As promised, I want to continue on what I’ve experienced in doing the exercises from chapter 3 of The Renaissance Soul, Margaret Lobenstine. With the Many Circles exercise I needed to prioritize possible life goals from a list of 10 she supplied as most common. Here’s what I came up with…

1- Securing Finances

2- Continuing Personal Growth & Healing

3- Increasing competence

4- Earning respect from my colleagues

5- Making a contribution

6- Maintaining physical health

7- Opening communication

8- Sustaining interpersonal relationships

9- Moving my business to a new level

10- Increasing spiritual balance

In re-reading through this list, I may not have been completely honest with myself. It feels more like I want the reward before the work. Well, who doesn’t want to win the lottery, after all? Hmmm… I could switch these around to be more in line with my values, by separating them into actions & goals.

  1. Maintaining my physical health gives me the energy to continue my personal growth & healing which would lead to an increase in my spiritual balance.
  2. Opening communication will reveal opportunities to make contributions, earn more respect from my colleagues, and better sustain interpersonal relationships. These can only develop more leadership skills and increase competence in new areas.
  3. Being a better leader helps raise my team, which in turn moves my business to a new level and secures my finances.

In a nutshell, my ultimate goal will be to have a profitable business growing on shared values & a social conscience. The action starts with embracing wellness: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual; Practicing a growth mindset… Thank you, Carol Dweck for defining that so clearly; And keeping the end goals of personal & financial freedom in mind. This is all great, but there’s nothing concrete in this, is there? Am I avoiding the purpose of this exercise? Oh, yes, I am! Making a concrete plan scares me and I’m still not sure why. My gut tells me it’s a fear of failure and I’m letting the whole enchilada overwhelm me. So, let’s break it down and look at each point individually, shall we? I need to get to my “Why” on each point, before considering the how.

1- Securing Finance seems self-evident, but leaving it at that is lazy. I want to have financial security or financial freedom, or just be stinkin’ rich for a reason or two. The possibility of giving my wife and daughter everything their awesome hearts desire appeals to me very much. Being able to treat family and friends diners in amazing restaurants without having to be concerned about the credit card not working appeals to me. Being able to experience restaurants, try different foods and drinks, travel and explore the world, see the most amazing sights, and fill my mind and heart with all the wonders of this world, appeals to me very, very much! Now I’m getting to something. I am a very curious person and I love trying things I’ve never tried before. This exploration fills me with courage and self-esteem. I’ve allowed my finances and other minor excuses to inhibit my joy at discovery. In turn, I’ve hidden this potential for wonderment from others and lost out on the possibility of inspiring someone with stories and enthusiasm. Well, if this isn’t incentive for me to get the blooming “PayPal” button on this blog, I don’t know what is.

2- Continuing Personal Growth & Healing seems to follow and feed the need for more money. I have been filling my mind and spirit with awesome Ted talks, amazing books, and a determined focus on all things positive. I still have self-doubts and I know I have lots of room for improvement, but I am on the path I must be on. I am determined to forgive myself for past decisions and grow into the person I want everyone to see, including me. This journey into self still feels odd to me, and daily it shines light on stuff I’ve buried deep down, but it is getting easier and I’m starting to find a great need in shining this light inward. Where it will lead me is still a mystery to me, and I’m more excited to be on this journey, than any challenge my current fears & doubts present.

3- Increasing competence. I have to take sidebar here and share two observations. One, it’s surprising to me that this breaking down of my priority list is revealing that I may have been more honest with myself than I realized. Another message from the universe to trust my instincts, perhaps! Two, I had originally interpreted this priority as a goal, instead of a journey. I read it as increased competence, whereas increasing competence feeds right into my love of learning and my self-definition as a curious soul. So this priority now feels like the affirmation of continuing personal growth. I’m always going to be searching for more to learn, more to experience, and more to love, because that is what floats my boat! I don’t want it to end. As I’ve said in an earlier article, “I’m a proud not-know-it-all.”

4- Earning respect from my colleagues seems to be a goal and I accept that I have to earn it from myself first. Every day, I take actions to do this. Including this blog. I’ve ran away from what I’d judged as self-indulgent for most of my life, and consequently I became a chronic pleaser of others, to the denial of my own needs. There is a happy medium and I’m deeply grateful that I’m finding it more and more each day. Why I want the respect of others is that it is easier to adopt the opinions of others, instead of taking responsibility of my own opinions. I think that I’ve had this habit for so very long that it has become one of my greatest challenges and struggles. It’s a work in progress and I’m using affirmations to help me get there. One of the affirmations is a call to introspection: “If you truly believe it, everyone else will too.” I sometimes feel this can lead to judging myself, but I choose to use it as a reminder to dig deeper into why I don’t believe myself fully. It takes longer to give answers to emotional questions this way, and I’m learning the benefit of asking people to let me think it through before answering without proper consideration. Most people seem to respect that.

5- Making a contribution is a strange set of feelings for me. I’ve given spontaneously and it always feels awesome! I’ve often given my knowledge and happily done so. It is only in this last year, while defining what it means to be a professional consultant have I come across the need to charge for my knowledge. The challenge to define a value for oneself comes with the logical argument that If we don’t value ourselves, no one else will. Even my friend Richard let me know of the current dilemma freelance writers experience in that they accept to write for free and then suffer the reward of getting the reputation of not being worth paying. It’s the other side of the saying: Be careful what you ask for, you may just get it.” If you ask to be seen as a free source of knowledge, that is probably how you’ll be seen. This in part is what led to the pricing I indicated for my services as seen on my TOMA Marketing page.

6- Maintaining physical health is an on-going and lifestyle choice. I wish to be healthy in all aspects of my life. I am building on what I do now and seeking balance. The treadmill and floor exercises will turn to more outdoor exercises as the weather improves and my intention is to give myself a new habit forming 30 day challenge to always dedicate time to going outside everyday. My mind needs some nature to refuel. At least I believe this is the message of the angels in the fact that I keep reminiscing about my camping adventures as a kid.

7- Opening communication: To be frank, I’m not sure what this means to others. I thought about it and feel it relates to my taking more chances, travelling more, experiencing more. Opening my communication with the amazing universe we live in!

8- Sustaining interpersonal relationships sits first with my devotion to my Wife & Daughter, then extends to other family & friends. I have a great desire of changing old habits of seeking to be understood into understanding others first. I have a lexicon of mantras in my head helping me with this and Tony Robins’ voice reminding me that I can break & replace old patterns. In simple terms, I wish to be the best life-partner to my Wife, the best Father & role model to my Daughter. I’m still trying to define my roles in other people’s lives. Well, like most guys, I’m not giving that too much energy. For now, I’m working on being there when needed and reminding myself that I don’t need to be everything to everybody.

9- Moving my business to a new level is the ultimate goal in all I do. I started with the desire for money and all that I could do with it. The idea of always improving my business, or my services, or my products, or myself feels genuinely fabulous to me. With the knowledge that the more I improve the more freedom I can have, the more I can seek and achieve balance between climbing and resting. In The Renaissance Soul I found myself defined as a person who will always want to experience more. I’m quite happy with this thought. I now must make this desire my intrinsic motivator, my “Great Why!”

10- Increasing spiritual balance fell last in my original assessment and it is possibly because I didn’t feel any need to define something I have practiced since I was about 13 years old. Always searching for new perspectives on life, the universe, and everything. I believe myself now, as I have most of my life, to be a work in progress, and increasing my spirituality is a goal I love striving for. I don’t recall it ever feeling like such an overwhelming conflict with my physical life that I needed to seek balance. However, it is possible I simply haven’t found the need to think about it in any great & urgent detail… yet.

Tomorrow is another day and undoubtedly something new will be learned. Isn’t life tremendous?!?

self-discovery

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