We have an instant gratification notion in our society and so we have this mentality we want to create something overnight. I have been guilty of this. I was always looking for the 'next big thing' that was going to 'take me to the top'.
Now, there's nothing wrong with finding a great opportunity and taking advantage of it. However, it is what's required of us when we find those opportunities that is the difference between creating success or not.
I think Theodore Roosevelt said it best when he said:
"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
We will never find the success we are seeking unless we get into the arena. In fact, we must! We must know failure so we can recognise success. There is not one without the other. We must know what it is like to have people tell us no.
Besides, it makes the yes that much sweeter.
So, get into the arena. Don't hold back anymore. This is your moment to create the experiences where you will hopefully have plenty of people tell you 'no' so the 'yeses' are sweeter.
And remember, it's never about the money. It's always about the moments. What moments are you here to create in your life where people don't so much remember what you had, or even what you did, but instead how you made them feel.
"Should have" is disempowering. It implies we are wrong and basically, it condemns.
Condemnation (whether it be from others or ourselves) has an attachment of "punishment". This is where sabotage is given freedom to live. Imagine getting to the 99th yard and you find yourself noticing you "should have" done something differently? Likely, you will hit the brakes and spend time on what you "should have" done differently and start to beat yourself up. Say goodbye to the goal at the 100th yard finish line. Boom! You just sabotaged yourself.
Sadly, "should have" is also about looking to the past. Keeping our attention in the past doesn't allow us to look to the future of "what's next". Instead, it keeps us anchored to being stuck.
"I should" is shrouded in guilt. Also disempowering.
Imagine my stance when I say to myself "I should go out for a run". Geez... that sure sounds like an exciting run ahead of me! (That was sarcasm).
If I "should" do something then I am coming from compliance. I feel like "I have to" do it as apposed to "I choose to" do it. We are all at choice about everything. Yes, everything.
Being at choice means to be empowered and in control of our destiny. When we choose then, we are responsible for the outcome. I cannot blame anyone else. AND, being responsible is not about blaming myself if it doesn't turn out the way I thought it would. Instead it's about looking forward and focused on solution.
That's where we get to look at the circumstances and see "what worked" and "what didn't" and look at "what's next". All from the posture of "I am committed to the outcome." When we are committed and not compliant then our reaction to the circumstances is one of empowerment.
Being a Purpose Driven Entrepreneur is about being committed to our mission. When we are committed then we are empowered to choose on a daily basis. No longer do you "have to" do anything. Nor "should" you do anything.
I'm not sure I can add anything more to this profound statement. (in the picture). But it wouldn't be much of a blog post if I didn't say something.
I might simply share why this statement means so much to me.
You see, it has been the moments in my life when I think something should look a certain way that I have truly missed some of the best opportunities.
However, do we really know all of the opportunities we miss? I mean, how can we possibly? How can we know if we are looking for one thing and it (an opportunity) appears as something else?
It is also in the moments when I have gone after a goal or a dream that when it didn't look like the picture I had in my head I labeled it as a 'failure'.
Let me give you an example.
On Saturday my husband and I donated some of our time and resources at a women and children shelter in downtown Phoenix.
This blog is about my experience leading up to, during and since. It has nothing to do with my usual stuff about being a purpose driven entrepreneur. It is everything to do with my experience of the heart. Nothing more. Nothing less. Thanks for taking the time to read it. I hope it is inspiring.
So this is where it begins. My husband's previous bible study group sends out an email requesting male volunteers for their time at a homeless shelter. He shares with me that this is something he would like to experience with me. So he declines the offer and asks me to contact an organization for us both to serve at.
Before I got to that 'task' we see in our church bulletin that Sunday about the Matthew25Project and their work with feeding the homeless at several different locations within downtown Phoenix. Tom (my husband) and I both looked at each other and smiled. God knows our heart and will always open doors for us when we are ready. Or maybe the door is always open.. we just don't notice it until we are ready.
Inside the flyer we picked up at church there was a list of grocery items we could donate if we chose to. So, we put aside some money and decided we would purchase some things to donate. Diapers, baby food, baby formula etc etc. For those of you who know me and my struggles with having a family of our own, just the thought of babies without a home started to break my heart. Leading up to Saturday and the image I had in my head, based on both past experiences and also cliche of homelessness, my heart is already anticipating what's to come.
But I tell you this.. buying that stuff made me feel so alive. Being able to give is always such a great feeling. Pushing that cart through Safeway was an awesome feeling. I probably looked like any other mother doing her groceries... Diapers, baby food, baby formula etc etc. And even though I'm not yet a Mom I felt like I was being a providing Mommy in that moment. It was very rewarding.
Of course, I had not yet seen the faces of these babies or of their Moms.
Once we arrived we were instructed on what our roles would be. I was nominated to 'oversee' providing soda along with 3 volunteer kids.
There were about 20 of us in total and we would be feeding 200 women and children at 6pm.
What I experienced during and after:
What I thought I would experience of these women and children is that they would all have a sadness. And don't get me wrong some of them looked emotionally beaten. Some even looked embarrassed. (I'm assuming when one is new to being homeless they suddenly feel the judgement they once had on other homeless people. Just my assumption.)
I really thought they had certain things they would worry about. Like getting through each day. Like keeping themselves and their children safe. So, the next similarity which came dressed in a question surprised me.
Several women asked if any of their drink options were 'diet'. Old habits die hard I guess. Or maybe they just become accustomed to their life as a 'homeless person' that their life is about as normal as mine. Instead of eating at restaurants on the days and nights I can't be bothered cooking, or traveling around the world for business and pleasure, their life just looks different. Just like the difference between those who drive a Bentley and eat out every night (not just on the nights when they can't be bothered cooking) and me. We are different. Yet we are all the same.
I don't know if it was what the Matthew25Project founder said before we started our dinner service but my experience with these women and children was nothing like I thought it would be. He had said to remember the woman at the well that was shunned by society because of her choices in life but yet Jesus loved her anyway.
As I served them their drink options I did see them just like me. I saw these women like a bunch of friends. I saw them like a bunch of people in a restaurant and I was simply their waitress. They were polite. Laughed about my funny accent. Talked about their boyfriends and breaking up and making up. They talked about their day. They talked about what they would do after dinner.
What I noticed about myself in reflection:
If I'm really honest, I'm guilty in my life of reserving judgement for those I have not met. I find it easy to judge a mother without a home or job until I stand across from her and ask her if she would prefer Pepsi, Sun Drop or Lemonaide to go with what could be her only meal for the day. It is easy for me to reserve my judgement for the children with behavioural problems until I kneel down to ask them if I can carry their drink for them because they had their tiny hands full trying to carry perhaps the only meal they would eat all day.
Because when I stand across from them or kneel beside them I get to look into their eyes. I get to see that they are just like me. They have hopes and dreams, they have hurts and disappointments. They laugh, they cry. They make poor choices and they make good ones. They are all just like me.
Their situation is unique yet they are not dissimilar.
Despite their seemingly satisfied disposition, when I think about the lack in their life, the lack of ample shelter and food, it breaks my heart. Given my purpose and mission in life (to inspire and empower other women to live out their God-given purpose) it breaks my heart because these women are just like me. They have been given a purpose and I'm not to judge if they are living it out or not, but I'm going to assume they aren't. But then neither are most the women I pass by the grocery store. So, that also breaks my heart.
And it gives me confidence in my God-given purpose and a knowingness that I won't stop until I take my last breath. I'm blessed to know my purpose and to have a relationship with Christ whom I can do all things through.
It is my heart's desire that you continue to live in accordance with your purpose. Because imagine if just a third of the women of the world lived according to their purpose. I wonder if we would have the same problems. Or instead, perhaps we would create solutions.
What if the answer to a disease was locked inside someone's mind because of their lack of willingness to step into their greatness and their purpose? What if someone had the solution that would end homelessness in their community? What if? What if? What if?
In His Purpose,
Setting goals is one thing. Achieving them is another.
Over the years I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with companies where goal setting was a natural order of business. I've also been blessed with experiencing many of the same practices with my personal development journey.
What I notice as I look back over the moments where I have intentionally set a goal that was outside my comfort zone that things don't always just simply fall into place. What I've learned (the "hard" way) is that there are 2 very important aspects to all this goal achieving.
1. Having a clear concise desired outcome
The first is to have a clear and concise written outcome that you are committed to achieving. Not something you wish would really happen. Or hope it would one day occur. Or even just pray about it.
Now, I'm not saying that we can't wish for things, or have hope for something or even pray.
What I'm saying is that it's paramount that we have a clearly defined commitment. NOT just a hope, wish or a pray. It is drawing a line in the sand and declaring it will be so. You may not even know it is going to come to pass. You may not even know when. However, you know without a shadow of a doubt that it is going to come to pass.
It's with that kind of commitment that God can move in our lives and He can move on that commitment.
Here's a great example of how, when we commit to something, God moves. See below writing from a Himalayan Expedition back in the early 1950's.
"But when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money— booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence.
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!
- W. H. Murray, from The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (1951)
The second part to all this is that once we have committed to something we must surrender to it. Almost seems like an oxymoron doesn't it?!
When I say surrender though, I don't mean to give up. There is no 'white flag' or a letter of resignation. It's a giving 'into' not a getting 'out of'. It's a sense of knowing that we cannot control the outcome or every aspect of the creation of that goal. In fact, control is an illusion. (One that is hard for most of us to admit).
However, we can and must participate. We cannot sit on our sofa watching sitcoms and eating cheetos only to think our 'hope, wish or a pray' is going to suddenly drop into our laps.
Surprisingly, knowing what we want for ourselves is actually more challenging than we lend credit to. You see most of us think we know what we want. But, if you were to ask 100 people to articulate what they want to create in the next year, 5 years, 20 years, in their life in general, I would bet there would be about 1% who knew exactly.
And THAT is half the reason why they would not refer to themselves as being 'successful' and instead are chasing the next big thing hoping and wishing it was going to be THE thing.
A great leader of the personal development arena, the late Brian Klemmer, would always say: "what we want has nothing to do with what we create". Just knowing what we want is just half of the equation.
We must then apply the art of persistence.
Once we know what we are wanting then it is a matter of persistence. Doing the one thing we choose with such persistence that in the end we have it. It's about being so committed that there is no other outcome other than the result of what it is we want.
So, when you see someone who is struggling to obtain the success their heart desires ask yourself the question, "How can I support this person in identifying what it is they want to create." Because that is half the battle.
What do you want to create?
I was notorious for being a gunna girl. Everyone was probably tired of hearing about what I as 'gunna' do next!
So, how does one actually get started instead of just kicking around ideas?
Here's 5 steps to help you kick start.
1. Get Clear
The best thing I found was to get clear on one thing. I know there might be many things you have ideas for, but choose just one (and do that well and then you can move onto the next best idea).
In conversation with many people, the concern is that we will choose the 'wrong' thing to focus on. "What if this is not what I'm supposed to do? What if I'm here to do something else?"
The other concern is that we will fail at it. I have a believe that we are actually more afraid of success than we are failure. (But that's a conversation for another time).
You will eventually find your groove. But you must start. So, start with the most passionate idea. The one that gets you most excited. Or the one you seem to think about the most. The one you keep coming back to.
I just opened my ideas journal to .. yep you guessed it.. add more ideas to it, and I found something I wrote down (from somewhere/someone else) and it was a great reminder. I LOVE this notion. BTW: I am not sure where I collected this idea from. It wasn't mine. I think it might have been from Joseph Prince.
"When - Then Statements"
WHEN I am tempted to measure my value by how well I am doing as a ___________ (Business Woman, Mom, Wife, Woman, etc) I will stop.
THEN I will thank God for His measureless grace that fills my gaps and determines my value, which is not measured by my accomplishments but by his love for me.
My "fill in the blank" would be 'Business Woman'. That's where I try to measure my value.
Which area do you usually try and measure your value the most?
I have often spoken about my theory of "not waiting for all the lights to turn green before backing out of the driveway in the morning". Or "waiting for all the ducks to line up in a row". (Not that one usually sees ducks too often, so I feel the green lights analogy tends to make more sense).
Then I happen to see a post on Facebook from Ali Brown with the following scripture: "Those who wait for perfect weather will never plant seeds" ~Ecclesiastes 11:4 NIV
It was the first time I had ever seen this verse from the bible and was floored. (To think I thought I was the first to come up with such an idea!).
You see.... For such a very long time I was the 'gunna' girl. I was gunna do this, I was gunna do that. But most of my grandeur ideas never eventuated. I would just talk about them. Journal about them and pretty much dream about them. However, I never did much about the ideas. I would start some of them. And most of them I would certainly never finish.
"I am committed to inspiring, empowering and educating women on being architects of change in the world, using enterprise as a vehicle - all according to their Purpose, Passion and Strengths."
"Find out what you love to do, discover what it is you do best & be an agent of change in the world. Now that's a life worth living!" Melissa Haupt.
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