We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change.” ― Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend
Growth requires that you push yourself beyond the boundaries you have become comfortable with. It’s a new year, perhaps you have some goals that you’d like to focus on. Do those goals push you beyond what you have done before?
If you haven’t developed a set of personal goals or professional goals now is the time to create some. What are some things you could do to enhance your life?
How do you want to grow as a person?
How do you want to grow as a professional?
Thing big, Think bigger.
Find the thing within you that inspires and motivates you and then do something with that inspiration. Make something new. Make something happen. Start today.
“Only you can decide how far you get to travel in life. Therefore, you definitely owe it to your future self to be courageous and ambitious enough to strive and thrive without limitations.”
― Edmond Mbiaka
Take time to hit the pause button on your life.
How did you do today? Did you just survive the chaos of the day? What was it like? How does it feel to be spending your time and energy only to just survive the day? It doesn’t feel so good does. It can feel draining. It can be filled with anxiety, stress and turmoil. A lot of people are just surviving the day. Careers go sour when the focus is on just surviving. If I get through today then I’ll be OK.
Are you one of those who are just surviving the day? Do you find it hard to get out of bed in the morning? Do you feel drained and used up by the end of the day? Do you believe what you do matters? Does your boss believe you matter? When was the last time you were complemented on your work? How many hours are you being asked to work? How much time do you have off?
What does it mean to thrive? Araianna Huffington wrote, “Nothing succeeds like excess.” We live in a world where “more” and “having more” drives us to be doing more, working more hours, earning more money, filling the day with more activity. At the end of the day – there is nothing left – there is no more. Day after day of pushing yourself to the limits doesn’t result in a better life, it results in a battered life. Thriving isn’t about just surviving the day-to-day race. Thriving is about living a rich life, and by rich meaning a life that includes time to relax and find peace. A thriving life is one that has time, enough time for family, friends, personal growth, contribution and time for you. Thriving means that you do have time and you don’t feel rushed and you don’t feel that the day has to be absolutely packed with activity.
Part of the reason to completely fill each day with activity is because everyone else is doing that, filling their life with stuff. Eating becomes a quick stop at a fast food restaurant and the food is consumed as you drive to the next event. Sleep can be reduced to just a few hours, maybe 4 or 5. It is no wonder people are totally exhausted much of the time.
What would it take for you to thrive every day? What would you want to change to feel like every day mattered more than yesterday? What can you take out of your day that will give you time to relax and recover?
“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?
“I do believe in an everyday sort of magic — the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we’re alone.”
― Charles de Lint
It only takes a moment to transform a boring, dreary day into something magical. It only takes a moment to put a smile on someone else’s face or to create a space for laughter to fill. Create a magical moment each day and see how it transforms your work, relationships and your life.
The idea is simple, put some fun in the space you occupy. Something simple, something amazing, something that is different and unexpected that can move the ordinary to extraordinary.
Too much pressure at work, too much seriousness, or too much work then make something happen that shifts the energy towards the positive. Create a magical moment that will be remembered, that illuminates the darkness with a spark of energy.
How do you create a magical moment?
1. Drop a flower on the desk of a co-worker who is feeling challenged or depressed.
2. Write a note of appreciation.
3. Ask someone to smile and take a picture.
4. Buy a random person lunch.
5. Get people to stand up and move in a meeting – disrupt the status quo.
There are hundreds of ways to make the day magical. Find one and try it. Inspire and motivate others to experience good cheer. Give them a reason to smile or laugh. You’ll feel better for it as well.
“I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each, it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one’s being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes, in some area, an athlete of God. Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.”
― Martha Graham
Practicing isn’t always going to be fun, yet it is what leads to perfecting your craft, your work, your relationships, your communications, your community and your life.
What are you working on continually to get better at?
When you practice you grow. Practice invites you to greater challenges. Practice is the foundation of confidence and competence. By enhancing your abilities you increase your chances for new opportunities.
Practicing isn’t about being perfect it is about recognizing the imperfections and adjusting so the potential of an error is reduced in the future.
What do you want to get better at? What will it take? Will you do it?
“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.”
― Elizabeth Edwards
What if you had lost your job, were recovering from a major medical issue, were without a place to call home and saddled with a ton of debt? How would you be feeling? It would probably feel pretty depressing. There are people who are facing all of those things at the same time and are still able to move forward.
The Wall Street Journal showcased Sheryl Sandberg’s journey through difficult times and Sheryl said this,
“The easy days ahead of you will be easy. It is the hard days—the times that challenge you to your very core—that will determine who you are,” Ms. Sandberg said. “You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive.”
The path forward for Sheryl was in writing down what she was grateful for. Just a few things that made a positive difference in the day made a positive difference in her life.
It is of course far easier to blame others and become a victim in difficult times. It is easier to withdraw and seek the comfort of a variety of distractions in an attempt to have the emotional pain and stress go away. The problem is the pain doesn’t just go away by finding ways to ignore the pain. The pain goes away when the pain is confronted and challenged. The pain goes away when positive action is taken and when what can be appreciated about each day is really appreciated.
Are you facing challenging times? Are you suffering and wishing for a way out?
Emotional resilience through gratitude, taking time to pause and just breathe some deep breaths for a few minutes, to exercise and move is a way through difficult times.
Take the time to practice taking charge of your emotions. Your body will thank you and your mind will thank you.
“If you walk 100 miles into the life you don’t want. Often, you must walk those same 100 miles to get out of that life. This is the answer to why the journey to fulfillment is often so difficult. However, if you can find a shortcut, a new path, you can get to the life you want much quicker. This is the premise of personal development, self-improvement and self-discovery..!”
― James A. Murphy
Best year ever?
What was your year like? Was it one you want to do over or do you want something different?
Whatever your year was like you can make the changes to make this coming year better. What one thing would make this new year of 2016 better for you?
Evaluate the state of your life what got better:
Friends and Family
What did you want to be better? What were you willing to do about making those changes?
I want more ________________________.
I want less _________________________.
Your happiness is about the choices you make. You create your happiness by what you do or don’t do. Happiness is in your hands, mind and body. What do you want to do to make things better for you, better for others or better for the world?
“You have 365 new blank pages. What will you write on first blank page?”
― Lailah Gifty Akita
Are you living the life you thought you’d be living now? Did you imagine things turning out differently? What changed?
If you find that your life isn’t going in the direction you would like it go, then what do you want to be doing differently? What I have found is that life without direction is often due to the fact there is no plan, there are no goals, and without goals and a plan life just tends to happen.
What do you want from your career?
What do you want to contribute?
What are your own personal development goals?
Where do you see yourself in ten years? Or, where do you want to see yourself in ten years?
Imagine the life you want to live. Write down that story and use that story to guide you to a better and happier future. Once you have the story written down, set some goals and assign a date to those goals and then start working to achieve those goals. See what you can do this year to grow, learn and to experience a better life. Start today!