Archive for October 2010
To be ON PURPOSE means to live your life forward to your original design. Or maybe for most of us it means to go back to your original design. To become what you were meant to be! The laws of purpose mean the following to me:
1. You cannot at any time pin purpose to a place and say that I have arrived, I am there. You are continuously busy to find the purpose in your life and it will become clearer as you move forward (advance) and go towards it. It will not come to you, you will have to go towards it! 2. It is not what you are doing, but how you are doing it that really matters. 3. Purpose is waiting for you – you have to go towards your purpose. In other words it is already there – just go and find it!
Be very careful how you live. Live as though you know what is expected of a purpose-driven life and not as a person that does not know what it is. Do not waste your ‘clock’ time. Make best use of every opportunity you get because we live in difficult and bad times.
Do not waste your life by living without a purpose.
So what is it that gets us to be so busy that we don’t have any time left?
- We need a number of new skills and it never ends - We often have to generate additional business to make ends meet - We have to diverse our financial portfolio - We have to connect spiritually in many different ways - We need to explore continuous alternative education opportunities necessary to go forward
- We are busy seven days of the week, we are too busy - We often work 8 to 16 hours per day - Our kids have a lot of extramural activities every day - We are on the road driving sometimes between 1 to 5 hours every day
- We do not have many friends anymore or spend time with our friends - We do not have time or energy to spend with our families - We often need to ‘buy’ a relationship with our kids
• We have to be available 24/7. Cell phones do not provide you any privacy if you do not make a decision to sometimes switch them off • TV / internet is getting worse as we spend more time on both • We watch reality TV shows instead of living a real life • Everything has got to happen with speed. Things are happening too slow or we just do not have enough time for everything we would like to do. • You isolate yourself because you want to protect yourself and your time We are impatient and in a hurry and this often leads to frustration e.g. road rage
The question is: where is the locus of control in your life? Is it the stuff around you that control your life or is it what is on the inside that really counts? Things like your convictions, values, meaning and beliefs.
I guess we have become so busy that we have a ‘blindness’ for the opportunities that is all around us every day. That is the stuff we actually want to do more of and for this we need to open our eyes.
Four things we could try to live by and focus on more:1. Insight into reality – what is really happening to us and the most important people in our lives? 2. A quality life – we need to create more balance and for this learn to say ‘no’ 3. Gratitude – to live our lives with more thankfulness, joy and enthusiasm 4. Do the right things – to focus on what really matters, to do less but do it as good as you possibly can, to make everyday and everything that you do in that day a success
Have we reverted to a jungle-life where only the fit will survive? Callie Roos covers the laws of survival.
Two colleagues and I went to the United States where we visited a number of thriving communities and businesses. There was one crucial question that we asked: Why is it that you guys are doing ok? Since our main objective was to identify and learn from the criteria that make individuals, businesses and communities successful, we only focused on those whom we perceived as winners.
The common Denominators
In all the places we visited, we found a common denominator inherent in every success story.
- Winners understand the power of vision. They know where they are going and they continuously reinforce that dream.
- They all have an outward focus. They don’t exist for themselves. They believe that they can make the world a better place and are willing to commit resources to make it happen.
- They believe in leadership at all levels, without being control freaks.
- The organisations we looked at were all value-driven. The most significant value in their culture was that of excellence. The leaders had raised their expectations to a level, which they believed denoted success. They believed that the standards they had set were within everyone’s reach. The norm in these organisations is that, if you don’t like the height of the bar – leave.
The Laws of Survival
In one of my seminars “Life beyond Hope” I teach what I call the “Laws of Survival”. These are the fundamental laws that we need to survive and thrive as “Hope-A-Holics” in our personal, community and business lives.
- Excellence through Belief: Is just one of these laws – the law that says believe that you are capable of being the best in everything you do.
I have learnt what constitutes success the hard way. For me, excellence is not something that one achieves simply by doing one of two things. It has to be a mindset that you follow, which shapes the way you perceive things. Past experience has taught me that beliefs are the most powerful force necessary for creating something good in life. When you believe that you are capable of achieving excellence, your belief becomes the driver that helps you get where you want to go. Positive beliefs not only help you to see what you want out of life, they also release the energy that you need to get there.
Whilst I was in the US, I thought about all the negative beliefs concerning the future of our own country, which hold so many South Africans captive. The bottom line is that in order to motivate others to help us initiate workable, positive change in South Africa, we need to begin replacing negative perceptions with positive beliefs.
The same holds true for transforming our businesses or personal life arenas. Therefore if we all focus on modeling excellence, we will inspire the people around us to do the same, and ultimately we’ll all become more successful as a result.
- Freedom to Choose: Essentially, your beliefs are a matter of freedom of choice. The second “Law of Survival” is centered on a principle, which implies that our life choices are rooted in our freedom to make those choices. As a result, we also have to be prepared to take responsibility for the outcome of those choices. Fortunately, it’s never too late to change the way we think, and consequently each one of us has the power to change the way we live our lives.
Becoming a “Hope-A-Holic” begins with changing the way you think. Everything that man has created is capable of undergoing positive change. Model excellence and strive to be the best in everything you undertake, every day of your life. Do the best you can for more than thirty days, and then let me know what happens.
One of my daughter’s and I undertook a six-hour hike through the Waterberg Mountains a few years ago. The temperature was forty degrees that day and the going was tough. When it looked as if my daughter was ready to throw in the towel, I sat her down for a few moments and convinced her that her level of fitness and stamina had made her the stronger climber. I told her that I was relying on her to help me over the worst hurdles. To be honest, halfway through our journey, I realised that the belief I had instilled in her was pretty close to the truth, (after all I am getting older!). By the time we reached the end, she had acquitted herself like a champion. She literally glowed with the sense of fulfillment that arises when you succeed in overcoming a great challenge. In the next few weeks she participated in a number of athletic events at school and I knew that she will outperform herself, simply because of what she gained from the experience of believing that she was capable of conquering mountains.
Most folks are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be! (Abraham Lincoln)
When you can’t change others, change yourself so advises Callie Roos in this article.
There was a time in my life when I wanted to change the whole world. I believed that if I could encourage people to change their behaviour I would succeed in making the world a better place. Today, I realise that this was not the way to go. Change has to begin from within. It was Mahatma Gandhi who said, “We must be the change we want in the world”, and having applied that principle to my own life over the years, I recognise that by changing myself, I have added value to the world in which I live.
Instinct versus Choice
Every year when the plains in Central Africa dry up I follow the wildebeest as they migrate northwards from Tanzania across the Serengeti Plain and through the woodlands up to the Masai Mara Reserve. When the grazing in the Mara has been exhausted, the herds head southwards again, returning to the plains where it all started. Nothing changes from year to year, as one and a half million wildebeest embark on a journey, where two hundred and fifty thousand are destined to die. In the course of every migration, they still try to cross the river at the same places. Each year the banks on the other side become slippery, and when young calves are separated from their mothers, they often fall into the water and drown, or get taken out by marauding lions or big crocodiles. They never change their pattern; I know that animals operate on instinct, rather than on premeditated choice. Unlike humans they do not have the capacity to build bridges or erect tollgates that could limit the number of lions passing through.
It is this essential difference, which separates man from beast. We have risen to the top of the top of the food chain by virtue of our ability to make choices, as opposed to living our lives simply on the basis of instinct. Our freedom of choice is what makes change possible.
In the heart of the African bush, people sometimes lose their lives, by selectively ignoring the one thing that could have enabled them to survive. Here in the urban jungle, people die spiritually and emotionally, when they lose the ability to hope or envision a brighter future. Cynicism and despair have a way of making us forget that we have been equipped with a life-sustaining tool, which is found in our capacity to think and take responsibility for our choices. More often than not we drown, when we fail to exercise this ability. Life is an ongoing process of learning, growth and making changes. Those individuals, who choose to ignore this, are destined to live their lives as wildebeest and make the same mistakes over and over again.
Escaping the Wildebeest Legacy
Whenever I ask the groups of people I speak to if they want to change their lives to become better fathers, mothers or leaders, they all respond with a resounding ‘yes’. Yet, they don’t always recognise that improvement is driven by change. Unfortunately, none of the so-called experts on change can claim to have discovered a step-by-step guide on how to achieve it. This is because essentially, each one of us is responsible for initiating the changes that will make the diverse and individual worlds we inhabit, better places. In a nutshell, if you don’t like the world that you have created for yourself, change it or accept that everything will remain the same. Acknowledge that you will encounter the equivalent of slippery banks, marauding lions or crocodiles along the way, and believe in your ability to find a route around every obstacle.
When I began my career as a professional speaker and life coach, I saw my task as going into a business to facilitate its core processes relating to vision, mission, values and strategies. At the time, I naively believed that once these were firmly entrenched, people would change their attitudes and behavioural patterns. Experience has taught me otherwise. Today, I begin in reverse, because I’ve recognised the importance of change from within. I know that if I change, I stand more change of motivating the teams I work with to change as well. Individual acts of change create a ripple effect that becomes the catalyst for transformation within a business or an organisation. In short, they are the key to making the world a better place.
I don’t believe that our creator ever intended us to live our lives in mediocrity or discontent. Why else would we have been endowed with the gift of freedom of choice? Each one of us has the power and the right to choose a path of excellence, especially since we only have this lifetime to invest our potential and reap the dividends that it yields.
My own various life experiences have shaped the person I have become and proved beyond a shadow of doubt that I am responsible for creating my own happiness. As Abraham Lincoln so wisely observed, “Most folks are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be”. Therefore, I acknowledge that every choice I make determines the outcome of my mission to live a purposeful and contented life.
We all need to understand and identify our individual purpose on this planet. The change the world and make a significant contribution to the societies and communities in which we live and operate, we need to commit to a goal this is bigger than ourselves.
- Making an indelible imprint or leaving an everlasting legacy, begins with recognising what you have to give and feeling good about yourself.
- People who are not okay with themselves will find it almost impossible to be comfortable with others.
- You are the starting point. No other person can change your life or make crucial choices for you.
- The changes you make can only come from within.
Now is the time to begin. Yesterday has gone, tomorrow has yet to come, today provides an immediate opportunity to set things in motion.
Please think about the words by Peter Senge, one of THE world guru’s on leadership today, from your perspective as leader, and as follower:
“In the West we tend to think of leadership as a quality that exists in certain people. This usual way of thinking has many traps. We search for individuals with leadership potential, rather than developing the leadership potential in everyone. We are easily distracted by what this or that leader is doing, by the melodrama of people in power and others trying to wrest it from them. When things are going poorly, we blame the situation on incompetent leaders, thereby avoiding any personal responsibility. When things become desperate, we can easily find ourselves waiting for a great leader to rescue us. Through all of this, we totally miss the bigger question: ‘What are we, collectively, able to create?’
Leadership exists when people are no longer victims of circumstances but participate in creating new circumstances … That is the real gift of leadership. It is not about positional power; it is not about accomplishments; it is ultimately not even about what we do. Leadership is about creating a domain in which human beings continually deepen their understanding of reality and become more capable of participating in the unfolding of the world.
Ultimately, leadership is about creating new realities… Most of us aren’t very good at perceiving reality as it is. Most of what we ”see” is shaped by our impressions, our history, our baggage and our preconceptions. We can’t see people as they really are because we are too busy reacting to our own internal experiences of what they invoke in us, so we rarely actually relate to reality. We mostly relate to internal remembrances of our own history, stimulated and evoked by whatever is externally before us… If we could only see reality more as it is, it would become obvious what we need to do. We wouldn’t be acting out of our own histories, or our own needs, or our own purely reactive interpretations. We would see what is needed in the moment. We would do exactly what is required of us, right now, right here.”
Senge then ends by quoting Einstein: “The world we have created is a product of our way of thinking.”