What Is The Value of Your Life?

This story starts in a quaint little monastery where one day, a little monk asked his elder:

Master, what is the greatest value of my life?”

The elder smiled at him, but didn’t give him the answer. Instead he told the young monk to go on a little journey:

“Before I give you the answer, I want you to complete a mission.

Go outside to the garden and find a large stone. Then take the stone down to the market to sell it. If someone asks you for the price of the stone, stay silent, and instead just stretch out 2 fingers in response. If someone offers you money for it, don’t sell the stone! Bring it back to me, and I will tell you the answer to your question.”

The little monk set off early the next morning, and carried the large stone to the market to sell.

The market was crowded that day, and all the people were very curious about the mysterious young monk and his stone. Suddenly a housewife came over and asked:

“How much are you selling that stone for?”

The young monk stretched out two fingers. The housewife said: “2 Dollars?”

The little monk shook his head, and the housewife replied: “So it’s 20 Dollars? Well, ok! I’ve been looking for a good paper weight to use at home.”

The little monk couldn’t help but think to himself:

“My goodness, someone’s willing to fork out 20 Dollars to buy this worthless stone! There are thousands more in the hills where that came from! “

However, the little monk followed his master’s instructions and keeping the stone, cheerfully went back to report his accomplishments:

“Master, you won’t believe it. Today there was a housewife who offered 20 dollars to buy my stone. Now can you tell me, what is the greatest value of my life? “

The elder monk replied:

“Very good! But your mission is not over yet! Tomorrow morning I want you to try it again. This time, take the stone to the museum instead. Come back to me afterwards and I will tell you the answer to your question.

The next morning, in the museum, a group of curious onlookers stood whispering amongst themselves:

“It looks like an ordinary stone, what’s so special about it?”

“There must be some hidden value, or why would the little monk bring it here?”

At this moment, a person sprang out from the crowd, and shouted out to the little monk asking:

“Little monk, how much are you selling this stone for?”

Once again, the little monk didn’t say anything, and just showed him 2 fingers.

The man said: “200 Dollars?”

The little monk shook his head, and the man replied:

“Of course! 2,000 Dollars then. I will carve this stone into a statue and make it a work of art.”

Upon hearing the offer, the little monk was taken aback, in shock.

Almost giddy from excitement, the little monk remembered his master’s instructions, and rushed back to the monastery before anyone could say another word.

“Master! Today someone offered 2,000 dollars for my stone. I don’t believe what’s happening! Now can you tell me what the greatest value of my life is?”

The elder monk laughed and said:

“Not so fast! I have one last task for you. Tomorrow, I want you to try one more time. This time, take the stone down to the art collector’s shop. When you come back, I promise to give you your answer.”

So the next morning of the third day, the little monk brought his stone to the art collector’s store. It seemed the story of the little monk and his mysterious stone had spread throughout the town, as immediately he was surrounded by a group of people.

They murmured excitedly to each other in hushed tones.

“This little monk is shrewd! He must know the true value of this precious rock to bring it here.”

Finally one person asked him: “Little monk, what is the asking price for your wonderful stone specimen?”

As before, the little monk stretched out two of his fingers without replying.

“20,000?” another man asked. Completely stunned, the little monk blurted out a garbled reply before covering his now wide-open mouth in a fluster.

Thinking that he had angered the little monk with a low-ball price, the man immediately corrected himself.

“Oh, no, no… I meant to say 200,000 then! Wait!”

So stunned was the little monk that he picked up the stone and ran all the way back to the monastery, leaving the entire crowd in an uproar.

Panting excitedly, he described his experience at the art collector.

“Master, Master! We’re rich! Someone just offered 200,000 dollars for the stone! Surely, now you can finally tell me what the greatest value of my life is. Please!”

Smiling, the elder monk patted the young monk on the head and gently said:

“My child, you have already discovered the answer to your own question.

The greatest value of your life is just like this stone.

At the market, you are only worth 20 dollars;

And at the museum, you are worth 2,000 dollars;

But if you place yourself at the art collector, you’re worth 200,000 dollars!

So the value of your life is exactly where you place yourself to be.

The decision is yours to make.”

Getting to the Core

Life is interesting! Whether we are working in a company or have our own business, it’s easy to get side-tracked from our vision. I don’t believe we necessarily go running away from our values. It’s more like we go wandering away, and one day, we wake up in a place we never meant to be, drifting in a direction we would have never chosen.

I hear this over and over again in conversations I have with clients and I believe this can be especially true in larger organizations. We get so caught up in systems and processes that we sometimes lose sight of why we are there in the first place. How often do we ask ourselves: What is our goal; our true vision? This feeling is not just limited to business. It can happen to individuals as well. If this is true for you, how can you get back on track?

What are Core Values?

Core values are the fundamental beliefs of a person or organization. They are the guiding principles that dictate behavior and action. Core values assist people in understanding right from wrong; they can help companies determine if they are on the right path and fulfilling their business goals; and they create an unwavering and unchanging guide. There are many different types of core values and many different examples of core values depending upon the context.

Regardless of whether you are a company or individual, we all have core values or internal beliefs that dictate how life is to be lived. For companies, core values are the guiding principles that help to define how the corporation behaves. They are usually expressed in the corporation’s mission statement.

Finding Your Core Values

One of the biggest challenges is clarifying and identifying what’s truly important to you. While some people or companies might expressly publish their core values, often the best way to identify these values is to watch how they act and behave. A core value is only a true core value if it has an active influence and if the people or companies manage to live by it, at least most of the time.

Here’s a link to my website where I have listed what’s important to me https://www.thecentreforleadingandliving.ca/what-we-stand-for/. I encourage you to write down your core values so you are clear are what they are for you. Define how these values show up for you and how you incorporate them into your daily living. The true test is in how you live your life. If your core values don’t match your daily actions, it’s time to re-evaluate what is truly important to you.

The Importance of Time Management: 8 Ways It Can Increase Your Success

I’ve been talking to a few clients lately about time management, or rather, their need for help in this area. Truth is, most of us feel challenged in this area. Our days and lives are busier than ever. There are endless tasks to be done both at work and at home, and there is NEVER enough time to get things done.

No matter how you slice it, there are only 24 hours in a day. Time is a finite resource, and it’s up to you to make the most of it.

If you lose money, you might get a chance to make it back; but a wasted hour is irreplaceable.

While we can’t add hours to our day, it is crucial to understand the importance of time management, and how time management can actually help you maximize the time you do have. Everyone could benefit from managing their time more effectively and appreciating it for the finite resource that it is.

The Importance of Time Management

The importance of time management comes down to how much it impacts your personal and professional life. Time management is organizing your day so that you find the best use for every moment.

Excellent time management allows you to create a healthy balance in your work and home life. The consequences of failed time management include missing deadlines and living with excessive stress.

Even if you have failed at time management in the past or if you feel you just are “good” in this area, here are 8 reasons why you should start to manage your time better.

8 Reasons Why Time Management Can Increase Success

  1. Do More with Less – Knowing how to manage your time means that you’ll be able to accomplish more in shorter periods of time with less effort. Think about how much more you accomplish when you truly focus. Prioritizing and matching tasks to blocks of available time is one way to do more with less effort. Instead of trying to do a larger, more involved project in the ten minutes between meetings, complete a minor task. This frees up larger blocks for projects that require concentration.
  2. Make Work and Life More Fulfilling and Meaningful – There’s nothing more frustrating than spending a day being completely busy but also entirely unproductive. A feeling of accomplishment helps you stay motivated at work. At home this translates into being able to relax and enjoy your time. By being conscious of how you use time, you’ll have more of it to spend on the things you love.
  3. End Indecisiveness – Worrying about whether you have made the right choice can be time-consuming. Naturally, big decisions take up a lot of time but the small decisions you make every day can also be huge time-wasters. Deciding what to do next on your to-do list, for example, can have a major time cost. Instead of staring blankly at your to-do list wondering what to tackle, create a plan or a routine. This keeps you from using any of your precious minutes questioning what you should do next.
  4. Achieve Your Goals Faster – Many people have big goals that help them feel fulfilled. But without understanding the importance of time management, these goals could sit on the shelf indefinitely. For example, perhaps one of your goals is to lead a healthier lifestyle but you can’t seem to carve out time for gym sessions. Chances are, the time you need already exists. You just have to find it. By making the time to attend to your health, you can make necessary and desirable changes quickly.
  5. Boost Your Confidence – Time management can improve your confidence. You’re more likely to take care of yourself properly if you have the time to do so. You’ll look and feel more put together before you even set foot into your work space. In addition, you’ll get a regular boost from feeling a sense of accomplishment. Meeting your deadlines and exceeding expectations is a huge motivator. However, failing to meet deadlines and struggling to keep up leads to burnout.
  6. Have More Energy to Achieve More – Constantly feeling worn out and stressed is miserable. It also makes it hard to take on new challenges. An efficient workflow gives you the time to build new skills to improve your work. This doesn’t only apply to work, though. Think of how much more exciting life is when you feel energized. With a boost of energy, you’re more likely to try a new hobby or go on an adventure instead of sitting on the couch watching TV.
  7. Make More Time to Do the Things You Love – After you consider the amount of time that it takes for you to sleep, work, eat, commute and attend to your personal hygiene, you have about four hours per day to devote to the things you do for fun. By learning to manage your time, you’ll have more opportunities to work on personal growth, spend time with family or visit friends.
  8. Reduce Stress and Avoid Feeling Overwhelmed – When every task on your to-do list seems equally important, you become overwhelmed. Good time management allows you to look at your to-do list, categorize, and prioritize everything that needs to be done. You’ll readily see the distinctions between work-related and personal tasks. You’ll know whether you can delegate some tasks or shuffle items so that you can be more effective. The result is a calmer and more-accomplished you.

Time isn’t an infinite resource for us. By becoming excellent at time management, everyone can make the most of the time they are given. Failing to manage your time means losing hours you can never get back. Succeeding opens a world of possibilities.

By sharpening your time management skills, you can expect to be more confident and effective at work, and you’ll have more time to spend with your family. You can take care of yourself and feel a strong sense of purpose when you produce your best work.

If you need help in managing your time, contact me for a complimentary session.

Featured Story Credit:  LifeHack




Staying Positive in Challenging Times

There’s no denying that the world today is different. Some say we are living in an Age of Fear. For myself, I like to stay abreast of what’s happening in the news and world around me, but I’ve actually gotten to the point where I’m afraid to turn on the news. I don’t want to hear about another shooting in Toronto or a community near by. I don’t want to hear about what the politicians are doing now – in Canada or abroad. I just don’t want any more negativity. Has this been affecting you too? If so, how do you stay positive in challenging times?

I recently read an article in the Oprah magazine where she interviewed three extraordinary thinkers: Stephen Colbert (one of the wisest and most wisecracking political minds), Salma Hayek (brilliant activist and actress) and Jordan Peele (film director). Each was asked what gives them hope, given the world we live in today. While each has their own views, their thoughts were surprisingly optimistic. I’ll let you read the full article if you are interested, but as a quick summary, Stephen’s message was to take the Really Long View – meaning, he goes back to his roots and faith to provide him with hope. Jordan Peele’s message is to Laugh, especially when you are Scared. And Salma Hayek’s message is to Trust in our Power to Change.

I found all of these messages to be a good reminder for myself. While I’m not a religious person, I do have some spiritual beliefs and ultimately believe that everything happens for a reason. I too, believe in laughter as a healing method. After all, it’s hard to laugh and be sad or scared at the same time. And ultimately, I do believe that there are positive things that come from bad events or experiences. It’s using this time and ability to create change for the better.

At the root of it all is a deep sense and knowing that even though things may be bad at this moment in time, it won’t last. Eventually things will get better. What I’ve learned is that there are constant ups and downs in life. Bad decisions and bad relationships happen that can leave you feeling disappointed and questioning whether you handled things as best as you could have. But every mistake is a chance to learn and grow. It’s also a chance to decide to do things differently.

There is a saying: What you give your attention to grows. And, I think that applies to how we view the world today. If we believe that it’s negative and constantly feed this with more negative energy, then that’s exactly what we will get back. How many times have you said or thought to yourself “How bad things are”? The more you do this, the more you actually reinforce this belief. The more we complain, the worse things get.

Life is a mirror. Whatever shows up for you is always a reflection of how you see yourself.

But what if you took a moment to step away from all the noise and the constant bombardment from the media, social media, etc. What if you could just turn inward and be still or fill your thoughts and surroundings with things that provide you with peace and comfort.

Ultimately, we have the ability to choose how we want to think and be. As long as we have the freedom and power to choose, things will never be as bad as they seem.

12 Lessons I’ve Learned in Life and Leadership

  1. Have a Plan – It doesn’t have to be a detailed, structured plan but a guideline or direction to get you to where you want to go. As the famous saying goes; “if you don’t know where you’re going, any path will get you there.”
  2. Keep Focused – Life is full of distractions and shiny objects. It’s easy to become distracted and thrown off course, especially if you haven’t taken the time to develop a plan (see number 1).
  3. Know What’s Important to You and Why – Understanding your values is paramount to feeling fulfilled. Too often, we end up doing things for others because we are afraid, we don’t want to disappoint or we just aren’t clear about what’s important to us. Regardless of which it is, we cannot feel fulfilled if it doesn’t mean that much to us. Take the time to really understand what your values are and use those values as a guide for all decision making.
  4. Take Action – Financially, things were always a bit tight when I was growing up. It was clear that if I wanted anything, I would have to earn it myself. So, I had to work hard for everything which also meant, I needed to be very thoughtful about my decisions. Making decisions and taking action was one of the most powerful lessons I learned and allowed me to achieve success, which is one of the most important qualities in a good leader.
  5. Work Hard – This was another lesson I learned from my parents and it has served me well. I try not to take anything for granted (including relationships) and I have developed a very strong work ethic. A trait I have tried to model to others.
  6. Be Passionate – I love the above quote by Oprah Winfrey. I truly believe that your passion can point you in the right direction. A lot of people, including myself, have questioned if they are living their purpose. What I have figured out is, if you are passionate about something, you will live your purpose and life will be fulfilling.
  7. Develop Perseverance – I have been called stubborn more times than I can count. Although this can be a negative trait, it has served me well (most times). If I truly believe in something, I will find a way to make it work. Challenges will always come up and can sometimes throw you off course. If you are focused and passionate, you will find a way to make things work.
  8. Build on Your Foundation – It’s easy to forget about things that have happened in the past, especially if they weren’t positive experiences. But those are the things we need to remember most. We can learn so much from our history. I often describe coaching to people as being future-focused. This means, we start from the present – where you are now and develop a path to the future – where you want to go. The past comes into the conversation to provide us the history of why we do what we do and serves as a foundation to help us understand where we have come from. We don’t want to forget about the past but build from there so our future can become stronger.
  9. Establish Your Tribe – We are social beings. We need the support, friendship and love from others in order to succeed. We need a supportive community and feel like we belong.  This can only come from face-to-face interaction with others. One of the biggest problems in our world right now (personally and professionally) is that we don’t communicate with one another and we don’t create the supportive environment in which we need to not only survive but thrive. We live in a world where we don’t need to leave our houses. Thanks to technology, we can do everything from home. And, while this may create some conveniences, it has also broken down what Simon Sinek refers to as the “Circle of Safety.” We don’t have a true connection to others or sense of belonging, and no sense that others love and care for us. As a result, we feel out of control, abandoned and isolated.
  10. Give Your Time to Others – We are all busy people so time and energy is a primary commodity. When you give of your time, it is truly an act of generosity. Giving money is not the same thing. Anyone can give money to people or a cause but when you give of your time, it is a premium. You cannot get back the time you give but you can make back the money you give. As a leader, it makes a difference if you sit down with someone and ask, “how can I help you?” Email is too easy. If I truly want to help others, I need to give of my time. I try to remember this and always make myself available to others.
  11. Be Respectful of Others and Take Responsibility for Your Actions – One of the legacy’s I created in my previous career was the Rzone. The Rzone is a zero-tolerance policy where the “R” stands for Respect and Responsibility. Respect for Yourself; Respect for Others; and Responsibility for your Actions. I have tried to use this as a model for my life both personally and professionally.
  12. Be of Service to Others – The more we can look out for one another, the more successful we will be. The more we can help others, the safer we feel, the more we feel like we belong, and the more we will work together. This is truly relationship building and when we feel safe, we can deal with any problems that arise.


Taking Yourself and Your Business/Career to the Next Level

At the very core of our being is who we are as a leader. Without knowing what’s important to us, what we stand for, and what our purpose is, we cannot expect to lead our lives, our businesses, our careers, or others.  If we truly want to be successful as a leader, we must realize that true transformation must come from the deepest level first to solidify the behavioural changes required for high performance.

Personal development (or leadership development) is at the heart of everything we do and who we are. Regardless of what “leadership” position we hold, we are synonymous with that role, which means what we think and how we behave directly impacts our growth and success.

A few years ago, I attended The Leadership Circle Profile™ Certification program. The Leadership Circle Profile™ is the only instrument that measures two primary leadership domains – Creative Competencies and Reactive Tendencies – and integrates this information so that key opportunities for development immediately rise to the surface. The Leadership Circle Profile™ is the only 360 degree competency assessment that simultaneously provides focused competency feedback while revealing the underlying assumptions that are causing a leader’s pattern of strengths and limitations. The Leadership Circle Profile™ helps leaders understand the relationship between how they habitually think, how they behave, and, more importantly, how all this impacts their current level of leadership effectiveness. Once this awareness is established, leadership development can proceed. Without it, change rarely happens.

The goal of any business is to succeed but how do we expect that to happen if we aren’t willing to focus on ourselves? Business knowledge is important but just as important, if not more so, is our willingness to look at ourselves and cultivate change that evolves authentically from the inside out. The Leadership Circle Profile™ is the tool that provides the basis for this change. “They help people become more actualized leaders, standing transformed, having changed their old patterns of action and habits of thought for new ones that yield more positive outcomes.”

I believe the greatest gift we can give ourselves is the opportunity to learn more about ourselves.

What’s our vision? Our purpose? And how do we show up in the world? Moreover, what are your reactive tendencies? How do they serve you or hold you back? What results would be different if you were to change an old belief that is standing in your way of growth and success?

These are not easy questions to answer as they require conscious thought and awareness as well as an outside perspective.

If you are interested in finding the answers to these questions and ready to accelerate your leadership effectiveness, I invite you to take a look at The Leadership Circle Profile™ more closely. And, when you’re ready, contact me and let’s set up time for your 360 assessment.

How Well Do You Know Yourself?

This question may sound silly but I challenge you to really think about this. Too often we think we know ourselves well only to find out, others see us completely different. More importantly, we often try to hide or compensate for our challenges, again, only to find out that others see right through our disguise.

So how do we handle this?  How do we truly get to know ourselves fully and authentically? Well, there are a few ways, but the easiest and most readily available way is through self-reflection.

Self-Refection is defined as “meditation or serious thought about one’s character, actions, and motives.” It’s about taking a step back and reflecting on your life, behavior and beliefs. Most athletes are extremely good at this. They are expected to pick apart each detail, moment by moment, so they can fully understand what went well and what needs to be practiced or improved upon for next time. But what if athletes never did that? What if they never stopped to think about what they could do differently? Seems crazy, right?

Yet that’s what many of us do every single day of our lives.

What Happens When You Don’t Reflect?

We keep moving. We push through. We don’t stop to reflect. We stay in jobs that are (literally) killing us. Relationships that zap our energy. Circumstances that leave us stressed, unhappy, frustrated and tired.

We keep running on the treadmill of life thinking we don’t have time to waste. So, we keep moving in order to keep up. But too often, we just crash and burn. That’s because the only way to keep up with the pace of life is to STOP. To hop off the treadmill. To reflect on what’s working and what’s not. To identify what to keep and what needs to change.

6 Reasons Why Self-Reflection is Important

  1. Improves Self Awareness – Taking time for self-reflection leads to greater self-awareness which in turn leads to self-improvement. In addition, having a strong sense of self improves your confidence and level of self-esteem.
  2. Provides Perspective – Self-reflection allows you to understand and see things from a different point of view. When you take a step back from a situation, you gain a new understanding. You can see the whole picture, not just a piece of the puzzle.
  3. Allows You to Respond, Not React – Ever say or do something in the moment that you wish you could take back? When you react, you’re not thinking about the potential ramifications of your actions. However, when you take time to reflect on a situation, you can respond more thoughtfully and change your behavior for next time.
  4. Facilitates a Deeper Level of Learning – When people are given time to reflect, digest and integrate, they are better able to make abstract connections, as well as retain and recall information.
  5. Improves Confidence – When you reflect, you gain a better understanding of what’s working and what’s not. This in turn, allows you to make better decisions and change your actions. Each time you improve, it helps build confidence with increased knowledge and perspective.
  6. Challenges Your Assumptions – What you believe to be true is not always the truth. One of the best ways to tackle a limiting belief is to step back and debate the validity of that belief. Self-reflection allows you to challenge beliefs and assumptions that are getting in your way.

How to do Self-Reflection?

So now that you know the benefits of self-reflection, here’s a simple guide to the process.

STOP: Take a step back from life or a particular situation.

LOOK: Identify and get perspective on what you notice and see.

LISTEN: Listen to your inner guide, the innate wisdom that bubbles up when you give it time and space to emerge.

ACT: Identify the steps you need to take moving forward to adjust, change or improve.

Two Important Areas to Reflect On?

1. The first is to reflect on YOU. This includes who you are and what you want for your life. Here are some questions to help you.

  • What are my core values? What are the beliefs, guiding principles or ideas that are deeply important to me? What are my priorities?
  • What are my unique gifts, skills, strengths or talents?
  • What are the weaknesses or blind spots I need to watch out for?
  • Who do I want to be?
  • What energy do I want to bring to everything I do?
  • What is the impact or difference I want to make? How do I want to serve, contribute or add value?
  • What are my passions? What do I love? What gets me engaged, motivated and excited?
  • Are there any beliefs that I have that are limiting me?
  • What do I want for my life?
  • When am I at my best?

2. The second is to reflect on the areas of your life that are important to you.

This might include your relationships, home and family, career, health and well-being, finances, goals, spirituality and person growth, and fun and recreation. A tool that I use often with my clients is called the Wheel of Life

The purpose of the wheel is to look at areas of your life which are important to you. In each area, you rate yourself on a scale of 1-10. This gives you an idea of where you are in – or out of balance – and what areas you need to pay more attention to. It gives you perspective on the whole of your life.

Questions to ask yourself in self-reflection

Here are some questions to ask yourself in the self-reflection process:

  • How do I feel overall about this area of my life? On a scale of 1-10, how would I rate my levels of satisfaction and success?
  • What’s working? What’s not working?
  • What do I want more of – or less of?
  • What are my accomplishments/wins/successes?
  • What do I want? What are my hopes or goals?
  • What am I grateful for?
  • How would I improve this area of my life? What actions can I take?

Self-reflection can take part at any time: after an event, when you’re off track, daily, weekly, monthly, after you’ve reached certain milestones or around New Years.

Whichever step you take next is perfect. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to do this. It’s only what works for you.

There’s no one size fits all approach to self-reflection, just like there’s no one size fits all approach to life.

So, how are you going to get started?

Finding Your Direction

Do you find that you?

  • Don’t know what you want?
  • Don’t know what fulfils you anymore?
  • Know that there’s something missing?
  • Really want to make a breakthrough… but don’t know what to aim for?

Finding the right direction in life is a problem that all of us face at some time.

When we are not clear about what we want we feel frustrated, overwhelmed, stressed and afraid. How that translates into our behaviour is usually through inaction.  A place of indecisiveness means that we are reactive to our situation, surroundings, and people and we remain stuck with literally no movement in any direction. In fact, research has shown that when we are in this stuck state, it is extremely difficult to look at things from a proactive approach until we can clear the clutter and focus on what is really important to us.

What’s worse is when we don’t have the appropriate support around us, we start to listen to the negative chatter in our head, which only compounds the problem and heightens that state of fear. I know for myself, if I’m unclear about something or things aren’t happening the way I want them to – in other words, I have created expectations on how things “should” be – I feel disappointed, sad or frustrated.  Sound familiar?

Whether you’re fresh out of university and figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life, or you’ve realized that the life you’re living no longer serves you, these 7 steps will help you find direction.

7 Steps to Help You In Finding Your Direction:

  1. Be Still: – create the space you need to allow your mind to let go of all the “shoulds” and expectations so you can start to think about what’s possible. But, be sure to draw the line between thinking and over-thinking. With every obstacle that comes up, ask yourself: “Is this a genuine concern or am I using this as an excuse to not follow my passion because I feel scared.”
  2. Trust and Believe in Yourself: – “Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle” – Christian D. Larson. I love this quote as it really does summarize everything so beautifully. Know that you don’t have all the answers right now but in time, they will come.
  3. Take Action – Finding the right direction in life is not something that happens to you, it’s something you create. This means that, at some point, you’re going to have to stop thinking about taking action and act. One of the main reasons people don’t act is that they’re scared. They’re scared of messing up, scared of things not working out and scared of realizing that, actually, what they thought was the “right direction” isn’t right for them at all. You have permission to change your mind. Just because you take action doesn’t mean you’re committed to that path forever. If it doesn’t work out, that’s great! At least now you know that you need to go back and try something else. Taking action, living through the disaster scenarios, and coming out the other end with more know-how and wisdom is far better than not taking action at all.
  4. Notice What Makes You Happy – If you know that your current life direction isn’t meeting your needs, but you’re not sure what will, start to do some self-research. As you go through your daily life, notice when you feel most alive, most enthusiastic and most like you’re adding value. Ask yourself what activities present a positive challenge and which make time feel like it’s speeding up. Once you have that list, make a note of the common elements between those activities.
  5. Discover Your Strengths – We all have individual strengths, but sometimes it’s hard to identify them ourselves. Because our strengths come naturally to us, we’re not always aware that not everyone has a particular trait or skill that we take for granted. Taking a strengths test (such as the VIA Strengths Test) will give you more awareness of where your strengths lie, and perhaps a few more ideas of how you can use them to add value to the world.
  6. Focus on Your Values – Just as we all have individual strengths, we also have a set of core values that are deeply important to how we live our lives. The more we’re living in alignment with our core values, the happier we will be. If we’re not conscious of what these values are, we’re not necessarily going to make the best decisions regarding our life’s direction. To identify which values are must-haves in your life, find a list of values (Values list 2) and narrow down the top 10 and top three that resonate with you. Once you’re aware of them, you’ll be better equipped to make important decisions based on these values.
  7. Surround Yourself with Supportive People – Finding the right direction in life is a rewarding challenge that can involve a lot of trial and error. To give yourself the best chance of finding your right direction, you need to surround yourself with supportive people. Focus on what people do, rather than what they say. If someone says they have your best interests at heart but constantly tries to force their way of life or opinions on you or tells you why you can’t do what you want to do, that’s not support. Find a group of like-minded people who will respect your autonomy and still be there when you need them.


Are You A Quitter? Maybe You Should Be!

Experiencing failure, especially repeated failures, can be debilitating in several ways. Most of us experience self doubt and a lack of motivation to continue. And yet, most of us still persevere and go out and try things again. But when is enough, enough?  And when is it time to give up?

Quitting at something almost universally is seen as a negative. Certainly, there are times when quitting can be good, like giving up smoking for example. But generally speaking, quitting something is seen as a loss. Even if it is something we don’t find rewarding, or something we don’t enjoy, quitting something always feels like a personal setback. But sometimes, quitting something can be the first step towards the road to success.

Of course, quitting isn’t for everyone, and at times it can be hard to know if quitting something is even the right decision. To help determine whether quitting something will be beneficial, it is important to ask yourself this very crucial question:

Is what I’m doing moving me closer to or further away from what I want most?

The closer we are to something, the harder it is for us to be objective. There are many times in my business (and life) where I’ve put a lot of time and effort into something but not getting the return I would have liked or expected. And yet, I keep going, afraid to let go because I have invested so much (time, money, etc.). Sometimes, we even stick with something even though it’s not something we enjoy simply because we have put a lot of time and effort into it. Another example for me is staying in my corporate job way longer than I should have. I was miserable in this job for years, to the point where it was taking a toll on my health but I was afraid to quit for fear of what others might think.

If you find yourself if similar situations, it’s time to step back and ask yourself:

  • “Why am I doing this?”
  • “Is this adding value to my life?”

Asking yourself these questions forces you to look at your goals and whether what you’re doing is moving you closer to or further away from your goals. If the answer is no, then you need to decide if what you are doing is worth doing if you want to achieve your goals.

The question reminds you of your true purpose, whatever it may be, it brings it back into focus, and once it is, you’ll be able to better understand how to reach it. To strive for it, and if necessary, quit or drop some unnecessary things to achieve it.

The fact is, to gain one thing, we need to let go of something else. We cannot hold onto everything. That means that quitting, or giving up, can be a positive thing. And, it’s positive if we give up the right things.

So what do you need to quit in order to achieve success?

Learning to Let Go

I recently began taking yoga again and in being away from it for a little while, I have come to realize how important it is to be in that space of peace and calm.  Interestingly, what I thought were relaxing exercises are more physically demanding yet at the same time it allows me to open my mind and body to places I don’t normally go.  Yoga is a great analogy for life and as a result of my learning, I’d like to share some tips for helping you let go.

When I went to my yoga class, the first thing you do is lie down on the floor and breathe. I’m not sure about you but I don’t find lying on a hard floor incredibly comfortable so what I noticed right off the bat is how uncomfortable this is. However, not wanting to disturb the class, I lied down, closed my eyes and started to breathe. Focusing on your breath helps to keep your thoughts from wandering and also allows you to release whatever thoughts and feelings you are still carrying with you from your day. Without judgement, you can simply notice how your body feels and where in your body you may still be holding onto the stress and business of the day.  Within a few minutes, I can feel my body soften and gently move from stiffness and tension to being relaxed and calm. And even though I feel more at peace then I was when I first walked into class, I quickly realize that my body is still quite tight when I try to move into the various poses.

My first “aha” moment is in understanding why they call it a yoga “practice” as opposed to a yoga program. It’s because it takes consistent practice to learn how to breathe and allow your body to respond to the different poses. It’s not something you can do a few times and master.

As I continued with my practice, I am acutely aware of the strong connection between yoga and life. So when I lie down on the floor and “relax” my body, it’s a process of learning to let go – of the day, my thoughts, my stress – whatever I need to so my body can respond. Ironically, life is the same way. We need to learn to let go of the negative thoughts, expectations and our desire to control the outcomes and be open to the learning and opportunity that can come our way. Thus, we need to be aware of what we are holding onto so we can learn to let go.

What Do I Need to Let Go Of?

  • The things we hold onto, bear grudges or perhaps feel angry and hurt about cloud our mind and prevent us from being the best we can be.
  • Letting go usually involves some form of forgiveness or acceptance – whether it’s yourself, someone else, a situation or even an unknown third party. The irony is that whatever you’re holding onto, it’s probably hurting or bothering you much more than it does anyone else.
  • Letting go doesn’t mean we condone a situation or behaviour; it’s about lightening OUR load. Because when we let go of whatever is bothering us we set ourselves free and get to reclaim that energy for ourselves.
  • You don’t need to know HOW to let go, you just need to be WILLING. You can’t change the past, but you can learn from it and change how you feel going forwards.
  • And remember – whatever you find it hardest to let go of is probably what you need to let go of the most…

Make a list of all the things you need to let go of and ask yourself; “What do I gain by keeping hold of this?”

TIP: If you need to let go of something YOU’VE done, simply ask, “What do I need to do that will allow me to let this go?” Perhaps you need to make notes in your journal of what you’ve learned, perhaps you need to make some kind of amends, apologize or find a meaningful way to make it up to yourself or someone else. While we can’t change the past, we can make amends and learn from it.