“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”
image from www.cbc.ca
There are two primary schools of thought regarding what spurs people into action. The first is what I call the “avoiding pain” strategy, in which people examine the bad things that may occur if they don’t take action. Some sales methods take advantage of this approach by turning up the level of pain in order to compel people to buy a product or service.
The alternative strategy, suggested in Nelson Mandela’s statement, could be called the “pleasure strategy.” Here, a compelling and hopeful objective mobilizes us to choose certain actions and behaviors that will help us realize our desirable future.
What will you do to make the majority of your life choices—personally and professionally—from a more hopeful perspective?
Foolishly, many people pursue their happiness through extrinsic factors. Although many of these pursuits can result in pleasurable moments, rarely do they produce enduring or sustainable happiness. Wise people, on the other hand, have learned over the years that intrinsic factors much closer to home are the source of a meaningful and more enduring form of happiness.
How can you increase your own personal happiness by embracing more factors that lie right under your feet, and far fewer in the distance?
“Sometimes the things we can’t change end up changing us.”
Image from Flickr by Sebastien Wiertz
A topic that comes up fairly frequently in my coaching sessions these days is aging. As someone in the middle of the Baby Boom Generation, I see that most of my contemporaries are also experiencing the “grayification” of our society. We’re dealing with aging parents and our own health and fitness related issues.
Despite all of our best efforts to eat better, exercise more, and get much-needed rest to renew and recharge, we are heading toward an entropy of life, where things begin to break down and stop working optimally.
There happens to be a new form of coaching called “Eldering.” One of its tenets is to assist people in navigating these years with more grace, dignity, and life mastery.
How can you adjust, adapt, or change yourself in relationship to those issues and situations that are unchangeable, to more fully experience a life of greater happiness and fulfillment?
“One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning.”
—James Russell Lowell, 20th Century American poet, critic, and diplomat
Image from Flickr by Taro Taylor
Perhaps the single most significant reason the coaching profession has grown to over a $2 billion industry is the fact that it focuses a great degree on experiential learning. Although there is still a substantial value in telling and showing, it seems the stickiness and sustainability of the lesson comes from experiencing things firsthand, where we actually get on the field, run a few plays, and see what happens.
Where and how can you include far more experiential learning opportunities to help you progress even further in your life?
“Sometimes, you just have to bow your head, say a prayer, and weather the storm.”
Image from Flickr by Melinda Swinford
In recent weeks, I’ve met a number of people experiencing significant challenges in their professional and personal worlds. They were knocked down and kept down by death, illness, accidents, and other major life events. For some, many of these things were happening at the same time.
Those who weather the storms the best all mentioned that it was their faith, family, and friends that made these disturbing and often tragic life events bearable.
Where can you seek for yourself—or offer to others—a level of support to more successfully weather the storms of life?
“Answers are closed rooms; and questions are open doors that invite us in.”
—Nancy Willard – American novelist and poet
image from sanfranciscoaudiophilesociety.com
Much of our current educational system has focused on students getting the correct answer. How else will you earn a perfect score on tests, the ACT and SAT exams, get into a good college or university, and achieve success? And whose definition of success is it?
A more recent form of education tends to be far more focused on inquiry and experience-based learning. In this method, powerful questions open many different doors, inviting the learner to be an integral part of the educational process.
Identify a handful of powerful questions that will engage people more fully, professionally and personally. Share them with your family, friends, and colleagues.
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
—Oliver Wendell Holmes, American physician & poet
Photo from Flickr by Moyan Brenn
My trip to Europe last month was definitely a mind stretcher. Relatively unaware of this region of the world, I was somewhat embarrassed by my ignorance of the languages, customs, architecture, and of course, history.
Seeing the churches, castles, cities, towns, villages, and of course the people, made me realize that I am a not-so-worldly citizen with much to learn. I also now can see that both my roots and Wendy’s were formed to a good degree through the lives of previous generations of our families, who came from Europe.
What new experiences have you had recently, or are about to experience in the next month or so? How can and will you make the most of these mind-stretching opportunities?
“Traveling: it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”
—Ibn Battuta, 14th century Moroccan explorer
photo from goodreads.com
One of my favorite books by Dr Seuss is Oh The Places You’ll Go, often given as a gift to high school or college graduates as they step into their life journey.
For many of us, this sense of adventure and excitement wanes as we settle into our day-to-day lives, work, and other more routine responsibilities.
Perhaps this is why most of my coaching clients have travel, adventure, and fun as things they want more of as they move forward. We simply want more WOW moments that leave us speechless. When we tell these “wow” stories, they often ignite the flame in others, causing them to more fully experience life, too.
Where have you longed to travel? Find someone who has actually been there – or perhaps a few people – and let their stories ignite a spark in you. When you make your plans and go yourself, consider what stories you will share that would benefit others.
“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.”
-Seneca, Roman statesman & tutor to Nero
Photo from Flickr by Eelke de Blouw
Traveling in Europe was a learning smorgasbord. I did all I could to taste the variety and abundance of its offerings, including:
The variety of languages
Local customs & traditions
Music & art
Great food and drink
Business & commerce
Politics & religion
The natural beauty & history of the region
As an American, I was shocked at how my mental models and perceptions of the world have limited me and kept my world reasonably small. As a business and personal coach, I plan to take the blinder off, in particular with my coaching colleagues who live beyond my doorstep.
How can you more fully benefit from your own travels and change of place to experience greater vigor in your journey of the mind?