Purpose. Vision. And the romantic life.

The importance of being clear on your purpose can’t be emphasized enough.

Purpose: the reason for which something exists. What were you put here for? What do you authentically want to do with your life?

These may sound like airy fairy “warm-fuzzy-feeling” type questions but the reality is even logic would imply that the smart thing to do is to make use of your natural abilities + the skills you’ve learned along the way to do what genuinely inspires you.  That’s what will get you out of bed with excitement each day (rather than dread or resignation).

Vision and purpose aren’t just words reserved for organisations. Take the time to work out what your purpose is. And it will be different for each person.  From there, work out the vision i.e  the vision for your life and the vision for the vehicle you’ll use to live your purpose. The vehicle could be: a project, a business,  your current job, it could be a personal decision to live simply, to be a living breathing example of compassion, to be an awesome parent and raise an exceptional and loving human being. The vehicle through which you live your purpose can be anything!

Your purpose and the vision you have to live it don’t need to be grandiose. In fact let’s do away with grandiose. We won’t all be world famous when we live our purpose – and that shouldn’t be your motivation anyway. We won’t all shift the course of entire nations like Ghandhi. We won’t all change the world with technology and innovation like Steve Jobs. We won’t all build multimedia empires and schools in another countries like Oprah Winfrey. That wasn’t what drove these people anyway. There were motivated by something else. Getting caught up in the “grandiosity” of it all is what trips many of us up and prevents us from even making a start. The ego wins once again because it gets excited by the potential fame and fortune that can come when you live your purpose.

Keep it authentic. Keep it simple. And then start the life-long journey of living your purpose. Get friends you trust to share it with, ask them what their purpose is and motivate each other. This where passion, romance and adventures in your own life live.

So:

  1. Make time to clarify your purpose and the vision for your life. It’s a gift you give yourself.
  2. Do away with the “grandiose”. Stay humble.
  3. Share it with someone you trust and give them the same gift in return – ask them, what would you really like to do with your life?
  4. Seek out people who are living their purpose, take them out to lunch, hear their stories, get their advice.
  5. Be up for a life devoid of banal or the same old same old. You know you deserve better.

Got something to share? Go ahead and leave a comment.

Money, money, money

It’s still a dirty word for some people. It still causes discomfort for others. What thoughts, emotions, feelings come up for you just be seeing that word: MONEY.

There’s a simple tool to use to find out what you really think about money. Personify it.

Imagine money is a person, what kind of person comes to your mind? If money was a person what would that person look like? Really get into the description. Is it a man or a woman? How old? What do they do for work? Where does he or she live? What kind of house? What kind of street? Is he or she married? Single? Straight? Gay? What does he or she look like? What kind of clothes does he or she wear? What kind of car does he or she drive? Does he or she have kids? What are her hobbies? Where does she hang out? Who are his friends?

And here’s the gem in the exercise. Ask yourself this: “Would I spend time with this person?” or  “Would I call this person my friend”?

When some people do this exercise they realise that “money” for them is  someone they can’t really relate to. That was certainly true for me when I first did this exercise. Some people even realise that “money” is a person they don’t actually like. Others end up coming up with a character like Gordon Gekko from Wallstreet. Ideas about money even cause many of us to pursue certain careers because we think: that’s where the money is. Forgetting that there are many other ways to attract money.

If this is what you’ve done, you need to realise that you have an attitude towards money that doesn’t resonate with you. It doesn’t appeal to you. And that could be why you’re funny about money. Is money something close to you, something that helps you and enhances your life? Or is it something far away that you can never quite get to?

The next thing to do is to change this image you have of money.  Turn it into someone you can resonate with. Someone you would call a friend, someone you would enjoy spending time with. If you don’t, money will continue to remain something separate from you. Something that only “those people over there” have.

Coaches like Jack Canfield talk about replacing thoughts like “money is the root of all evil” with thoughts like “money is the root of all philanthropy”.  Yes, it’s true that some people use unsavoury means to get money and use it for unsavoury ends. But that won’t be you, will it? So what are you afraid of?

Money is a mindset. Positive thinking isn’t enough. There are actions to then take consistently so that you become the kind of person that money is attracted to. It does however begin with telling the truth about what you really think about it.

So:

  1. What comes to mind when you hear or see the word: MONEY?
  2. If money was a person, what would that person look like?
  3. Can money become something you don’t have hang-ups about? Something that you can see enhances your quality of life and those of others around it as you share it with them?
  4. Do you see money as the root of all evil? Or the root of all philanthropy?

It’s true: wherever you go, there you are

This week I’m in Seoul for the first time. It’s an interesting city. Lots of people, lots to do. Busy Busy Busy.

I always enjoy seeing new things, hearing new sounds, being exposed to a different language, a different lifestyle. I quite like quirky ideas like free outdoor gyms, bustling night markets with delicious cheap food served by chirpy old ladies.

And yet, I can’t help but remember the saying: wherever you go, there you are. Even here in Seoul, I’m still very much the same person I am in my home city of Melbourne – and thank goodness I like that person!  For the first time also, I’ve not gone on a holiday to take a break from my regular life. I like my regular life too. Had someone told me years ago that this would happen I wouldn’t have believed it.

This tells me a number of things. First, a change of location can work wonders to how you experience life and thus how you feel – in the short term.  Inevitably your way of being re-surfaces and there you are –  with the same values and the same thought processes,. Who you be (as in, who you are on an ongoing basis) will always be right there no matter where you go.

The same also applies if you change jobs (or even love interests!). How many times did you think this new one would be “the one” and a few months or years later you then started thinking “get me out of here”?

Superficial change only goes so far. Doing the work to evolve on a deeper level – become more of who you are meant to be, is what will build you a stronger foundation. Growth on a deeper level means that when you do change your physical location (or anything else in the external world) the things you are exposed to only enrich the quality of your life. You no longer move from one thing to the next in the hope that “this new thing will be the thing that changes everything!”

So:

  1. Think about that “change” you thought would change everything? Was it superficial or long-lasting?
  2. Are you still taking holidays to get away from regular life? How about doing what’s necessary to make your “regular life” so sweet you don’t need a holiday from it?

Got something to share, leave a comment. Let others learn from your experiences – the world needs to hear from other voices.

“We speak your names”, a thunderclap of a poem by Pearl Cleage

Learning is an ongoing thing, it never stops. I look to many people for knowledge and wisdom.

Some I know personally, others I don’t. It goes without saying that Oprah Winfrey is one of the people in the latter category. Years ago she hosted her Legends Ball, to honour women who paved the way for her and others like her. I remember watching snippets off it and being humbled and inspired by the celebration of it all.

It’s a wonderful thing to host friends, it’s an even more wonderful thing to bring together people who you know will connect in a mutually beneficial relationship and get value from one another – even if it’s just by being in each others’ presence.

For the celebration, writer Pearl Cleage had put together a poem to honour the women in the room. The poem is called “We Speak Your Names”. It’s a powerful one. To me the poem is a reminder to stand in your power, whoever you are. But it is also a reminder to remember, acknowledge and thank all those who have helped you along the way, in any way.

Here is the poem “We Speak Your Names” (c) Pearl Cleage, 2005. Remember to keep being inspired:

Because we are free women,
born of free women,
who are born of free women,
back as far as time begins,
we celebrate your freedom.

Because we are wise women,
born of wise women,
who are born of wise women,
we celebrate your wisdom.

Because we are strong women,
born of strong women,
who are born of strong women,
we celebrate your strength.

Because we are magical women,
born of magical women,
who are born of magical women,
we celebrate your magic.

My sisters, we are gathered here to speak your
names.
We are here because we are your daughters
as surely as if you had conceived us, nurtured us,
carried us in your wombs, and then sent us out
into the world to make our mark
and see what we see, and be what we be, but better,
truer, deeper
because of the shining example of your own
incandescent lives.

We are here to speak your names
because we have enough sense to know
that we did not spring full blown from the
forehead of Zeus,
or arrive on the scene like Topsy, our sister once
removed, who somehow just growed.
We know that we are walking in footprints made
deep by the confident strides
of women who parted the air before them like the
forces of nature that you are.

We are here to speak your names
because you taught us that the search is always for
the truth
and that when people show us who they are, we
should believe them.

We are here because you taught us
that sisterspeak can continue to be our native
tongue,
no matter how many languages we learn as we
move about as citizens of the world
and of the ever-evolving universe.

We are here to speak your names
because of the way you made for us.
Because of the prayers you prayed for us.
We are the ones you conjured up, hoping we
would have strength enough,
and discipline enough, and talent enough, and
nerve enough
to step into the light when it turned in our
direction, and just smile awhile.

We are the ones you hoped would make you
proud
because all of our hard work
makes all of yours part of something better, truer,
deeper.
Something that lights the way ahead like a lamp
unto our feet,
as steady as the unforgettable beat of our collective
heart.

We speak your names.
We speak your names.

Bet on yourself first.

A recent article in entrepreneur.com suggests that sooner or later we are all going to have to become entrepreneurs – or at least develop an entrepreneurial spirit, even within the organisations we work for.

I like this. I like this alot. Starting a business or a project dear to your heart means you’re essentially backing yourself. You are saying I have a vision that I want to see come to life, and I’m going to take action and make it happen. You are essentially betting on yourself.

And the question is, why not? why not believe in yourself to the extent that you’ll actively pursue your dreams so that they don’t just remain dreams.

We tend to have faith in others but when it comes to ourselves we start to second guess. In coaching we encourage clients to think of what they’d say if it was their closest friend speaking to them. If your closest friend came to you with an idea they’d like to bring to life, would you say “No I really don’t think you can pull it off, you don’t have the skills or the money”? Yet these are the sorts of words that swirl around in our minds when we think of what we’d like to do with our lives.

Maybe you have had someone shut you down when you told them your plans (I know I have). Know this, it was about them. It wasn’t about you. Unfortunately it is threatening for some people when they see someone living their dream (or actively taking steps to make it happen) because it forces them to think about whether they are living theirs.

When you see someone actually make it happen, your excuses no longer hold water.

So:

  1. Whatever you want to achieve, now is the time to take action.
  2. If you don’t bet on yourself, who will? No one will force you to act.
  3. Inaction is a form of action, and you will get results – they’ll just be the same results you always get.
  4. You have innate abilities plus skills you’ve acquired along the way. Combine the two and make something happen!

Got something to share? Pop in a comment and inspire others.

Will you like the look of your harvest?

We get caught up in many illusions these days.

We can shop online and have goodies in our hot little hands in 3 days. And if we don’t like them we can return them, no problem. We watch live TV and share in the experiences of people in other cities simultaneously. All these are beneficial but they can create the illusion that I must get what I want NOW. NOW is good.

The truth is, while we’re scurrying around, time does what time has always done. Move along at the same pace. Spring is upon us here in Melbourne and I love how my favourite trees are once again changing colour. Seasonal changes are a good reminder that the more things change the more they stay the same i.e there are universal truths that will always remain.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt in growing my business is remembering that there is a time to sow and there’s a time to reap. I’m conscious of what and where I’m sowing. And whether I’m watering and nurturing those “seeds” and whether I’ll like the look of what I harvest.

With each action you take, consciously or unconsciously, you’re sowing something. You’re sowing relationships, you’re sowing projects. When those seeds sprout will you be happy with the harvest? If you go ahead and invest in that long, expensive course will you be happy with what you reap? Is it what you really want to do? If you go ahead and stay in that situation (personal or at work) will you be glad with what you reap 6 months or a year from now? If the answers are “YES” then do it. But if the answer is “I’m not sure” or “No” – then it would be better to pause and consider your next steps.

Patience is a virtue, another truism. The juice is in the journey. We hear news stories of success but few will then talk about the long journey to get there. Give yourself a chance and be patient with your goals. Many people don’t even start on anything they really want to do because they can’t see how it will work. Some start and then drop off once they realise it’s a marathon and not a sprint.  Don’t self-sabotage by not trying because you can’t see instant rewards. Don’t self sabotage by killing the dream halfway through.

So:

  1. What are you sowing right now? And remember, inaction is also a form of sowing.
  2. Don’t buy into the “give it to me now” mentality.
  3. Be kind to yourself by being patient.
  4. If you don’t like the look of what you’ll harvest, ask yourself “what should I do differently?”

Got something to share? Comments are always welcome.

Where’s the proof that you live self-love?

In personal development,  we hear certain wisdoms, phrases and pieces of advice time and time again. But do we know what they look like practically?

It’s one thing to understand something at an intellectual level, it’s another thing to actually live it.

Self love is one such phrase. We’ve heard it often, but do we really know what self-love looks or feels like? What are some of the thoughts and behaviours that become your proof that you practice self-love?

Living self love means:

  • You seek out and nurture friendships that nourish both parties.
    Hanging around with a “friend” you don’t really like? Got a “friend” you’re often complaining about? That’s inauthentic and keeping it going is not self-love.
  • You choose uplifting and evolving intimate relationships.
    Is there a consistent unhappiness in your relationship? Is one of you always chasing the other to spend more time together? Is one person giving a lot more than they are receiving? That’s not self-love.
  • You prioritise activities that bring you joy.
    This is not the “duty and obligation” stuff.  I mean hobbies and passions. They’re an opportunity to exercise a different part of your brain, have fun and reconnect with your innate gifts like drawing. It also informs other parts of your life including your work.
  • Taking time off for R&R
    You are not an automaton. Organising days off is not a crime. And trust me, your team at work will get on without you.
  • Being careful with who you allow into your life. We’ve all been hurt or burned by someone, but if this keeps happening it’s time to re-assess how you choose friends and partners. Being open is not equal to allowing just anyone into your life.
  • You take care of your spirit, your body and mind. All 3 matter.
    You may be very smart, but how’s your spirit? Do the books you read and the TV shows you watch nourish or drain you? Personal experience  with a certain TV show left me feeling down & discouraged for no apparent reason (it wasn’t until someone else told me he was experiencing the same thing that we realised “we need to stop watching this show!”). Still smoking? Oh boy, time to stop that one!
  • Finding the kind of job/life purpose that is good for you. You’re there 5, sometimes 6, days a week – make it count. Make it worthwhile.
  • Doing personal development work to help you evolve. Movement is key. It’s disheartening when we know we’re stagnating somewhere in life. Can you look back and reward yourself for how far you’ve come?

Consequences of self-love include not being needy, expecting others to give you the love you’d like. You also start to understand and appreciate the difference between “loneliness” and “aloneness”. The latter is a comfort with spending time in your own company.

Self-love is not:

  • Being nice for the sole purpose of not looking bad – that’s inauthentic.
  • Buying alot of “things” (especially if you can’t really afford it!) just to make you feel good. The feeling doesn’t last long.
  • Duty and obligation (being a “good girl” or a “good boy”) that leads to resenting others.
  • Complaining but not taking action to change your situation. That’s called – being invested in the drama.
  • Being selfish. There’s a qualitative difference. Eking out the time and space to take care of yourself is  different to being self absorbed.
  • Being closed in the name of protecting yourself. The thing with having a protective shell is, even the good folk can’t get in and contribute to your life.

Both lists could go on forever. We all have quirky ways we can live self-love.

Take the time to really learn the practical expression of the words of wisdom we see in the personal development space.  You don’t want to just say them in your head or know of them.

Living them is where you want to be.

Got something to share? Leave a comment so that someone else can learn from you!