“Life is a full circle, widening until it joins the circle motions of the infinite.”
― Anaïs Nin
Your thoughts shape your world. That world can be your world of work, community, family or your personal growth. The circle defines your world, the limits of your experiences, talents, abilities and values grows slowly and for some not much at all. Expanding your circle enables you to grow and generate more options for your life.
Some would call expanding the circle (outside of the box thinking) as the set of skills that are needed to thrive in an uncertain world. If you feel that your growth is blocked or inhibited think about expanding your circle.
Expanding the circle may require that you invest in yourself and even working with someone who can ask you questions you wouldn’t normally ask yourself.
What can do you do to add more value?
What things limit you today?
What is the most challenging aspect of your life now?
What is it costing you to stay the way you are?
What would it take to live outside the circle you are in right now?
What do you think would be different if you could step outside of your circle?
What stops you from stepping outside your circle?
Think about those questions. Examine those questions and write down your answers. Just merely reading those questions will do little to expand your own thoughts or drive changes in your life. Step outside your comfort zone (the circle you live in). Challenge yourself – challenge your thoughts and your actions. Do it now.
“Man is not born perfect. He is born incomplete, he is born as a process. He is born on the way, as a pilgrim. That is his agony and his ecstasy, too; agony because he cannot rest, he has to go ahead, he has always to go ahead. He has to seek and search and explore. He has to become, because his being arises only through becoming. Becoming is his being. He can only be if he is on the move.” Osho
Have you spent any time at all planning out what you’d like the next 10 years to look like?
What do you really want to happen? Do you believe that you have the power, skills and abilities to create the future you want?
It’s time for your mid-year check-up. It’s time to evaluate the progress you hoped to make. It’s time to forge a new set of objectives if your current ones aren’t working for you. Create a list of things you want to accomplish this year.
In what areas do you want to grow and improve?
Are you focused on exercise, diet, sleep and mindfulness?
- How much sleep are you getting?
- How is your diet?
- How much exercise are you getting?
- Relax, take a deep breath or a few and restore your energy.
Are you living the life you want to live? Are you aligned with your purpose, goals and dreams?
Spend some time and check-in with yourself. Journal some thoughts that you’ve had. What is working? What isn’t working? Make the adjustments and finish the year strong.
“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” Marcus Aurelius
Your happiness … your thinking.
Would you like to increase your happiness – would you just like to be happier?
One way to increase happiness is to release the past (anger) and think about today, not tomorrow (anxiety) or next week, but just today. By letting go of anger you’re letting go of the past. The people I’ve talked to all have said there is nothing that they can do to change the past – so why live there. There is nothing that can be done to change the past and by letting it go you permit yourself to experience greater happiness.
Take a deep breath. Maybe a few of them, 3-5 minutes. Get into a comfortable chair or position and just do some nice slow deep breathing. Put on some nice music and put life on pause for a few minutes. Deep breathing can really help calm the nerves and help you relax. Go ahead try it.
Remove negative thoughts. Are your thoughts true? How do you absolutely know your negative thoughts are true? Ask yourself, “How does this thought make me feel?” and then “What would it be like if you didn’t hold that belief?” In a few minutes you can test your thoughts and find out if they are helping or hindering you.
Take a moment to write down in a journal your thoughts. Doing this before you go to bed helps you sleep better. Better sleep means a better tomorrow. Journaling is a way to release the past (what just happened) and allows you to examine your day. What did you learn today? What did you experience today? What can you do to make it better tomorrow?
Increasing your happiness is just a few easy and quick steps away. Start today.
“Power isn’t control at all — power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own.”
― Beth Revis
You may have heard about the recent event on United Airlines that resulted in having a passenger forcibly removed from a plane. It was an event that you’d think would never happen unless that passenger was threat to others or the plane. In this case it was just someone unfortunate enough to be “randomly” selected to give up their seat to an United employee.
The event is a great lesson in leadership or the lack of leadership. Years ago a great experiment was conducted, “The Stanford Prison Experiment” which demonstrated that just following the rules can lead to unwelcome outcomes. Something similar happened when the gate agents followed their rules and asked for some help from the security contingent. The security team decided to forcibly remove the passenger (just doing their job). In the process of removing the passenger, the passenger was injured. As it turns out people will conform to their roles and act accordingly.
When leadership doesn’t empower their employees to provide great customer service they rely on the rules, rules that don’t take into consideration the meaning and real value of the people who are to be served.
What would need to change for United to be a customer focused organization?
“ In meditation we discover our inherent restlessness. Sometimes we get up and leave. Sometimes we sit there but our bodies wiggle and squirm and our minds go far away. This can be so uncomfortable that we feel’s it’s impossible to stay. Yet this feeling can teach us not just about ourselves but what it is to be human…we really don’t want to stay with the nakedness of our present experience. It goes against the grain to stay present. These are the times when only gentleness and a sense of humor can give us the strength to settle down…so whenever we wander off, we gently encourage ourselves to “stay” and settle down. Are we experiencing restlessness? Stay! Are fear and loathing out of control? Stay! Aching knees and throbbing back? Stay! What’s for lunch? Stay! I can’t stand this another minute! Stay!””
― Pema Chödrön
When was the last time you stopped what you were doing to do nothing?
What was the last time you stopped to take in a deep breath just to feel the air filling your lungs?
When was the last time you stopped to watch the sky change colors?
What was the last time you dipped your hand into a stream?
Busyness crowds out living. Being busy and doing things is what most people are trained to do. People are trained to start moving at sunrise and to stop moving when there is no energy left to move. Tomorrow crowds out today. Life is filled with anxious moments of pleasing others. Am I good enough?
Take time to put life on pause. Just stop for a few moments and watch your thoughts. What are your thoughts telling you? Do you really want to know?
Put yourself on a diet. Stop doing so you can start being. Most people are “doing” and that is like eating fast food for every meal. Too much doing crowds out the nourishment of being.
It’s time for a pause.
“No matter our talent, we all know in the midnight of our souls that 90 percent of what we do is less than our best.”
― Robert McKee
Are you doing your best? Are you the best performer at work, at home or wherever you are? Maybe you don’t have to be the best. Maybe you can get by with what you are doing now. Maybe you don’t have to expend the energy to do better or be better. However if you do want to be better, how are you going to do that?
The vast majority of people have a lot of untapped talent they could use to do things better, to live life better, or to contribute more, or to be a better person and they don’t do anything about it. “I don’t need help …” might be their inner mantra. I don’t need any help to be better. I can do it myself.
Most top performers realize that reaching their peak performance does require some outside assistance. It is about breathing air into an aspect of life that has been left untapped that can result in a new level of personal or professional performance. Maybe it is eliminating some hidden fear that keeps the person from realizing their full potential.
Have you asked the questions, “What would it be like if I could be just 4% better than I am now?” What would that be like? What would that mean to future opportunities or more personal happiness? The default future is yours if you want it that way. The created future, the exciting, bold rewarding future is yours as well. Which path do you want to travel?