Archive for February, 2010

17 feb

A Deeper Side of Avatar

mike_robbinsLike millions of people around the world, I recently saw the new James Cameron film Avatar. While I was blown away by the visual beauty, the out-of-this world effects, and the revolutionary technology of the movie, it was the deeper message of Avatar that had the biggest impact on me.

As someone who sometimes arrogantly criticizes “mainstream” culture for being too shallow or not “getting it,” I was both humbled and inspired watching this film – knowing that its direct and indirect messages of awareness and interconnectedness are not only being shown to millions all over the world, but that there is an intense hunger and desire for them (as evidenced by its record-breaking success).

As a culture we are waking up on so many levels. With all that is going on in our country and our world these days, many of us are asking deeper, more meaningful questions about life, work, money, relationships, peace, our planet, and so much more. Many of these important issues were addressed directly and profoundly in Avatar. When I left the theatre, not only did I feel that I’d just seen an incredible movie, I felt as though my life had been impacted and altered in a positive way.

The film is a wake-up call – reminding us of the dangers of greed, unconsciousness, disconnection, insensitivity, violence, and arrogance, both globally and personally. It’s also a bold call for each of us to re-connect with that which is most sacred to us, to focus on what truly matters, and to remember how connected we are to each other, all living beings, and the environment in which we live.

Three of the most important messages we can take away from Avatar and use in our own life, work, and relationships are:

1) Honor the sacred – A central theme of the film is the way in which the Na’vi (the native species of the moon Pandora where the story takes place) honor the sacredness of their land – specifically Hometree (where they live) and the Tree of Souls (where they worship). They have a deep sense of reverence for these important places and for all of Pandora.

How well do you honor your own space? How much reverence do you hold for where you live, where you work, where you eat, the planet, and more? So often we forget that the “sacredness” of any place is more about how we relate to it, than about the space itself. We have the ability to bring a sense of sacredness to anywhere we are, at any time.

2) Connect with Spirit – The Na’vi worship a mother goddess called Eywa. Eywa is the center of the Na’vi’s universe and their reverence for her is displayed in a beautiful and palpable way throughout the film. In all that the Na’vi do, there is a direct connection back to their relationship with Eywa. There are breathtaking scenes in the film showing large groups of Na’vi chanting and praying around the Tree of Souls – as a way to honor, connect with, and access Eywa’s power, wisdom, and love.

How consciously do you connect with Spirit in your own life? We often get so busy that we don’t take the time to connect with Spirit in a deliberate and meaningful way in our daily lives. We also sometimes get too caught up in the external – thinking we have to go to a specific service or gathering, practice a particular form of prayer or meditation, or do something else externally in order to tap into our connection to Spirit. While any of these practices can be important, none of them are necessary – we can connect with Spirit at any time, in any place, and for any reason.

3) Remember our interconnectedness – The way the Na’vi live in harmony with their land and all living creators is one of the most profound and awe-inspiring elements of Avatar. There is a deep respect and appreciation for all living creators and for all elements of nature that the Na’vi truly embody. A great example of this is how the Na’vi warriors bond with their Banshees (the four-winged creatures they fly around on). Once they bond – which they do both physically and energetically – they are bonded for life and work together as one. The first few scenes in the film where we see the Na’vi warriors connect with their Banshees literally took my breath away and had a visceral impact on me as I sat in the theater.

How consciously interconnected do you feel towards other people, living creatures, and our planet in your daily life? It’s so easy for us to get caught up in the illusion of separateness – we think, talk, and are reminded of all the ways in which we are different, disconnected, and isolated from one another, living creators, and the earth all the time. However, most of us have had experiences in our lives where we’ve felt a deep sense of interconnectedness – not just with people we know and love, but with all of life. In those moments, we’ve seen, felt, and touched the depth of our true nature. When we consciously tap into this, we remember that at the deepest level – we are all one.

Avatar is a film that not only broke new ground in film making technology, visual effects, and box-office success – it’s a movie that challenges us in a personal way to remember who we really are and why we’re truly here.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on February 17th, 2010 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

14 feb

What is Your Masterpiece?

JayForteWhen most people think of the word masterpiece, they think of a painting by Degas, Rembrandt or even Warhol. Many think of da Vinci’s Mona Lisa or Botticelli’s Primavera. But a masterpiece just means great work. What is your personal masterpiece?

Here is my perspective. Each of us has specific talents and gifts – attributes uniquely created in us. Some are great with details and solving challenges, others are exceptional listeners, relationship builders or have spiritual insight. Some are artistic and some can write. Some can invent and some are extraordinary teachers. Each of us has the ability to create our personal masterpiece – our great work.

Many people know of Michelangelo’s masterpieces, The David and The Pieta. Though they are extraordinary, I feel his finest works are The Slaves – 3 sculpted male forms aggressively struggling to be released from the stone. They are his finest works because they represent what he believed to be to be the role of the sculptor – not to create a sculpture, but rather to release from the stone what was already in it.

The point is you have a masterpiece in you – waiting to be released. You are the sculptor. But to be released, you need to know yourself – the talents, strengths and passions you have – you need to know what to release. Here’s how:

  1. List what you are great at. What comes naturally? What do others say you are great at? What do you seem to have great success doing?
  2. List what you are passionate about. What gets you excited, energized and fired up? What could you do all day and never look at the clock?
  3. Review your lists. Where do they intersect? What are you good at and love doing? These are your masterpiece areas. These are your areas of greatest performance, greatest impact and most significant contribution.

The more connected and self-aware you are, the clearer your masterpiece areas will become. The world needs you as you are. Don’t try to force it or to be what others insist you be; instead, play to the talents, strengths and passions that are part of the deeper or “true you.” When you understand yourself, you will see your masterpiece emerge. Then it will be your responsibility to learn how to fully “release it” as Michelangelo did in his work. Release your best – the world needs it.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual and the on-line resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to work strong and live stronger. More information at www.LiveFiredUp.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jay Forte on February 14th, 2010 in Uncategorized | No comments

14 feb

Sludge, Flow and Hallelujah: You ARE Creative

“What is the source of our first suffering?
It lies in the fact that we hesitated to speak.
It was born the moment we accumulated silent things within us.”
~Gaston Bachelard

::

I’ve been a creativity catalyst now for seven years. At least, that is, professionally.

What’s a creativity catalyst, you ask? A sparker. An illuminator. A mirror. A container. A lover.

For my entire life, I’ve been creative. I’m not talking artistic. I’m talking creative. I’m talking the most basic ability of every living being – the ability to express the impulse that is life itself. It’s just nature. Like the seed as it grows into what it is destined to become. The ability to express the unfathomable mystery into being. This is creativity. We all have it. We all are it. It’s our nature. It’s our design.

You are creative. It is your nature. Somewhere, within, a voice is sparking you on to grow, to express, to love, to risk, to voice.

Sometimes when people have been silent for too long, their inner plumbing is stopped up. Junk is in the pipes. The junk that adheres around those silent things we accumulate when we don’t trust our own impulse to express.

When expression begins to flow again, it can come out in fits and starts, belching and coughing along as the pipes are cleaned of all that was used to stop them up. You know what I’m talking about? All the crap you and I internalized about our inability to be ‘properly’ creative. To properly speak. To be proper in the act of creation. To NOT express what simply wanted to be said, done, written, painted, danced, loved. AND, to NOT express our own anger, sadness, sense of rejection, sense of futility, insert your feelings here ___________________, because we were told we must plug up the pipes.

So when we first begin to trust our impulse to express, the sludge just might come out first. And the flow might be bumpy and rocky, sort of like when the water is shut off for a bit, then turned back on. The pipes rattle. The water spits. Until the flow returns. The little self, the ego, wants to control the flow, so it can be very careful about what first appears out of the faucet (faucet being mouth, hands, feet, head, body) – all the parts of the body that the divine mystery uses to express through.

One little very important thing here – the sludge is an important part in turning on the flow again. It’s important to allow it through. You don’t have to stop to examine it in minute detail. You don’t have to create and sing another Hallelujah chorus in its name (save that for the Mystery). You don’t have to judge it as it appears. But, if you do, that’s part of the flow, too. You just might do all these things, ’cause you might just be really curious about the sludge, about what’s stopped up your pipes for so long.

I’m writing this today, because over the past few weeks, a number of women have approached me feeling ’something’ within them wanting to express what’s inside. Specifically, they are wanting to blog with vulnerability. They want to begin to write from a more personal point of view, and at the same time, fear being too personal and vulnerable with their potential audience. They fear expressing their own unique expression.

If this reminds you of YOU, remember what Gaston Bachelard said, that our suffering comes from our hesitation to speak.

When I first began to write my websites and newsletters over eight years ago, each word I typed was so carefully crafted. I opened the pipes just a tiny, tiny bit. Maybe a trickle. Even though I created art, words that went into the cyberworld were very carefully crafted. And then, I began to find my voice. Oh, it’s been a long time coming. Not because my voice wasn’t ready. More because I thought I couldn’t find it. The pipes were rattling. The water was spitting. I kept putting my hand over the end of the hose, causing the water (voice) to spray all over, to go all cattywampus. All the while, that ’something’ inside pushed to get out. That urge to sprout, to grow, to become was still doing its thing.

I know, deep in the marrow of my bones, this urge knows exactly what it’s doing. Trust it. It’s a lot more intelligent than the small self gives it credit for. It knows the imprint at the center of your seed. It just wants to become what it’s meant to grow into.

Oh, and by the way, I found a juciy bit-o-sludge just yesterday. I did check it out for a bit. Couldn’t resist.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Julie Daley on February 14th, 2010 in Uncategorized | No comments

11 feb

Your “Inner Peace” Standard Equipment

JayForteDr. Jill Bolte Taylor, the author of the amazing book My Stroke of Insight; A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey, explains our left brain is our controlling, judgmental and critical brain; our open, accepting and optimistic brain is our right brain. In our performance-focused world, most of us favor our analytical left brain. We listen more to our “critic” that more readily finds fault and complains than applauds and supports. Too much of this is not a good thing for our health.

You need to understand something important about Dr. Bolte Taylor: she suffered a stroke that nearly destroyed the left side of her brain. As a neuroanatomist, she was intimately familiar with what her brain was going through; she realized much of her consciousness was moved from whole brain (left and right) to just the right side of her brain. She explains in great detail what it was like to live in her right brain – her non-critical, in-the-present-moment, limitless, optimistic and higher consciousness brain. A nirvana – inner peace – kind of place.

As she nursed her left brain back to health – a process that took her 8 years – she chronicled her expanded awareness of the attributes of both sides of the brain. She shares that the right brain imposes fewer restrictions, judges less, sees things as they are, appreciates the richness of the moment, is open, creative and accurately decodes emotion. This is the inner peace standard equipment we all receive but frequently can’t hear over the louder, more controlling and critical left brain.

Here are some techniques to access the peaceful right brain and silence the critical left brain:

  1. Speak to yourself more kindly and more lovingly; focus on your feelings and allow yourself to be aware of all of your senses.
  2. Dr. Bolte Taylor suggests allowing the left brain to actually have some time to do what it does best – analyze and critique – to permit yourself some “whine time” – but with these limitations:
    1. Limit the “whine time” to 30 minutes. That’s it. And when the “whine time” is over, it is over; all whining and critical left brain rhetoric stops for the balance of the day.
    2. Schedule the “whine time” for the same time each day. It is the only point in the day when whining and complaining is allowed. And if you miss your scheduled “whine time” it must be delayed until the next scheduled time.
  3. Thank your critic for its attention to details then demand it to take a break and allow your more optimistic, upbeat and accepting right brain to develop its own voice. Pay attention to the talk you have with yourself.

We each need our critic to help manage and direct our lives. The problem develops when we allow too much our self- and social-talk to be negative and unhealthy – when our left brain critic constantly takes over. Now, instead of loving each day, we spend more time focused on what isn’t right. We become pessimistic, negative and disparaging.

Focus on directing your self-talk into more a more supportive, caring and optimistic dialog. This activates the powerful and emotive right brain – the brain that houses our ability to connect with our true selves and accesses the standard inner peace equipment we are all born with.

So, learn from Dr. Bolte Taylor and build some “whine time” into your day. Impose a time limit – and when it is over, it is over. Start with 30 minutes if you have a very loud critic. Set the timer. Soon, you will need just a moment or two to vent, realign and move on.

Control your self-talk. Treat yourself kindly and lovingly.

Nature has provided us with the right equipment to stay ordered and productive AND to be content and happy. Sometimes they get out of balance. So learn how to manage your left-brain critic to allow your right-brain admirer and dreamer to have more time to help you create a more significant life.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual and the on-line resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to work strong and live stronger. More information at www.LiveFiredUp.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jay Forte on February 11th, 2010 in Uncategorized | No comments

09 feb

Love Yourself, and the Rest Will Follow

mike_robbinsHow do you feel about self love? More importantly, how well do you love yourself? For most of us, loving ourselves is something we may know is important, but often have difficulty actually feeling, expressing, and embodying.

For me, I’ve spent much of my life – as a student, an athlete, in business, in relationships, and in general – demanding perfection of myself, and of course, falling short and then feeling inadequate on a regular basis. Most people I know and work with have some version of “I’m not good enough” that runs their life, their work, and their relationships.

As we lead up to Valentine’s Day this weekend and think about the important people in our lives whom we love (or the fact that we wish we had more love in our lives), much of our focus tends to be outward and not inward.

Self love is what we’re all searching for – in our work, our relationships, and our lives. Sadly, we spend most of our time thinking that someone or something else can give us what only we can give ourselves. To be truly fulfilled in life and relationships, we have to find the love within us and give it to ourselves. No other person, material possession, or accomplishment can do it. It’s up to us.

Especially when it comes to relationships, self love is essential. One of the best gifts we can give to the people around us is to love ourselves in a genuine way. As my mom used to say to me when I was young, “You can’t love anyone else, until you love yourself.”

Here are a few things to think about and practice as you deepen your own capacity for loving yourself:

1) Notice your relationship to self love. How do you feel about it, how comfortable are you with it, and what resistance do you have to loving yourself? Being honest about your own relationship to self love is the first step in altering it. Many of us have not been encouraged or taught to love ourselves. We have also not seen many healthy models of self love around us. And, we’re often much better at being hard on ourselves than we are at being kind and loving towards ourselves. Based on these and other factors, self love can be a bit tricky. Once we tell the truth about how we relate to self love, we can start to expand our ability to love ourselves in a more real way.

2) Let go of your conditions. When it comes to loving ourselves, if we even put much attention on it, we often do so in a very conditional way. We love ourselves only when we do “good” things, “succeed” in specific ways, or take care of ourselves in ways we deem important. While there’s nothing wrong with us feeling good about ourselves in relationship to these and other “positive” things, truly loving ourselves is an unconditional process – which means accepting, appreciating, and celebrating all of who we are, both light and dark. By letting go of our conditions and loving ourselves in the unconditional, like how way we often love babies, animals, or others we have little or no specific expectations of, we can start to deepen our authentic love for ourselves.

3) Start practicing, right now. Do anything and everything you can to express love for yourself – right now, not after you think you “deserve” it. Since most of us have some resistance to loving ourselves, taking any and every self loving action we can think of is important. There are lots of things we can do – both big and small – to practice loving ourselves. Speaking kindly about ourselves, taking compliments graciously, taking care of ourselves, honoring our emotions, pampering ourselves, celebrating our successes (and failures), appreciating our “flaws,” and much more are all simple (although not always easy) things we can do to practice self love. Also, be willing to ask for help and look to others who seem to do a good job at this, so you can get the support and guidance that you need. Loving ourselves is a life-long, never ending practice.

Self love is the starting point, not the end game, of our conscious growth and development. For most of us, myself included, it’s much easier to talk about loving ourselves than it is to actually practice it. However, when we put our attention on loving ourselves in an authentic way, everything in our lives that is important to us – our work, our relationships, our goals, and more – flows from there with a sense of ease, joy, and, most important, love.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on February 9th, 2010 in Uncategorized | No comments

08 feb

A struggling economy is the perfect time to reinvent yourself

KathiBurnsDuring this current economy millions of people are coping with major unexpected change.

The Change Nation interview with Daryn Kagan is the perfect example of someone taking a seemingly dire situation and making lemons out of lemonaide. When faced with the demise of her job, she took that golden opportunity to embrace change and recreate a new career based on her passions, an inspirational news web site. I don’t know about you, but I love the idea of hearing about good news instead of news about war, poverty and disharmony.

If you find yourself unemployed and wondering what to do next, consider taking the time right now to discover what your true skills, talents and passions are and how you might best offer them to the world. I did this shortly after 911 and the demise of my tourism related business. Without 911, I would not be living my purpose and offering my highest talents to the world because I never had the time to stop and take a serious look at what I really wanted to do. I am sure you know the story: you get on the ‘money train’ and cant stop it long enough to jump off safely. Maybe you didn’t jump but were dumped, so what? This is still your perfect opportunity to begin anew.

Take this golden opportunity to recreate your life so that you can now live the life of your dreams. Some of the most successful businesses in the world began when the economy was in recession, just look at Microsoft and Apple. Embrace change and get started now creating the life of your dreams now!

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Kathi Burns on February 8th, 2010 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

08 feb

The Call of the Great Mother

“How might your life have been different, if, deep within,

you carried an image of the Great Mother?

And, when things seemed very, very bad,

you could imagine that you were sitting in the lap of the Goddess,

held tightly…

embraced, at last

And, that you could hear her saying to you,

“I love you…I love you and I need you to bring forth your self.”

~Judith Duerk, Circle of Stones

::

The Great Mother is here. Her way is not the way of visibility. Her way is dark and deep, down in the darkness where life gestates, where life springs forth from the primal belly.

I first became conscious of Her presence a number of years ago. It felt as if someone was pulling me down, way down into my body, into the depths of the darkness that the descent illuminates. I could feel Her pull, and I knew, instinctively, I was being called to feel, in their most raw elements, all the dark emotions I had been avoiding all my life.

I can’t say I was excited by her invitation. Quite the opposite. All of my spiritual learnings had taught me about transcendence, guiding me to find the Light of Spirit, the masculine aspect of God. This invitation was not about Light, at least that’s what I first thought. It was about darkness, and Her pull was relentless, yet also loving.

It’s easy to want to avoid this dance with the dark. The mind thinks of so many logical reasons why I should’t follow her down. I can’t see Her. And, where is down? Where is this darkness? There is nothing on the outside that would indicate She is calling. It is inside that I hear Her call. It is in the interior of my own experience, that I know it is Her. It is in my body that I know what I know. It is in my heart that I feel Her love for all of life.

I’ve come to know this rich inner life quite well. I’m the only one that knows this interiority; and, you are the only one that can know your own interiority. But, there’s something we have in common. If we are to bring forth ourselves, we women must leave the known outer life, the conditioning that has taught us well how not to trust our own knowing, the conditioning that has caused us to know ourselves only in relationship to others.

If we are to find our own voice, our own inner authority, we must turn inward and begin to listen to our own self. Of course, we are always at choice. That is, until we aren’t, because at some point, it may become more painful to ignore Her call than to heed it.

One of the most important things we can offer each other, as women, is a reverence and respect for this inward journey of women. Perhaps, as we become aware of our own inner life, and all the tugs and pulls and longings we feel to know who we truly are, we can begin to realize that other women we know are also feeling a similar calling. Perhaps, when we each treat the other with reverence, knowing the Great Mother is calling her, too, then a bond of strength and power will begin to nourish our connection to each other, supporting us all in bringing the sacred feminine forth into consciousness.

I can’t say I know for sure why She is asking this of us (although I have my own ideas); yet, she is asking. Don’t take my word for it – or Judith Duerk’s word. Get quiet and take a moment to ask yourself if you hear, in your own world within, Her calling to you.

I do know one thing. As I become more at home in these beautiful depths, I fall more deeply in love with women and all they offer to this world. We are the gestators of life. Whether or not a woman gives birth to babies, she is always a mother, designed in the image of the Great Mother. As Rumi says, “Woman is the radiance of God; she is not your beloved. She is the Creator —you could say that she is not created.” It is time we come to know our own radiant feminine selves, and see it reflected in all of life.

And, you?

What have you experienced in your inner life? What do you know of the sacred feminine in your own experience? How have you shared this interiority with others? How might you begin to trust this knowing even more deeply? I’d love to know what you’ve experienced.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Julie Daley on February 8th, 2010 in Uncategorized | No comments

05 feb

Clutter and Muck Can Sabotage Your Efforts to Make Change

KathiBurnsAdding space and clearing the muck in your life can bring forth powerful changes. You might think the pile of papers on your kitchen counter is nothing more than a pile of papers.

Once you create order and clear them away, you might begin to realize that your bills are being paid more promptly or perhaps, your arguments with your spouse have suddenly subsided. With less late fees or more martial harmony, you will feel more confidant to pursue a new hobby or career.

Clutter and muck are sneaky saboteurs. Making one seemingly small and insignificant change in your life can bring about a profound shift that will benefit your life in ways you can never imagine. You will inevitably change your relationship with change.

Whatever you happen to be stuck in, there are tried, tested and true methods that you can use to get unstuck. Take action and clear some clutter from any area in your life.

With every small change I know that you will become more inspired and your creativity will blossom. You will flourish and find the time to do the things in your life that you really want to do. When you clear your muck and develop systems, you will have more time to see your priorities clearly and create the change towards a life that truly fulfills and inspires you.

Posted by Kathi Burns on February 5th, 2010 in Uncategorized | No comments

03 feb

The End of Average

JayForteLife is not a dress rehearsal – we get one great ride around the sun. And if this is my one shot, I intend to approach it with the most love, enthusiasm and energy I can muster. I don’t want a life of coulda’s, woulda’s and shoulda’s. As George Bernard Shaw’s says, “I want to be all used up when I die.” Nothing left undone. Excited and fired up each day. No regrets. And definitely not average.

But I find most people don’t share this mindset. Most people are stuck in bland, boring and average; they want better but don’t know how. As the humorist Erma Bombeck said, “Normal is just a setting on a clothes dryer.” There should be nothing normal or average about life. Since our time on Earth is limited, our focus must be to learn enough about ourselves and our world, to determine how we “fit” – our way to be great in the world and live a life that is extraordinary.

Our world has actually set us up to have a great life; we are in the age of customization. Today, we can have our food, cars, music, houses, and virtually everything else our way. We personalize and customize. There should be no need for average.

But what amazes me most is we are so quick to customize our food, but so reluctant to customize our lives. Most of us do what others do, or let others tell us how to work and live. The problem is we spend too little time getting to know our inner self – our unique personality, talents, strengths and passions; we are not very self-aware. And when you don’t know yourself, you don’t know how to maximize your impact or the quality of your life. You accept average.

Each of us is born with a unique set of neural pathways (brain responses) that ultimately form our natural response, abilities talents and passions. Some are artistic and social. Others are empirical, detail-focused and analytical. Some can sing and others can solve puzzles. Some are moved by constant communication, others are most passionate when connecting in quiet with nature.

These natural abilities represent our core thinking – we are good at these and happiest when doing them. Management psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says in his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, “People who learn to control (understand) their inner experience will determine the quality of their lives, which is as close as any of us can come to being happy.”

The key to ending average is to connect, communicate and understand the internal hardwired “true you” and to answer the questions, “How self-aware am I?” and “What do I really know about me?”

Here is how I explain it to my audiences: we have two ears and one mouth. Though the expression says we should listen twice as often as we speak, I add another perspective. To me, one ear should be directed out – to listen to your world – to know and understand your world. The other ear should be directed in – to listen to you – to understand your particular and unique talents, values, interests, and passions – the true you.

When you know you and your world, you can focus on “fit” – your place in this world. You can focus on working and living in areas that play to your strengths. You have choices. You can customize your life.

So here are my five steps to customize your life and develop your end of average plan:

  1. Listen inward to identify your natural abilities and talents – list what are you good at. Don’t be humble; be honest. What are you great at? What comes naturally? Many times you will need to check with others who know you well because your talents are so closely tied to your thinking that you don’t perceive your abilities as talents. List everything that comes to mind; get acquainted with your true self.
  2. Listen inward to identify what you love to do – list what you are passionate about. What gets you out of bed; what could you do all day and never be bored or tired of? List everything that comes to mind; get acquainted with your true self.
  3. Find your fit. Now review what you are good at and passionate about. Then, knowing what you know of your world, start to identify what jobs, communities, activities or projects allow you to use what you are good at and passionate about doing. Here’s an example. You love working with precision and details and are passionate about helping animals. You may identify the ideal job is working as a veterinarian, animal rescue staff, dog walker, scientist or breeder. Your hobbies may include volunteering for an animal shelter, become an dog trainer or connect the elderly with pets to improve their lives. Know yourself and then determine where you fit in work and in life – where you play to your talents and passions. You work strong and live stronger. You end average.
  4. Sculpt on daily basis. Get good at adding small meaningful things to your day. It may be volunteering for a museum, a homeless shelter or a hotline. It may be cooking for your office, organizing events in the workplace or teaching your fellow employees how to use IPhone aps. When you add small things you love to your work and life, you respond in a more engaged and passionate way. You customize. Life is better. Work is better.
  5. Commit time to stay connected to the “true you.” Life pulls you in many directions – even when you personalize and customize a great life. Build connection time in your days to stay tuned into the true you. You will constantly determine new things about you – more talents, more passions – because this is a lifetime dialog. Don’t be in a rush. Gather information. Stop and think. Include more of the true you in your work and life.

No one can do this work for you. You are unique and no one shares your exact talents, strengths and passions – your personal hardwiring. Only you can connect to the true you. Commit the time and effort to know yourself. Commit the time and effort to know your world. Find your fit. Sculpt daily to keep the energy high. This is how to make the most of this life and to put an end to average.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual and the on-line resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to work strong and live stronger. More information at www.LiveFiredUp.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jay Forte on February 3rd, 2010 in Uncategorized | No comments

02 feb

We Don’t Solve Our Problems, We Outgrow Them

mike_robbinsI was recently reminded of a great quote from psychologist Carl Jung, he said, “We don’t solve our problems, we outgrow them.” As I’ve been thinking about this the past few days, I realize how often my attention is actually on solving my problems, instead of outgrowing them. No wonder the ones I obsess about the most seem to linger.

However, we’ve all experienced this outgrowing process many times. Think back to some of the biggest “problems” in your life when you were a child or an adolescent (or even just a few years or months ago) that are no longer issues for you anymore. In most cases, you simply outgrew these things.

We also experience this phenomenon whenever something intense happens in our life – whether it’s something that is intensely “good” or “bad.” Major life experiences will often put things in perspective – giving us an opportunity to stop and re-evaluate many aspects of our lives. Often, upon further reflection, we realize that most of our “problems” are not that big of a deal.

How can we make this process more conscious and deliberate, and not simply happen by accident. It’s important that we shift our focus, as Jung reminds us, from “solving” to “growing.” As we try to “solve” the biggest problems in our lives – related to relationships, career, health, effectiveness, money, awareness, and more – maybe we can stop trying so hard to “fix” these things and look more deeply at the feedback we’re getting and where we can enhance our growth.

Take money, for example. Many people I know, myself included, are especially focused on money these days. And while the economic environment of the past year or so has both created and exposed a number of money “problems” for many of us – personally, organizationally, nationally, and globally – maybe instead of simply trying to solve our money problems, we could look at how to expand our growth as it relates to money, and in a larger sense abundance, worth, peace, and more. The famous quote from Albert Einstein fits perfectly here, “We can’t solve our problems from the level of thinking which created them.”

Here are a few things to think about as you look to deepen your growth and shift away from the obsessive problem solving mode many of us find ourselves in:

1) Confront your biggest “problems.” Tell the truth about the biggest issues in your life and look at what you’ve been doing to either avoid or solve them – neither of which will ultimately give you what you want.

2) Look for the growth opportunity. With authenticity and compassion, see if you can look beneath your avoidance or even your intended solutions, and look for the beautiful feedback life is giving you right now about where you can grow.

3) Reach out for support. Getting support, feedback, and guidance is an essential aspect of our life and growth, especially when we want to change, transform, and grow into new and deeper places. When we’re looking at outgrowing some of the most challenging aspects of our life and transcending certain problems (some of which we may have been dealing with for quite some time), it is fundamentally important we reach out for help from people in our lives – friends, family members, co-workers, counselors, coaches, teachers, and others.

As we do these three things, with a sense of kindness and appreciation towards ourselves, we can expand our growth, which will ultimately lead us to where we want to be in our lives. Remember, there is no specific “destination” we’re after in this process – growth is really about deepening our experience of life and enhancing our capacity for joy, fulfillment, and love.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.


Posted by Mike Robbins on February 2nd, 2010 in Uncategorized | 2 comments