Your desire to be your best, to realize your dreams, to be successful, happy, and fulfilled- it’s NOT just a luxury, or a “want.”
Rather, that desire, that yearning to be all that you can be, to fulfill your potential, and to live your best, most joyous, meaningful, and fulfilling life, it’s a real, actual, universal, basic human NEED!!!!
In wellness terms (including your soul’s wellness, in addition to your psychological, emotional, and physical wellness), a “need” is defined as something that if goes unmet, creates a pathology (meaning a disease or sickness, as in the opposite of wellness) or a pathological problem.
The most concrete example is your need for food. If that need goes unmet, it creates a pathological problem in your body.
Our need for love is the same, though not as obvious in a tangible way. If your need for love goes unmet, it creates a pathological problem (meaning, a lack of wellness) in your life.
(And by the way, that’s as true for doing what you love and being who you love – which is essentially giving yourself love – as it is for receiving love from others! They’re both equally vital to your wellness!!!. Because LOVE is everything! And everything starts with YOU! But I digress…..)
So too is it with your need to self-actualize!!! Your hunger, drive, and desire to achieve and attain success, happiness, meaning, purpose, fulfillment, to be your best, to fulfill your potential, and to realize your dreams – that’s something to embrace, nourish, cultivate, develop, and maximize – NOT from a place of ego-driven entitlement or selfish want, but from a place of soul wellness and real, basic, human need!!!
And I think it’s important to remember that. To remember and be reminded that your need for self-actualization is a beautiful and pure essential part of YOU, your being, and your wellness!
It’s not something to shove away, bury, minimize, or be ashamed of in any way whatsoever (which I think is something we all tend to do sometimes – we think, who am I to want such grand dreams, or who am I to think I can achieve such success, or whatever form of beating yourself up you tend to go to).
You NEED to Self-Actualize – to strive to become your best, realize your dreams, grow, evolve, and live your best life possible with meaning, purpose, passion and fulfillment – just as you need food, and just as you need love. :-)))
As always, Do More of What You Love and Be More of Who You Love!
Self empowerment is about taking control of your life. This involves developing the self-trust and self-awareness you need to set the right goals, make sound decisions, and understand your strengths and weaknesses – so you can thrive.
Living a life fuelled by self empowerment is a refusal to allow others to make decisions for you.
Instead, it’s claiming your own path – regardless of what anyone else says – because you know that path is right for you.
It’s the harder path for sure. It’s far easier to settle for conventional rules and fall in line. It’s easier to play small and dumb down your goals and your ideas. But if you’re reading this, I know that’s not what you want.
You want to dream bigger and achieve more. You want to explore your full potential and you want to feel empowered to take the actions and decisions that lead to an abundant life.
So if you know there’s so much more out there, this article is for you.
Keep reading and you’ll discover SEVEN powerful self improvement techniques that will help you cultivate the grit, self-trust, and confidence you need to be your best.
“An unexamined life is not worth living.” – Plato
Everyday you make decisions, ponder over thoughts, and live out experiences. It’s a big melting pot, which contains a host of insights ready for you to pull out.
That’s what journaling helps you to do – it’s a practice that empowers you to examine your life for self empowerment.
By getting introspective in your notebook, you can explore your thoughts and experiences more deeply. You can look for the connections, join up the dots, and get clearer on who you are.
Journaling isn’t just about mulling over the here and now. You can also use this practice to reflect over your life so you can get more clarity on what’s shaped your beliefs and your thought patterns. If you struggle to know what to journal about, ask yourself questions or get your hands on some prompts.
Do what it takes to get more clarity on the subconscious, hidden stuff that’s driving you, and you’ll be able to make more empowered choices moving forward.
2. Make good decisions
“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” – Tony Robbins
When you lack confidence and you don’t know yourself, it’s easy to be influenced by the people you admire and respect.
Especially when it comes to those big, defining decisions!
If you don’t trust your own judgement, there’s a good chance you’ll be persuaded.
But what others think you should do isn’t necessarily what’s right for you.
Often, we know in our gut what the right choice is, but we end up overriding that decision because of fear, ‘logical’ thinking, and the opinions of others.
Decisiveness is powerful because it allows you to take control over your life.
Instead of procrastinating, you can choose and act.
So invest in developing your decision making skills.
Train your mind to think widely about the tough choices – considering all angles so you feel confident you’ve chosen well. Of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing, but trusting yourself enough to go for what you think is right is a hugely empowering thing to do.
3. Set goals
“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” –Bill Copeland
When it comes to self empowerment, your goals are the drivers.
Set goals and you begin to live your life intentionally. Instead of allowing each day to be like the one before, you set a course that allows you to create the life YOU want.
Goals create focus.
They tell your brain what’s important (and what is less so).
They make it easy for you to prioritize what’s on your plate by putting the things that will take you closer to your targets first.
Goals are the seeds of change and they put you in the driving seat of your life.
What goals do you need to set – in your relationships, your work/career, your personal development, your finances, your hobbies, your health and wellbeing etc?
Set goals that take you closer to the things you want, and take action on them, and you’ll feel more empowered than ever.
4. Manage your time
“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.” – Stephen Covey
Each day, you wake up with 1440 minutes deposited in your time bank account.
Time is the greatest equalizer. It doesn’t matter who you are, we all get the same time allocation. It’s what you do with your time that counts.
It’s easy to feel disempowered in life when time feels scarce, but the truth is you do have enough time to do it all. It’s simply a case of prioritization and allocation.
Self empowerment is about taking responsibility for your time and ensuing you’re using it wisely. Ask yourself:
What are you doing that you don’t really enjoy?
Where are you wasting time through procrastination and distractions?
What could you outsource, delegate, or even scrap all together?
What are you not doing that you’d really love to explore?
Time is too precious to leave it to chance.
Instead, use a planner (such as the SELF Journal) to plan your day.
Figure out your daily targets (ensuring they’re aligned to your goals) and schedule in all your tasks in the same way you would a fixed appointment.
Budget your time to get it all done and there’s a good chance you will.
5. Don’t be afraid to fail
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford
If self empowerment is about taking control and using your life to do the things you want, you MUST get comfortable with failure.
No one likes to fail. It’s uncomfortable, it can knock our confidence, and it makes us vulnerable to the judgement of others.
However, you can’t create a fully expressed life if you never push yourself out of your comfort zone. The things you want require you to take actions and make decisions that you’ve never taken before. It’s just the way it is! You can’t know everything in advance (and if you do, perhaps you’re not thinking big enough).
So give yourself the freedom and permission to get it wrong.
Change your perception of failure and see it as a fundamental part of the self-growth process. Turn ‘mistakes’ into learning opportunities and every time things don’t go as you planned, soak up the rush of fresh insights that will help you do more next time.
You aren’t your mistakes. You are so much more than that.
It takes guts to take a risk and push yourself further than you think you can go.
But prioritize courage over comfort, and you’ll feel more self empowered than ever.
6. Say no without feeling guilty
“Just saying yes because you can’t bear the short-term pain of saying no is not going to help you do the work.” – Seth Godin
Time is your most precious resource.
So don’t waste it doing things you think you have to do.
I get it, saying no can be really hard – you don’t want to let people down and you don’t want others to feel bad about you.
But every time you say YES when you really mean no, you divert your time resource to activities you don’t really want to do.
Let that sink in…
Saying yes to someone else means saying no to you.
It’s your life and that means you’re allowed to do things your way. You’re allowed to prioritize your needs over other people’s.
Self empowerment involves being more mindful with your yeses and nos.
So next time someone makes a request of you and you want to say no, but feel you have to say yes, dive deeper into your thought process. Grab your journal if you need to.
When you understand your programming, you’ll be empowered to give replies that are true to you.
7. Love yourself
“Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have.” – Robert Holden
How’s your relationship with yourself?
How do you feel when you look in the mirror? Do you like what you see? Do you think you’re worthy of living life to the full and creating everything you desire?
Without self love, everything else becomes so much harder.
It’s why nurturing your relationship with yourself is one of the most powerful things you can do. In fact, self love is the catalyst to virtually everything (including self empowerment).
Prioritize your self care routines.
Make more space for the things YOU enjoy (and enjoy them without feeling guilty).
Do the work necessary to ensure your self talk is positive, encouraging, and loving.
Practice daily gratitude and own all the abundance you have in your life already.
Exercise, eat well, and take care of yourself like you are the most important person in the world
Make sure your cup is full, and you’ll feel empowered to do so much more.
Self empowerment is a journey, NOT an overnight fix
Your ability to take control of your life and feel good in the skin you’re in is a state that’s constantly evolving.
That’s the beautiful thing about self growth…
The more you achieve and discover about yourself, the more you realize is possible.
That’s why self empowerment isn’t a destination. Instead, it’s an ongoing journey of personal evolution.
And at each stage, you open the doors to bigger and bigger opportunities and rewards.
When self empowerment becomes a driver, you’ll always be growing. You’ll discover more and more truths about who you really are.
You know those moments in life when you have this huge epiphany, or realization, or understanding of something in a new way – and it just FUELS YOU with energy and passion and excitement and determination?!
Aren’t those the best?!
You just get it! And you’re totally inspired and empowered, and filled with certainty and belief!!!
But then, what happens? More often than not, that fuel and those amazing feelings gra-du-ally fade out….
You still have the cognitive “aha moment” understanding; your head still remembers and knows it as truth, but your body and your spirit (your heart, your emotions, your soul, and your energy) don’t feel it in the same visceral way anymore.
And then because of that, you look around you and what you see is- that nothing’s really changed.
Your intellectual knowledge of that powerful and profound insight, that invisible and intangible thought, doesn’t seem to carry much weight or hold much significance in the real, physical, practical world around you. It doesn’t seem to make much, if any, of a difference.
Which, in turn, depletes the idea and enlightenment itself (and you) even more of its very power. Until eventually, it becomes completely disregarded, minimized, or even forgotten.
Essentially, it gets filed in your brain under the – “I know this already, and I have nothing new to learn from it or use it for” file; or the – “This is one of those BS, cheesy, corny, trite cliches that makes no difference in the real world or in my life” file.
And that perception, that realization, really, really sucks!!!! It saddens me, it angers me, and it actually fuels me in the same, but different, kind of way. To change it!
So how do you change that?
How do you instead, empower the power of perspective shifts, of epiphanies, and of insights to empower you long-term, so they don’t fade out and do have lasting, tangible impact on your life?!
It’s by taking those realizations and those epiphanies, which are in essence perspective shifts, and turning them into behavioral shifts!
Because there’s a discipline and a practice to passion too!
It’s the taking action piece of seizing your passion! But it’s taking the right kind of inspired action that comes from having the perspective shift first.
You need the mindset first.
(And even before the mindset, you need to understand your Self and know your Truth first, first-:-). Remember the Seize Your Passion cyclical framework of Self-Mindset-Action-Overcome-Success? If not, or if you want to reacquaint with it, go here).
And then you need the action piece – you need to do something that comes from and out of that mindset!
BUT, not just do that something once, or as a one-off. You need to do it regularly and consistently, until it becomes a part of your behavior, and a part of you.
That is when and how the intellectual knowledge, the cerebral perspective shift of understanding it in your head also turns into knowing it, feeling it, and experiencing it in your body and spirit!
And the regularity of that experience, the consistency, and the repetition of it is what makes it a habit, and eventually even an effortless and almost automatic one!!!
And that is where and when and how YOU turn your perspective shifts into behavioral shifts that actually EMPOWER and IMPACT and TRANSFORM your life!!!!
I challenge you to start doing that now, consistently and regularly, with this simple, but profound truth we all know and understand in our heads –
Do More of What You Love, and Be More of Who You Love!!!
I challenge you to take that perspective shift, that mindset, that cerebral understanding and turn it into a behavioral shift in your life!
And how they can help you live your best life possible!
Question: If you had to pick, what would you say your top three motivators are? In general, as a person, and in your life?
What are the top three things that really drive you to want to be your best, to want to succeed, to dream big, to actually want to get out of bed in the morning and go realize those dreams, and just in general, to want to live your best life possible?
Answer: The THREE MOST POWERFUL Intrinsic Motivators we all have (after basic needs for safety and security are met) – the three basic desires and drivers we all share that underlie pretty much everything we want out of life, however different the specific wants out of our own individual lives may be, are:
1)Autonomy 2) Mastery 3) Purpose
Autonomy being, the desire to steer your own ship. Mastery being, the desire to steer it well. Purpose being, the desire for the journey to matter.
How true is that?!!! And being aware of it is so powerful!!! Here’s what I mean.
Autonomy- the desire to steer your own ship. We all want to be the designer and creator of our own life. We don’t want to live our life based on someone else’s creation or design. We want to be the one who’s calling the shots and be the director / author / CEO of our own life, right?! It’s our life, after all.
And we want (and deserve, and have earned the right) to live it based on our values, beliefs, standards, desires, and dreams; NOT based on someone else’s expectations, approval, control, or power.
This is essentially what I mean when I say, all the time- Live Your Truth! It sounds simple and obvious, but how many of us really, truly do this???
But, when we’re aware of it in this context, as being one of our 3 primary motivators for everything we want in life, it inspires and helps us to act and live accordingly; to make choices and decisions accordingly; to prioritize our time and energy accordingly; and to remember to stay true to ourselves and live our truth, not someone else’s.
It’s huge. Autonomy. Then, Mastery.
Mastery- the desire to steer that ship well. We want to live our life well! We all want to live our life in the best possible way we can, right?! We want to be the best CEO, director, and author that we can be so that we can live our best possible life!
Is there anyone who wakes up in the morning and says, “Nah – I don’t really want my life to be that great, I don’t really care if I f**k up my role as the creator and designer of my life.” Um, no! I don’t think so.
We all want to be the best we can be at life in general, and in whatever it is we do. No one wants to be shitty.
When we remember this, again – it inspires and helps us to learn, grow, evolve, and to continuously strive to become the best versions of ourselves so that we can master our skills, our abilities, and our capabilities to live our life well! It’s that simple.
Autonomy. Mastery. Then, Purpose. Purpose- the desire for the journey to matter. OK, this one is dearest to my heart! Because, one of the foundational cornerstones of Purpose is Passion!!!
We all want our life to mean something, and to have meaning. We want our life to matter. To have purpose. Why? Simply because one of the core elements that human beings need to be happy is a sense of meaning.
Passion is so often what gives us that meaning, and that purpose. Its what opens up the gates to discovering it, cultivating it, and attaining it! Passion is also what gives us the motivation and strength to persevere through challenges, rejections, and failures long enough to have a meaningful impact!
And, there are two hungers we all have, and the word “hunger” here can easily be substituted with the word “passion.”
1) The smaller hunger of what I want now, in the short term. The instant gratification hunger; and
2)The greatest hunger of all, that which we all share – the hunger, the passion, for a meaningful, successful, and joyful life! The hunger to become all that we are capable of becoming, and to live our best possible life! That is the hunger, and the passion, that Seize Your Passion is made of! And that is the hunger, and the passion, that drives our desire to have Purpose, and to make the journey matter!
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela
And then there’s LOVE. I can’t leave love out of this discussion because here too, the word “passion” can easily substitute the word “love.” And because, I really believe that at the end of the day, and at the end of all of our days, LOVE is really all that matters!
Did we love our life? Did we love ourselves? Did we love others? Did we live out of that love? Did we inspire love? Did we express and share our love?
Whatever comes out of, or is a result of, LOVE, and I’m talking about real, true love (in any form, expression, or relationship) is always good, and always meaningful!
That’s why doing more of what you love and being more of who you love is the key to feeding that greatest hunger we all have, the key to fulfilling those 3 primary drivers and most powerful intrinsic motivators we all have, and it’s the key to living your best life possible!
“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” – Ella Fitzgerald
“Love the life you live. Live the life you love.” – Bob Marley
“Love is the oxygen of our lives. Breathe it in deeply today.” – Tony Robbins
As always- Do more of what you love. Be more of who you love. Seize Your Passion!
How to Realize Your Dreams and Become Your Best Self!
I’ve got one word for you –
Besides the fact that it’s really fun saying out loud (I dare you to try right now), it’s such an amazing word because of what it means and stands for!
“Sisu is a Finnish concept described as stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness….It is generally considered not to have a literal equivalent in English.” – Wikipedia
Here’s my equivalent, and how I think we can embody Sisu and actually practice it in life to realize our dreams and become our best selves!
I often describe the framework of Seizing Your Passion as a 5 point circle, where each of the 5 points are interconnected, and directly related to the other; where one leads to another and back again, in a continuous, evolving, and cyclical process (kind of like a lot of things in life).
But it’s not linear like that, the way I have to write it out. It’s an ongoing circle, and one point feeds and leads to the other and back the other way again, all interrelated and interconnected in a cyclical pattern.
Here’s a quick pic of what I mean (please forgive my less than stellar drawing skills :-)).
SELF The top of the circle is Self because Socrates was right when he said, “Know thyself.” The starting point always has to be YOU!
Like everything else in life, realizing your dreams, becoming your best, and achieving your goals always starts with YOU, your SELF! It’s from there that everything else flows, and what all the other points on that circle are first based on.
Knowing yourself, understanding yourself, loving yourself, and believing in yourself!!
This has everything to do with self-awareness, really knowing who you are, what you love, what you want; your values, your beliefs, and living your truth based on that, versus living according to other people’s beliefs and expectations.
And, it has everything to do with trusting yourself, forgiving yourself, being authentic, and being accountable to yourself in order to do that. And then, ultimately it’s about how you define, for yourself, what “success” is (which is where and why the last point on that circle connects back to the Self and the other way again).
MINDSET The next point is Mindset because how you choose to see the world, how you think about things, and your perspective on everything, dictates your behaviors, actions, and reactions toeverything!!! This has everything to do with your psychology and your belief systems.
Do you believe in miracles? Do you believe in making the impossible possible? Do you believe you can always learn more, grow more, and become more? Do you live for today, for yesterday, or for tomorrow?
Do you appreciate all that you have and all that you’ve accomplished already, without that taking away from the fact that you still want to strive for more? Do you believe there’s always a lesson to be learned from the challenges and “failures” you face in life?
Do you believe you can accomplish pretty much anything you put your mind to?
Again, all these “Mindset questions” tie back to the Self point – believing in yourself, your values, your beliefs – and, they also naturally lead to the next point, which is…
ACTION Because again, your Mindset dictates your behaviors, your Actions, and reactions to everything!
You know that believing in something, while crucial and necessary, on its own is not enough to make it happen. You need to actually do something. To achieve results, to move forward, and to progress, you need to take action.
But, the key is taking inspired action that is purposefully connected and directly related to your Self, your Mindset, and ultimately to the Success you want to achieve. Right?
Otherwise, it’s just doing stuff with no meaning, no joy, no purpose, and basically getting trapped in the busyness of being busy. (Not particularly fun or fulfilling, and definitely NOT what Seize Your Passion and living life to the fullest is about).
But, you also know that when you do take action, you’re inevitably going to stumble, fall, and hit some major roadblocks. Which is exactly where the inspired action – the actions you take that have a solid foundation of Self and Mindset already stacked under them – comes in to play!
AND, it’s where Sisu gets to take the lead!!!! So that you can overcome those challenges and roadblocks.
OVERCOME How you respond, react, and move past, over, under, or through those roadblocks so you can continue to take inspired action despite them (and sometimes because of them), that’s exactly how you Overcome them.
Having the sisu, the grit, the resilience, the perseverance, and the determination to do that because you have all the other elements of Self, Mindset, and Action already in place!
The elements of knowing yourself, believing in yourself, and trusting yourself. Of knowing that you can learn and grow from this, believing that you can overcome this, and trusting that the best is yet to come.
Of knowing that every choice, behavior, action, and reaction you take has a direct causal effect on everything else, that your actions make a difference, that your goals can be achieved one action step at a time, and knowing what types of actions you’re gong to take because of that.
Of trusting, believing, and knowing that this too shall pass, that you’ll come out on the other side – better, stronger, wiser, and truer for it!!!
Which will lead you to…
SUCCESS If you don’t know where you want to go, or what that even looks like, then you’re not going to get there.
The word “success” really has so many different meanings and definitions to each and every one of us, if we allow it to. The problem is, most of us confine ourselves to adopt without question the most prevalent, popular, and accepted definitions of it, without even giving ourselves the opportunity to truly define it for ourselves.
It’s precisely why so many of us do everything “right”, everything we’re supposed to do, and everything we’ve been taught will bring us that accepted generic definition of success.
We accomplish so much, we achieve and acquire a lot, and yet –why do so many of us so often feel empty, drained, stressed, anxious, unhappy, and sometimes just plain miserable – despite all that???
The answer isn’t because that’s life, and life sucks. And it’s definitely NOT because you’re not good enough and you suck (though that’s typically the Mindset most of us tend to go to).
I think the answer has a lot to do with this point of Success on that circle, and how it relates back, and is founded upon, every other point too.
I think the answer is often because we haven’t allowed ourselves (and honored ourselves by doing so) to truly tap into our Self, our Mindset, our Actions, and how we Overcome shit, to know how we define what Success really even is, for us!
And, by the way, your definition may actually end up being identical or at least very similar to the generally held one. And that’s totally fine and great (not that you need me to approve it for you).
The difference though, is that you’ll know that it’s yours! It’ll be based on your Self, and everything that flows from that – your truth, your values, your beliefs, your actions, your grit, your resilience, and your Sisu!
It’ll be based on your Self, your Mindset, your Action, how you Overcome stuff, and your Success!
So you’ll feel that your entire life – everything you do, your perspective, your achievements, your mistakes, and your wins – match up with that definition.
And because of that, you’ll feel less of the anxious, tired, depressed, and unfulfilled feelings, and way more of the excited, impassioned, determined, joyful, confident, empowered, inspired, and SISU feelings instead!
And that, my friend, is what Seizing Your Passion is all about. That’s what Sisu is about. And, that’s what life is about!!!!
So, go forth with Sisu, my friend. Do more of what you love, be more of who you love, and Seize Your Passion!
“Seize Your Passion,” as an ethos and as a philosophy, is largely about coming home to yourself.
So what does that really mean?
Well, if seizing your passion is about doing what you love and being who you love in a way that empowers you to go after your dreams, become the best version of you, and literally create your most magnificent, joyful, meaningful, and successful life, then first – you have to know what it is that youtruly love, you have to know what your dreams really are, and you have to know how you define, for yourself, what that magnificent, joyful, meaningful, and successful life looks like.
It sounds obvious. It sounds simple. But, how many of us really, and I mean really – honestly, vulnerably, and truly – do that?!
Even when we’re so sure that we do, but we’re not even aware that we really don’t. (That was me for a long time).
Here’s the thing – in order to truly know what you want and why you want it, which is the starting point for going after whatever “it” is, before you can even do that in any true and authentic way, you first need to understand your truth: your values, your beliefs, your desires, your standards.
But they have to be your own. They can’t be the ones that were put on you, even if you openly embraced them. Being aware, questioning, and then discovering for yourself whether they really are your own or not is paramount.
Live Your Truth!I can’t say it enough, and I won’t ever stop. Because living your truth is such a foundational, fundamental piece of what it means to truly seize your passion, to realize your dreams, and to become your best self!
What it means to truly know and understand yourself, your desires, your goals, your values, your beliefs, and what you really want out of life – how you define your success, your happiness, and your dreams. It’s truly the foundational and fundamental piece for literally creating and actually living your life.
“People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” – Thomas Merton
One way to explore that is doing more of what you love NOT for the outwardly rewards it will bring you, NOT for the end results it may produce, BUT RATHER for the love of it itself. Plain and simple.
That’s not meant to say that you shouldn’t or can’t seek or want outwardly rewards too. We live in this world, and we’re human, and like everything else – it’s not one or the other. It’s both.
But, if we’re talking about truly seizing your passion, realizing your dreams, and becoming your best self, then maybe we should also consider thinking about “success” and “happiness” not always as the end goal, the way we’ve been cultivated and taught to think about it.
Maybe we should consider thinking about the real end goal as fulfilling your personal legend, as living your truth, as expressing yourself in the world in the way you were meant to do, as realizing your dreams, your purpose, and attaining meaning and fulfillment in this one life we were given!!!
It so happens that the by-product of those end goals inevitably bring success and happiness with them. You know this, we all do. And yet we forget to live by it, and act accordingly.
“Don’t aim at success – the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue…as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a course greater than oneself.” – Viktor Frankl
I challenge you to think of something you love to do simply because you love doing it. Not because it will bring you success, approval, recognition, praise, or status.
“How may activities can you count in your life that you engage in simply because they delight in and grip your soul? Find them out, cultivate them, for they are your passport to freedom and love.“ – Anthony DeMello
We pursue intrinsic values when we do something solely because we love it. We pursue extrinsic values when we chase status, recognition, approval, and material gains.
And even all of us who aren’t money-chasing, greedy, shallow bastards- if we’re being completely honest with ourselves, we’re all pretty extrinsically motivated, to some degree or another.
We all care about what other people think of us, we care about societal norms, and what’s considered “good” or “smart” or “impressive” according to our culture. And that’s normal, that’s ok, and it’s also what makes us human.
But it’s not ok when it’s out of balance, and completely overpowers and overrides our intrinsic values and motivations. (It’s no secret, by the way, that the prevalence of social media in our lives today only exacerbates our extrinsic motivations and dampens our intrinsic ones with its current direction and focus on competition, comparison, and winning approval – but that’s an entirely different conversation).
And we’re smart. We’re deep. We know that none of those extrinsic goals bring lasting fulfillment or even lasting happiness. We know that when we pursue intrinsic goals – the pursuits and activities that bring us inner joy, laughter, peace, love, energy, and yes- that light up our passion- that’s the stuff that life is meant to be made of!!! Right?! We know this.
And we’re grounded too. We get it. No one’s saying- ignore your responsibilities, don’t work hard, forget about money, or disregard your ego-centric desires to become successful. No.
But, what I am saying is that maybe we should start paying as much attention, devoting as much time, energy, and strategy into all the pursuits and activities that serve those intrinsic values too, just as we do our extrinsic ones.
Maybe we should start doing more of what we love, what makes us smile, laugh, and cry (the good kind of crying), spend more time with people that lift us up, play more, dance more, sing more, whatever it may be that you love doing just because you love doing it.
More doing what you love because you love it.
And again, the irony here is that once we do start doing that – we discover that our extrinsic goals actually come along with it too.
Partly because how you do anything affects how you do everything; and because every aspect of your life affects every aspect of your life. Because we are holistic beings. Just like when you change any one part, however small, of a system, organism, or an organization, you change the whole at the same time. Because you can’t compartmentalize and separate one part from another, as much as we like to do that.
And partly because our daily, on their own seemingly innocuous, behaviors and thoughts actually create our life over time.
“Every pebble of thought — no matter how inconsequential — creates endless ripples of consequence. This idea, coined the butterfly effect by Edward Lorenz came from the metaphorical example of a hurricane being influenced by minor signals – such as the flapping of the wings of a distant butterfly – several weeks earlier. Little things become big things. When one area of your life is out of alignment, every area of your life suffers….Conversely, when you improve one area of your life, all other areas are positively influenced.” – Benjamin Hardy
“Our hourly thoughts and acts, each in itself apparently of no moment, in time build our foundations and erect thereon our life’s structure.” – B.C. Forbes
And it shouldn’t be work versus play. Dreams versus reality. idealism versus practicality. Those are all false opposing constructs we’ve all bought into. It’s both! It’s always both!!! Work hard, yes. But play hard too. Dream huge, and make those dreams fit into your reality and make them real. Stay true to your ideals, and strategize them so they become useful and practical. Do what you love and also pay the price of pain and suffering that will come with that. All these things lead to lasting and true meaning and fulfillment.
“The Master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. he hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.” – Zen Buddhist Text
For me, all of that (and still so much more) is what it really means to come home to yourself.
As always, Do more of what you love and be more of who you love!!! #SeizeYourPassion!
When you believed so wholeheartedly and with such…almost-arrogant certainty that you could? That it wasn’t even a question of if, but only when?!
Whatever “conquering the world” meant or means to you, it doesn’t matter. You knew you would achieve your dreams.
Because you believed you could.
And at the end of the day, after all is said and done, that’s really what it comes down to.
Here’s the thing though…. Even though it’s 2019!!!! And, even though most of us live in a land of opportunity!!! And even though we’re soooo fortunate in soooo many ways, and so much more enlightened than ever before in lots of other ways –
We also live in a time, a culture, and a society that in many ways denies us our undeniable, inalienable, and inherent right to our dreams!
Without our even realizing it, we are shaped to believe that our dreams don’t matter; and in essence, to believe that we don’t matter.
It’s not like we’re aware of this shaping. We’re not. And it’s not like it happens in one moment or even in one day. It doesn’t. And for 90% of us, it’s not like someone ever came up to us and said flat-out, directly, in those blunt terms: “Your dreams don’t matter. You don’t matter.” For most of us, they didn’t.
If any of that were the case, it would’ve been much easier to defend and fight against.
But, that denial of our birthright to our dreams (and it isour birthright!!!); that denial and that shaping of us to not believe in our dreams, to believe instead that our dreams don’t matter and in essence that we don’t matter – it’s way smarter, way more seductive, insidious, and manipulative than that.
And often, even the messengers themselves of that lie are the ones that love us, that mean us well, and that truly want the best for us. They too are just as unaware as we are….
And it’s fed to us little by little, over time, neatly and beautifully wrapped in practical, rational, responsible, sane, smart, and such justifiable gift boxes. How could we possibly resist???
Until one day we wake up, and that feeling of certainty, passion, and determination is stifled and smothered and suffocated by all of it.
And then we, in turn, justify it by labeling it as our own fears, or simply as us being realistic, humble, selfless, or whatever other so-called “mature”, “virtuous”, and “self-aware” disguised flavor of very-adult-like-ice-cream you prefer.
I’m convinced that’s what Henry David Thoreau meant when he said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
Only once we become aware, and allow ourselves to see which of those packaged boxes convinced us to slowly but surely let go of our dreams, forget them, disregard them, minimize them, and ultimately just let them die; and by doing so, let our belief in ourselves die along with them – only then can we begin to resist that, and start fighting for ourselves again! And for our dreams!
Maybe start by asking yourself genuinely, sincerely, thoughtfully, vulnerably, and truthfully – “What are your dreams?” Just that question alone has the power to reignite your belief, your passion, and the real YOU!! And to literally change the trajectory of your life, if you allow it to.
AND – here’s the really inspiring, awesome, and positive part :-))))
When we do that, when we tap back into that time, and back into that part of ourselves, when we knew we were going to conquer the world, and we were filled with passion, and nothing and no one was going to stop us; when we remember our dreams, when we validate them, and allow ourselves to get re-acquainted with them, and start spending some quality time with them –
Then we start to love them again. And from there, we start to get impassioned again. And from there, we start to believe in our dreams again. Until finally, when we believe in our dreams, we believe in ourselves. And when we believe in ourselves, we believe in our dreams!!!
And that’s the moment our dreams actually become achievable!
And when you start to work on your dreams and take action on achieving them, in whatever small way, and at whatever pace you do, as long as it’s consistent, that’s the moment you define yourself for yourself!! And no longer let others do it for you.
And that is EVERYTHING!!!!!!!
You have the power to achieve your dreams!!! That power comes from what you believe about yourself and what your expectations are for yourself!
You have what it takes to achieve your own dreams in your own life!! It starts with believing in yourself again. Believing in your dreams again. And remembering when….
As always, do more of what you love and be more of who you love!
Jennifer Lopez gets real, raw, and emotional as she talks about how she relates to her character in the film Second Act, how sometimes our mistakes lead us to our purpose, and most importantly – the power of believing in yourself. #SeizeYourPassion!
The lessons from Lopez’s latest film can power you to new levels of success and happiness.
For anyone who’s ever been told they weren’t enough, felt stigmatized by their life choices, or simply felt they don’t fit in, Jennifer Lopez’s latest film Second Act is for you. The comedy urges all of us — especially women — to break free from unhealthy societal pressures and expectations.
The story follows Maya (Lopez), a self-described “street smart” Bronx-native who’s worked at a big-box grocery store for 15 years. With hard work and savvy, she’s helped the retail giant improve profits and boost customer satisfaction, but is passed over for a promotion — on her 40th birthday, no less! — which goes to a far less effective employee, who has had the privilege of a formal education from a fancy school. Her disappointment is exacerbated by the fact that she’s not where she’d hope to be in her life. A secret from her past haunts her and stymies her ability to move forward with her boyfriend Trey (played by This Is Us’s Milo Ventimiglia), who wants to start a family, and her lack of higher education limits her career prospects.
To help soothe her birthday blues and grant her wish, her best friend’s gifted son, who’s on his way to Stanford University on a Google scholarship, secretly creates a false online profile for her indicating that she graduated from Harvard, as well as the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, and speaks fluent Mandarin, which gets her an interview — and an executive-level consultant position — at a huge cosmetics company. There, she undertakes an impossible challenge — to create a totally organic face cream that will boost profits, all in 10 weeks. Along the way, she figures out who she is in a movie that crackles with important life lessons like these:
Use your self-doubt to propel your success
In a world that feeds women the message that they’re not thin enough, attractive enough, smart enough, strong enough, Maya (like many of us) struggles with self-doubt. The movie opens on the morning she heads to work to make a case for her promotion. In a romantic scene between her and her longtime beau, Trey, he reiterates his faith in her: “The only thing stopping you is you.” While that’s not entirely true — she’s skipped over for the promotion because she doesn’t have a degree — she does (in an epic scene) challenge her boss’s assertion that her well-educated co-worker is the best man for the job. “No sir,” she says, “I am.”
It’s not shocking that it took her years to understand her worth. Several studies confirm a “confidence gap” between men and women, where men are far more inclined to ask for raises and promotions than their female counterparts. But other research shows that we can use our uncertainty to propel our professional success and personal growth. Challenging ourselves to take risks beyond our comfort zones, gives us the opportunity to grow our skill set and confidence, as Maya eventually does.
Aim higher than you thought possible
“A lie got you in the door, but you got yourself the job, baby.” That’s what Maya’s best friend, Joan (played by Leah Remini, whose impeccable comic timing and relatability is reason alone to see this movie) tells her, as she repeatedly slaps Maya’s face, enthusing: “Who’s the champ? Who’s the champ? You’re the champ!” The movie takes “fake it till you make it” to wild new heights, as Maya trips (and gets back up) repeatedly during her 10 week stint as a consultant for the beauty company. While no one should fabricate their educational and professional histories to increase their job prospects, the underlying message is to brave the challenge of rising above the familiar and comfortable to reach new levels of self development.
Find your truth
For her first day of work as a high-powered consultant, Maya dons an outfit that’s decidedly not her. Luckily, Joan is there to remind her (throughout the film, really) who she is: “You need to wear anything other than that,” she says. “You look like Mrs. Doubtfire.” Heeding her friend’s advice, Maya throws on a number that’s true to herself and appropriate — and pure fire. It’s important to bring your whole self to work, and that includes clothes that authentically communicate your truth. In another key scene, when Joan sees Maya losing herself in the fiction created for her online, she says: “Don’t confuse this Facebook thing with who you really are.” Through a bundle of missteps and misfires, Maya eventually finds her way back to herself — and that’s when her life really starts to take off in all the right ways.
Heed these words from J.Lo herself: Don’t give up
At a panel to promote Second Act, which also featured Thrive Global’s founder and CEO Arianna Huffington, Jennifer Lopez broke down how she manifested her dreams. When everyone told her her talent wasn’t enough, she told the crowd, “I just kept going. You ask me what I did? Despite the hurt and the pain, I just kept going. I couldn’t allow myself to let that become who I was. It’s like, ‘No, I’m going to make another record; I’m going to make another song; I’m going to make another movie and I did. And that’s all I did…I kept going.” After working hard and forging ahead, she added, “I started believing in the fact that I wasn’t an impostor, that I wasn’t a fake, that there was a reason I kept doing this and people kept hiring me.”
Reject the naysaying voices and keep moving in the direction of your dreams. You’ll get there.