish the same for you.
What do you need to let go of in order to receive your new blessings?