In this 5 min video, I discuss the importance of having a vision for your life.
In this 5 min video, I discuss the importance of having a vision for your life.
I believe you have to know where you are, and where you’re going, before you can make a significant change in your life. The answers to these seven questions, can be used as a roadmap, to navigate you to where you want to be. If you haven’t consciously thought about this before, now is a great time to initiate the process, and to start living a life of purpose.
1. What do I really want? Sounds like a simple enough question, right? But, have you taking the time to think about what it is you really want? Most would probably say they want a new car, a bigger house, or a better job. For those who are committed to living a life of purpose the answer to this question should go a little deeper. Don’t get me wrong, those are great things to want, but you’re just skimming the surface. Dig a little deeper and really take time to discover your heart’s desire.
2. Should I really change? If you’re unhappy with the way things are in your life right now, why wouldn’t you want to change things? You have the power inside of you to change your life; now is the time to activate that power. Instead of doing what you’ve always done. Start by making small choices in a different way, eventually those new choices and decisions will create huge change in your life.
3. What’s the point to all of this? It’s your life! I know its a little cliché, but you only have one life to live, so LIVE it. It’s all in the way you see things. If you focus only on the negative things in your life, you’re going to continue to draw negativity to you. When you focus on the positive, even when things appear not to be going so well, you release the positive energy needed to turn that situation around. As your thoughts change, your attitude changes, and you’ll begin to see things in a new way.
4. Am I comfortable with what I’m doing? If you’re comfortable, you’re not living at your fullest capacity. Breakout of your comfort zone and stretch yourself. Do something you’ve never done before. Pick up a new hobby, enroll in a new class, or start that business you’ve been dreaming of. It’s not enough to go through life comfortable or just going through the motions. You should be passionate about what you’re doing.
5. Have I done enough for myself? When we neglect ourselves in our efforts to take care of everyone else it can be emotionally, mentally, spiritually and even physically draining. Take a step back and find some ME time. Do something that is just for you. Start to put your own well-being first, and soon you’ll be able to see yourself doing things you couldn’t have imagined before.
6. What motivates me? This can be a tough one. I believe when you know what motivates you; you know how far you’ll go to accomplish your dreams. That motivation ignites the fire which inflames the passion to accomplish whatever it is you’ve set your mind to. Only you will know what motivates you. Take time to explore this important question.
7. How much could I have? You can have as much or as little as you desire. It’s up to you. If you have a mentality that you’ll never have enough, you’ll continue to struggle. Don’t focus on what you don’t have, give thanks for what you do have and you’ll begin to see that you already have enough. Begin to envision the things you want and not just material things. But envision having peace in your life, envision your health improving, that your children are doing well, and you will have those things in your life.
This is not a complete list of those important questions you should be asking yourself. However, I hope these have started you thinking and provided a way to get you moving in the right direction.
What other questions can you add to the list? I would love to hear from you.
Thoughts? Questions? Please share in the comments below.
Image courtesy of Flickr
This week I was doing some research and came across this piece written by Dalai Lama, A to Zen of Life. I thought it was worth sharing with you, as it has some inspiring and empowering tips for living a life of purpose. If this is the first time you’ve seen it, take time to read each one or even print it out as I did. There is some great advice, wisdom and insight here. Enjoy!
Thoughts? Questions? Please share in the comments below.
There are many roads we can take in life. In fact, you’ve probably heard the saying, “That person is going down the wrong road.” Every choice and decision we make in life reveals a different road. Some time the road is smooth; sometimes it’s rocky, and often times it’s a long winding road. In life, there are roads that lead to happiness and success, and there are roads that lead to stress and disappointment.
During your travels, there will be times during the journey you come to a crossroad. At that moment, there are different roads stretched ahead of you and many directions you can take. You may not know where those roads will lead. But, you know you have to choose one, or you’ll stay stuck at the intersection.
There are no guarantees in life.
You won’t know where a road will lead until you make the decision to take it. No one said that choosing to do the right thing all the time would always lead you to happiness. Loving someone with all your heart does not guarantee they will love you in return. Success does not guarantee happiness. The only thing you have the power to control is the decisions you will make, and how you act and react to those different choices.
Hindsight is 20/20
We can look back at some of the wrong decisions we’ve made in life and see where we went wrong. But, if you knew then, what you know now, would you have made that same decision? Probably not, but you also would have missed the valuable lesson you learned along the way. By choosing that road, you gained knowledge that would prevent you from making the same mistake twice.
Take a risk
Life offers no guarantee. You won’t know if you’ve made the wrong choice until you actual make it, so you might as well, make the choice and take the risk. It is definitely better than staying stuck where you are. You’re taking a chance, but that road could be the one which leads you to the opportunity, to live the life you’ve always dreamed of. Taking risks is not about being reckless or making haphazard decisions. You still need to get as much information as you can about a situation before you walk into it. Weigh the pros and cons of every option and finally, trust yourself. Trust, that you are making the right decision based on the information you have at the time.
The most important thing is you’ve chosen to live instead of remaining a bystander or passive audience to your own life. Whether it’s the right decision or not, only time will tell. But, don’t regret it, whatever the outcome. Instead, learn from the experience and remember you always have the chance to make another choice.
Change is a natural part of growth. Yet it is so hard for many of us to embrace the changes that would promote growth in our mental, emotional and spiritual lives. Despite the benefits of growing in these areas we spend the majority of our lives resisting the changes we need to make; in essence, stunting our growth.
The biggest resistance to change is FEAR of the Unknown. We come to that place where we want to desperately make a change. We are not happy where we are and with our circumstances but we’re afraid to move forward into the new, the unknown.
Fear in itself is not entirely bad; after all it keeps us from rushing into dangerous situations. That same fear can also keep us from fulfilling our purpose. Fear places limitations on our lives by restricting the things we do and will try. Fear is the root of the excuses we tell ourselves. “I don’t have enough money,” “I don’t know how to do that,” or “I don’t have enough experience.” Fear breeds lack. As long as we are afraid to try something new, to make changes in our lives, we will remain where we are.
The unknown is a place we are unfamiliar with, it is a place that is beyond our current knowledge and experience, strange and unfamiliar place. Yet, the unknown is filled with the promise of opportunities and unlimited possibilities. It is for those exact reasons fear does not want you to step into the place of the unknown. Fear knows that if you take that first step, it is defeated.
You can overcome and defeat fear with action. Each day take a small step toward achieving your goals. Once you’ve taken that first step, you realize it wasn’t as hard as you thought, so you take another, then another, then another, and soon you’ll see you’re much closer to accomplishing your goal and fulfilling your purpose. When you see the first signs of your success it is then you’ll look back and wonder what you were so afraid of in the first place.
“Perhaps our highest need as human beings is not just to survive but to thrive by using our God-given gifts in pursuit of our life’s purpose.” Unknown
I can’t say it enough; every one of us was created with a purpose (divine destiny.) Everything that we need to fulfill this purpose is already on the inside of us. However, most of us struggle, with understanding, finding, and moving forward in the completion of our divine assignment. We’ve become complacent just going through the motions instead of living the life we were created to live. We are dissatisfied with our jobs and relationships. We feel burned out, beat up and unfulfilled.
Yet, something within you calls out for more.
One of the best books I’ve read about discovering your purpose is The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. In his book, Rick talks about discovering your purpose through your SHAPE.
Your S.H.A.P.E is comprised of your:
Spiritual Gifts- These gifts were given to you by God. You can’t buy or earn these gifts; they were freely given because of God’s love for you. Guess what? No one else in the world has your specific set of gifts; they are unique to you, yet, they are not for your benefit, but for you to use to benefit others.
Heart- Your heart is the truest reflection of who you are. Your heart knows what you love to do and what you care the most about. Your heart knows why you say the things you do and why you feel the way you feel. Your heart instinctively knows the things you care about and what you don’t. The things that excite and interest you are clues to your purpose.
Abilities- Your abilities are the things you do naturally. The things you do without thinking about them. We are all good at something. It could be something artistic, athletic, or scientific. Are you good with numbers, speaking, encouraging others, teaching, writing, sales? Your list of abilities is endless. Take some time to write down what you’re good at and what you’re not so good at.
Personality- You‘re unique; there is and will never be, anyone else like you. Some people are more outgoing while others are more reserved. Some people thrive off of excitement and others enjoy a quieter life. Some people like being front and center and others prefer working behind the scenes. Whatever your personality it’s the perfect one to fulfill you purpose. That’s why it’s so important not to try and be like someone else. You need to be yourself in order to fulfill your purpose.
Experiences- Whether good or bad every experience you’ve had has molded you into who you are. In your family experience; what did you learn? In your educational experiences; what subjects interested you the most? In your career, what jobs did you enjoy the most and why? In your spiritual experience, what has been your most meaningful time with God? What have you learned from the pains, hurts and trials in your life?
If you’re struggling to find your purpose, take a moment to really understand your S.H.A.P.E. I believe it’s a great start to discovering who you were created to be.
One of my closest friends made me smile today; not because he did something for me, but because he did something for himself. He made a decision that I KNOW he wanted to make for a very long time – years, in fact. But, like many of us, he allowed the distractions of life to get in the way. Notice my choice in words here – I did not say the distractions of life got in the way. I said; he allowed the distractions of life to get in the way. He freely admits this. But, not only does he admit it, he recognizes it as a problem in his life and has finally realized that it’s time to take action. Now he is well on his way to fulfilling the dream he’s always wanted, and this time, he will allow nothing and no one to distract him.
This is a leap year, which we only see once every 4 years. It got me to thinking about “Leaps of Faith”…
How often do we actually have the courage to take a leap into our dreams and go the extra mile to fulfill them? While we always hear that not every leap of faith guarantees a soft, fluffy landing, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try, right? Sometimes we have to take that leap anyway just to see what awaits us at the end. Otherwise, we’ll spend our whole lives wondering.
Dreams are hard. If they were easy, we’d all be living them out. They take time, energy, hard work, determination, loyalty and commitment. Not everyone WILL fully commit themselves. But, EVERYONE has what it takes. What separates those who actually realize their dreams is the ability to turn obstacles into opportunities.
Nobody knows this more than I do. Believe me, my friends, I have been diverted from my path so many times, I actually ended up where I started more times than I can count. If life was a Monopoly board; I would be a millionaire from the number of times I have passed ‘Go’ to collect $200. At times, I let the smallest distraction become a monster of an obstacle. I’ve thrown my arms up in the air many times threatening to give up. Luckily, I never did!
I eventually came to realize that a journey this difficult MUST be worth the travels. So, I carried on, and it’s been worth every step. Obstacles are only obstacles if we allow them to be, and people/events/ideas will only get in the way of our dreams if we give them the power to do so. Otherwise, the POWER is all in us.
So, this leap year, let’s take more Leaps of Faith. After all, a Leap of Faith requires Faith, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” Need I say more?
Until we meet again,
Each of us has a course in life that we are to follow. The length of this course is different for all of us, yet each one has a starting line and a finish line. How we run this course or whether we stay on course is solely up to us. But, you have to run your race; otherwise you’ll never know how far you can go.
Don’t live a life filled with regrets or with unfulfilled promises. Run your race and live a life of purpose. Whatever your purpose may be, only you can fulfill it. It is different for everyone, so don’t compare your life to someone else’s and don’t compare your purpose to anyone else’s. You are uniquely you and only you can complete your race.
Enter your race with preparation and training. Prepare by evicting negative mindsets. You know the ones that tell you what you can’t do and why you shouldn’t do it. You kick F.E.A.R to the curb to overcome those excuses which have kept you stuck. Replace those thoughts with words of victory. I can do this! My race has already been won! You may have already had some practice runs. Those times you started out but couldn’t quite finish, it’s okay. Those times were just training, building up your endurance for the actual race.
As you move forward one step at a time. Keep your vision in front of you. See it often, live it in every detail of your mind. Don’t allow your thoughts to cause you to forget or to distract you. Don’t give up or quit!
You may not know when it will happen, just trust that it will happen, and it will!
Maintain a good attitude even when it seems the race isn’t going well or in your favor. Keep your goals in front of you. Keep running! Stay focused!
Run your race with focus and perseverance. See the finish line ahead of you. Don’t get distracted by those running beside you; if you turn to look, you’re likely to stumble or get off course. Sometimes you’ll pull ahead, and other times you’ll fall behind. Keep running! Feel the adrenaline (your passion), pumping through you, giving you that extra boost you need to jump those hurdles. At times, you will sprint with a burst of speed giving it everything you have. At other times, it’s like a cross country race. Mile after mile, over smooth and rough terrain but keep forging ahead you’ll eventually cross that finish line.
You’ll have fans on the sidelines. Some will cheer you on, some will want to join your race, and others will be there secretly hoping you fall. Your race is your race. Only you can run it!
If you finish your race, you’ve set the stage and cleared the way for someone else to enter their own race.
You are destined to leave your unique mark on someone’s life, your community, or even the world. You won’t know how your life can impact someone else’s until you enter the race.
Now, Run Forrest Run!…(I couldn’t resist)
Today, I was prompted to display my accomplishments on a table located in my living-room in acknowledgment and gratitude to God for the gifts and talents He has bestowed on me. As I was reflecting, it dawned on me that most of my success has been achieved after the age 40. I wrote and published my first book, “The Art of Forgiving” at 45, wrote and produced my stage play, “A Change Is Gonna Come” at 47, became a best-selling author with my second book, “Know Your Worth (Overcoming the Dragon of Low Self-Esteem)” and receive a “Best Director” award at 50, there is no stopping me! I say that to say; it’s never too late to achieve your dreams. If you can dream it–you can achieve it! Dream bigger, dream better, stretch beyond your wildest imagination, visualize farther than your eyes can see!
The only stumbling-block standing between you and your dreams is your FAITH – not your age; not your race; not your social status; not your employment; not your children: not your finances; (Come on, let’s hear it, what other list of excuses do you have that I have not stated here?) — Your stumbling block is your FAITH! If you truly “Believe”, then you CAN “Achieve”!
OK, I agree, “Timing is essential.” But timing doesn’t supersede goal planning and preparation. Many opportunities are missed because proper planning was not initiated. When opportunity knocked, many were not prepared to answer. When the time comes…will you be ready?
Many times God is waiting for you to “open your mouth.” Psalm 81:10b states, “Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” Which equates to, “Ask, and it shall be given (Matthew 7:7a). My last point of validation is that maybe “you have not, because you ask not.” (James 4:2b). Don’t be afraid to speak your dreams. I’m often declaring and proclaiming that my stage play, “A Change Is Gonna Come” will be on Broadway! I also say that I am going to win a Tony award. I am not afraid to speak my dreams and work towards it as I speak it.
Again, I reiterate, it’s never too late, and I might add you’re never too young either to achieve your dreams. We need MORE young entrepreneurs, as well. We should be training them up right NOW! NOW, is the appointed time! NOW is the season! What are you waiting for? Pursue your dreams!
Now, I want you to start a journal. Start writing down your dreams, desires, and goals. Visualize it! Believe It! Activate It! Achieve It! As my mentor, Tyler Perry says, “Dream Bigger!”