While out running Sunday, I kept hearing a mother ahead of me yelling out to her preschool son, "Alec, come back! ...Alec, you're getting too far ahead! ...Alright, Alec, I know you hear me! ...That's it Alec, we're gonna have to go back..." She yelled out to him over and over but never actually delivered the consequences she promised. Meanwhile, Alec ran on ahead...
Is this YOU, continually telling yourself what you want to do, what you desire, what you now resolve to do without any change in action? Tomorrow I'm eating better! I'm talking to my boss about that raise first thing Monday morning! Starting tomorrow, I'm gonna start saving more! I’m working on my marriage as soon as I find a counselor! ...Dude. Stop. You're pushing off. DO IT NOW. As a famous ad communicated to all of us ~ Just Do It! Align your mind's eye with that of your heart and will and STOP THE NONSENSE. Just as little Alec knew his mother didn't mean what she said and totally kept running ahead, out of her sight and into the path of the unknown, your psyche has learned from you that you're a total lightweight. You don't mean anything you say... So, stand up to it today! BE who you know you can be. Finally! And not just for today. Every day!
Since when is something wrong with setting a goal? Look around, it's the thing! And doesn't it feel kind of cool to achieve something you've only previously hoped for? While putting a dream on paper makes it real, discussing it with a friend provides even more clarity, vision and direction. What was once a remote idea now becomes a goal, a commitment and a destination for all your efforts. Without an end result upon which to focus, any of us could easily waste time, energy and money that would result in lives without purpose. Having that purpose motivates us and improves the quality of our lives and the lives of other people. Besides, human life is all about progress. When you look back over the course of history, humankind has made tremendous advances based on improving upon what was and advancing in ways that were previously only dreamed about. It's possible that chasing our dreams brings more satisfaction that living them. But these dreams (or goals) are also what connects us, what helps us find commonality.
So, my friends, decide to move forward from where you are! Resolve to do something better. Establish your intent! Improvements that encourage our well-being occur in many different areas, such as family, spiritual, mental, physical, professional, financial, recreational, relationships, community... But it's okay if you don't shoot for a laundry list of maybe's. Just establish these five exercises that you WILL do.
- First, take 30 minutes to sit quietly, uninterrupted, with a pen and a notepad. You can start with once each week or once each month to see what's effective for you. Increase the time or increase the number of days as you choose. Begin asking yourself several questions: What has my life been about? What one thing am I willing to die for? What could I do at work (at home/ in my community/ in my relationship(s)/ etc) to allow for little improvements there? What do I really want? What would it take to bring it about? It's okay if the answers aren't initially forthcoming. Your mind may need to allow time to unlock your heart where the answers may be hidden. Be gentle and expect that it will come. You may have to ask several times (in different ways) so be patient. When the answers do come, they are now your WHAT.
- Next, take 30 minutes in a quiet space, uninterrupted, with pen and notepad. Allow your mind to slowly review your list of WHAT's. With the first WHAT that was revealed to you, begin asking yourself WHO. Who would this impact besides myself? Who else? And how? Again, be gentle and have patience. Keep asking until you fully understand who all are affected and how. There could be any number of people listed. And any number of reasons. These answers are now your WHO.
- Then, take 30 minutes in a quiet space, uninterrupted, with pen and notepad. Allow your mind to review your list of WHAT's and WHO's. With the first WHAT that has been revealed to you, begin asking yourself WHY. Why am I driven in this way? Why am I willing to die for this? Why is this so important to me? Why would this impact others (and, possibly even, the larger community)? Again, be gentle and have patience. Keep asking until you fully understand why this is imperative. Often this means there will be five to seven reasons listed. Yep, you guessed it! These answers are now your WHY.
- Over the next week, take time to visualize your WHY's and the many positive ramifications of achieving your WHAT's to your WHO's. Allow your mind, heart and soul to celebrate each win and taste each victory. "See" what that looks like in all of its glorious detail. Really cherish the impact a win would have... But also, consider how your mind, heart and soul would be affected by not winning, not affecting the changes, not having the impact for yourself and those WHO's. Give it thought and take the time to allow yourself to feel this loss, no matter how uncomfortable it might be. This allows your WHY's to take root on a deeper level.
- Lastly, take 30 minutes in a quiet space, uninterrupted, with pen and notepad. Allow your mind to review your entire list of WHAT's, WHO's and WHY's. Understand the impact, great or small, in your choosing to make an effort. Own it! Without allowing a single shred of doubt, begin asking yourself if there was NO LIMIT to my ability, what ONE ACTION can I do today to start making a change. Ask if there was no limit to available resources, what would I need to ensure this one action was completed. Continue asking for that ONE THING until you have depleted all limits and every possibility. Be exhaustively creative and defiantly positive because this list, my friends, is your HOW.
Wow! In a really simplistic way, you have allowed your mind, heart and will to align in creating very specific ways you can impart change in your life that will impact yourself, your loved ones, your work spaces, your community and, dare I say, the world. Yeah, it's a big deal... Now do what you must. The night before, create your daily TO DO List! DO that one thing today. And then get up again tomorrow and do it again. Refuse to accept complacency. The human race is about getting it done. Wait, don't... Just do it!
That mother did eventually grab Alec's hand, by the way. In mile four, I ran past them again and saw Alec squirming to get loose as she held him close! It wasn't fun any longer for him, but I bet he was beginning to realize what his mother expected, what I want you to ~ ACTION is required! Without action, the human psyche has nothing to drive it, moving it forward. It has nothing to pursue. And deep within our DNA, we all need something to chase. Whether I'm out running or not, every day I'm chasing my better self! What about YOU?
One caveat: In this exercise, refuse to accept what cannot be and what is not possible. Ask your mind for the possibilities and it will not disappoint. BELIEVE! Fill your lists to fail. In the athletic world there is a term "to fail," meaning until you physically cannot do another. In this realm, I will inject mentally fill "to fail" ~ push past the physical and emotional constraints that may arise. Yes, the exercise will test you emotionally. Allow time and space for healing that did not occur from past hurts. You must... I know it's easier to push past this and say you're okay. But in reality you aren't. And you weren't before. So, take the time. Do the work. To really BE okay. And this may mean hiring a professional to help you work thru it... That's truly okay.Your life requires your ACTION! I AM EMPOWERED TODAY TO MAKE EVERY EFFORT AND USE EVERY RESOURCE TO MOVE FORWARD FROM WHERE I AM! …Present, fully aware and on guard. And this homework will demand 100% of you, too, when you're ready. Work it as if your life depended on it. I mean, it is your life, whether you have impact or not. Although we have time at play, at the end of the day it's no playing matter. So... just do it! #IfICanYouCan