Archive for September, 2010

What happens when life doesn’t turn out as you planned?

September 26, 2010

Life doesn't always work out as planned

Life.  A flow of events that is unpredictable and challenging. You set your goals and head off on the journey with a destination firmly in mind.

Knowing where you’re going and working towards it provides the greatest opportunity for success. Not all goals can be achieved regardless of a positive mindset and a resolve to never give up. At each step of the journey you’re faced with challenges that require you to reassess and recalibrate your expectations.

The bigger the goal the harder it is to achieve. Becoming an Olympic athlete, writing a best seller, taking your band to number one or making a million dollars a year are all brilliant goals. Yes it can be done but, realistically, not by everyone.  We often talk about setting goals BIG and chasing them with vigour. Shoot for the stars, make progress, take action and enjoy the journey.

 All great advice but what happens if we just can’t make it?

This post is about the search for your life’s purpose. Not just your job, a career or a set of standards that you‘re expected to live up to. It’s about following a path that gives you a sense of meaning.

Finding purpose

The feeling that life hasn’t turned out how you want can lead to a feeling of emptiness.  Unrealised potential can be crushing to the spirit. Changing this situation is not a flash of inspiration, divine intervention or getting excited at a motivational seminar. It’s a long haul of trial and error, change and effort and the arduous task of finding yourself.

Many people don’t think beyond the immediate need for money, having a bearable job, paying the bills and having time for family and friends. Technology blurs the lines between work and home with email, PDAs and a global economy that demands attention 24/7. The result is frustration and a feeling of going nowhere.

Time’s not on our side and even in our 30s and 40s we find ourselves wondering what we are going to do when we grow up. ‘I don’t know what I’m supposed to do in this life; I just know that this isn’t it’.

Society dictates that you should always be moving forward. Start at school and ‘pass’ to progress to the next level. Go to university and progress until you have a degree, ideally with honours. Take a job and work hard. Progress up the rungs.

If you stall, move on and start climbing again. How high can you go? Have you ‘progressed’ to marriage and children? Have you bought a home and are paying it off? Are you playing sport, are you winning, will you play in the finals? Are you on society’s accepted and expected time line? Where are you now?

Are you on the ‘up’ escalator moving forward in life or not moving anywhere, especially not up. Are you stuck in a rut with the escape hatch firmly welded shut? Are you languishing in mediocrity far beneath your personal expectations?  Where to from here?

 Even those at the top can feel it. Working hard for more than 20 years to finally stand on the peak and feeling totally underwhelmed at what they see. Appearing wealthy and successful, they should be happy but they’re not. All they have achieved still doesn’t provide the satisfaction they desire.

Our own disillusionment is amplified by the outside world. Subject to the expectations of what and who we should be and conforming to another’s rules. Judging, watching and pushing for you to ‘stick to the rules of the game’. Get a good job, make money, work hard, have clear objectives and work to a plan.

Certainly not living a life of inspiration, creativity and fulfilment.

Do you allow yourself to be subjected to a life void of challenge and vitality? Wanting to be challenged and inspired but only called on to show up, put in the time and clock out. Forty plus years of this isn’t a recipe for self fulfilment and growth.  A hamster on a wheel, a soulless existence devoid of meaning, where the only free cheese is in the trap.

But wait, there’s more. Even in this soulless void there can be a glimmer of hope. Pay attention to your intuition. Become more sensitive to your calling, accept your past and don’t allow it to dictate the future, use your imagination and work towards an existence that makes your life worthwhile.

Showing up for your life

September 10, 2010

 

Showing up for life

The way we walk into a meeting says a lot about the way we live our lives. When we walk in on time and prepared, interested about what’s happening, willing to engage and be engaged then we are respecting others. If we’re willing to be an active participant with something to offer, this shows that we respect ourselves.

When we walk in with our eyes down, nervous and holding ourselves back we show to those present that we lack the skills and confidence required to be in the room. If we’re not really showing up for our own lives how can we ever hope to add value or move towards a state of personal fulfilment?

The one thing we can’t buy is time. Days, weeks, months and years escape our grasp at an ever quickening pace. Time allures us with the promise of a future with space to get things done so we don’t do them now. We get RSI – Repetitive Selective Indifference doing the same things day in and day out.  Don’t live life tramping down the same rat runs while your potential grows over with weeds.

When we show up for our life, we’re actively participating in being happy; achieving our goals, and living the life we really want. Anything less is a waste.  A waste of time, space and energy for everyone involved. There’s nothing to be gained from going through the motions. Sitting back and waiting for everything to come to you will only result in disappointment.

Life offers so much more. Ten years from now, what would you give to be back here today? To buy back time, to have another decade? We’ve learned to make a living but not a life, to buy more but enjoy it less. While time rushes on.

There is a way to show up for life: Make every day count and enjoy the journey.

If you need help, begin the process of seeking out those who can support you. If you need experience, find the opportunities that give you the experience you need to be successful. Whatever you need, look for it, and when you find it allow yourself to have it. Live life consciously and account for every day. Success will sneak up on you.

Escape to reality

September 1, 2010

Where is your reality?

Here’s a great piece of advice.

 Accept responsibility for the choices you make and break free from the illusion that you are a helpless victim of circumstance. All choices in life create results and consequences, either positive or negative. These consequences exist whether your choice was made consciously or through habit, programming or doing what you think is expected of you.

 If you see your life as meaningless, view yourself as insignificant and powerless or look at things that happen to you as inconsequential, irrelevant or random you’re missing the opportunity to shape your life for the better.

 When you see your life as meaningful, exciting and evolving as you learn, grow and try new things you live a life of expectancy and control. You won’t always get the results you want and it’s possible that bad things can still happen but you can influence the outcome, change your approach and try again. Leaving it up to happenstance is no way to live.

 You can attract the type of people you want in your life by becoming that type of person. If you want loving people in your life you must become loving, if you want to be successful associate with successful people, if you want a happy family life then that starts with you. All change in the world starts with your own actions. You just have to decide what you want.

 Intention is the use of your will. It’s more than wishing for something, wanting something or hoping that something happens. It’s being determined to create it. So many people float along in life reacting to the world and taking whatever is dished out to them. They want things to be different but are always looking to someone or something else to provide it – the government, their boss or ‘the system’.

 They’re ‘life’s battlers’ – tune in to any current affairs program and you will see a constant stream of people getting kicked around. Politicians love them, the ‘average, everyday working families, the suburban mum and dads’ – what does that mean? Often portrayed as cattle doing what they’re told, not making waves or asking questions.

 I do understand that there’s entrenched, compound social disadvantage. People caught in circumstances which mean they struggle to get through each day, and have difficulty thinking about anything other than survival. These people deserve to be helped, and ideally we can all create a more prosperous world to support them.

 I’m talking about the group of people that say they want things to be better for themselves and their family but won’t do a single thing differently to achieve it. They’re constantly waiting for the handout. How much better could their lives be if they did take some type of responsibility, no matter how small? We can all do that.

 So, take a step. Do something differently. Set a goal and work towards it. Nothing worthwhile ever comes easily so decide what you want and take that first step today. That’s the art of the start.