“Be your own compass.”

“Be your own compass.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by AbsolutVision

To what degree have you felt lost over the past several months?

Where did you once have clarity in your life, and to what extent do things now seem to be foggy?

Now is the time to be your own compass, to verify your “True North” and set forth with more confidence and commitment.

What are the values, beliefs, and priorities that generate the magnetic field within you, keeping you on course regardless of small or mountainous issues along the way?

EXERCISE:

How do you know when you are on the right path?

What personal or professional adjustments will you make today to better follow your own inner compass?

“Move past the myopic ‘present you’ to become the sagacious ‘future you.’”

“Move past the myopic ‘present you’ to become the sagacious ‘future you.’”

—Michael Bungay Stainer, Author of The Advice Trap and The Coaching Habit

How have your personal and professional worlds changed in the past three or four months?

How did things look a year ago for you and others in your communities?

To what degree has your focus shifted from “me” to “we”?

Where have you expressed sagaciousness in your actions, and where might you feel reluctance to step forward?

Our world needs all of us, and we all need one another to address this pandemic and other local and global challenges.

How might we all use this point in time to come together to more fully and more enduringly synergize our collective efforts to realize a far better “future us”?

EXERCISE:

What actions can and will you take to move past the myopic “present you” to become the sagacious “future you”?

“Look for the miracles within you and others.”

“Look for the miracles within you and others.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by NASA

As a former science teacher, I have always been fascinated by the natural world. Whether it involves looking through a microscope at the very small, or a telescope at the vastness of our universe, the idea of taking a different and deeper look at things always inspires me.

The same may be true when we look at each other.

How often do we examine only the surface layers of one another with our limited mental models and biases? What miracles might we discover if we took the time to refocus our life lenses on ourselves and one another?

EXERCISE:

Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles” is a book you may wish to explore to discover and create a few more miracles in your life.

“Stop watering things that were never meant to grow in your life. Water what works, what’s good, what’s right.”

“Stop watering things that were never meant to grow in your life. Water what works, what’s good, what’s right.”

—T.D. Jakes, American pastor, author and filmmaker

Image from Unsplash by Markus Spiske

Fast forward about two months to early spring. Go outside and take a look at your lawn and your flower beds. You are just about to turn on the automatic sprinklers and all outside hoses are ready to water the hard-to-reach areas.

But wait!

You take a closer look at the state of these areas and see that the most robust growth seems to be mostly weeds. What do you do before flipping the switch?

EXERCISE:

Where are you currently watering the weeds in your life?

What gardening efforts are called for so that you have more of what works, what is good, and what is right growing and blossoming in your life?

“Consider the postage stamp: Its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.”

“Consider the postage stamp: Its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.”

—Josh Billings, pseudonym of 19th-century American humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw

With the advent of email and texting, my use of regular or snail mail has declined by over 90%. How about you?

For selective or special mail such as birthday cards, I’m still an old-fashioned guy who sends cards with hand-written notes.

Despite my reduced use, I cannot recall stamps every falling off, and perhaps only a few times when my special message failed to arrive. The speed with which these message got there is another story.

EXERCISE:

What current project or top priority in your professional or personal life requires even greater focus and “stick-to-it-ness” for you to get to the result or outcome you desire?

When something small loudly demands all of our attention

“When something small loudly demands all of our attention, its noise often drowns out the whisper of what’s enormously important.”

—Craig Groeschel, American Clergyman

Image of a woman whispering to a child

Image from Unsplash by Sai de Silva

We live in a very noisy world. If you are like many folks these days, the decibel levels and shiny object distractions have reached new heights and the pace is accelerating exponentially.

Although there are extraordinary opportunities through the abundance of these worldly demands for our attention, we all require gaps in our days to recharge and renew.

EXERCISE:

Create two lists for your personal and professional life. Label the first list Important Whispers and the second Loud Demands.

What strategies can and will you employ to increase the time for items on the first, and reduce or perhaps eliminate items from the second?

Let us not look back in anger

“Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.”

—James Thurber, 20th Century American Author

Image of an enlightened brain

Image from Wonderfest

On an episode of Space’s Deepest Secrets on the possibility of time travel, a wide variety of scientists from prestigious institutions around the world shared their theories.

Among the hot topics were worm holes, black holes, dark energy, and moving faster than the speed of light.

You don’t have to be a theoretical physicist to know that we all travel in time in our minds. We sometimes visit the past and the future with anger, fear, and other emotions that can often have negative impact on our lives.

EXERCISE:

What would be the benefit of focusing far more of your time in the present, to more fully allow this heightened awareness to improve your world?

Starve Your Distractions Feed Your Focus

“Starve Your Distractions. Feed Your Focus.”

—Author Unknown

Image of More/Less, Start/Stop graphic

You are what you eat.

In terms of today’s quote, I am not referring to kale, flax seeds, or salmon.

We are becoming an increasingly ADHD society, in which the “shiny object syndrome” is more prevalent than ever. Take a few moments right now for a careful look at the many things that seek your attention.

The payoff with the wide variety of distractions seems to be some form of pleasure, instant gratification, or an escape from life’s difficulties. Sometimes it’s for twenty seconds for a social media fix, or thirty minutes for a sitcom.

The cost for all of us is the lack or diminishment of our fullest potential on both the personal and professional fronts. Because everyone seems to be engaged in these activities, and we all want to fit in, we unfortunately accept this “dumbing down” of our focus as “normal.”

EXERCISE:

Consider using the More, Less, Start, Stop strategy today, to feed your focus and starve your distractions.

For those who wish to make this a habit, engage the support of others for at least the next month, so the benefits you desire will become sticky and sustainable.

Hard to See a Halo when you’re looking for Horns

“It’s hard to see a halo when you’re looking for horns.”

—Cullen Hightower, late American quip writer

Image of a halo hanging on devel's horns

Image from VG24

Are you a good person?

Most of us like to think we are – and could even prove it through the kind and generous gestures we make throughout the day.

Take a moment to look at the variety of people in your personal and professional worlds. How many have the same size halo you see above your own head? Perhaps more disturbingly, how often do you see their not-so-pleasant horns, because you are focusing on their faults and shortcomings?

EXERCISE:

Abraham Lincoln once said, “I don’t like that man. I need to get to know him better.”

How can you, too, rise above your own fault-finding perceptions and discover far more halos in those around you?

 

The Chain of Destiny

“It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.”

—Sir Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Image of a gold link chain

Image from Unsplash by Mike Alonzo

My wife Wendy and I have been watching a National Geographic series titled, “Year Million.”

Standing in the middle of year 2017, we can take an historical perspective of man’s place on earth. The concept of “Year Million” – that very distant future – could hold either great promise or considerable trepidation in what lies ahead for the human race.

I am currently reading Thomas Friedman’s book, “Thank You for Being Late,” subtitled “An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations.” The book pulls me back from Year Million to the last 10-30 years. Friedman points out that societal changes and adaptation seem to be lagging behind the wide variety of technological and environmental changes we now experience regularly.

EXERCISE:

Rather than being fearful of, or overwhelmed by our eventual future, how might you embrace Churchill’s strategy to create your own destiny one day at a time?