First 30 Days Blog

17 aug

Chart Your Own Course

JayForteI grew up in a very Italian family. And by “very” I mean the strong traditions that came directly from Italy guided many aspects of our daily lives. This included parents who felt it was their responsibility to tell you who you were supposed to be – how to live, what to believe and what work to do. At least that is how things started.

The good news is we were also raised to be independent. And independent people don’t like to be told how to live, what to believe and what to do. That independence was the key for my siblings and me to determine that our lives belonged to us and that the key to our happiness and success would be for us to make critical life decisions for ourselves.

Though we had loving and well-intentioned parents, their perspectives of who we were and how we should live were nothing more than their perspectives. We did listen to their suggestions but determined the loudest voice directing our lives should be our own. This process was not without conflict. Nothing good ever comes without challenge because challenge helps us develop our own voice, see others’ perspectives and take responsibility for our decisions.

I firmly believe that each of us is hardwired for greatness – we have a customized combination of talents, strengths and passions that allow us to be good at some things and not others. We love some things and not others. And no matter how close we may be to our families, they can never know how we think and feel as well as we know. We must always be the voice that decides what is right for us – in work and in life. We must always know the facts, then own the decision. We must chart our own course.

Though my five siblings and I are part of the same family, and all close in age, none of the six of us has the same hobbies, the same careers or the same attitudes about politics and church; we have always been very different. Though I greatly appreciate the effort and intent of parents who felt compelled to tell us what to do with our lives, we all clearly saw that both our happiness and success required each of us to make these decisions for ourselves.

No one can know me like I know me. No one can identify my passions and talents as I can. And I honestly feel it is intended to be like this. Our lives are our gift. Part of appreciating the gift is in the anticipation and excitement of unwrapping it. We unwrap our lives as we live them. We get acquainted with more and more of who we truly are by living each day – by spending time noticing how we think, what we love, how we feel and what impacts us.

The more self-aware we become, the more information we have about what matters to us. The more we know ourselves, the better road we can chart for ourselves. I don’t want your road – you don’t want my road. My road is customized for me; yours should be customized for you. No one can do this customization except for us. And if we choose not to do it, or never learn how, then we live our lives according to how others tell us we should live. And I personally believe we then live only a fraction of our lives and never realize the our greatest purpose and value to ourselves and to our world.

There are many well-intentioned friends, colleagues and families who are loaded with advice on how we should live, who we should love and where we should work. Go ahead and listen to what they say. Consider everything. Then, value your own perspective about what is right for you more than what other says.

To help you customize your road, answer the following:

1. What is fun for you, and how do you add it into your day?

2. Who matters to you and how do you include them in your life each day?

3. What is critical for you and how do you address it each day?

4. What inspires you and how do you have more of it each day?

5. What challenges you and how do you learn to grow from it each day?

You own your life – and all that goes with it. Chart the right course for you so that each day you wake, you love the life you lead and make your greatest impact on those around you and on your world.

Jay Forte is a business and motivational speaker, performance consultant and life coach. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, and the on-line resources, Stand Out and Get Hired, and The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual. His new book, The Greatness Zone; Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform Your World, will be available in October 2010. He teaches people to connect to their talents and passions to be fired up! in life and at work. More information at

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Posted by Jay Forte on August 17th, 2010 in Career, Family, General, Health, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Spirituality, Things We Love | 0 comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

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