Too often, people live out of the mistaken notion of discovery. This is the belief that each of us must find out who we are as a result of the many trials, experiences, and lessons we experience. This notion assumes that we must passively accept and be at the mercy of whatever life has in store for us. It makes us a victim and gives us a justification for not doing, not risking, not designing and redesigning who we are and who we choose to be.
This is not to say that life is not without its lessons. We certainly experience growth and acquire knowledge from the process of daily living. However, too often we go through life tentatively, waiting for the next trial or problem to be dealt with whether we like it or not.
When you live from the intention of designing your life on purpose, your actions will be in alignment with the image of how you envision yourself. In the moment, as you create who you decide to be, you act in accordance with this picture. The more you grow and become, the more you can become. There is no arriving — only the constant process of being and becoming out of your new, empowering, and constantly evolving declaration.
Living your declaration is simply a matter of concept evolving into experience. Take any value you hold in high regard, such as being loving or compassionate. Until such qualities are experienced, they exist only as concepts, like a nice idea. When you decide to experience them as an acted-upon value, they take on a whole new meaning. Until you do something that demonstrates love or compassion toward another, you have only the concept of love, not the experience of it. And certainly, you haven’t yet integrated it as a key principle. You have not, up till now, become the value you seek to experience.
Being is the ultimate result of getting it — experiencing a quality until you actually own it. This is what mastery is all about, taking a concept beyond experience into the total embodiment of the value.
There was once a wise farmer who knew that life’s experiences are often not what they appear. He owned a beautiful mare that was the finest in the entire village. One day, someone left the corral gate open and the mare ran off. The villagers said to the farmer, “What terrible luck.” The wise farmer replied, “Good luck, bad luck, who can tell.” Several days later, the mare returned with a beautiful herd of wild stallions accompanying her. The villagers marveled at what good luck the farmer had. Again, the wise old man observed, “Good luck, bad luck, who can tell.”
One day, the farmer’s only son was out in the yard breaking in the wild stallions. When he was thrown from his horse and broke his shoulder, the villagers remarked, “What terrible luck.” Once again, as he was wont to do, the farmer said, “Good luck, bad luck, who can tell.” A week later, the government declared war, calling into service all able-bodied men from the village. All went to war with the exception of the farmer’s son, who was still healing from his injury. When all the young soldiers from the village were caught in an ambush and killed, the villagers again remarked to the farmer, “What good luck that your son broke his shoulder and was spared.” And on goes the story.
As with all opposites, we cannot have one without the other. Likewise, good health and illness are opposite states that support us to experience both sides of the spectrum. We cannot experience one without knowing the other. We cannot experience up without down, left without right, good without bad, happy without sad, and so forth.
All of life’s experiences present themselves as tools for our own creation. It is entirely up to us to decide how we will experience any aspect of life as it presents us with an opportunity to decide who we choose to be, given the circumstances. Instead of being a victim of what life presents us, we can choose to be the source, the creator of how we will respond, and how we will be affected by the challenge. Our response is our opportunity to define who we choose to be.
* Your integrity level
* Your ability to make and keep commitments
* Your willingness to tell the truth in all circumstances
* Your commitment to being punctual and reliable
* Having respect and an appreciation for others
* Showing gratitude
* Taking initiative
* Living passionately
* Trusting your intuition
On some level, we have attracted whatever it is for a reason. Likewise, we have the ability to attract something different if we decide that what we have attracted does not serve us. We have the power to manifest everything in our lives. If we decide that what we are attracting to us — scarcity, illness, anger, loneliness, whatever— does not serve who we choose to be, we can decide to do otherwise. It’s up to us to manifest those things that are consistent with the profile of the person we both desire and commit to become. We really do have the ability to reinvent our lives if we have the courage to do so.
Of course, once we make our decision, action must follow. Permit me to share a story. There was once a pious man living on the banks of a great river. One day, as the rains came and the floodwaters approached, the local residents were given a directive to evacuate their homes. All did so with the exception of this one man who remained, saying, “My faith in God will save me! He will provide.” As the floodwaters filled the road, a rowboat approached and the boatman implored the man to get in. Again, the man declined, saying, “No need to leave. My faith will save me.” The next day, as the waters rose above the first-floor level, a motorboat once again approached with rescuers pleading for the man to evacuate. Yet again, he declined, saying, “My faith will be my salvation.” As the river continued to overflow its banks, the water level now totally submersed the house. A helicopter was sent, lowering a rope to rescue the man who now had climbed onto his roof. Once again, he refused the pleas to evacuate, noting his faith in God.
The next thing he knew, this pious man found himself at the gates of heaven, realizing that he had drowned. Angry and indignant, he approached an angel, saying, “How could this have happened? Why did my faith not save me?”
The angel looked at her register and said, “It’s noted here that we sent two boats and a helicopter. What more do you want?”
Belief without action is self-delusion.
Living Out of Your Declaration
1) In what areas of your life — health, wealth, relationships, personal development, career, and recreation — are you attracting things that do not support who you choose to be?
2) In each area, create a detailed description specifically outlining the qualities of the person you have declared that you will be, from this moment onward.
3) Living from this ideal perspective, what would an ideal day at work look like? An ideal day at play?
4) Develop a detailed vision of what your ideal life would be like. What specific actions are necessary to bring this about? Decide now to experience your ideal days on purpose living out of your declaration.
5) Record your experiences in your journal.
Gary is an intelligent, creative individual with the capacity to lead others. However, in his interactions with people, he is perceived to be arrogant and self-centered. As a result of how he interacts with others, his words never fully communicate his positive intent; people who might have been positively influenced by Gary are instead turned off. To Gary, he is being forthright and speaking honestly. He is the last to realize that how he comes across to others has cost him his power and effectiveness. When Gary speaks, people “go away” — not because of what he has to say but how he says it.
If Gary were willing to get feedback from others about how his communication can be offensive, he could reinvent his style to allow his message to be heard. Doing so would dramatically increase his effectiveness.
Not paying attention to how our communication affects others is like a tennis player who hits the ball without concern for where it lands. Day in and day out, we communicate with others, unaware of the ways in which we unintentionally sabotage ourselves. We squander our power by sending messages that do not project a positive energy and image.
Through a lack of attention to our communication, we minimize our effectiveness whenever we come across in ways other than the way we intend. This might take the form of interrupting, not paying attention, or not maintaining eye contact as we speak. It can involve what we say, how we say it, and the energy we project. We can dramatically alter how we are perceived by becoming more aware of ourselves with respect to our communication. Our effectiveness will skyrocket through deliberate action and focused communication. Our awareness of who we are being, what we are doing, and how we are communicating in each moment will result in being responsible for who we are for others.
The key to living powerfully and communicating this power is to follow your heart in answering the question “Is this communication a reflection of who I have decided to be?” Everything about you — from your attitude, ethics, and body language to your language, habits, and energy — leaves a lasting impression about the person you are.
1) Pay attention to your communication and other people’s responses to determine if you are coming across to others in the way you intend. Request regular feedback about your communication. Select some coaches to give you feedback about what works and what is missing that if put into place would support you to be more effective.
2) After each conversation, rate yourself on a scale from 1 (ineffective) to 10 (powerful) as you answer the following questions:
* Did I communicate effectively as the person I choose to be?
* Did I intentionally contribute something of value?
* Do I have an appreciation of what it’s like in the other person’s world?
* Was I authentic and charismatic or was my energy stilted or a turnoff?
3) What areas will you develop to be more effective in your communication?
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