This post is an excerpt from my book Inner Architect: How to Build the Life You Were Designed to Live.
I was overweight throughout grammar school and up until my second year of college. I grew up seeing myself as an overweight person. After numerous failed diets throughout the years, it became a stretch for me to consider that I would ever be anything but overweight. One morning when I was 19, I got out of bed anticipating a party that I was going to that night. I realized that I was sick of being overweight. I decided that I was willing to do what it took to change my weight. I took one day at a time, making healthy choices and changing the way I ate. Within a few months I dropped 40 pounds and changed my lifestyle forever. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was following the key to success in creating any change:
- Declare that you are no longer willing to tolerate a particular habit or way of being.
- Identify the specific things you need to do differently to change.
- Acknowledge that you are in complete control of your actions.
- Recognize the process of change as being day by day.
- Commit to making the desired actions for that particular day.
- If you fall down, forgive yourself and start fresh.
- At the end of each day, honor your ability to make the choice you want and create the change you desire.
I happened across a news piece online the other day that featured a man who was my boss some twenty years ago. Come to find out he had recently been appointed the CEO of a major LA media organization. I was very happy to learn how my former boss had risen to such heights in his career and reached out to him via LinkedIn to tell him so.
I know this man as being the salt of the earth. And there was something about the period of time that we worked together in a New Hampshire division of a worldwide publishing company that feels like there is a bond there. Most of us were in our early 30’s. We took our jobs seriously yet there was a lot of camaraderie and fun. My boss was beginning to make a name for himself as a magazine publisher and I was his second in command who ran the finances and operations.
I wasn’t surprised that within a few hours my former boss responded with a kind note. I was very happy to hear from him and the way he sought an update made an impact that has lasted.
“What’s your story?” he asked.
While collecting my thoughts to answer his question it struck me that my story is not simply what I am doing today. Rather it is an evolution best described by a few key highlights that has led me to where I am today. Sometimes those highlights have been highs and sometimes they’ve been lows. Being able to now see my story as a journey helps put things in perspective.
I may want to feel more successful in my business today yet I have to acknowledge where I’ve come from to appreciate how much I have accomplished. And if I am able to look at my life as a story I can imagine how I’d like the story to play out and make the appropriate choices. I feel more in control.
What’s your story and how might you like to change it?
I hate to admit this, but I’ve been neglecting my meditation practice lately, big time. I’ve allowed myself to become “too busy.” The result? Well, let’s just say that I haven’t been my usual joyful self. I gave myself an inner boost this morning, though, and it made such a difference that I felt inspired to share.
Here are just some of the benefits you might receive in a 20-minute meditation:
- Be reminded that your life is not about the outside world and all its complications.
- Experience a sense of privilege to have been given the opportunity to live.
- Feel closely connected with the energy behind all of life.
- Remember how you are really supposed to show up.
- Become refreshed with a deep sense of peace and joy
Would you agree that this list of benefits reads like a seminar you might pay hundreds of dollars for?
Meditation is free. Here’s a great wikiHow article to help you get started.
I’d love to hear your comments on what meditation has done for you.
This past Friday a recently laid-off Silicon Valley engineer fatally shot three former co-workers, including the CEO. This brutal incident of workplace violence was just one that makes up 20% of all violent crimes as reported by the San Jose Mercury News.
What does this workplace violence statistic say?
Violence is a product of anger and fear. While the motive of this particular killer remains unknown, the story suggests a couple of theories:
- Anger over the job loss
- Fear of financial insecurity
- Anger or fear over loss of identity without a job
Our nation is now grappling with the toughest unemployment rate in 14 years. The U.S. Labor Department reported that 1.2 million people have lost their jobs this year. With October producing 240,000, the total number is likely to surpass 1.5 million by the end of the year.
How can we support the emotions of the unemployed? Having lost a paycheck myself, I empathize with the fears about money and carving out the next gig. Yet a job transition can be viewed as an invitation to revisit what really matters at the end of each of our lives:
How well did you use your talents and expertise and develop your inner potential?
Give yourself permission to trust in the good of the universe. Look at losing your job as a message that:
- Your talents and expertise are no longer needed at that company.
- You are being freed so that you can contribute to a company that needs you more.
As a nation we can look at the vast number of jobs being lost as a message that:
- We need to shift the focus of our work force to jobs that better contribute to what our country needs now.
Our new President is not responsible for initiating change. The unemployment situation demonstrates that change is happening now and we are all involved in the process. Unfortunately, change is often uncomfortable at first. Yet trust in the good of the universe and believe that you will arrive in a better place once you land.
For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow. — President-Elect Barack Obama, November 4, 2008
One man can not move the energy of a whole country. Change is a product of each and every one of us.
- What can you change in your life to better contribute to your fellow Americans?
- What would you like to achieve tomorrow with this new hope we’ve been given?
The Marin Independent Journal, my local newspaper, featured a front page article on Sunday by Associated Press journalist, Pauline Arrillaga with the headline, Gloom, Doom Around the Nation. The article’s focus was on how high gas prices, the never-ending war, the housing market, and job uncertainty has brought our country to a point of hopelessness and fear.
I opened my newspaper to page 7 to follow the article, feeling more troubled as I read statements shared by a number of people interviewed. Then what was shared by a 24-year old brought tears to my eyes, “You can’t get ahead. You can’t save money. You can’t buy a house. It just stinks.”
It wasn’t the state of the Union that bothered me here; it was the sense of hopelessness that seems to prevail. Have we forfeited our power as we wait for the next President to get things moving in a new direction? What can we do in the meantime?
How to take control of your life:
- Acknowledge what you want to achieve or become
- Define the steps necessary to get there.
- Acknowledge your responsibility for completing the steps.
- Commit to and follow through on the work.
- Stay committed to what is necessary.
This process enables you to take control, regardless of what is happening around you. Remember that your power lies within you. It’s your gift waiting to be claimed. That’s when life gets good. Go for it.