Category Archives: believe in yourself

SerenDestiny #64: We Don’t FIND our Calling – We CREATE It

“I’ve had a good life; and the reason is I stayed busy doing the things that mattered to me.” – Sandra Day O’Connor

People talk about “finding” their calling … as if it exists out there somewhere, intact, and all they have to do is look long enough and EUREAKA, there it will be, hiding behind a tree.

I think our calling, as former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor points out, more often EMERGES from doing and pursuing things that matter to us.

That’s certainly been the case with me.

I am doing work I didn’t even know existed when I went to college. I didn’t get a degree in this and I never answered a newspaper ad featuring this as a job description.

The career I love so much is an accumulation of instinctive steps I took along the way. There was no map. I just did my best to honor The Three I’s – Instincts, Interests and Integrity.

I believe the Three I’s are our “Calling Compass.”

When you don’t know what to do, check in with your Three I’s and they’ll point you in the right direction.

When I speak at conventions, people often come up afterwards and say, “It looks like you really love what you do. How can I do what you do?”

Here’s how I got started, and how you can too.

Years ago, I was reading The Washington Post and noticed the word “concentration” was used six times on the front page of the sports section.

Tennis player Chrissie Evert said her ability to concentrate was why she’d been able to ignore the planes flying overhead and win the U.S. Open.

A golfer who’d just lost a tournament by missing a short putt on the last hole said he’d been distracted by the clicking cameras of nearby photographers.

A baseball team had lost its last 7 games. Their manager blamed their slump on his team thinking ahead to the playoffs instead of focusing on that day’s game.

I was intrigued. I thought, “We all wish we could concentrate better – but no one ever teaches us how. I’ve never seen any books on this topic. I’ve never heard any speakers on this topic.”

I decided to research how we could improve our ability to concentrate. I interviewed athletes, artists, executives and entrepreneurs and asked them:

1. How did you learn how to concentrate?
2. What do you do to stay focused despite distractions and interruptions?
3. How do to focus when you don’t feel like it – and how do you regain your concentration if you lose it?
4. Do you have any special techniques you use to s-t-r-e-t-c-h your attention span?”

Based on the insights and action steps I collected and developed; I offered a public program for Open University on HOW TO CONCENTRATE BETTER – ANYTIME, ANYWHERE.

At the end of that workshop, 16 people came up to ask if I would share my techniques with their organization. That one workshop launched a speaking career that has taken me around the world and given me many blessed opportunities to do work I love that matters. It resulted in a book called ConZentrate that Stephen Covey highly recommended as, “Fascinating, thought-provoking and movtivating.”

http://www.amazon.com/ConZentrate-Attention–When-Pressures-Distractions-Priorities/dp/0312270100/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349029034&sr=8-1&keywords=conzentrate+-+sam+horn

How about you? Do you want more meaningful work? Are you looking for the perfect job or dream career? Just ask yourself,

1. What do I find intriguing?
2. What is something that calls to me that is in alignment with my Three I’s?
3. What is a problem or need that has caught my attention and caused me to think, ‘Somebody should DO something about that?”

YOU’RE AS MUCH A SOMEBODY AS ANYBODY. WHY DON’T YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT?

Who knows? Deciding to research, write and speak about an intriguing topic could be the first step to your SerenDestiny.

Choosing to pursue an opportunity that is alignment with your Three I’s could help you create your calling.

Solving a problem that concerns you could result in a life where the light is on in your eyes.

Remember, you don’t FIND your calling – you CREATE it – by honoring your Three I’s and by getting busy doing and pursuing what matters.

Have you created your calling? Would you please take a few minutes to share the story of how you got started?

Who knows? It could be just the inspiration someone needs to kick-start their calling.

SerenDestiny #56: Is Your Calling … Calling?

After interviewing thousands of SerenDestineers around the world; I’ve come to understand many of us have a misunderstanding of what a “calling” is.

We think it is some Holy Grail moment where our “purpose” shows up in a blaze of glory.

Kind of like the Academy Awards of Purpose.

The heavens part, the trumpets play and the angels deliver a gold-embossed envelope.

We open it – and there in glowing letters – is what we’re supposed to do with our life.

It doesn’t really happen that way.

Clarity about who we are and why we’re here reveals itself over time.

It’s a thousand inklings … a thousand intuitive nudges … of what sounds interesting and what doesn’t; of what we like and don’t like; of what calls to us, what doesn’t.

We navigate our way through these mini-decisions of what feels good, right and resonant – and what feels bad, wrong and dissonant … every day, every week, every month.

The decisions we make at those Crucial Crossroads accumulate into a life that either is a reflection of our quintessence, a life that feels like us – or a life that feels wrong, that feels like someone else’s.

Therefore, our SerenDestiny® – a life where the light is on in our eyes – is a coalescing and accumulation of congruent actions taken at Crucial Crossroads.

Those Crucial Crossroads don’t just happen at momentous occasions – graduation, marriage proposals and job offerings.

They happen every day when we make decisions like:

* Should I have lunch with my supervisor even though I don’t like him – but he’s in a position to give me a raise?

* Should I sign up for that 10k and train for it – even though I’m busy?

* Should I major in accounting because that’s what my dad is and that’s where the jobs are – even though I hate accounting and the thought of becoming a CPA makes me depressed?

* Should I follow this hunch and go to this free seminar on how to start your own business – even though everyone is telling me it’s a real risk to open a business in this tough economy?

* Should I get up early tomorrow and have some private time so I’m not rushing through the day feeling like I never get time for myself?

Those “little” decisions made at your Crucial Crossroads have a huge impact on whether you like yourself and your life.

And, in the final analysis, that’s what SerenDestiny® is.

It’s not having the perfect job. It’s not being in a relationship with the perfect person. It’s not being perfectly healthy and having the financial freedom to do what you want.

Those are all nice – but they don’t guarantee you’ll have the light on in your eyes.

What puts the light on in your eyes is obeying your gut instincts that say DO THIS – DON’T DO THIS.

Those hunches are your 6th sense SerenDestiny® detectors.

They are signposts pointing the way to a congruent life that feels … right.

My friend Mary Loverde, pictured above, is a Life-Balance expert and author of the inspiring book The Invitation.

You can read more about this eye-opening book here – http://www.amazon.com/The-Invitation-When-Youre-Ready/dp/098350038X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337609715&sr=8-1

Mary just gave a commencement speech at her alma mater.

In her speech, Mary joked that many grads feel that, in self defense, they ought to wear a t-shirt to the ceremony that says, “I DON’T KNOW.”

They know they’re going to be asked the “Now that you’ve got your degree, what are you going to do with your life?” question dozens of times by well-meaning friends and family.

For many of them, they have NO IDEA how to answer that question.

50% (50%!) of all graduating seniors do not have a job lined up.

The months ahead are going to be filled with frustration as they apply for jobs and don’t even get an interview.

So, what shall they do?

They should stop relying on the traditional business world to give them a paying job, to define their purpose in life for them.

What will really move them forward is to fill each day with activities that feel right to them.

That could be volunteering for a non-profit that gives them opportunities to give back so they feel useful.

That could be identifying someone who is doing work they admire – and volunteering to intern for them for the next three months – pro bono.

That way, they could be waking up every morning and have somewhere to go, something to do, something that gives their days meaning and momentum.

They could be apprenticing for someone they respect, producing work that goes into their portfolio.

That way, they will have something to show for the next three months. They will have learned valuable on-the-job skills instead of sitting in their parents’ basement and waiting for the phone to ring.

How about you? What is one thing you’re going to do today that feels right?

There are aspects of our life out of our control. We may feel locked into circumstances not of our own choosing. We may feel we don’t have the option to do what we want, to make whole scale changes.

We don’t have to.

As Mary Loverde says, “Every day is an invitation to honor our instincts that have our best interests at heart.”

In other words, we don’t find our purpose – we give ourselves a sense of purpose by doing “little” things every day that are in alignment with our integrity, intuition and interests.

And in doing so, we become the kind of person who creates our own calling.

Everyone is looking for someone who knows who they are.

Wen you are “true to yourself,” you create a state of SerenDestiny where life feels …right …or at least…better.

SerenDestiny® #55: How Do You Really Feel About Happiness?

I’ve heard some people are afraid of success; but it was a new concept to me that some people might also be afraid of happiness.

Really?

That was the startling premise of Dr. Brene’ Brown’s fascinating presentation at a recent Leadership Colloquium at NASA Goddard.

Brene’s TED talk on “The Power of Vulnerability” is one of the top ten most-downloaded TED videos.

After the first 10 minutes of her NASA presentation, it’s easy to understand why.

She’s disarmingly honest about her journey from being a left-brained researcher who only valued bottom-line facts to discovering the transcendent, whole-hearted, free-flowing love that comes from having children.

What she didn’t anticipate is the fear that comes from being a mom.

She describes how she used to stand in her kids’ rooms at night and watch them sleep … and weep.

Why?

She cherished them so much, she was afraid something would happen to them.

She knew this was illogical. They were perfectly healthy, perfectly fine. Yet there she was … miserable.

She started researching why the emotion of happiness seems to be irrevocably tied with fear.

Brene’ told a story that opened our eyes to how common this phenomenon is.

A family is driving to their grandparents’s house for Christmas. The parents are uptight because they’re running late.

The kids, sitting in the back seat, start singing Jingle Bells .

The parents realize how ridiculous they’re being and start singing Jingle Bells along with them.

At this point, Brene’ asked the audience, “And then what happened?”

Guess what the majority said??

“They get in a car accident.”

Is that what you thought?

Do you know what that means?

It means, deep down, you believe happiness is fleeting.

You think happiness is … too good to be true.

If things are going well, it’s only a matter of time before the other shoe drops and something goes wrong.

Arrgghh.

Say it ain’t so.

It gets worse.

In an effort to protect ourselves against the pain we feel when something goes wrong … we prepare ourselves for the heartbreak. We start imagining it so we won’t be blindsided when it happens.

That “failure forecasting” of course sets up a self-fulfilling prophecy which increases the likelihood of something going wrong because that’s what we’re focused on.

When something does go wrong, it proves us “right.” Our worst fears are realized and reinforced. We have even more reasons to worry which sets up an emotionally unhealthy spiral.

We don’t want to be caught off guard by grief so we don’t allow ourselves to enjoy joy. And our envisioning all the things that could go wrong ensure that more things do.

The good news is, we can change this default belief if we choose.

And we need to change this default belief if we want to find and fulfill our SerenDestiny®.

Because SerenDestiny® is leading a life where the light is on in our eyes because we’re doing what we love most and do best.

If, deep down, we’re afraid of loving life because we don’t want to achieve it only to lose it … we avoid it.

So, how do we change these destructive default beliefs?

Instead of steeling ourselves against what could go wrong … we steep ourselves in what’s going right.

We adopt a mantra of “Receive, receive, receive. Revel, revel, revel.”

We choose to appreciate and enjoy good times instead of anticipating they’ll quickly be followed by bad times.

We stop trying to predict or protect ourselves from a potentially hurtful future.

Next time the light is on in your eyes … instead of thinking, “This can’t last,” look around and tell yourself, “Imprint, imprint, imprint.”

Tell yourself, “I welcome this blessing. I savor it. I immerse myself in it.”

As H. L. Mencken said, “We are here and it is now. Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine.”

How about you? Somewhere along the line, did you learn to be suspicious of happiness lest it be taken away from you? If so, what consequences has that had on your ability to create a life you love?

What are you going to do to change that “too good to be true – waiting for the other shoe to drop mentality?”

What mantra are you going to adopt to welcome loving your life – instead of worrying it won’t last?

Many SerenDestineers have told me they agree with Meister Ekhart’s insight, “If the only prayer we ever said was, ‘Thank you,’ that would be enough.”

From now on, when you’re experiencing good fortune, don’t look a gift source in the mouth.

Simply look around, receive, revel and just say Thank you … and mean it.

Your thoughts, experiences and insights? Please share.

And be sure to check out Dr. Brene Brown’s website and blog. Her insights on how we can be whole-hearted (rather than going through life half-hearted so we don’t get hurt) are brilliant.

http://www.brenebrown.com/