Posts tagged with ‘know yourself’

16 jan

Step Into the Clouds

RickHansonJuggling bricks?
The Practice:
Step into the cloud.
Why?

I had a lightbulb moment recently: I was feeling stressed about all the stuff I had to do (you probably know the feeling). After this went on for a while, I stepped back and kind of watched my mind, and could see that I was thinking of these various tasks as things, like big rocks that were rolling down a hill toward me and which needed to be handled, lifted, moved, fended off, or broken into pebbles. As soon as I dealt with one thing-y boulder, another one was rolling toward me. Shades of Sisyphus.

Seen as brick-like entities, no wonder these tasks felt heavy, oppressive, burdensome. Yuch!

But then I realized that in fact the tasks I needed to do were more like clouds than things. Clouds are made up of lots of vaporous little bits, those bits come together for a time due to many swirling causes, and then they swirl away again. Meanwhile, the edge or boundary of a cloud blurs into other clouds or the sky itself. There is a kind of insubstantiality to clouds, and a softness, a yielding.

For example, take writing an email message: It has lots of little parts to it (the points you need to take into account, and the words and sentences), it is nested in a larger context – your relationship to the receiver, the needs that prompted the email – that (in a sense) calls it forth, and it emerges and passes away. This email, this task, links to other tasks, sort of blurs into them. Fundamentally, the email is a kind of process, an event, rather than a thing. It’s like you could put your hand through it.

When I considered my tasks in this way, I immediately felt better: relieved, relaxed. Tasks felt fluid, like streams or eddies I was stepping into and influencing or contributing to as best I could before they swirled on and became something else. Not so weighty or full of inertia; not so resistant, so controlling of me; not bearing down on me, but instead, something I was flowing into. Then I didn’t feel weary dealing with them. They became fun, lighter; there was more freedom in moving through them.

And it’s not just tasks that are clouds. Read more »

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on January 16th, 2012 in General, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,

07 oct

Feel Cared About

RickHansonWhen Have People Been Caring?
The Practice
Feel cared about.
Why?

Everyone knows what it’s like to care about someone. Remember being with a friend, a mate, a pet: you feel warmly connected, and want him or her not to suffer and to be happy.

On the other hand, you’ve probably had the sense, one time or another, of not being cared about. That you didn’t matter to another person, or to a group of people. Maybe they weren’t actively against you, but they sure weren’t for you.

As soon as you recall a time like that, it’s immediately clear why it’s important to feel cared about – which is to the heart what water is to your body.

Sometimes we feel embarrassed about our yearnings to be cared about. But they are completely normal – and deeply rooted in evolution. Love, broadly defined, has been the primary driver of the development of the brain over the last 80 million years.

Our ancestors – mammals, primates, hominids, and humans – survived and flourished and passed on their genes by learning to find good mates, bond with their young, draw males in to provide for children, create “the village it takes to raise a child” whose brain is quadrupling in size after birth and thus needs a long and vulnerable childhood, and team up with each other to compete with other bands for scarce resources.

In this context, being cared about was crucial to survival. Mammals, etc. that did not care about being cared about did not pass on their genes. No wonder you care about being cared about!

Studies show that feeling cared about buffers against stress, increases positive emotions, promotes resilience, and increases caring for others. Plus it feels darn good. Read more »

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on October 7th, 2011 in Family, General, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , ,

24 nov

The 3 Ways We (Accidentally) Help Our Kids Fail

JayForteI know we don’t mean to help our kids fail; sometimes we just do too much for them – we don’t make them do their work. Maybe we love them too much and want their lives to be easy. But too much of the wrong kind of help doesn’t prepare them define who they are, identify their talents, find their best place in the world and own their lives. I am a father of three daughters. I have learned some things that I feel have prepared them to step up and stand out in their lives – to own their lives. And I thought it was worth sharing.

My personal perspective is that the greatest gift we receive in life is the ability to invent our lives – we can create each day in the way we choose. And what we need to help us invent extraordinary lives – extraordinary according to our terms – we already have. We are born with unique talents and strengths (gifts) that exhibit themselves through our abilities and passions. We are great at some things, not others. We love some things and not others. Each of us is unique. Each of us is different. Learning about this difference is the key to inventing our most amazing lives, and helping our kids invent theirs.

For example, I am good at and love details, precision, social research and writing. My kids are not at all like this. They are more social, more scientific and are more take-charge. They would hate my job. And though I may feel that my job would be good fit for them and would give the resources to be successful in life, they don’t feel this. They must get up each morning and be thrilled by life. Following in my footsteps is not be the best choice for any or all of them. They need to choose for themselves those things that play to their particular talents, interests and passions. This is how they become successful. This is not what many parents do.

As a greatness coach and a parent, here are the most significant three ways I see that we (accidentally) help our kids to fail:

1. We do not help them know themselves – what they are good at and what they are passionate about. So many of today’s kids are very self-unaware; they have little sense of who they are, what their talents are and what they are passionate about. They go through life on autopilot – being directed by parents and friends – doing very little of their own thinking.

It is our role as parents to help them learn how to identify their talents, interests and passions. Many times our talents are so closely connected to how we think that we have a difficult time identifying them. This is a great opportunity for parents to share what they see in their kids and dialog about it. Catching a kid doing something great, and commenting on it, helps him notice his behaviors. And as much as we learn about what we do well, we also learn about what we don’t do well – also critical information. We aren’t good at everything but we each are good at some things. Learn to identify those things and we help our children learn to play to their strengths.

2. We don’t show them enough of their world, and talk to them about their options, so they can choose wisely in work and life. Critical to their success in life is first to know themselves, then to know their world. Their greatest success and happiness will be in finding places in their world that allow them to use what they are great – to have their greatest impact. For that, they must know their world to be able to choose wisely.

Connecting to what our kids are seeing and hearing is critical – particularly in today’s intellectual age. Kids see so much more than their Boomer parents saw at their age. And this information needs conversation – to help them become aware of what appeals to them and what does not. Family vacations, reading together, reviewing websites together, learning projects and being active in the community are ways to show kids what things are available – how large the world is. The more kids start to show interest in areas, the more they should be encouraged to investigate careers and work in those areas.

3. We define happiness for them by telling them who they should be, what they should do for work and how they should live. Many parents believe they know better so they choose their kid’s life directions. I remember telling my father as he told me what my profession was to be, that for me to be successful, happy and own my life, the choice about who I am, what I do and how I live, must be mine. Parents take away life accountability when they dictate the steps of life. The more we encourage our kids to know themselves and to know their world, the better decisions they will make about their lives. This allow us to be the guide from the side in their lives – available for counsel but always relinquishing the decision to the life owner. This is critical to help create the next generation of responsible, happy and personally successful people.

Each of us receives the gift of inventing one life – our own. It is entirely our choice how large or small we invent that life. In my coaching, I regularly see that parents want to ensure their children have happy and successful lives, so they take over and dictate life’s decisions. This generally creates the opposite response – instead of helping our kids feel successful and love their lives, they become unhappy and disappointed, feeling like they are living someone else’s life.

Our greatest role is to prepare our kids to take the baton and run their lives. We help them run successfully when we guide them to discover their unique greatness, understand their world, then find their best fit. There is a great place for each of us in life. Find that place and we love our lives. And loving life is what we want most for our kids.

Jay Forte is a business and motivational speaker, and greatness coach. He is the author of The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform the World, and Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition. His coaching and programs inspire executives, employees, parents and students to discover and play to their greatness, to live and work with passion, power and purpose. More information at www.TheGreatnessZone.com and 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 November 24th, 2010 in Career, Family, General, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Teens, Things We Love | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , ,

31 jul

You Get To Be You. How Great Is That?

JayForte“You can be anybody you want to be,

You can love whomever you will

You can travel any country where your heart leads

And know I will love you still

You can live by yourself, you can gather friends around,

You can choose one special one

And the only measure of your words and your deeds

Will be the love you leave behind when you’re done.”

The chorus from “Everything Possible” by Fred Small

You can be anybody you want to be. This is not meant to be cliché or without the realism that life is difficult. But know that our greatest value in life is living authentically, connecting to others and bringing our personal best to the world. In other words, being who you really are – in the way you want to be. Life is about choices. Life is about inventing. So what do you want your life to be?

Studies continue to support that those who have gone from rags to (material) riches, or those who work constantly to achieve material possessions instead of life meaning, friendships and personal connections, are less content, satisfied and fulfilled in life. Stuff doesn’t make life. People make life. Events and connections make life. And the best way to be part of all this is to be fully present, authentic and living the life that you invent and choose.

Like most people, I spent much of my life living the way others thought was right for me. Not until I realized that the loudest voice I needed to listen to was my own. I had to develop the confidence and courage to understand and articulate who I was, what I wanted in life and what I was good at. And when I did, I started to make better decisions about me – for me.

It is up to me to determine who I am, who I love, how I want to live, what work I do, and where life should take me. Sure, input about life from others is important. But it is more important to use their input as a way to better understand your choices, but then make your own decisions. I no longer live based on traditions or threats. I constantly review my world, then choose what is right for me. I can be anybody I want to be.

Sometimes we make what we feel are the right choices, but they are not. That comes with being human. Sometimes the best life decisions come from the messes we first make. We learn as we go. We learn as we try things. We become more connected to who we are, what we believe and what we feel, as we encounter life. This helps us learn how to choose more wisely. This helps us invent our personal and customized lives – lives that are just right for each of us – not a “one-size-fits-all” life.Our voice must lead the customization.

So consider the following as you start each day to live your best life:

1. What am I good at and do I get to do it each day?
2. What do I love about life and do I add it to my life each day?
3. Who matters to me and do I have enough time with him/her each day?
4. Do I value what I think more than what others think?
5. Do I see life as a great adventure and that no matter what comes my way, I know I have what I need to make it extraordinary?

I believe life has the potential to be great. But you choose how great you want it to be.

I also believe that you get to be who you are. Actually, you must be who you are because someone or something greater than you thought you should be you. And if you discover all that you are (talents, passions and strengths) and use them each day, you will live your best life and bring your best to the world. You get to be you. How great is that?

By the way, listen to the song or read the entire set of lyrics of Everything Possible. You’ll be impressed.

Jay Forte is a motivational and business speaker, workplace and life coach. 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. His new book, The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform the World is due out in September 2010. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to live fired up! 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 July 31st, 2010 in Career, Family, General, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Spirituality, Things We Love | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , ,

12 jul

Light Up the Dark

JayForteYou can’t see light; you only see what light illuminates.

I remember being unable to read the menu at a local restaurant because of the low mood lighting. I also remember sitting on a plane, trying to use the ambient light to get some work done because the light over my seat did not work. I was in the dark – unable to see things that mattered.

So, as we add more light, things get clearer. At the restaurant, I went to the greeter’s station for more light to read the menu and selected an entrée I loved. In the plane, I changed seats with a passenger who wanted to sleep and did not care about the light, and I was able to do my work. I added some light so the important things around me were illuminated. It improved my choices and my impact.

What a perfect analogy for life. Many people live in the dark, unaware and unable to see who they really are. They spend little time shining the light inside themselves to see what talents, passions and strengths they have. They don’t really know themselves.

I believe that we are each hardwired for greatness – and this hardwiring is evident in our talents, strengths and passions. We love some things and not others. We are good at some things and not others. The more light we shine into ourselves (the more we get to know ourselves), the more information we discover about ourselves. The more information we have about ourselves, the better decisions we can make about our personal and professional lives. We can then invent lives of great value, happiness and impact. And it starts by lighting up “our” dark.

So, consider the following ways of internal illumination – so you can better see your greatest attributes and gifts, then build your most extraordinary life:

1. Notice your responses to things you like and don’t like. Notice the things that seem to make you feel capable and confident and the things that challenge you. Get good at watching your reactions and responses.

2. Have a conversation with people who know you well and ask what they feel you are good at and what you seem most passionate about. Others can shine light on how you think and how you respond.

3. Consider meditation as a means to quiet things around you to start to notice yourself, your gifts, your thoughts and your perspectives. You gather a lot of information in the quiet moments.

Get good at turning the light on to see what it illuminates. The more you know yourself, the more you can make decisions that play to your unique combination of talents, passions and strengths; these help you live a life you love. They also help you bring your best to a world that is invented each day by what do with your best. Besides, the more you play to your talents and passions, the happier you are and the more you light up life for others.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and business seminar leader. 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. He has just completed his new book (due out in August 2010), The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit and Transform The World; chapter downloads will soon be available on his website. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to live fired up! 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 July 12th, 2010 in Family, General, New Directions, Personal Stories, Spirituality, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , ,

07 jun

When Is It Your Turn to Step Up?

JayFortePersonal accountability and responsibility seems rare today. Some step up and take ownership of their work, lives and the needs of others, but many more don’t. This isn’t a criticism – it is an observation.

So, here are several situations – how would you respond?

- You see an elderly woman walking around a parking lot, looking lost and disoriented.
- A toddler walks over to the front door of the coffee shop and opens it, intending to walk out to a busy street; you see the parent is in the store.
- The girl scouts are selling cookies. The marching band is selling candy. The military is collecting in the street corner for wounded soldiers.
- A homeless man is drinking what is left of a soft drink he found in a cup in the trash.
- A tornado rips through a town making hundreds of people homeless – in the next town.
- A drought creates a food shortage for thousands of people – thousands of miles away from you.
- Your kids run the water constantly while they brush their teeth.
- Your favorite restaurant serves very large portions that are mostly trashed.
- At the airport you watch as a traveler throws a plastic bottle in the rubbish, though the recycle bin is immediately adjacent to it (or far away from it).

Your responses are your choice. For these situations, when do you say something – or do you say anything? When do you do something- or do you do anything?

What if the situations were reversed and you were the victim or the person needing help in these situations? What would you like to have happen?

I do not believe the difficult or bad things in life happen as part of some pre-determined plan or divine retribution. Life just happens – both the good and the bad. The planet goes through its cycles without any specific awareness to where we live, or with any malicious intent – it does what it has always done. Sometimes there are sunny days; others times there are hurricanes, earthquakes and droughts. Sometimes we have positive events; sometimes we have negative events. It is the way of our world.

But regardless of what happens, we are here. It is my belief that we are social creatures to help, guide, learn from and support each other. Sometimes we help; sometimes we need help. The flux of the world teaches us to discover our greater selves – to see the magnitude of the gifts we received (talents, aptitudes and passions) and to activate them in us. If things in our world were always fine, we would never be challenged to develop our greatness – to see our true capabilities. In challenge, we see qualities we did not realize we possess; we access our greatness.

I believe that each of us is unique, and this uniqueness is part of a greater plan. This uniqueness is exhibited in the specific gifts (talents, aptitudes and personality) we received. It is our responsibility is to become acquainted with these gifts to bring them to the world – because there will be some time when the world will you’re your best and mine. To respond we must know our areas of greatness. Not knowing misses an opportunity to make the difference the world may need.

President Woodrow Wilson said, “You are not here to merely make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” You are here for you and for things greater than you.

When an earthquake strikes, (because it is part of what our Earth does), it may be up to us to respond and help. When a drought impacts another part of the world, something we are great at may be what the victims need. We step in. We help. Because we share this world with others. Because we share our best with others. And maybe what this particular event needs is what we do best. Then it is our turn to step up. Not always, just when what is needed is what we do best. Our turn.

And when life happens to us – we have a hurricane, a fire, or a personal tragedy – because this is part of life – we look to the greatness of others to help us through our tough times. Then it is their turn to step up.

Sometimes it is up to us; some times it is up to others. Sometimes the world is calm, sometimes it is not.

We have the resources to survive – we have them in each other. And trauma and challenge help us learn about them. When each of us knows our inventory of talents and strengths, we can then decide when it is our time to step up to a situation that needs what we do best. We can respond.

Our world is becoming more interconnected and interdependent. Events like global warming, the Middle East conflict, nuclear weapons, diseases and natural disasters have universal impact – we are all affected by these. Robert Wright presents in his book, Non Zero; The Logic of Human Destiny, that when we work together to settle and respond (in an interdependent world), we create “win-win” outcomes. When we disregard, disrespect, refuse to help, or do not understand the needs, challenges and values of others (in an interdependent world), we set ourselves up for a “lose-lose” outcome. We have the ability to achieve “win-win” when we bring our best to the complex world we live in; we settle for “lose-lose” when we don’t commit our best – when we don’t step up.

Consider these four ways to be an active player in a world that needs you to be your best and to step up when it is your turn:

- Know yourself – know what you are good at, what moves you and what are your best areas to support others.

– Stay connected to your world. Your world is larger than you. Know what others need to help them on their journey.

– Commit to action when called on. Have the courage to step up and take responsibility when others need you. Don’t wait to be asked.

– Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need others to do their share. We all need help some time.

We have the collective genius, intellect, energy and passion to help when others are in need. We have the ability to handle complex issues, understand our planet and keep people healthy, safe and valued. This can happen when we are responsible and accountable to know how to contribute our best, and when our best is needed. We must know when and how to step up, and when it is fair to ask it from others.

So back to the situations I offered at the start of this post. What do you choose to do? When is it your turn to step up? And when do you need others to step up for you?

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. 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. He has just completed his new book, Happiness Matters; Know Yourself, Find Your Fit and Transform Your World; chapter downloads will soon be available on his website. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to live fired up! 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 June 7th, 2010 in Family, Global/Social Change, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , ,

25 apr

What Is in Your Block of Stone?

JayForteMichelangelo Buonarroti is famous for the extraordinary sculptures of The David and Pietà. And despite the magnificence of these works, his best works, though less well known, are four statutes called The Slaves. Not only do they showcase his exceptional ability but they demonstrate what he believed the role of the sculptor to be. Michelangelo is reported to have said the sculptor does not create. Rather, the sculptor studies and learns about the stone to determine what is in it that needs to be released. The Slaves are male torsos struggling to be released from their block of marble – not created, released.

I believe the same about life. We are each a unique and very specific combination of talents, passions and strengths; they are already present in us. Our role in life is to learn about and know ourselves to build our best life and to share these with our world.

We have been divinely created to be something exceptional, though the full explanation of this is not readily apparent. But part of the plan requires that we spend time getting to know ourselves, our block of stone, to know what we have been given. The more we learn about our passions, talents and strengths, the more we can play to these, create a life that is happier and more authentic, and bring our best to share with the world.

Would you agree that the world is better because of the Michelangelo’s work? He in fact, looked into himself, understood his block of stone, and allowed what was inside to be released. And from this, we have the gifts of his sculpture and painting.

As a student in college I studied in Florence, Italy. I remember the emotion on the faces, the tears and the awestruck silence as I watched person after person approach the statue of The David in the Galleria dell’Acccademia (museum). I spent time with cousins in Rome and found the same event as people stood for hours in front of the Pietà at St Peter’s Basilica. People were moved by his work. They saw a glimpse of the divine in his sculptures; his work expanded their worlds.

Our gifts are of equal significance. Our gifts, when released from our stone, can impact our world in a significant way.

What should be released from your stone? Consider these ways to better understand what is in your stone – your unique talents, passions and strengths:

  1. Select 5 people who know you well (from work or life). Ask each to identify 3 things you are good at. Keep a list and see which items repeat.
  2. When you feel capable and confident, what are you doing?
  3. If you could spend all day doing something (and never look at the time), what would it be?
  4. When you feel excited, fired up and energized, what are you doing?

Your gifts will generally be obvious in what you are good at and what you love to do. When you know these, you can start to release your best to the world.

Michelangelo is an inspiration for two reasons. His perspective teaches us that we must know ourselves to know our gifts (talents, passions and strengths) – what is in our stone. Once known, we must then release what we find in our stone to the world. This allows us to sculpt our masterpiece – ourselves. It is a masterpiece because we use our gifts to be our best, then bring this best to expand our world.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. 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. He has just completed his new book, The End of Average; Know Yourself, Find Your Fit and Transform Your World; chapter downloads will soon be available on his website. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to live fired up! 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 April 25th, 2010 in Career, General, Global/Social Change, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Spirituality, Things We Love | 2 comments Read related posts in , , , , , ,

10 apr

Who Are You, Really?

JayForteI was watching an episode of CSI: Las Vegas and was suddenly struck by the theme song “Who Are You” by the band The Who. I don’t watch much TV but I can always find time for a new or rerun episode of this show. But until this moment, I have never been very attentive to the theme song. It got me thinking…

Who are you? Not your name or whose husband, wife, father, mother, son or daughter you are. Not your employee role, what town, state or country you live in, or what ethnic group you are from. I am looking for something deeper – more about what makes you really you.

Much of my work involves helping people rediscover their passion for work and life, and this starts with really knowing ourselves – who we are. To do this requires becoming proficient at listening to and watching ourselves – to notice how we feel, think, react and respond. This is the best mechanism to know ourselves.

We are each a unique bundle of DNA – manifested by our talents, passions, strengths, personalities and even communication styles; no two of us on the planet share the exact combination of attributes. This uniqueness is both our gift and our work. It is our gift because it allows us to invent a life that is just right for us. Our greatest happiness and impact happen when we play to what we have been given. To do this, we first must know ourselves.

And that brings us to our work. It would have been easier to have received an owner’s manual on the first day we arrived on the planet; a manual that listed our particular attributes – the things that make us unique. But the divine inspiration for us is smarter than that.

To access these gifts (because I guess nothing great is free) we have do our own work; no one can do this work for us. We learn about the gifts we received – the unique talents, strengths and passions that came bundled in our DNA – gradually over life. We have a lifetime to be introduced to our specific attributes. This allows us to learn and invent. The more we learn about what we are great at, what we love to do and what makes us feel successful, the more we invent the next things in our life. Learn and invent. This is part of the plan to help us define and own our lives.

Life becomes more authentic, more customized and happier the more we know who we are –what gifts we were given, how to use them and how to make make our greatest impact.

So to get good at listening, watching and connecting to yourself (knowing yourself), say each of the following then list five ways you notice it happening in you:

  1. I am good at (and list 5 things that come to you naturally).
  2. I am happiest when I am doing (list 5 things).
  3. I wish time would never end when I am doing (list 5 things).
  4. I am most proud of myself when I (list 5 things).
  5. My greatest impact is when I (list 5 things).

You can list more or less than 5; the goal is to get you to notice yourself because the best access to your specific gifts – those gifts that allow you to live the best life for you – is through self-awareness. And for more impact, look at yourself in the mirror as you do this.

So, you received amazing gifts – your talents, passions, strengths and personality. Most people become acquainted with only a small portion of all they received. They miss out on what makes them unique and great. They don’t know who they are. What a waste for them and for the world. Because when you play to your talents, strengths and passions, not only are you more authentic and happier, you also bring your best to the world. And we all know the world could use more of our best.

Commit the time to know yourself. Then build the best, most extraordinary and meaningful life based on the true you. This is your life; own it. And start by knowing who you really are.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. 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. He has just completed his new book, The End of Average; Know Yourself, Find Your Fit and Transform Your World; chapter downloads will soon be available on his website. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to live fired up! 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 April 10th, 2010 in Career, Family, General, Global/Social Change, New Directions, Personal Stories, Spirituality, Teens | 3 comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,

03 apr

The Gift of Choice

JayForteI believe the greatest gift we are given is the ability to invent our lives. We are given very specific qualities – evidenced by our DNA and hardwiring – that show up as our talents, strengths and passions. No two of us are exactly alike. We then must spend time to discover our qualities and determine how to use them to invent our best life.

I frequently say in both my writing and keynotes, “life is not a dress rehearsal; we have one shot at inventing and living the most extraordinary life possible.” And as I have been known to say to my kids, “If you are not living the best, most exceptional and greatest life for you – designed by you, and one that plays to your talents and passions – then you are squandering away the greatest gift you will ever receive.” Life – great. The ability to invent your life and make choices – priceless.

But making choices and decisions about life are not easy. It would be great, if when we were born, we received an owner’s manual that identified our talents, strengths and passions, and then provided instructions how to use them to live happy and successful (our definition of successful) lives. The manual doesn’t show up at birth; rather, we create it as we live.

Over time we are introduced to our unique selves through introspection and by connecting with others. We become aware of what makes us feel capable, happy, competent and successful. We learn about the areas that appeal to us, and those that do not add any value. The astute student of life makes great notes to be able to direct his life based on his ability to discover, understand and use his personal gifts. Some learn this more quickly than others.

Back as early as 350 BC, Plato offered wisdom in the phrase, “know yourself.” Most people consider this old thinking from older people, and discount its value. This phrase, however, is truly the key to a great life. It reminds us that our DNA – our hardwiring – is exclusive to each of us. The best way to live the most extraordinary life (and that also means work in a job that plays to your abilities) is to learn about the unique and distinct you. No one else can do this work for you; you have the greatest ability to understanding how you think, what you feel and what would make life great for you. You own this life. Its successes and failures. After all, it is based on the quality of the choices and decisions you make.

I see many people living other’s lives. Strong parents/families, years of traditions, personal biases and social stereotypes influence many of our decisions. We live according to what others say; we become who they say we should be. We miss or reject the opportunity to develop and invent our true lives. We let others make choices for us.

Knowing my personality, interests, values and passions, arms me with valuable and meaningful information to help me make good decisions for me. It allows me to assess my world, to find the work and life situations that need what I am good at, those that activate my passions and help me feel successful. It allows me to challenge others’ requirements about how I live my life. It allows me the ability to see that the best choices (for me) are my choices. I create the quality of my life. I choose how I respond.

Each day you have to get up and get on with life. Wouldn’t it be great if every day were a thrill? Wouldn’t it be great to choose what work you do, where you live, how you live and who you love? Instead, many are forced into required responses that do not allow for their unique and divinely-inspired gifts to be realized. We all lose in this.

To help you own and defend your choices, and invent your best life, try the following:

List what you are good at.

List what you love doing.

Be sure you know your world.

Then, identify the places in your world that allow you to use what you are good at and love to do. It may be in where you live, how you live and what you do for work. It may be in whom you connect with, whom you marry and what change you look to effect. It may be what message you communicate, what wisdom you have and how you can influence even just one life.

This approach helps you develop the best information for you; to help you find your place in your world. For example, if Emeril Lagasse were a busdriver, we would never know how exceptional he is as a chef. If Sandra Bullock were an operations manager, we would never know how exceptional she is as an actress. If you were a ______________(because others said you had to be, do, act or marry) we would never know _______________ about you. And what a waste – for you and for us.

I believe we direct and invent our world – it is not pre-defined. It is invented by those of us who inhabit it at this moment. We direct our history. Imagine the potential if each of us accessed our talents and passions and brought them fully to our world. Imagine the quality of our individual lives (a world each of us could be more capable, confident, secure and happy). Imagine the impact we could make on the world (using our best attributes to advance the quality of life and the life of planet).

I am not naïve; I am hopeful. I do the work I do to change how we think about ourselves. I do my work because I learned late in my life that I trusted others more than I trusted myself. I missed many years trying to be something and someone I was not meant to be. And when I had the courage and the wisdom to step up, know myself, know my world and make changes, my world doubled in value almost overnight. I started to see where I belonged, where my life was happier, more productive and more authentic. I wasn’t kept back because my world forced me. I was kept back because I was afraid to challenge what others said. I was kept back because I didn’t know myself. And when you don’t know yourself, you don’t value your talents and passions. Without this information I didn’t realize I had choices. I let others direct me. Not any longer. I now own my life.

I am aware I don’t get the missed time back. But I am also aware life is a process; we don’t have all the answers at once. I could not be here, in this moment, had I not been through what I have been through. I wish I had used my time better but I wasn’t ready – I just didn’t know I could choose. I do wish I were smarter or more informed earlier about this. And this has brought me to my current work – to accelerate the learning process of others – to encourage a modern version of “know yourself,” know your world and find your fit. Your life – your choice.

I know how quickly life goes by. And if we could know ourselves better earlier, we may be able to live happier and with more impact – earlier. And since we don’t get this time back, even one day that is better is worth the effort.

Your greatest gift is that you are given the ability to invent your life – that you get to choose for you. Commit the time to know yourself. Know your world. Then choose the best fit for you. Don’t wait. Life is not a dress rehearsal.

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 is working on his new book, Work Strong, Live Stronger (Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform the World). He works to connect people to their talents and passions to live fired up! More information at www.LiveFiredUp.com.

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Posted by Jay Forte on April 3rd, 2010 in Career, Family, General, Health, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Spirituality, Teens, Things We Love | 2 comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

26 mar

Why Does Your Heart Beat?

JayForte“If you don’t have a good reason for your heart to keep beating, it generally won’t” Dr. Mehmet Oz

In a world focused on getting things done, we frequently lose track of the value of what we do – of our purpose. Purpose is the reason behind great performance – meaningful performance. Purpose is what keeps the heart beating. What do you know about your purpose?

I work with both businesses and individuals as my message is about helping people rediscover their passions for work and life. At its core, this is a recommitment to know yourself (your talents and passions), know your world (its needs), then to determine your particular value and fit. Understanding how to bring value to your life and to the world helps to define your purpose. And the more compelling the purpose, the more animated, excited and engaged you become in finding reasons to keep your heart beating.

In the workplace, organizations that identify their purpose with a strong vision or mission statement share what they stand for; this attracts those who share the purpose and vision. The vision and mission statements provide clarity to the organization and clearly respond to why they do what they do. We are more committed to an organization that shares our definition of purpose and success than one that does not our focus. And our commitment to an organization with which we share a purpose is an emotional connection – the strongest of all connections.

Now, to life. Those who know their purpose – who have done work to identify what is meaningful and valuable for them – have a clearer roadmap for life. The clearer your purpose, the more focused you become in how you live, how you respond and what you do. This encourages a greater sense of accomplishment, impact and value; in short, this impacts our sense of personal worth.

So how do you develop clarity about your purpose? For that I have to take you back to 350 BC – to Plato. One of the two most quoted mantras of Plato is know yourself. This is core to understanding you in your world – in other words, your fit and purpose.

Consider that each of us is a unique bundle of DNA inherited from our families. This DNA creates our internal brain hardwiring; this influences our talents, aptitudes, strengths and passions. No other person on the planet has the exact combination of attributes we have. We therefore must not only be good at knowing ourselves (our unique composition), but we must also realize we are the only ones who can do this work (learn to know ourselves). Our connection to ourselves is an intensely private connection; only we can fully assess how we think, what we feel, what we believe and what we are to do with our lives.

I find most of us are not very self-aware; few have a great understanding of what we are good at (talents), what we love to do (passions) and what makes us feel successful (happiness). In the absence of this information we miss our mark – we underutilize our talents – we miss our purpose. If we live a life (or work in a job) without purpose, we just show up. Because life is not a dress rehearsal, just showing up seems an abject waste of a day, a day you don’t get back.

Most people don’t know about, don’t want or won’t own this responsibility. By not knowing ourselves well, we rely on others to tell us what to think, how to feel and who to be. As I said, no one can know you as you do. You have the greatest information about who you are, what makes you happy, what are you good at and what activates your sense of value. Look in to find this. Then know your world to determine your particular place in the world – your purpose.

So back to Dr. Oz’s quote from an interview with American Public Media’s Speaking of Faith host, Krista Tippett, “If you don’t have a good reason for your heart to keep beating, it generally won’t.” Those who know themselves – and their purpose – keep their hearts beating; their energy is strong and their focus is clear. Those who don’t see their purpose – their reasons for appreciating the amazing gift of life – don’t ramp up the energy when things get tough. They check out. They short change the world by not sharing their great combination of talents – a combination given as a gift with a particular purpose to share it with the world.

Imagine the missed contributions of artists (or any other profession) who never realized their talents because they listened to others who told them how to live and what to do, instead of learning how to know themselves, value themselves, find their passion, and live with purpose. Life is too short to live with regret.

To find your purpose, “know yourself”; spend some time with yourself and determine:

  1. What are you great at?
  2. What are you passionate about?
  3. What makes you feel successful?
  4. What is going on in your world?

Then, find your fit – your place.

Don’t wait. The world needs the unique and specific you. You are here for a reason. Find your reason. Find your purpose. Keep your heart beating.

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 is working on his new book, Work Strong, Live Stronger. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to live fired up! More information at www.LiveFiredUp.com. Sign up for his free e-newsletters and use his resources to be great.

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 March 26th, 2010 in Career, Family, General, New Directions, Relationships, Spirituality, Teens, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,