Why Write this Blog?

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Last week, I wrote about the changes that have been occurring in my life, and how they might affect my blog. The biggest influence and piece of wisdom that I keep encountering as I blaze a new trail in my life is to understand why I am doing what I am doing. The personal benefits are numerous, but the one that relates to this blog is that knowing my purpose for writing will help me develop a consistent message.

So, I spent the week tossing the why questions around in my mind. I realized that my goal is to help people. My idea of help is NOT some fluffy, feel-good affirmation that tells you you’re ok when you’re really a jerk that’s messing up your life and the lives of the people closest to you. To me, that’s like trying to put an adhesive bandage over a cut artery.

No, life is messy. It’s hard. Life questions rarely have easy answers. And, just when you think that you’ve found your answers, you find that there are people out there who have a totally different view of things and see things so differently from you that you wonder if you’re even from the same species. (Something I actually love about humanity, by the way!)

In the end, I type my thoughts and opinions up every week with the hope that I help someone somewhere see things in a way that gives them the courage to carry on, fortitude to keep trying to solve their problems, and perspective to live without causing harm to others.

That’s why I write this blog.

So, for the most part, the posts will continue next week and probably feel a lot like “business as usual.” I hope you find useful thoughts to ponder and apply!

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Highly Effective People?

Effective-PeopleBecause of my workaholic tendencies, I have been enamored with the idea of being “effective,” “productive,” and “successful” for as long as I can remember. It hasn’t brought the contentment that I once thought it would.

So, when I ran across this phrase in a book title recently, I began to wonder. Did I miss the boat? Is there something about effectiveness that fascinates the highly-driven? Is this just a cultural thing? Is being effective a practice that I should avoid?

What I have experienced so far is that I filled every minute of productivity that I created with something else “important” that “needed” to be done.

 

I decided to check some definitions:

“successful in producing a desired or intended result”

This was the first entry, which means it’s the most commonly used meaning of the word. This is how my workaholism interprets effectiveness. Make things happen. Control events. Produce more than anyone else. This is the definition that has driven me most of my life, but hasn’t produced the things I truly desired.

“fulfilling a specified function in fact, though not formally acknowledged as such”

To me, this definition has possibilities. It calls for self-reflection before action. What is my “function” in life? The more I mature, the more I’m convinced it’s relationships. If I want to leave a legacy, it’s not going to be in my job titles, the size of my bank accounts, or the number of belongings I can accumulate. My legacy is going to be in the difference I made for the good in the lives of the people I touched.

Maybe there’s a chance for me to be an effective person, after all.

Shaping my Vision

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As I was writing about learning to follow my vision last week, I realized that just as important as following a vision is how I choose to shape that vision. The shape of my vision I follow completely controls who I become. So, what factors have shaped mine?

One of my biggest characteristics is the need to make a difference and to help others. It probably shows more than I think — after all, I chose teaching as my life’s career, and I’m writing a blog trying to help people think about the choices they make in life. It’s also important to me that I not hurt other people. I know I make mistakes, and have hurt people in the past, but I never want to start out with the intent of harm or of not caring if I inflict harm.

Some of the questions I have answered as I’ve searched for my life vision are

  1. What legacy will I leave behind?
  2. What effect will I have on others and the world around me?
  3. Does my life have meaning and purpose?
  4. Am I living up to my potential?
  5. What does a great life really look like to me?
  6. Am I creating or consuming?
  7. When do I really feel alive?

These really helped me focus on what is important to me.

Now, I’m challenging you to ask yourself some deep questions and create your own vision — on purpose, with purpose.

New Year, New Outlook

quote-there-is-no-passion-to-be-found-playing-small-in-settling-for-a-life-that-is-less-than-the-one-nelson-mandela-118483So, as we close out 2016 and look to 2017, the process of resolutions, goal-setting, or resistance to change begins.

Personally, I gave up on resolutions a long time ago. I prefer to look back through my journal to review the past year and to make goals and plans for the coming year. I’ll set fitness and weight goals, raise some of my personal character standards, and plan to achieve goals that feel like success to me.

I don’t necessarily use the S.M.A.R.T. method, and I don’t always write everything down. I’m just as likely to head out in a vague direction and figure out my exact course on the fly. To me, it doesn’t matter, as long as I am making progress.

I hope that you, too, will find the fire of determination and motivation deep within you, be realistic about what you will and won’t do to improve yourself and your life, and still take steps to be a little better tomorrow than you have today — and better next year than this!

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All Dressed Up

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I have heard this saying applied to people that others feel are fake or even worthless. Today, I want to turn the saying on its head a little bit and look at personal beliefs and habits.

  • In our day-to-day lives, what are we doing just to look go, but the actions aren’t taking us where we want to go?
    • Imagine the power of cleaning out pockets of time in daily life!
    • Remind yourself that, ultimately, no one else is living your life, and trying to please others is a self-defeating policy. It’s impossible to please”them” enough to feel fulfilled.
    • Focus on the power of looking in the mirror and liking the person staring back at you, a good, powerful person who can self-direct their own actions!
  • Now for the harder one: which of my beliefs are “all dressed up, but have nowhere to go”?
    • As I have pointed out in previous posts, I have personally found that there are absolute basic morals that transcend time and human law. Personally, I hang on to these dearly, because I believe they are the foundation of human decency.
    • On the other hand, what beliefs to I hold about myself that might be limiting me from stepping up and trying harder?
    • What beliefs am I clinging to about others (whether specific people or that never identifiable “them”) that puts up unnecessary walls and are only there to protect the way I want to see life?

This is all about dumping extra baggage. The more we examine life and make sure our beliefs and actions serve a purpose — and that the purpose is what they are supposed to be serving — the more emotional energy and time we will have to put to the things we truly want to be and do.