“It is not for man to rest in absolute contentment. He is born to hopes and aspirations.”
—Robert Southey, 19th Century British Poet
Image from zerodemands.com
How much time do you give to the TV or computer screen each day?
Most of us, including myself, enjoy the distractions and guilty pleasures they provide. I do, however, have a rule. In the time I give, I want to learn something or be inspired in some way.
With that said, I often watch the National Geographic Channel. One of my favorite shows is called “Life Below Zero,” in which people choose quite happily to live near and up to 200 miles north of the arctic circle in Alaska.
I am always amazed at how hopeful, energized, and fulfilled they seem to be. They live a life of their choosing, filled with hardships that include finding water, food, and shelter from an often brutal and potentially life-threatening climate.
Where are you resting and taking it a bit too easy these days? What deeply held hopes and aspirations would cause you to leave this comfort to realize the committed future you deeply desire?
“Go as long as you can, and then take another step.”
Image from Pinterest
How often do you hear yourself or others say, “I did my best”?
What percentage of the time is that statement true?
If you are like me and many others, we almost always leave a little in the tank, knowing that if we truly gave our all and failed, something terrible would happen.
Failing, knowing you could have studied more, worked harder, and gone farther somehow makes our less than optimal results seem OK. We say things like:
- At least I passed
- I was in the upper quartile of my class
- I made partner quicker than most in my firm
Experiment today in taking one more step, doing one more rep of your exercise, making one more call, or working one extra hour. Reach out to one more friend or help one more person.
Notice the energy you experience, and don’t be surprised if there is still more in the tank, ready to go!
“How will you measure your life?”
—Clayton M. Christensen, Harvard Business Professor
Today’s quote stopped me in my tracks and caused me to sit down to examine its profundity. I then watched Mr. Christensen’s TEDx Boston talk from 2012, to see what this Harvard Professor had to say.
This is a question we must all answer for ourselves, based on many factors. I looked at the personal and professional achievements that measured me against others, and more importantly, against myself. My conclusion here was that personal development and growth have always been measuring sticks for me. What became more of a priority for me was the measure of family, and the development of close, collaborative relationships. In this area, contribution and making a difference in people’s lives was paramount.
When Clayton stated, in his talk, that God does not employ accountants and statisticians, I wondered what I’d like people to say upon my passing. This caused me to set about my efforts far more intentionally, so that I might fulfill my purpose.
Explore setting up a discussion group within your personal and professional communities to ask and answer this question for yourself.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and what you discovered.
Friday Review: Aspirations
What are your aspirations for your personal or professional life? Here are a few aspiration-related posts you may have missed. Click on the Quote to read the full message:
Image from Flickr by Tommy Clark
“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them and try to follow where they lead.”
Image from Nasa
“I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart.”
Image from picturespider.com
“Be the kind of person you want in your life.”
“What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t happened yet!”
image from searchengineland.com
Today’s quote caused me to pause a bit longer than I normally do as I look to the New Year ahead. Instead of looking at the year as a whole, or even fleshing out the priority goals and objectives I wish to tackle, I plan on looking at each day as a unique and precious gift.
One way to see the value of this exercise is to take a trip into your past to examine and pleasantly re-experience, through memory, some of the really great days and experiences. As you take the time to do this, count how many great days you can recall. The list will probably be finite.
How can you design the coming year, proactively and intentionally, to have as many remarkable days this year as you have had to this point in your life?
“The book that will most change your life is the book you write.”
—Seth Godin, American author and entrepreneur
It has been just over a year since I published The Quotable Coach – Daily Nuggets of Practical Wisdom. The process, from my first blog post to published book, took over two-and-a-half years.
I have always loved quotes. I enjoy the inner journey as I look at my own life. The 30 months of developing the book were far different in that I found myself digging deeper, and wrestling more fully than ever before. It was, without question, the extra efforts that resulted in the most profound gains I’ve experienced, professionally and personally.
If you were to write a book that would result in substantial growth, what would be the topic? How can you begin this process today? Possible first steps could be a journal entry, a blog post, or a short story.
“Don’t quit your day dream.”
Photo from www.johnlund.com
For many of us, the act of daydreaming is about longing to be somewhere else, doing something else. This often flies in the face of our day jobs—jobs that have become, for some, unfulfilling or even toxic.
When we daydream, there is a heightened sense of excitement, and a desire to live and work more consistently with our most authentic beliefs and desires.
In many ways, the coaching process encourages each individual to be true to themselves, giving them greater access to more of their personal power, gifts, and inherent talents. Who wouldn’t want far more of that?
What would be possible if you lived more consistently by the phrase, “Don’t quit your day dream” instead of “Don’t quit your day job”?
What specific actions can you take today to do just that?
“Be mindful of the future… but not at the expense of the moment.”
– Qui-Gon Jinn, a fictional character in the Star Wars saga
Image from ompuertoviejo.wordpress.com
I’ve noticed recently that many people get ahead of themselves, living far too often in the future. See if any of these scenarios apply to you:
- You are constantly thinking about the upcoming weekend.
- You find yourself frequently envisioning your next vacation.
- You can’t wait to retire from your job—which may be many years away.
- You often anticipate your next job or promotion, or the one after that.
- You can’t wait to have that next new suit, car, or bigger home.
Although I am a big advocate of having goals that spur all of us on to achieve better futures, I see far too many people missing out on the daily activities that make their journey worthwhile.
How would being mindful of the present provide you more satisfaction in your personal and professional life, as you pursue your goals and visions for the future?
“Be the kind of person you want in your life.”
Image from picturespider.com
When you got up this morning, brushed your teeth, washed your face, and looked in the mirror, who did you see? What were your thoughts about the person staring back at you? For the moment, leave out any and all references to your physical features and appearance.
Instead, focus only on those inner qualities that make you who you are. Consider the following qualities to start, and add a few of your own:
How will you, today and in the future, become even more of the kind of person you want in your life? Consider sharing your intentions with selective people—those you respect and admire for their wonderful qualities—to help hold you accountable for being the best version of yourself possible.
“Coasting only happens when you are going downhill.”
—Mike Rayburn, one of the youngest inductees in the Speaker Hall of Fame
Photo from dimitri.co.uk
When was the last time you took a bike ride outdoors? Try to remember a specific ride with many hills. Close your eyes and visualize the effort and “burn” it took to climb the steepest and longest hills. Experience the relief of going over the crest, when you began coasting, allowing gravity to make your journey far easier.
Examine some of the current professional or personal hills you are on, or intend to climb. How will the pursuit of reaching the top make you even stronger for future challenges?
If you happen to notice that there are very few or no hills ahead, perhaps you are coasting, and headed downward. Make a point, once you have relaxed or recovered, to find the next hill worth climbing.