Inspiring YOUR Greatness: 9 Proven Steps
for Life Success
I’ve written various iterations of this book over the years. As we live and learn, we grow. I don’t know about you but I have certainly learned and grown in ways I never imagined possible; particularly over the last few years. In this new and improved publication, I go deeper with my Inspiring Greatness: 9 Proven Steps for Life Success book. For some, pieces of this chapter come from previous book editions. This is intentional:-)
How do you define success? Some people equate success with health. For some, success is about strong relationships, career trajectory and building a strong legacy. For others, success means money; big houses, cars, latest technology gadgets, boats, and the like. I define success as living my blessing and sharing my passion, gifts and talents with the world as I am here to do. This includes all aspects of life. I believe if we all do this, we will celebrate a beautiful and bountiful harvest; however we define it.
“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”
~ Maya Angelo
I have incorporated these 9 steps in my life and find that applying them consistently brings long-term results. I admit that sometimes I allowed life stressors to get me off track. Can you relate to starting something you knew was good for your well being and stopped after a period of time? I think we’ve all done this a time or two with the proverbial ‘New Year’s resolutions’. How many of you let fear stop you from doing something you love or think you would love? Do you sometimes feel you play it ‘safe’ through life like you are living on the sidelines?
Have you ever been so crazy busy with work that the things you know you should be doing fall by the wayside? Sometimes it’s the job demands. Sometimes it’s our wanting to earn more money so we work and work and work. Let me ask you this. If you work outside the home today and you were demoted in title and/or money, how would you react? You would likely feel a lot of emotions not the least of which is anger! Consider this. It is amazing how our conscious mind can get the better of us sometimes. It can be hard to separate what we do for a living from our self- esteem. If you’ve ever talked to someone who has been laid off, you know how devastating it can be for his or her self-confidence. At the end of the day, I keep this in perspective by giving thanks for everything in my life and understanding that everything happens for a reason and that every experience is needed for my growth. In my experience, most people who have been laid off reported later that the best of their life happened afterwards. Yes, there were hills to climb but it was that ‘nudge’ they needed to pursue their passion and dreams.
Some questions I have for you to ponder:
- What must you accomplish now or nothing else matters?
- What is that one thing you are putting off that you know will make a difference in your day, your life and for those around you?
- If today was all you had, who would you call?
- How would you feel if you left nothing undone? What is stopping you?
This book about you and your personal development. It is about personal power, perspective and attitude. It is about giving you the tools to see things differently than you do today or to remember something you knew but perhaps strayed away from for one reason or another. Sometimes, we know what we can do to lead a more powerful life yet the hustle and bustle of daily living can get in the way. I have learned and applied these tips along my journey and have seen dramatic results in my life. If you can take away one tip that will make a difference for you then I’ve done my job!
Make each day focused on what truly matters in your life.
CHAPTER ONE ~ STAND IN YOUR POWER
Have you ever achieved something you worked really hard for? Have you ever wanted something so much you could almost taste it? If you have been in this state of receiving, most likely you were in a position of positive personal power and had the right attitude! Have you ever felt 10 feet tall because you were so proud of yourself? Have you ever had someone take advantage of you? Have you ever felt like you didn’t have a voice? Do you know, feel and believe you are connected to your true self? In this chapter, we take a look at all these questions through the foundation of the power of the mind, our stories, mistakes and more!
The Power of the Mind
I really believe the mind is a very powerful thing! To demonstrate this point, I would like you to imagine putting a lemon in your mouth. Yes, a lemon. Taste the lemon, feel the lemon and smell the lemon. What physical reactions are you experiencing? If you are like most people, you are probably experiencing some physical sensations. Now, think about a time when you were really excited or angry about something. Really think about it and what it feels like to feel this emotion right now. Whether you picked a happy or angry situation, you are probably experiencing similar sensations: heart rate increase, blood pressure increase or other sensations. The key is to really FEEL what it feels like in this moment. While the sensations may be similar, the difference is your reaction to them and the effect on your mind. If you choose to hold a negative thought, your mind recognizes this thought and believes it to be true. Additionally, if you hold a negative thought that manifests itself through your physical body, it can affect your blood pressure; create ulcers, etc… over a period of time. If you choose happy thoughts, your mind also recognizes this and believes it to be true. So, why not choose thoughts that better serve you?
Have you ever heard the term “What the mind can believe, it can achieve”? I really believe this to be true and what the conscious mind believes sinks into the subconscious mind. Would you rather have more positive thoughts than negative ones? The subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between truth and lies. Marcus Aurelius Antonius said, “Our life is what our thoughts make it.
We have tens of thousands of thoughts daily and it can be extremely difficult to keep all thoughts positive. Making a conscious effort to give yourself kudos or telling yourself “I love you” may sound strange, but it can greatly assist and train your subconscious to have more positive thoughts. When you notice internal negative chatter, I like to say “cancel” and replace the negative with a positive.
The amount of “cancels” you say depends, in part, on whether you are a half glass kind of full or a glass half empty kind of person. Sounds simple yet some people choose for themselves and their lives to be more pessimistic and see the glass as half empty. I choose to see the glass as half full. I find when I do this I am open to opportunities and options that seem available to me that wouldn’t be otherwise, and conflict can be resolved so much easier. It’s almost as if everything works together in perfect concert for the good of all.
Our Circle of Thoughts – 5 ways we hurt ourselves and 5 things to consider when telling a ‘story’
Aristotle said “We Are What We Repeatedly Do”. I want to share with you the cycle that occurs with negative self-talk. Negative thoughts lead to developing a negative belief that does not serve you. This leads to negative or limiting habits, which creates similar experiences to further reinforce the cycle. This creates more experiences reinforcing these thoughts. You see, being the creatures of habit we are, we tend to allow this vicious cycle over and over and over again without realizing the effect this has on our mind.
Other things we do that hurt us include:
1. We look at things in black or white categories. There is no grey. Seeing things only in black or white limit us. Do you know anyone like this?
2. We view a singular negative event as the extreme ‘always’ and ‘never’ situation.
3. We think of the negatives and discount the positives. If someone gives us a compliment, we tend to discount it or respond with a quick compliment back. This takes away from you. When we say things like “oh, this old thing…” or “I really like your xxx” in response to a compliment. Comments like this hurt us and it takes away from sincere compliments people pay you.
4. We blow things out of proportion without looking at all the facts.
5. We see only our ‘story’ about what happened.
Our stories are pretty amazing. We can be attached to our stories, can’t we? Just think of a time when you were really excited about something and the person you were talking to about this awesomeness wasn’t as excited as you were about the situation and generally didn’t share your enthusiasm. What if you were talking on the phone and as you are sharing, you find silence on the other line. You find the person on the other line has muted you. Deflating, huh? Have you ever lost your passion for your story when this happens? If this has happened to you, it can throw you off balance for a bit and it can actually be hard to get excited about your story again. Have you ever talked to somebody about something when suddenly something happened to interrupt your flow of thought and you forgot what you were talking about? I’m sure this has happened to all of us as some time or another. I attended a conference once where one of our assignments was to talk to a partner about a story over and over and over and over and over again. Our job was to communicate the same story to this person over and over. This was such a powerful experience because eventually we lost our passion for our story and we became detached from it. The point of the exercise taught us that our story is simply our interpretation of what really happened and the truth or facts may be somewhere in the middle.
In workshops I facilitate on this topic, I have everyone spend a few minutes with a partner sharing something they are passionate about. After a bit, I ask the listeners to stop listening and do the complete opposite. That’s right! The listener’s job is to completely ignore the person talking. They are to look away, file their nails, check voice mails or do something, anything but listen. This accomplishes something similar in that the people sharing their story suddenly lose interest in their story or can get angry about not being heard. Either way, the passion is gone and it’s difficult to get back. It eventually becomes unimportant yet a few moments prior, they were so attached to their stories as if it was truly part of them. In another setting, groups of people were designated listeners and other groups were storytellers. They were to tell their story for two (2) minutes and move to the next listener and repeat their story over again and again and again. Something happens after about 20 times of telling our story… we tend to get tired of telling it! As such, we become detached from our story…even just a bit. Our stories are just that: stories. They are our interpretation of what happens in our lives. Sometimes, it is difficult to put things in perspective and our stories can consume us as we can be set in our ways of being.
The next time you want to tell a story, here are five (5) things to consider:
1. Is this the right story to tell and the appropriate audience to share your story with?
2. Is this the right time and place to tell your story?
3. Is this a story you are sharing multiple times with the same people? Better yet, is this your story to tell?
4. Is your story negative or is it uplifting?
5. How does telling this story serve you? How about those you share it with?
We all have stories to tell. Sometimes life brings us down and gives us situations that test us, grow and stretch us; all the while preparing us for the future. We can all learn from tragedies or traumas. After all, it’s from these deep, emotional experiences we can heal, connect, reinvent us and inspire others. Some stories create (and share) legacies. They are a way of connecting, learning and teaching. Remember, we think about what we are going to say before we say it (most of the time). We all have stories to tell. Make yours count!
The Power of Mistakes
Have you ever made a mistake? Do you view mistakes as something negative or positive? I think mistakes are absolutely necessary for our growth. Making the same mistake twice is another story, however! I prefer to think of mistakes, as opportunities and I like to look at the learning and opportunity in all mistakes. Some people view mistakes as failures but I think each perceived ‘failure’ takes us that much closer to success. There are countless examples of this in action. I don’t know if any invention would ever come to fruition if inventors stopped when they made a mistake. How long would you give the average baby to learn how to walk before you didn’t let him try any more? That is a ridiculous question, right? Why wouldn’t you apply this to yourself? All too often we are our own worst critics and we stop trying because we make a mistake or fail. What we really need to do is to remember our magnificence and realize that we are all winners. Seize opportunities, learn from mistakes, and be your own best friend by giving yourself the same support you would give others. I give thanks everyday for every experience and ask for the wisdom to learn what I need to take with me moving forward.
Bottom line, when we maintain a positive mindset and tap into our subconscious mind, we are standing in our power. This requires an inordinate amount of time for most to get to a place where our subconscious mind is in the driver’s seat, so to speak. When we embrace learning and see every experience as a teacher, we are standing in our power. When we are detached from our stories, we are standing in our power. When we use our voice, stand up for ourselves and command respect, we stand in our power. When everything we do seems to flow easily and effortlessly, we are standing in our power.
Each week, we’ll look at the following chapters making up 9 Proven Steps for Life Success.
CHAPTER TWO ~ FIND AND LIVE YOUR PASSION
CHAPTER THREE ~ LIVE CONSISTENTLY WITH YOUR VALUES
CHAPTER FOUR ~ 5 LIFE CHANGING STEPS TO FREEDOM
CHAPTER FIVE ~ IT’S ALL ABOUT BALANCE
CHAPTER SIX ~ BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND
CHAPTER SEVEN ~ 3 WAYS TO IGNITE HUMOR IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE
CHAPTER EIGHT ~ FOCUS ON YOUR FUTURE
CHAPTER NINE ~ HAVE FAITH
Here’s to standing in your power, empowered, with faith, trust and love.