“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

—Maya Angelou, American poet, novelist, speaker, actress

Maya Angelou, who passed away in May 2014, was an American author, poet, dancer, and singer. Her first, and perhaps most noteworthy autobiographies, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, published in the late 1960s, tells of her life up to the age of 17, and brought her world-wide recognition.

I came to know of her through her appearances on the Oprah Winfrey show. Her courage, wit, and the vulnerability she shared in her stories inspired and mesmerized Oprah and her vast audience.

Maya Angelou’s life included roles such as civil rights activist, playwright, actress, professor, and film producer – all giving her a platform for sharing her messages with the world.  Two highlights of her career were reciting her poem, On the Pulse of Morning at President Bill Clinton’s January 1993 inauguration, and receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.


Explore the possibility of writing your autobiography, and how fully you express the life you’ve lived so far.

Should you discover that to one degree or another, your voice and authentic self are muted, commit to shift that agony into an ecstasy of living life out loud from this point forward.

“If you wish to be out front, act as if…”

“If you wish to be out front, act as if you were behind.”

—Lao Tzu, ancient Chinese poet and philosopher

How competitive are you in your personal or professional life? What factors motivate you to do your very best and achieve remarkable results? Some people are motivated to avoid pain or punishment. Others are goal or future oriented, setting their sights on pursuing and achieving a worthy objective ahead of them.

La Tzu’s coaching is to set our sights on just such an external person or objective, to create a “come from behind” victory, and be out front.


Where are you currently behind in the race to achieve some worthy goal or objective? How can you use this position to motivate you to pursue and surpass your highest expectations?

Remember: when you are are out in front, find something else to pursue, or others will quickly be on your heels.

“Life is fragile, handle with prayer.”

“Life is fragile, handle with prayer.”

—Harold B. Lee, eleventh president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Photo from Flickr by NASA

Photo from Flickr by NASA

I am constantly amazed by life. Here we are, living on our beautiful blue planet with the perfect set of conditions that support an astounding diversity of plant and animal life. From the deepest oceans to the highest mountains, from the frigid cold of the poles to the searing heat of the tropics and deserts, life abounds.

Yet, if we look back in time, we see events that eliminated a wide variety of Earth’s creatures.

People who seem to navigate life better than most have, at their core, a strong sense of spiritual purpose, faith, and a set of beliefs that guide their lives.


As one of over seven billion stewards of this world, how can your prayers, positive interventions, and actions support and sustain our beautiful and fragile world?

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.”

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.”

— Robert Byrne, American author


One of the most widely read books over the last decade was A Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. The author states that perhaps no single factor contributes more to happiness and fulfillment in life than purpose.


List all the key roles you play in your professional and personal lives.

Examine which of these roles provide you with the greatest level of satisfaction.

Ask yourself “How much meaning do I derive through his role, and what changes might I make to derive even more?”

Consider revisiting the core value exercise to provide greater perspective on what primary beliefs and commitments are fundamental for you to feel and experience a more purpose driven life.

“Of all knowledge, the wise and good seek most to know themselves.”

“Of all knowledge, the wise and good seek most to know themselves.”

—William Shakespeare

Image from Unsplash by NeONBRAND

The pursuit of knowledge is a never-ending journey. Whether we wish to win the national spelling bee or master our own vocation, the inner journey to amass the necessary amount of information is daunting.

The journey within oneself can be mysterious and enlightening.

Commit to a personal journey of inner discovery and self-awareness. Discover your strengths. If you are not sure what they are, ask those close to you. Discover your unique abilities and talents. Discover your core values and fundamental beliefs.


Consider creating a daily self-discovery journal or log to capture your observations once a week. Share those observations with a close colleague or family member.

#75: “Each lifetime is the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle…”

“… For others the puzzle is more difficult to assemble. But know this: you do not have within yourself all of the pieces of your puzzle. Everyone carries with them at least one and probably many pieces to someone else’s puzzle… When you present your piece, which is worthless to you, to another, whether you know it or not, you are a messenger from the Most High.”

– Rabbi Lawrence Kushner

There is a corny sentiment in romantic movies: “you complete me.” What if this really is true and that we all have within us a certain quality, characteristic, skill, or gift that makes another person more whole and complete?


What special gifts and talents do you have to contribute?

What gaps or missing pieces are there in your life that need filling?

How would a greater awareness of these allow you to fulfill your highest purpose?

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“A man should conceive of a legitimate purpose in his heart and set out to accomplish it.”

“A man should conceive of a legitimate purpose in his heart and set out to accomplish it.”

– James Allen, philosopher and writer

Life purpose, making a difference, and living a meaningful life are fundamental to happiness.

How can you find your purpose and life direction? How will you know when you are heading the right way, and when you’re getting close to arriving?


List your top 20 – 30 core values.

Cut this list in half, and then in half again, to get to the real core.

Next, create a life vision statement, using all of the final list and perhaps most of the second list of values. Wordsmith this vision until you feel it is 100% you.

Now use your vision statement as the context to inspire your actions in every area of your life: it can help you become happier and more fulfilled.