Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Declare Your Purpose with Love


Click to go back to the main menu for Mickie Kent's Love Your Mind, Body and Soul Series

“The world isn't simple; no world with people in it is, there's always loneliness, suffering and heartache - but we must learn how to deal with these issues. If we try and sidetrack them, very often we'll find ourselves sidelined by them.”
— Mickie Kent

Today I hear the same complaints from so many different people: There are more IQ lowering drugs and diseases than ever, schools are dumbing our kids down, economies are faltering, and the government is taking more and more control over us. In search for alternatives and solution, people are looking to past civilisations, hunting down the lost wisdom of the ancients - trying to discover the truths lost through the passage of time about the real potential of human beings which has been hidden from the masses.

These researchers believe times are changing. Every day, new information is revealing itself that further connects the ancient prophecies and understandings of our ancient past with the understanding of the universe as understood by modern physics. They claim the world is waking up to the bright realities that we can all experience, by seeing things in a new light.

Others believe we should take a firm look at the world of 2012; much in our world needs changing and improving; but we should not become nostalgists promoting a better yesterday. As we begin to realise that some things go beyond notions of "good" or "bad", proponents to this way of thinking say we must cheer the numerous virtues of the world as it stands today, to find and widen a common ground of acceptance and tolerance. If we don't like our modern world, then it's sure not to like us.

There is a lot of anger, too. And anger is generally described as a "negative emotion"; it can lower what experts call your vibrational energy levels. However, for a consciously aware person, the feeling of anger is an important messenger. Anger tells us so much about how we are really feeling, and about what we are attracting into our lives. We have to understand why we get angry; and generally it will be because something seemed unfair to either you or someone you love.

Anger is a sense of unfairness and it always feels justified. Even when we feel guilty about carrying the anger, there's that little voice that says, "But, I am right!" The right advice, however hard, is to control our anger, to find a process in which we work through our anger, to a state of forgiveness. It's not easy to really let go and forgive, if the anger is still in us, playing over and over again like a stuck record. When an incident makes us angry, we can tell the same story to ten different people and get worked up each time.

It is especially difficult to let go of anger when the person treating us unfairly isn't sorry or when it feels like we have no power in the situation. If you let it speak, your anger is always saying "this feels so unfair, I was wronged!" However, if we try changing the word from anger to power, we can convert anger into a positive rising energy that will move and release and fill you with the readiness to make a change.

Experts say that, in a way, anger can be a strong motivational aid, i.e., the pain can make you raise your game. Turning your anger into a power to remind you that you deserve better is also accepting your anger, rather than burying it away inside you. Sometimes it can feel really great to just really rant and complain loudly, for once, in a way that is actually clearing and healing. Not only will your anger come down and bring a feeling of empowerment, but your inner feeling of deserving will sky-rocket.

Anger is considered one of the most important emotions in the Eastern philosophies because it frees the self from feeling stuck. Properly channelled it's believed to be an energy to transform your life. But we need to know exactly what we are angry about, what feels unfair to us, simply being angry at any and everything is self-defeating and will drag you down.

Voicing your anger in a constructive (not destructive) way, can help you come to a new level of feeling worthy and deserving, especially if you find it difficult to set boundaries. With that rise in energy, you can set a boundary, make a change, take a step up.

When we honour and raise our deserving, we are telling ourselves that we are powerful enough to take a stand; and those that believe in the law of attraction claim the universe will respond instantly and deliver to us new results in our life that agree with our new higher level of deserving. Practically, it will result in us being less accepting of negative situations and the negative behaviour of others towards us.

And as the anger moves and clears, you will feel a more balanced perspective to put your foot down or set boundary or take a huge step up – to take the action you need to take to transform your life. Ask yourself this important question, "What is all this anger calling me to do in my journey right now?" As the old saying goes, "A journey of one thousand miles begins with a single step." And in most cases, that first step occurs in your mind. It requires you to identify exactly what it is that you want. Only then can you start the journey to get there.

No matter where you are in your particular journey, we each have a defining moment. That moment when we get fed up with the status quo and decide to do something about it once and for all. Thomas Jefferson said once, "Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you."

We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love, and then we return home; Ancient Aboriginal sayingWe can all get stuck in a rut. When that happens, some experts say that making a declaration can help get us out of it. You can write it out, turn it into a daily affirmation, use it as a visualise boost to inspire you into action to manifest your desires. Before you can do this, you may need to take a personal inventory; figure out where you've been, why you're not satisfied, and where you're going.

And once you've made your bold declaration, it can serve as a turning point. Experts differentiate this type of declaration from setting goals, writing down your goals, creating a mission or purpose statement, visualising success, positive expectations or using what many label as the law (or laws) of attraction. This type of declaration of independence is the first step before you can embark on one of those other avenues to move you in the direction of your dreams.

You won't instantly, magically hit all your goals. But it's a starting point, a catalyst to help you move forward. It's a declaration, plain and simple, to the world that you are fed up with your current situation. It is a declaration explaining why you've come to this boiling point, what you're separating yourself from, and why things are never going to be the same.

Your declaration isn't for the world, it's for you. And you can set down your declaration with a simple 4-step action plan. The reason I recommend this exercise is most experts believe it packs a serious punch in a simple little document. You can easily do it in three hours or less. Here's the plan:

  • Step 1: Identify it. Spend some time thinking about the chasm between where you are and where you should be.
    1. What's been holding you back?
    2. Why is it taking longer than you planned?
    3. What challenges are proving difficult?
    4. Who or what has gotten in your way?
    5. What are you really getting annoyed with in your current situation?
    6. Do you have any toxic people or things in your life that need to go?

    Are you starting to get mad? Good; because certain experts say some of the most important work you can do to transform your life is learn how to feel, move and use the energy of anger for good. When you get frustrated with yourself and where you are right now, that's the starting point. Identify exactly what you're fed up with and what current connections you may need to break.

  • Step 2: Write it. There's serious power in the sheer act of writing something down. More than writing down your goals (which experts also advocate), this is making a bold declaration and making it official. Craft some cool language that fits you. No one else has to ever see this, so don't worry about how it sounds.

  • Step 3: Frame it. And put it in a place where you can see it from your desk/kitchen/bedroom or wherever. We're talking about a document that's going to help change the course of your life, so keep it where you can see it. Stating it and framing it makes it real.

  • Step 4: Use it. Let your bold declaration, whatever it is, change you. First, you identify it. Then you write it out. Then you frame it. Now stake your claim on the new territory and move in. Think of your declaration as a starting point, a launching pad, not a goal to be achieved. Let it be a daily reminder that you got to a point where you had to change course.

When you've formally made a declaration, even just to yourself, things naturally start falling into place. Then, in the words of Thomas Jefferson: Act. We have been given a limited amount of time on this earth, and that time must be used wisely. It's easy to get caught up in something that we think is important, but ultimately will not give us the real accomplishment we desire. Making a declaration can be the first step to put us on to what is important in your life.

Are you acting "right" for you?

“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”
Abraham Maslow

I'm sure sometime or another in our lives we'll have heard the saying "turning lemons into lemonade". Some of us will have had their fair share of lemons, and sick to death with the taste of lemonade, but there is wisdom in the saying. We can turn things around; deep inside of us we have the ability to respond to whatever happens. Refusing to become a victim of circumstance, and maintaining a focus to overcome adversity makes us not only stronger, but can provide markers to point us in the right direction.

It can also push you to look behind the scenes of your life and root out any unhelpful thought patterns that might be attracting the obstacles in your path; or they may simply be telling you that you need to turn another way. Either way, identifying the challenges and how you can use them to serve you is a powerful formula to help you overcome crisis. And there's nothing like overcoming crisis to give you courage for the subsequent events in your life.

A popular quote from motivational speaker Les Brown is, "to fall forward, because if you can see up, you can get up". It is normal that your motivation suffers when unplanned personal setbacks or a family crisis occurs. Take the time that is needed to address the unfortunate situation, with an eye towards the bigger picture. Remember that delay is never denial unless you choose to throw in the towel.

It's always beneficial to take time out to reassess your path; acknowledge and celebrate in some tangible way your achievement so far, because it's about moving forward, and it's about widening your perspective to be able to see the bigger picture. Mentally remind yourself why you're here. Another formula is to put on your "gratitude glasses" and start a gratitude journal. Take 5 minutes before bed each night to write down what you are grateful for in that day. Always be on the lookout for NEW things you are grateful for.

The more you put on your "gratitude glasses" - the more you will discover you are grateful for. And the more you discover, the more appreciation you will have for your life and the world around you. In this way your vibrational levels is believed to rise, which will make you into a magnet for great things to come your way.

What are you grateful for right now? About yourself? About someone else? About your body? About your life? About strangers? About the people you love? There is SO much in every moment - pay attention and put on your "gratitude glasses" and the world around you and within you will transform.

Exercise for expanding gratitude and shifting your reactive nature
  • List all the things you have decided to be grateful for in your life and business.

  • In your daily journal, record each time you fail to express gratitude for a challenging situation.

  • Catch yourself reacting emotionally to what someone says or does and shift your perception in that moment to appreciate the learning experience at hand.

  • In your daily life and business, who are you not holding as magnificent?

  • How can you champion their excellence and express gratitude for the opportunity to grow in love and wisdom that they are gifting you instead of reacting with anger, sadness, or fear?

  • Who are you seeking to control or avoid being controlled by? Will you take on the practice of non-attachment in your relationship with them by creating space for them to be who they are? Do this for 30 days and record in your journal how your interactions with them evolve. Make note of something that you can be grateful for in each situation.

How to handle a "fear of failure"

We must always be making an effort to progress, to live without fear of failure. But can we turn fear, like anger, into a productive energy for good? How do you handle fear?

How we handle fear depends what we fear. If we fear what we perceive to be "failure" then that is, the experts say, the wrong fear. We should, instead, be more afraid of procrastination, rather than if we try and "fail" - because some believe that there is no sideways route to living.

Not in relationships, not in business, not in spiritual growth, not in life. There's only up or down, although the rate of acceleration and the magnitude of the progress in either direction often leads us to to some very warped perceptions. When we're rising quickly, life is perceived as great though very likely unsustainable. When we're plummeting rapidly, life is a "failure" and, similarly, with even a modicum of intervention, this path is rarely sustainable either.

In each of these scenarios, though, the speed and magnitude of the change in the way we experience life is so great and, often, so outwardly apparent, that we - or those around us - are moved to act to either support or redirect our trajectory. Action in the context of such powerful movement is a near mandate. But, what of those periods where we're sliding ever-so-slowly up or down?

In those periods, we're often governed largely not by action, but by inertia. The desire to not rock our own boats. "Hey," we say, "life's not so bad. So what if I'm not making what I'd like to make, I'm getting by. So, what if my marriage isn't great, it's not THAT bad. Who cares if I'm a little fatter, sicker and in just a bit more pain. It's not such a big deal."

The problem is, "I'm getting by. It's not THAT bad and it's not such a big deal," may be workable answers now, but, the only reason they're workable is because you're assuming that you'll stay largely at these same levels over time. That if you don't do anything substantial to change, 10, 20 or 30 years from now, your business, income, health, relationships will just keep going pretty much sideways - and you're okay with that. Except, some life coaches will tell you, there is no coasting. There is no neutral. No sideways. It's a myth, an illusion. There's only up or down.

This means, if you're teetering on the edge of happiness, health, liquidity and contentment now, then 10, 20 or 30 years from now, if you really paint a vivid picture of your "do nothing to change" scenario, your life will likely be somewhere between really unpleasant. Applying this theory to society at large, some say that it is because we have been trying to coast through certain dangers, that we are now in the situation we're in.

Experts say that unless we get out of our comfort zone, the reality is that we won't make breakthroughs in our lives, our businesses, our relationships, or our health. You simply can't coast through life if you want to get better. However, getting out of the old comfort zone is something everyone deals with and struggles to overcome. When you have "bad days", you'll be tempted to return to your comfort zone habits, but it's also the time when you need to fight against that the most.

Problems that are not addressed over time become increasingly problematic. Nagging pain becomes chronic, acute and debilitating, unrewarding work becomes soulless, life-sucking agony, passable health becomes obesity, disease and, for many, early death, while inattentive relationships become estranged, angry, bitter, dysfunctional and non-existent. Thus, your currently "passable" life becomes increasingly painful as you enter the long, slow slide. Because you failed to accept the knowledge that there is no sideways, there is only up or down. Even if the pace is slow, barely detectable, there's no such thing as sideways.

It would be easier to go back to your comfort zone. It would be easier if you could give up and go back to doing whatever you wanted and skipping the time you devote to building your second income. But we have to fight it, experts emphasise. Every day we MUST fight it. You're fighting the good fight, because the day we quit is the day we start living a life of regret. That regret will be far more painful than any daily struggle we face while we work towards a better life.

Some experts recommend that we should strive to increase order and discipline in our life. Discipline usually means doing the opposite of what you feel like doing. Proponents to this theory suggest easy roads to discipline are:

  • Setting deadlines.
  • Discovering and doing what you do best and what's important and enjoyable to you.
  • Focusing on habits by replacing your bad habits and thought patterns, one-by-one, over time, with good habits and thought patterns.

Experts say getting out of our comfort zone will require setting goals with deadlines, taking time for self-reflection to identify specifically what it is that we want to accomplish, and then to focus on creating the daily habits and positive thought patterns that move us closer to our goals each day. It's not easy, but you can do it if you are willing to change. Of course, change is a scary word. As the old saying goes, "people fear change".

But that's not completely accurate. Humans embrace positive change. What we really fear is what we perceive as "negative" change. So you need to look at what you might think are negative changes, and re-frame them as positive changes to your lifestyle.

Focusing on the small, but consistent increases that result in you taking action everyday, and having gratitude for the results is said to be beneficial. Both of those take effort but bring with them great benefits as well.

Life will not always be "hard work"; there will still be a time and a place in your life to slip back into your comfort zone activities, but experts recommend this be as a reward, not a daily habit. If we want to make those big changes in our lives, then we need to break free from our comfort zones. We need to challenge ourselves. We need increase the organisation, planning, discipline, and implementation in our lives.

If we do this consistently, we will develop new, stronger habits that will allow us to reach our goals. Whatever your goal, you must continue to learn and grow and have the discipline to do the things you don't always necessarily want to do. This leaves us with a realisation and circles back to the question of how we handle fear. And rather than asking the "fear of failure" question, we are advised to ask: What if I succeed? What if I do nothing? Then, we are told to paint lush, vivid, highly sensory pictures of each. Play out your "failure" scenario, along with it's recovery. Play out your success scenario.

Then, play out your do nothing scenario - 10, 20 and 30 years from now. For far too many, that becomes the real nightmare, the outcome most important to abort. Use that as motivation to break your state of inertia to go after the vivid success scenario.

Why do we procrastinate?

“Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.”
— Napoleon Hill

We all have things we want to accomplish. We all have dreams and goals of a better life that we want to live. Yet for some of us, the steps we need to take to get there are always "put off until tomorrow". And the end of summer can find many of us in a grip of inertia.

As autumn approaches, people finish off vital DIY, get ready to start a new job or prepare for school. At least, they would do if they weren't in the grip of procrastination. It's a curse, and many of us at one time or another have experienced the horror of crippling indecision and compulsive delaying tactics.

Professor Piers Steel of the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary, author of The Procrastination Equation, has conducted extensive research into the topic. He found that 95% of us procrastinate at some point.

Professor Joseph Ferrari of DePaul University Chicago has found that 20% of the population of the world are chronic procrastinators, complicating their lives, and probably shortening them, with their incessant delaying and task avoidance.

The figures are rather chilling. Procrastinators are less wealthy, less healthy and less happy than those who don't delay. And worse, the little stories we tell ourselves to justify our behaviour are all wrong. Those of us who habitually put off key decisions for weeks, months, or even years, are increasingly in danger of being seen as dinosaurs.

Piers Steel believes humankind is hard-wired to procrastinate but suggests a few good ways of getting through the task in hand. The first one is obvious - break the task down into small chunks and work your way through them methodically. The other is ingenious - give a trusted friend £50 and tell them that if you don't complete the task you have undertaken they can give it away to a political party or cause you hate.

Others have suggested that the deadline is your secret weapon for achieving your dreams. Deadlines make you take action, and although they are uncomfortable and force you to work furiously under pressure, deadlines also bring big rewards when you meet them. However, severe procrastinators will have got into the bad habit of missing deadlines so often, that they are likely to fall on to their own sword with this one. Yet for many, imposing personal deadlines do seem to work.

Two key strategies which also seem to work is to employ help to clear away all the issues that have piled up due to your procrastination marathon. One is practical - you can employ someone to wade through, sort and file your receipts, invoices and correspondence, for example, or help you devise a timetable to work through. The second breakthrough is to pinpoint and acknowledge how closely your procrastination can be linked to the turmoil of adolescence.

For example, most people that procrastinate may have spent decades refusing to be an adult and accept what they see as "dreary" responsibilities. It's believed that in general procrastinators barely moved an inch from the task-shy, over-sleeping, overdrawn, essay-avoiding, easily distracted school or university student they were - until they find themselves with children to look after, with a mortgage to pay, work to complete, and other people's happiness and peace of mind dependent on theirs.

But actions speak louder than words. Don't procrastinate. Don't wait. The time will never be just right. No one gets old by surprise. It's time to step up and hold yourself accountable. You can't depend on others to do that for you. The first step must be yours.

Procrastination also involves self-deceit, but the trouble with lying to ourselves is that we know we are lying, especially when we use that old rationalisation, "I can't do that because...". Rationalisations are generally convenient evasions of reality and are used as excuses for dishonest behaviour, mistakes, and/or laziness - and over time, we convince ourselves that our excuses are not lies, but in fact, the truth. We are all weak like this. The worst part about telling ourselves the big "I can't" lie is that we aren't even trying.

It's one thing to quit, at least you started. But when we tell ourselves the "I can't" lie, we do so without even having had the courage to try in the first place. And that's the ultimate weakness - not trying. When you combine your ultimate weakness with your biggest lie you end up with a life of frustration, a lack of progress, and the dishonour of knowing that you are avoiding self-growth in order to remain in the safe confines of your comfort zone.

We lie to protect ourselves. And it works. It saves us from social and physical discomfort in the short-term. But in the long run, it makes us weakened slaves shackled to a lifetime of unfulfilled potential. Today, I urge you to be stronger. It's time for you to discover the truth about what you can do.

Read about dealing with procrastination.

The legends of the bogeyman in the closet and monsters under the bed are fine for children. But they are expected to grow out of these fears and excuses. And they are expected to realize that their fears are all in their minds. It's time we learned this as well. The next time you say, "I can't", follow that up by asking, "Why Not?" Do it and answer honestly. Is it that you can't or that you won't?

You have to be honest with yourself. Am I going to do this or not? Start with that. Then see where you can go from there. Take a tiny step into the waters of Lake Cant and see if perhaps it's not as cold, dark and deep as you thought it once was. There's nothing wrong with daydreaming, but you have recognise the difference between daydreaming and serious goal setting. These are two very, very different things. So it's time to take things very seriously. Whatever your dreams are, start taking them very, very seriously.

Realise that the invisible brick wall between you and "can" has only been erected in your mind. It is almost never a physical limitation. You can make time for exercise and for work, for love and family relationships. Your body is capable of surviving without bread, your mind can be trained to do anything, and you can learn a new language at any age. You are not too old to change, but you have less time than you think. We all do. Why then are you waiting to fulfil your desire? If you do not start today, then when will you start? You will never start unless you start NOW. Commit yourself heart and soul. Start by:

  • Setting deadlines for your new positive habits.
  • Making small changes every day.
  • Preparing for those days when we feel like doing the opposite of what we should be doing.

We can all break free from our comfort zone if we believe in ourselves and use these tools to help us take that first step towards succeeding beyond our wildest dreams. Never, ever give up on something that is important to you. It may not be easy, but we can do it. Stay strong and never give in, and you will break OUT of your comfort zone.

Remember: Take action. Action leads to attraction. Action creates momentum and brings opportunity. You'll be amazed at the people you attract into your business and life when you start taking action and overcome inertia. Declare your purpose with love and then make it yours. Go out and seize the day. Carpe diem, as some Roman once said - but you just have to say it with love.

Yours in love,

Mickie Kent