Live an Outstanding Life blog is filled with personal and professional development tips to inspire to become more… more empowering…more productive…more successful.
Live an Outstanding Life – Blog
Live an Outstanding Life blog is filled with personal and professional development tips to inspire to become more… more empowering…more productive…more successful.
One sentence.She told him early in his presidency that "a great man is one sentence." What she meant is that a leader with a clear and strong purpose could be summed up in a single line. This concept is useful to everyone, not just presidents. Your sentence might be, "He helped raise three children who became healthy, happy, adults." Or, "She invented an app that made people's lives much easier." For example, Prime Minister Winston Churchill's life could be summed up as, "He saved Britain in it's darkest hour."
So what is your sentence?Have you thought about your sentence? If you have, that is amazing! If you already have a sentence, please share it with us in the comments section. And if you don't, then it is time to do that. One time, Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a story using only six words. Many thought this impossible, even for the great author. But not for Hemingway, the next day Hemingway produced this, "For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn."
A mighty challenge.It takes time and effort to distil down the essence of what you're trying to achieve in a short and memorable sentence. Reducing life to a handful of words is a mighty challenge. Why is it so bloody difficult to sum up your life in one sentence? After all, articles have headlines, brands have tag lines, and even Twitter limits you to a few characters. Does it feel too cheesy, morbid, or limiting? Is it reminiscent of a dating profile or a tombstone? It might be a little bit of all of them. We consider ourselves multi-dimensional beings with professional and personal lives, not to mention family, friends, hobbies, and interests. How is it possible to capture all that in just one sentence?
So what is your sentence?Begin by focusing on what is most important. There is no right and wrong or good and bad. But there is ONE thing that probably defines you more than anything else. One Sentence for one defining moment. Creating a six-word memoir is a useful exercise in self-analysis. More so if you apply the process to reflect upon your results and your goals. Did I achieve what I set out to achieve? Did my results stand the test of time? Did I help others to succeed? This simple yet complex exercise works well as a form of aspiration, that is, how do you want to be remembered? This is powerful at any point in your career, but the sooner you do this, the more time you have to make changes so that you can become the person you are capable of becoming. If your sentence is aspirational or a goal not yet achieved, then ask yourself, "How might I live up to my own sentence?" You may be familiar with the story of Alfred Nobel. A wealthy and successful man who was recognised for manufacturing explosives that killed people more effectively than anything previously.
An accident.One day, there was an accident that blew his plant up. Everyone, including the press, thought he had been killed. The next day, the newspaper headlines told of the dead man who made dynamite that had killed so many people. Nobel was not at the plant that day, and he was shocked to see how he was remembered by the press. He made an immediate decision to change his life. Thus, the Nobel Prize that we all know today was created. The one sentence of his life changed just like that. Consider these fundamental questions to help you consider how you would sum up your life in six words or less.
How can I help? What is my influence?As humans, we are motivated to work for goals greater than ourselves. We achieve great things through the efforts of others. They must create conditions for others to succeed. Summing up your purpose in a few words challenges you to think about what work and life mean to you and how you influence the people around you.
So what is your sentence?The reason for doing this now and delaying is that once you decide how you want to be remembered, the entire focus of your life changes. You then concentrate on the essential things that will help you achieve what you have always dreamt of. I know, this will put some people off, but believe me the sooner you do this, the better your life will be. I promise. If you are struggling to come up with your sentence, don't despair, enrol in the free webinar, 5 Ways To Perform At Your Best. Dare to dream. Follow your passion. Be outstanding each and every day.
What is your life purpose?Bob Proctor posed this question, "If I could spend my life doing one thing, what would I really love doing?" In answering this challenging question, you will uncover your life purpose. At first inspection, it may seem an easy question, but it can take many people weeks or months to find the answer. Everything fulfils a purpose in this world. Though wasps might be an exception. The Sun provides light and warmth to support and sustain life. The Clouds provide the rain giving water to all living things. Sand and rocks serve to filter the water. Plants provide oxygen and food for us. Do I need to mention that bees pollinate the plants or do you get my point? These all have a set purpose. You could argue that they were designed or created for that purpose. For example, trees can't decide to provide oxygen or not.
We chooseWe humans are different, we can choose our life purpose. Mark Twain said, "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why." What I think he means by this is that discovering your purpose gives your life real meaning. Discovering your life purpose gives you a reason to get out of bed every morning. If your answer to why you get out of bed is, "Because I need to go to work." It is not the right answer unless you love your job. There has to be more than going to work because you need to pay your bills. There is a great story dating back to when John F. Kennedy visited the NASA space centre. The then President of the USA saw a janitor pushing a mop and walked over and asked him what he was doing.
A man on the moonThe janitor replied with this brilliant line, "Mr President, I'm helping put a man on the moon." He was not being sarcastic or smart-mouthed, he had a strong sense of purpose. The purpose is that sense that we are needed, that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, that we have something better ahead to work for. Read the janitor's reply again. You can feel the pride he has in his job. He may not be that high on any organisational chart depicting the story of America's space exploration. But there he is, filled with pride at the mention of the common purpose he shares with the very men who would walk on the moon. Your purpose is your reason for living. Like it was painting for Michelangelo or writing was for Shakespeare. Every person is hardwired to do something, we all have an exceptional talent or skill. It might be some kind of sport or art, writing, researching, helping others, serving, being a good parent or spouse.
Never work another dayThere is a joy to discovering your purpose. Once you do, you will never work another day in your life. Why? Because you will love what you do. You will be passionate about it. You will be eager to get out of bed every morning to fulfil your purpose. Picasso said, "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." Once you discover your reason for life, you will create your vision. Your vision shows you what you need to do to live a life of purpose. Then you get to set your bite-size goals to get there. Despite all of this, some people find themselves not acting on fulfilling their purpose. These three reasons are the ones most likely to stop you and keep you stuck and frustrated.
3 Things That Keep You from Fulfilling Your PurposeThe important step you need to take to get out of that rut is to decide to take control now. You need to identify what it is that stops you from moving forward. In all likelihood, you're in the grasp of one or more of the following three everyday things that stop people from finding and fulfilling their purpose and living their life mission. But you don't achieve your life purpose. What prevents you from fulfilling your life purpose? What is keeping you stuck? Being stuck and your lack of progress is frustrating. You might even feel depressed. You need to get out of that negative cycle, out of that rut you are in. The good news is there is an important step you can take to get out of that rut. If you have been searching for your purpose, mission or vision for your life, and are still searching with angst and restlessness, like I was, you're probably making one of these three mistakes.
1. Self-doubtAll of us, even the best amongst us, falls prey to self-doubt at some point. It's a way to keep yourself safe in an often-confusing world. The most significant thing that holds people back from realising their true potential is probably fear of failure. And in a world that values wealth and conspicuous success, striking out for something you believe in can be risky. But if you stay stuck in a mindset of fear, it's guaranteed you will never achieve anything substantial. When you stay small, it prevents you from acting, it prevents you from growing and being your best you.
2. Other people's opinionSelf-doubt is fed by caring what other people think of you. Reality dictates there will always be a plentiful supply of naysayers trying to stop you from pursuing and living your dreams. And I can give you a cast-iron guarantee that whatever your life purpose, you will encounter people who doubt your dream and your ability to achieve it. Thankfully, there will also be some people who support you and believe in you. And your biggest cheerleader should be you! You don't need anyone's permission to live your purpose. You only need a strong sense of conviction and the will to pursue your passion.
3. Lacking intentionThis is not often talked about but living purposefully with intention is crucial to staying true to your life purpose. It's pointless to have a passion or dream and to be lazy about it. Be intentional about your life purpose and step up to the plate. Use the same approach you would for any other project. Be methodical, be organised and give your life purpose the attention and care it deserves. Yes, that means having a plan, writing it down and making yourself accountable. You start by taking the attention off yourself and thinking about the impact you want to have on the world. What legacy do you want to leave? I am not worthy Maybe it is not, "I'm not good enough." But how about, not strong enough, smart enough, or simply "don't have what it takes"?
AnxietyThese feelings are unfortunately all too common. These anxieties are more than happy to exploit you. We are all in the battle of our lives in our personal war with anxiety. Anxiety attempts to make us believe that we aren't worthy enough and that we don't deserve to live our life purpose. One of those ridiculous ways is to make us think that we are being selfish if we celebrate our achievements. Anxiety tries to invalidate you by saying: "Are you mad? Don't do that." Who are you to be showing off, and making yourself out to be better than anyone else? Who do you think you are robbing someone else's nose in your success? Especially when you know exactly how that feels. And anyway, it's not that big of a deal. It's not like you won the Nobel prize." After that doubt is placed in your mind, you downplay every victory and every good quality you have. And, before we realise it we are questioning if we are worthy of any good thing.
This vicious cycleForget about celebrating something when you are not worthy of it in the first place. This vicious cycle reinforces the negative thinking and lack of self-respect and self-confidence. Old habits are hard to break. Negative thinking and lack of self-respect and self-confidence may have been a part of your life for a long time. To make it more difficult, we have society telling us at every moment that we need to act a certain way, look a certain way, and wear a specific size of clothing. You can defeat the demons of anxiety, guilt, fear of failure, and fear of success that stop you from fulfilling your life purpose. It will take discipline and dedication. Are you up to the challenge? If you are, then enrol in my free webinar, 5 Ways To Perform At Your Best. and remember happiness is a result of accomplishing what you were born to do.
Are you stuck in the weeds?Do you find yourself working incredibly hard, while at the same time feel like you are not getting much done? When your day ends, do you find yourself saying, "I didn't get to what I wanted/needed to do today, but there is always tomorrow." And then without surprise, you utter the very same words the next day? And the day after that too? Don't you feel like this person? I know I do. You wake up, brush your teeth, make a cup of tea, feed the kids, pack the lunches, get them to school, get to work, text your friends, get coffee, feign interest, answer emails, update Facebook, avoid the meeting, make a few calls, look busy, crunch some numbers, update Facebook, get in the car, collect the kids from after-school club, feed the dog, check email, update Facebook, kiss your partner, climb into bed, fool around. Are you kidding? I'm exhausted! Just turn off the lights. I'm exhausted. I'm too busy. How can I ever see something more significant for my life, I have kids to take care of and when I have a business to run when? You have to gain control of your life, you need to get out of the weeds. It may seem as though there is no way out of the weeds. And sometimes it truly is unavoidable. However, in most cases, this condition is not only self-imposed but self-perpetuated. "That is crazy!" You might say. "You think I am choosing this?" Yes, you may be choosing this, maybe not consciously, perhaps not intentionally. I won't apologise for being blunt. I am on a mission to help you figure out what you want to do with your life and to get it done. A life of purpose beckons to us each day. When we answer that call, we feel invigorated, energised, and deeply gratified. And when we procrastinate and resist, we are overwhelmed, tired and frustrated.
Stuck in the weeds.We don't always realise when we stray off course until we find ourselves stuck in the weeds, becoming stagnant and increasingly irritated with our lives and ourselves. This can happen in our professional or personal life when a project or endeavour takes us past our comfort zone and into procrastination. It can happen in critical conversations when we skirt around the real issues and stay mired in trying to save face or placing blame. Or it can happen in relationships when we resist taking things to a deeper level and play it safe instead. And it happens in our lives when we trade our dreams and visions for doing what gets us by. And then we go through the motions of staying busy instead of doing what we are really meant to do.
The problem is about RESISTANCE.Resistance occurs when we face something that we fear will lead to pain or discomfort. It has us focusing on all the things that could go wrong rather than all that we have to gain by moving forward. Resistance conjures up a multitude of negative emotions. Embarrassment, betrayal, inadequacy, defeat, fear, humiliation, abandonment. You name it, and these negative emotions have us engaging in anything we can to avoid experiencing them. Resistance intends to have us play it safe. Planning, controlling, preparing, and orchestrating. Resistance urges us to cling to the familiar, even if the familiar is unpleasant. It leads us to control our emotions rather than merely feeling and experiencing them. Here are five steps to get out and stay out of the weeds. These steps will overcome the resistance that stops you from living the life you were meant to live.
(1) Take responsibility.When we are in the weeds, it is usually the result of an earlier decision we made to stay in our comfort zone. Sometimes, these decisions could have been made in default, like the kind of choice we make when we choose not to make a decision. When we make the decision to play small, then we get distracted by anything that will keep us there. We blame the distractions for taking us off course, but the reality is that they are the outcomes of what we have decided to focus our attention on. Often these decisions are made at an unconscious level. No one else is responsible but you. Taking responsibility is vital because, without it, we relegate ourselves to being a victim and convince ourselves that we are immobilised and powerless. When we see beyond this self-imposed illusion, we recognise that we always have the opportunity and ability to reselect.
(2) Reselect.Envision the state you would like to be in at any given moment. Get your head out of the weeds and look at the horizon. What do you really want for yourself? What do you want to create? What do you want to feel? What do you want to experience? This might be a matter of remembering the goals you set for the last time you paused long enough to focus on them. Perhaps it is creating or revisiting or your vision for your personal and professional life. It could be identifying what you would like to be experiencing in this moment. Whatever it is, you need to make it real for yourself. Fully step into it. Embrace it. Feel it. Flesh it out. Become it. Take a moment, and remember the last time you felt whatever it is you want to experience and relive it once again. I can't stress this enough, it really helps. That means seeing what you saw, hearing what you heard, tasting what you tasted and feeling what you felt. Talking it over with people who believe in you and inspire you and can help you to reconnect with what you genuinely want and breathe new life into it. Write it down and move deeper and deeper into it. Revisit what you wrote and re-read it and add more as it comes to you.
(3) Commit to yourself.There is a massive difference between wishing and committing. You can hope for a better life. You can want a great relationship and a bright future. Or you may be interested in learning to do something different, trying something new, creating something exciting and fun. All this is great, and useless for keeping you out of the weeds, that is, until you commit, until you make that empowering decision. Committing is making a decision to live the life you want to live. The life you have imagined. It is about expressing and embracing all that you are without allowing anything to get in your way.
It is not about being anything that you are not.Scottish mountaineer and writer William Hutchinson Murray wrote, "Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness". Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!" To commit to yourself means dealing with challenges, facing fears, accepting love, embracing diversity, and being comfortable to feel all emotions. It means confronting many things that we might have run away from for a long time. This is a willingness to step up and commit fully to what you want to do with your life. You will be afraid of the emotions as they come up, but remember all it is, is an emotion. As human beings, we are meant to feel, it's not a normal process for us not to feel emotion.
(4) Let go.We are brought up with the misconception that to get anything done, we need to get out there, be bold, and make things happen. Consequently, we spend a lot of time pounding square pegs into round holes and planning our next steps by reacting to things in our past. Uncertainty makes us uncomfortable, and we live a big chunk of our lives mitigating uncertainty by controlling everything in our power. But the future is by definition, uncertain. And our attempts to maintain control keep us stuck in the familiar, resistant to moving beyond the expanse of what we think we know. The real power lies in admitting that we do not have all the answers and are ready and willing to learn. We begin listening to new information and asking more critical questions. Throughout the history of time, this is what the most celebrated artists, inventors, musicians, scientists, and geniuses in all fields have done. It requires that we tune in to a new way of knowing, one that goes beyond the need to figure everything out. When we balance our logic with intuition and take one step at a time, we learn to feel our way to where we want to go. And that is so much better than having to figure everything out in advance.
(5) Trust.The resistance we experience when we embark upon something new and extraordinary is our fear of the unknown. Our resistance would have us conjure up a show stopper as the worst-case scenario. And this stops us when we believe we wouldn't be able to handle it. A leader’s job is to instil confidence in others. To have your people believe that they all have what it takes to rise up to any challenge they may be faced with. To believe that they can overcome any obstacle in our path. There is a simple law that needs to be applied here, we need to do this for ourselves before we can do it for others. Being willing to let ourselves flow with the current requires trust in something bigger than ourselves, something that is working for our highest good.
It requires faithMoreover, it requires faith in ourselves and our ability to persevere, to adapt and to thrive in any environment we find ourselves placed in. To find this trust and faith, we can reflect on the events of our lives that have led us to the very point where we are today. Regardless of the fear we may have experienced, the peril we faced, and the uncertainty we had to navigate through, we have arrived at the point we are now. The sum of all of our experiences, whether pleasant or otherwise, has prepared us perfectly for whatever lies ahead of us. No doubt we will find ourselves in the weeds from time to time. There is no shame in being in the weeds, in fact, you are free to stay there as long as you wish. But when it dawns on you that living that way is no longer enough, and it will, you have the ability and the power to recommit, trust and let yourself flow with the current of adventure in your life. A current that has the power to bring us to the realisation of all our greatest dreams and visions. If this wasn't enough to yank you out of the weeds or you would like more actionable steps to stay out of the weeds, then enrol in the free webinar, 5 Ways To Perform At Your Best.