“Whatever you do in this life, take time to sit quietly and let the world tell you what it needs from you. Take a moment to honestly understand what your gifts are – you all have them. The way you choose to live your life brings meaning to your life.”
~ Ann Reed
It is amazing to me the number of people in this world who stay in jobs that they are miserable doing. They often rationalize that must make the best of it, but in refusing to consider the options that are right before them, they may not even realize what the “best” is. When you allow yourself to stagnate, ignoring the impulses and desires you may have to bust out of your self created constraints, you also unintentionally block the energy that you could be freeing up in those who surround you, whether they be your direct reports, your peers, your customers, your family members, or even your boss. You do not do the world any favors by playing small.
You possess an inborn talent that allows you to do something in a way that no one else can. When you find this talent and apply it to an area of opportunity or need within an organization, you can create a job for yourself that will reward you with immense gratification and joy. You will be able to achieve extraordinary results with ease, and accomplish things that no one previously realized was possible. And you will serve a vital function for the organization or community of which you are a part, which will in turn provide you with a deep sense of meaning and purpose.
The key to doing this is to pay attention to what you work on that gives you extreme satisfaction and joy and seems to come naturally to you. It’s easy to downplay our strengths – to rationalize that they are no big deal, that everyone can do what you believe are silly little things as well as you can. The truth is that not only can not everybody do those things with the level of skill and quality of results that you can, but also that not everybody would want to.
Creating your ideal job or opportunity is a lot like looking for the perfect candidate for a job – except in reverse. When companies look to hire someone, they do well to spend some time identifying the specific qualifications the ideal candidate will possess – attributes, experience, behaviors, styles, skills, etc. When creating the ideal opportunity, you are that ideal candidate spelling out the distinct responsibilities and type of work that would be a perfect match for your talents. The more specific and concrete the job description and ideal candidate description, the more likely a company will find their person. And the more specific and concrete your picture of the ideal opportunity for you, the more likely it will come finding you.
Even if all you can begin to do right now is entertain the idea that perhaps there is something grander out there for you, that is aligned with your talent, interests and passion, you will begin to mobilize energy in ways you could not before. The more you can inwardly make it real for yourself, the more it will outwardly come to be. As you move toward unleashing your true talent and being open to the opportunities that begin to present themselves to you, you will see the way to lead others – inspiring them to bring out the best in themselves by giving them an example of how it is done.
Copyright Synchronistics Coaching & Consulting 2010. All rights reserved.
Well, I finally finished writing the book I’ve been working on for the last four years – the first draft that is. I’m well aware that the real work is only just beginning. The whole creative process has reminded me of actually physically giving birth in so many ways, though my gestation period with the book was more than four times longer. Come to think of it, so was the labor.
It started with the glow of an idea. I don’t know if it showed up in my face as it may have when I was pregnant with each of my three children, but I felt it throughout my body. The idea inspired and uplifted me and began to take on a life of its own. As it continued to take form and I scribbled down notes that would flesh out the initial concepts, the excitement grew.
Once there was no mistaking that I would be bringing the book into the world, morning sickness set in. When I wasn’t working on the manuscript, I felt a gnawing sense of uneasiness that beckoned me to devote time at my computer. And when I was writing, I often had the insatiable urge to eat – especially when I felt as though the words I needed just weren’t coming fast enough. This of course, was occasionally followed by nausea and stomach cramps. Thankfully, no maternity clothes were necessary.
I learned that just as you cannot rush the development of a baby’s hand or ear, it is also true that you simply cannot force inspiration. I found that my best writing came when I relaxed enough into the process to get out of my head and let something bigger come through me. It became clear over the many months that followed that it was not mine to determine what the creation would look like or to fret over whether I was doing a good enough job with it. It was an idea – a seed – that was within me but had surely originated from something greater. The best thing I could do was to get out of the way and let the thing evolve as it needed to. When I learned to content myself with simply being a vessel, things went much more smoothly.
And then as I got to the last few chapters, my level of urgency and excitement went through the roof. I couldn’t stop writing. Several nights a week, I woke up at two, three or four in the morning and after lying in bed wide awake for twenty or thirty minutes, simply got up and went to my computer. The labor had begun. And it soaked up every ounce of attention and energy I had. I stalled on the final chapter. I wanted the thing out – free and clear. After writing a couple of lame sentences I fooled myself into thinking perhaps it was done. And then I had another contraction, this one so strong and powerful that it wiped those last two sentences out and left three pages of afterword in their place.
For a week or so, the manuscript lay sleeping peacefully, breathing softly, wrapped in swaddling. Thoroughly and completely exhausted, I couldn’t bring myself to do much of anything. And then I realized the little guy needs care and feeding to survive. I hired an editor to help me nurse it. The poor thing probably has a lopsided head from being in the birth canal so long. It needs suctioning and baby wipes and probably a good lukewarm bath too.
And I find myself now in much the same place I did after my first child was born – with the blissful yet sobering knowledge that I am now a parent – or, well, an author. That this little thing needs me to help it make its way in the world – to support its head until its muscles are strong enough to lift it on its own, and to nurture it to the place that others can hold and enjoy it as much as I do. Just as there are seemingly millions of books, articles and blogs written on how to raise a child, the myriad of opinions and recommendations on next steps with the manuscript are completely overwhelming. I comfort myself with the thought that with each of my three children I felt that same sense of panic and wonder. And that with love, dedication and an occasional bit of sleep I ended up learning everything I needed to know along the way. I have to believe this creation will be no different.
Its name is The Pinocchio Principle ~ Becoming Real: Authentic Leadership for the 21st Century. Welcome to the world, little one!
Copyright Synchronistics Coaching & Consulting 2010. All rights reserved.
As many of you already know, I’ve been working on writing a book on authentic leadership for over three years now (and I’m almost done!) The process of writing has illuminated many things for me, one of which is the power I believe each of us has to create the reality we experience. Last week, I wrote an entire chapter on that. And I found myself musing over the fact that while many of the experiences I’ve envisioned for myself have come to be, others have not. As I pondered the reasons for that, this month’s ezine article, Harnessing the Power of Thought, emerged. Below is an excerpt and you can click the link to read the full article.
Harnessing the Power of Thought
“There are powers inside of you which, if you could discover and use, would make of you everything you ever dreamed or imagined you could become.”
~Orison Marden Swett
The above quote is one of many I have seen over the years that references our ability to create that which we most desire. In his beautiful book “As a Man Thinketh”, first published in 1901, James Allen writes “Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your Vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.” Henry David Thoreau wrote “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.” And Napoleon Hill affirmed, “What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
This power is not the result of a magic pill or some kind of sorcery. Rather than being something we must rely on others for, it is a gift we are all born with that we gradually learn to utilize as we become more and more aligned with what is most true within us. This gift is quite simply the strength of the feeling we generate when we identify with something so specifically that we take it to be real. With sustained and unwavering belief, whatever we hold in our minds and our hearts in this way becomes our reality.
As a teenager I began to read a lot about the power of positive thinking and visualization. I was enthralled by stories of athletes who would spend time imagining themselves sinking those critical shots to go on at game time and perform exactly as they rehearsed in their minds. I utilized affirmations of positive intent around the person I was becoming and the wonderful things that were coming into my life. I played with creating vision boards for myself, made from large poster paper with various pictures of things I wanted to have or symbols that represented experiences I longed for glued onto it. I created movies in my head that featured me performing anything from sports to public speaking powerfully and passionately with great success. Many of these visions and dreams have come true over the years. And some have not.
I have reflected at length on what it might be that differentiated the dreams and visions that came to fruition from those that didn’t. And I have come to the conclusion that there are three significant factors… click here to read the full article
A few weeks ago in a karate class I heard a marvelous Zen story that spoke to the incessant yearning we all feel from time to time to be more, do more, and have more. This desire at times gives us the strength we need to power through some of life’s most imposing obstacles. At other times, it has a way of creating obstacles of its own. How can we use our aspirations in ways that work for us, and help others in the process? That is the subject of an article called The Art of Affluence that I wrote for my February ezine. Below is an excerpt with a link to the full article. I hope you enjoy it!
A wise master was walking along the sandy banks of a lazy river, breathing deeply, enjoying the feel of sunshine on his skin, and taking in the beauty all around him. Just across the river one of his students was walking anxiously back and forth, scanning the perimeter of the river and the surrounding land. When the student saw his master, he began waving his arms and shouting, “Master! Master!” The Master looked up and waited silently for his student to continue. “Master,” said his student, “How do I get to the other side?” The master simply replied, “You are already there!”
One of the many things this Zen story speaks to is the desire we all have to be more, do more, and have more. And one thing people throughout history can’t ever seem to get enough of is money.
Wealth has been used as a scorecard for success throughout the ages. From its conception, its lure has led many to do things that are not in the best interests of others. We have been conditioned to believe that it is the key to freedom, happiness, and security. People often take jobs that are not truly aligned with their talents because they fear that without them, they will not have the money they need to satisfy their basic needs. Many seek positions of leadership because of the increased pay it has to offer and all the things they could buy as a result.
Money has also allowed organizations and people to expand their level of influence, improve the quality of services and products they offer, and attract key talent that will allow their visions to become reality. It allows programs to be created and perpetuated that improve the quality of life within communities and the world at large. It pays our bills and puts food on the table. And it allows us to travel and buy things of beauty and utility that can become the source of inspiration and joy.
There is nothing wrong with wealth, just as there is nothing wrong with prestige, power or pride. The key is the manner in which these needs are met, and where the desire for them originates. If the aspiration is for a greater purpose – one that is not solely self serving, the desire is aligned with a higher good and the resulting outcome will be as well.
If the motive is not in the best interests of others, it is more aligned with ego and likely to lead to objectionable behavior, such as greed, envy, insensitivity, arrogance, and paranoia. Those who attain what they seek in an effort to serve others are far more likely to sustain it. Those whose motives and tactics are more aligned with serving themselves alone will live in fear of the inevitable loss of their fleeting success.
Often people are drawn to formal positions of leadership for what they have to offer – power, control, prestige, and higher pay. These things feed the ego, which would have us believe our inherent value is equated with them and that the more we have, do or achieve, the more successful we are. The problem is that no matter how much power, control, prestige, and money we acquire, it never seems to be enough. Life becomes a series of races, battles, and games to be won with little time left to savor the victories, which are often short lived. Click here for the full article.
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Copyright Synchronistics Coaching & Consulting 2010. All rights reserved.