The past few years have been wrought with the effects of a lingering recession: double digit unemployment, rising home foreclosures, overwhelming debt, and mental and emotional setbacks. Each year we engage in the age-old tradition of setting New Year’s Eve resolutions such as losing weight, working out, eating healthier, finding a new job, getting more organized, and spending more quality time with close family and friends. Unfortunately, according to research, by Valentine’s Day nearly 50% of those resolutions are broken and by the end of April nearly 90% of them are abandoned. Consider your resolutions now…..how many of them have you kept? Are you on track to accomplish what you set out to do in January?
As a Success Coach, I advise clients that instead of creating New Year’s resolutions that are likely to be broken, to develop a Life Plan for Success and use each year as a check in for progress made and new actions to take. In this blog I share a few excerpts from my newly released audio book entitled, “Reinvent Yourself: Strategies for Achieving Success in Your Personal Life, Career, Relationships, and Finances.” Now that nearly half of this year is already behind us, I hope that you will take the time to do a mid year check in and consider how well you’re doing against the goals you’ve set towards accomplishing your Life Plan. The first step is to understand your WHY.
One of the most basic questions in life to ask: Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose? When you start answering these questions, you’ll bring new meaning to every aspect of your life, to your career, to your relationships, and to your responses to life’s challenges. Too many people go through life frustrated because they have no idea what they want to become or why they were created. They spend years trying to find their purpose, yet so few of them are living a fulfilled and meaningful life. I’ve said this for many years, “many people die at age 30 but they don’t get buried until age 75.” Why? Because they don’t have meaning, significance, or a clear vision for their life. They go through life wandering and seeking direction, and by the time they get older, they’ve got more regrets then they have achievements. It’s been said that the poorest man in the world is the man without a dream or vision; the most frustrated man in the world is the man with the dream/vision that never becomes a reality.
A vision is the promise of what you shall be one day—whether it’s becoming a senior executive in a corporation, achieving your MBA or Ph.D., running a successful business, getting better organized, or eating healthier. A vision is the blueprint for your life. It lays out what you’re aiming to be/become or to do in the future. It takes into account where you’ve been, where you are now, and what’s possible. It is a road map that guides and informs the choices and decisions you have to make on a daily basis. William Blake, famous painter and poet of the 18th century put it this way: “when people have no vision, development of the mind’s capacity to create is neglected and they fall prey to the human tendency towards victimization.”
Similarly, purpose is what you’ve been created and born to do. It’s your WHY. It’s the reason why you’re wired the way you are. It’s the reason that you possess the kinds of skills and talents that you have. Purpose has to do with your destiny [or your destination]. It will drive you and make you want to get up out of bed every morning; it will give you a strong sense of self worth; it will give you a dose of energy and passion for life; it will guide your choices and decisions in life.
We all have dreams, whether we know it or not. They are visual manifestations of our purpose and seeds of destiny planted in our hearts. What dreams and purpose do you have that you’ve yet to accomplish? If you don’t know, here’s a way to start to explore what it is. It’s the interest, hobby, or skill that has followed you from a young child; it keeps coming back to your mind year after year; the thing that you’ve always enjoyed doing and would do even if you didn’t get paid for it; the gift and talent that you have that comes easy for you; the thing that you would do if you knew you couldn’t fail and if you had all the necessary resources to implement. That’s your dream. And it’s tied directly to your purpose.
Discipline is necessary if you plan to bring that purpose into reality. It is the positive conditioning and controlling of one’s mind, desires, actions, beliefs, words, and habits. In order to obtain your goals, you must have the discipline to go through whatever it takes to succeed. That means that when things get tough, you get tougher; when friends no longer stick by you, you stand your ground anyway; when you start to lose hope and confidence, you keep pressing towards the prize and never give up.
To get you started in this journey of reinventing yourself first start with a few self-assessment questions and reflect on what you need to redefine, reassess, and reinvent in your life. I use these types of questions with my own clients as a success coach. They should spark some deep thought and introspection. Be as honest and as open with yourself as possible. This is a time for you to do your own self discovery and to be truthful with yourself. You may be experiencing a crisis at the crossroads, and in order to take your life to the next level, remember success starts with self.
- How do you define success? What does it look like for you?
- What do you value most in life and why?
- Are you where you want to be in your life? If not, why?
- What is your life motto?
- How would you summarize yourself in less than two sentences?
- What do you like least about your life?
- What behaviors and attitude adjustments do you need to make?
- What are you most proud of?
- What mistakes do you keep repeating?
- What lessons have you learned this past year?
For a complete list of self-assessment questions, see chapter 1: Redefine Success in my new audio book, Reinvent Yourself.
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