Engage with me in a conspiracy of love!

Time For Something New

One of my favorite insights on life comes from Golda Meir. When asked for her thoughts about her achievements and the role she played on a global stage, she offered this advice:

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life.

Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.”

The power lies in the fact that we determine which achievements and which sparks to fan into those flames. There is the key – WE must decide. WE must do.

Here are three questions that can help you determine if you are on your own best personal path or if you have become a bit too comfortable in that easy chair of your life:

#1:  When was the last time you tried something new?

Think about this for a moment. Do you always eat the same food?  Listen to the same music?  Read the same authors?  Go to the same places?  Spend time with the same people? If you aren’t exposing yourself to any new experiences, the rut is going to happen naturally. You’re going back and forth in a groove.

#2:  How much are you learning and growing right now?

There is an unlimited curriculum in life for learning. What do you want to know that right now you don’t?  Do you have a learning strategy that is aligned to your life strategy?

#3:  When was the last time you took a REAL risk?

Has something happened in your life or work that has made you more risk averse? Perhaps the economy. Disappointments in relationships. Missed opportunities. When that happens, it can be like the first time we touch a hot stove – it’s pretty rare for us to go back again. We experienced something that didn’t pay off. The danger is that once we’ve started thinking in terms of risk we begin to see all risk the same. We’ve forgotten that risk itself has changed.

Not taking risks today is in fact the greatest risk. Are you employed and know your industry or function is in decline?  Are you taking any risks to change your situation?  Risk could mean investing $$’s in education; it could mean starting your own part-time business; it could simply mean facing your fears and going to a networking function and meeting new people. What we fear the most is usually what is in truth holding us back. Face the fear and remove the obstacle.

If any of these questions resonate with you, it is important to remember that you hold the power to break the barrier of that comfort zone.

There are only three things you need to do:

1)      Decide you are ready for change

2)      Decide where you want to start

3)      Choose one action you can do NOW and BEGIN!

Once you are moving in the right direction, momentum will take over. The fresh energy you experience from changing one thing will also fuel other fires. The sparks will carry into every area of your life.

Live today like you want tomorrow to be. Live well.

 

Seasons: They are about more than the weather

From our first breath, we live our lives in cycles, in seasons.

This can mean very different things. A climate season, a learning season, a life season and so on. But there are definite cycles we experience that bring with them influences and nuances that factor into our lives.

Seasons are also a factor in life in terms of our own development and acquired wisdom from experience. We refine our philosophies along the way and become increasingly aware of our value and influence in the world.

It’s been my experience that seasons are one of the best gifts of life. They keep us from stagnating. They keep us moving. They create a current of change that continuously pushes us to what is next. While some might argue that a lovely, mild climate might be ideal year round, others would definitely miss winter. Others would miss summer. That is the other gift. In many ways we get to leverage seasons based on what is ideal for us at any particular season of life.

This is also why we must stay in design mode throughout our lives. Because there are always new and exciting factors coming in and those that have finished are moving out even if only figuratively.

As I move through my current life season, this is something I am thinking about quite a bit because I believe this is where a collective conversation can bring meaningful individual growth. What about you? Where do you see seasons shifting things in your life and work? One thing is certain, change will happen. The key is whether or not we are designing it and celebrating it or something altogether different. As with everything in our lives, it is our perspective and how we see it that makes the difference.

Live today like you want tomorrow to be. Live well!

“What an abundant harvest has been collected in autumn! The earth has now fulfilled its design for this year, and is going to repose for a short time. Thus nature is continually employed during the greatest part of the year: even in her rest she is active: and in silence prepares a new creation.” ― Christoph Christian Sturm

The Journey – Poetry, Music and Imagery

Cavafy’s “Ithaca” remains one of my most beloved poems.

So, of course it came to mind last week while on a writer’s retreat when the discussion turned to poetry.

One of my favorite ways to experience the poem is by watching a stunning video that has a beautiful score by Vangelis. The poem is read by Sean Connery.

I invite you to experience it as well.

While there are many interpretations of this work, its essence is that the journey and the destination both matter.  The beliefs we take with us on the journey about our destination will determine much about the experience.  And the depth to which we experience the journey will only serve to help us better understand the real value of our destination once we arrive.

I have found success works like this.  We each define what success means to us and set out on our journey to reach it.  By the time we arrive, it will have changed because we will have changed from the journey and gained new understandings.

As Jim Rohn taught, more important than the goal itself is the person we must become to attain it. That is the essence and story of Ithaca for me. It’s a reminder to choose our destinations carefully and then travel well.

ITHACA [1910, 1911]

As you set out for Ithaca, hope that your journey is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery. Laestrygonians and Cyclops, angry Poseidon-don’t be afraid of them: you’ll never find things like that on your way as long as you keep your thoughts raised high, as long as a rare sensation touches your spirit and your body. Laestrygonians and Cyclops, wild Poseidon-you won’t encounter them unless you bring them along inside your soul; unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope that your journey is a long one. May there be many summer mornings when, with what pleasure, what joy, you come into harbors you’re seeing for the first time; may you stop at Phoenician trading stations to buy fine things, mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony, sensual perfume of every kind- as many sensual perfumes as you can; and may you visit many Egyptian cities to learn and learn again from those who know.

Keep Ithaca always in your mind. Arriving there is what you’re destined for. But don’t hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so that you’re old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way, not expecting Ithaca to make you rich. Ithaca gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you would have not set out. She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca won’t have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you’ll have understood by then what these Ithacas mean.

5 Clues You May Need A Balance Check

Work-Life balance is something we hear about, even talk about, but it would seem we rarely achieve.  A popular belief is that we can proportion ourselves out in some measured way across all the demands of our life and work. That hasn’t been successful in my experience. It just doesn’t match reality for most of us.

The more we attempt to create silos or compartmentalize our various roles, the more we face conflicting priorities and ultimately, always feel like we are failing somewhere or someone. Quite frankly, it’s not a recipe for success on any level.

We are multi-dimensional beings, and that means that instead of creating unsustainable boundaries, we will be better served by creating an integrated view of who we are and the value we bring to our world.

Victor Hugo expressed it well when he said: “To put everything in balance is good, to put everything in harmony is better.”

Our lives are very much like an aircraft as it balances and levels itself during flight, continually adjusting its positioning to stay on course.

When we look at it from that perspective, certain clues will tell us if we need to make adjustments to remain on course.

Here are five checkpoints I invite you to consider:

  • The first one is the most important, and if this isn’t in check, there’s no reason to go further until it’s addressed. I learned this lesson from life and success mentor, Jim Rohn, and it is simply this: Wherever you are, be there. That’s my first check. If I’m working and thinking about something else, I’m not going to be effective. If I’m with friends and family but thinking about work, I’m not going to be engaged. I need to focus on the moment in order to course correct.
  • The second one is what I call my calendar check. When I review my plan for the week each Sunday, I check ALL of my current goals against my calendar. Where are my health goals showing up? My learning goals? My relationship goals? If all the parts of my life aren’t there, it’s time for tuning, rather like a flight plan before take-off. We need to know we’ve got everything working as required for a successful journey.
  • My third check-in is for a focus on my core value of personal growth. I want to ensure that I am growing across multiple disciplines. My growth needs to align with all of my goals and not just my profession. Whatever it is we seek, we also need to study. I found that I wanted to grow in my knowledge of finance and investment. But my development plan didn’t reflect that. Now there are books in my library on the subject. I also attend seminars and follow podcasts that are deepening my understanding.
  • The fourth checkpoint is related to the first one, but its importance merits further reflection, and that is relationships. Each week I check in with my inner circle and review where I’m growing and need to expand that circle.
  • The last point is less specific but matters a great deal, and it is this: Am I happy? Do I feel satisfied with how I am showing up in the world and the contribution I am making? We can get so busy with the demands of life we forget to enjoy life.

Five checkpoints – clues in each one for adjusting and calibrating how we are living our lives to ensure we are making our highest possible contribution in each moment.

These are disciplines of legacy and deserving of our attention. Balance? Perhaps not. Harmonized? Guarding that every day.

Live (harmonize) today like you want tomorrow to be. Live (harmonize) well.