Do You Have an Hour to Become the Person You Want to Be?
By Amy Potavin
Did you know that, according to Michael Sky, "the real challenge (in life) is to choose, hold, and operate through intelligent, uplifting, and fully empowering beliefs." Well, I believe him. Recognizing and believing in your own abilities is the core of self-image, and self-esteem.
The greatest hindrance to recognizing and developing your natural tendencies into talents and skills is fear; fear of uncertainty; fear of moving beyond your comfort zone; fear of disapproval; fear of loss; and, of course, self-doubt. It does not take a rocket scientist to see that these fears are counterproductive, self- destructive, and limit your ability to live a rich and rewarding life. So how do you move beyond fear to action? How do you face the fear and REFUSE to allow it to rule your life choices.
The answer lies in simply taking small steps and making daily, conscious choices to create new habits. Here is a guide that will show you how to asses your hidden talents, and set you on a path to purposeful living, in less than and hour!
To begin, you will need to get a journal or new notebook. This will be your "Life Lessons Workbook." Your first lesson will to determine what natural abilities you currently possess. To do so, create an "Activities List" by asking yourself these basic questions and writing down your answers in your Workbook...
- What is your life's passion? (What have you always wanted to do?)
- What activities make you happy and bring you joy?
- What talents would you like to develop?
- What things were you good at as a child?
Next, evaluate your Activities List. What talents and skills were needed (or will be needed) to engage in activities? As a child, did you need to be energetic, fearless, competitive, or creative to participate in the sports you liked or the clubs you belonged to? Are you now required to be a good communicator, fair, and nurturing to manage your own household and settle sibling disputes?
Are you the office problem-solver and decision maker? Are you ambitious and confident as the leader of your PTA? Have you adapted to change easily by moving? Do your neighbors see you as the fun-loving social coordinator?
During your evaluation, create an "Abilities List" on the next page. Create the list by answering the questions outlined above, and any others you believe are appropriate. Write down your answers, and don't be surprised when the list grows longer than you thought possible!
Now, your second lesson is a simple exercise: look at that growing list of abilities. Beside each item, write the sentence, "I AM (fill in the ability here.)" For example, if you have "problem-solver" on your Abilities List; write the sentence, "I AM a problem-solver."
You are probably asking yourself, why am I doing this? The reason is that the simple statement of "I AM" sets forth your intentions and your beliefs. It declares to yourself, your peers, your friends, your family, and the universe your self-image, and it allows you to OWN the abilities you have listed.
Once you own those abilities, you are then able to move beyond your fear. (Why be afraid when you KNOW you are dedicated, fun-loving, creative, and a good communicator?) You are able to look toward to highest vision of your greatest aspiration rather than sabotaging yourself with self-doubt and fear of failure.
The next lesson in this process is to create your "Personal Priorities List." To do so, you must again ask yourself some basic questions:
- What are your current priorities? Is your family most important? Are you currently committed to advancing your career?
- What do you most value about yourself and your life? Is honesty and integrity most important to you? Are you more motivated by status and prestige? Is it your spirituality, or your relationships?
- Who do you most admire and why? What values guide their behavior? Do you agree? Do you want the same outcomes in your life that they have had theirs?
It is important to follow your authentic self, your authentic responses, because these are your true values, beliefs, priorities, and guiding principles. By knowing what they are, you have created a road map for your future. These keystones serve as the benchmarks of your future success and the beacons of your life's journey.
Your final lesson is to asses your current lifestyle. Are you using your abilities and talents to achieve your Personal Priorities? Ask yourself these questions to find out. Again, do not agonize over these questions. You should write down what immediately comes to mind, and you should not spend more than 10 minutes answering the questions.
- Are you devoting your energies to your priorities, values, and guiding principles?
- Where is realignment needed?
- What skills need to be re-learned, improved, or attained to fully achieve realignment?
Now, when you have completed this exercise, if you are like 99% of the world's population, you WILL find discrepancies between where you are now, and where you want to be. You WILL find inconsistencies between what you value and what you believe are priorities in your life, and where you are devoting your energy.
This is natural and normal. Each one of us is growing, learning, and changing every day. The question to ask yourself is whether you want to grow, learn, and change with direction? Or do you want to be ruled by the sea of society? Do you want to own the purpose for your life's journey? Or do you want to be a passenger who is along for the ride and does not know your destination?
If you want to own your own direction and take control of your life's course, then you simply need to continue working your Workbook lessons.
Go back to your Final Lesson. What discrepancies and inconsistencies did you find? Are there abilities that you need to develop, improve, or re-learn? Developing your natural abilities into talents can be as easy as trying out something new every month.
Each activity you undertake should be one that is aligned with your values, beliefs, priorities, and guiding principles. You should document each new activity in your Life Lessons Workbook, taking special note of the abilities that you are seeking to attain, improve, or re- learn. For example:
- To develop your communication and networking abilities, join your local Rotary or Toastmasters Club.
- To develop your nurturing and commitment abilities, join the local YM(W)CA or Big Brothers/Big Sisters Association.
- To develop your abilities to focus your energy and attention, learn karate, tai chi, or yoga.
- To develop your creative abilities, try your hand at painting, writing, or gardening.
- To develop your organizational abilities, choose a section of your office or your home each week to de- clutter and organize.
- To develop your time-management abilities, create a complete (business and personal) daily, weekly, and monthly schedule and ensure that you schedule time for self-development.
By working your Life Lessons, you will find that each time you complete this exercise, there will be less distance between where you are, and where you want to be. There will be less discrepancy between the person you are, and the person you know you can be.
If you are faithful to your own Life Lessons and you consciously make choices aligned with your values, beliefs, priorities, and guiding principles, you will begin to life fully and purposefully. You will find talents and skills that you never knew you had, and you will be able to use those talents to succeed both professionally, and personally.
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