Life to the Full!

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The Surprisingly Simple Secret to Succeed at Almost Anything

By on Jan 28, 2015 in Blog |

Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” —Michael Jordan Which are you? Are you in the habit of wanting, or wishing, but ultimately leaving it up to someone else to make things happen? Regardless of how you answered, let me share one simple secret that will help you succeed at almost anything for which you have a passion. About four years ago, the blog site Yearlyglot.com had a post on the power of repetition. Here’s an excerpt (with a couple of format changes): “Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls became the youngest player ever to win the MVP trophy at just 22 years old. When asked about his expectations for the year during a media interview at the beginning of the season, Rose said, “[my expectations] are high. The way I look at it, why can’t I be MVP of the league?” It sounded kind of cocky at the time, and no one really paid much attention to it. In fact, most people said he couldn’t hit a jump shot. But while no one was paying attention, Rose set out on perhaps one of the most rigorous training programs I’ve ever heard of. He spent the entire summer doing two practice sessions a day, six days a week, shooting at least 500 jump shots in each practice. That’s more than 6,000 practice shots each week! Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers presents the assertion that, in order to do something well, you must put in 10,000 hours of practice. Now, I don’t know how many hours went into these practice sessions, but I do know that after taking 70,000 practice shots (3 months x 4 weeks x 6,000 shots), one can’t help but improve. And it should come as no surprise that his jump shot has been a key factor in the Bulls’ #1 record this year.” Too often we think that it’s brilliance, genius, a special gift, or some other talent or trait that lifts the super successful – or the joyful or the peaceful – to their place above the crowd. In fact, it’s almost always the hard work of disciplined practice that separates those who wish they could, or want to, from...

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What Would It Take?

By on Jan 26, 2015 in Blog |

Most people that come to counseling quit before really finding the change they wanted. And too many people who start coaching miss the real opportunity to become, settling for mere change. So what would it take for you to start living the sort of life you always dreamed of? The one for which you were uniquely created? There is something more inside you, deep in your very DNA, but you’ll have to set it free. And, it won’t be easy. However, pushing through the challenges, fighting for the person you were created to be – wouldn’t that be worth it? Let me ask: to have that sort of life, what would you have to get rid of? What would you have to add? Many of us know the answers to these questions. But… Too often something holds us back. We choose less than we’re capable of. Why is that? Wouldn’t having “life to the full” be worth it? It seems like it would… If you don’t feel like you’re there yet, that’s okay. I don’t know anyone who’s “arrived.” It’s not a destination, anyway; it’s a journey and a process. But you have to choose to begin. First, to live your life beyond the ordinary. Then, to identify where you need to make changes. Friends? Family? Work? Career? Or…? Next, you have to get clear about how to make those changes. Finally, you’ll break the process down into steps. And then you begin. One step at a time, one day at a time. Which is, of course, what it would take. If you want to get started, check out the Three Step Guide on my website.  It will help you figure out where you are, what you want more of in your life, and how to start taking action. The post “What Would It Take” appeared first on...

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You Just Never Know…

By on Jan 22, 2015 in Blog | 5 comments

Can I tell you a very personal story? I apologize in advance: it’s sort of long, but I promise there’s a point… My mom, who turned 80 in September, apparently caught the flu or something early last week. She actually hadn’t been feeling great for a while but as of Tuesday, when one of my sons stopped by, she seemed pretty good. My wife, who talked with her about every other day, said she seemed okay on Thursday and that she was looking forward to our weekly visit on Sunday after church (Donna and I started doing that with my paternal grandmother while we were still dating, and after my step-dad died almost six years ago, we restarted the tradition with my mom). I tried to call her Saturday a.m. before a meeting, but couldn’t reach her on her house or cell phone (she could almost always locate one or the other), and neither could my wife. But, just as she was leaving to go to mom’s house to see if she was okay, I got a call from her saying she was in the hospital. Seems she’d gone in by ambulance the night before after passing out and falling, and then gave directions for the hospital not to call us, so we weren’t worried or bothered or something. What? Anyway, we visited a while Saturday, which was uneventful but forward looking and positive, and then again on Sunday. Sunday had been a rough night. In fact, she was sure she’d been kidnapped and was being held against her wishes without food or water on the second floor of Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. At least she was in a good hospital there, too. She also had the idea that her nurse and another staff owned the place. She thought they were doing “quite nicely.” Further, she was sure she was at home, and was mad at the nurse at one point because she had “the downstairs bathroom” tied up four hours (making her wait to use it). Anyway, it went on like this. Humorous, but troubling, as this was very new behavior. So she was obstinate with her nurses, and yet funny at times, too. One time the...

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Playing Small

By on Jan 19, 2015 in Blog |

There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. —Nelson Mandela What Nelson doesn’t say is that this life, the one you are capable of living, the one in which you come fully alive and glorify God as you do, will not be easy. We seem constantly surprised by this, and then shrink back in response. As John Eldredge notes in Waking the Dead, you will be opposed. Yet again, we often seem surprised by this. Do we really expect things to just fall into our laps? Are we really thinking having a life worth living, that a life we are actually capable of living, will be easy? What would make us think a life of passion – built on a foundation of consistent effort, persistence of purpose, and an unflinching eye toward the dreams laid on our hearts – would be… I don’t know… comfortable? Let me ask you: what would you expect it might take to have a life you loved? When you look at people who seem to have that sort of life, do you have the idea they just woke-up one day, got out of bed, and went, “Wow, look at this cool life I have now! I wonder how this happened?!?” Of course not! Yet many of us seem to fall into just that sort of trap where our own lives are concerned. We get so bogged down just turning the crank, doing what we have to do, that we never quite get around to doing what we really love and really want to do. And before we know it, our lives are passing us by.  And we seem surprised, or disappointed, that our own “cool life” hasn’t happened. Two things about all this I know for certain. One, I haven’t got it all figured out. Not by a long shot (no one does – beware the guy who says he does). But I began chasing a dream a while back, and I’m more glad I did all the time.  It’s hard, and scary, and I’m starting to get used to it. And with that, I’ve learned some...

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Don’t be Afraid, Don’t be Afraid, Don’t be Afraid

By on Jan 16, 2015 in Blog | 1 comment

I attended an event tonight at a local Traverse City venue called the Inside Out Gallery. Fun place, great atmosphere, and a terrific place to hold an intimate gathering. Check it out sometime if you haven’t yet been. The event, called “Fulfillament,” featured five stories from people who bucked the trends and didn’t do what they were supposed to, or didn’t do it when they were supposed to, so they could become who they’re supposed to. Yesssss! Among the things these testimonials to the spirit-within-each-of-us stirred up for me – as I return home from one amazing journey and prepare to embark on another – was a simple refrain repeated over and over in one way or another by most every speaker: “Don’t be afraid… don’t be afraid… don’t be afraid… I don’t know about you, but I still need to hear that. Judging by the response from the audience, so do most people. And if you’re afraid, even just a little, you need to know you’re not alone. At least, you don’t have to be. In fact, how about this: don’t be alone. Find others (sometimes the scariest part) to go with you, to share both the burdens of the journey and the joy. Yes it’s scary, but you must remember – you must know – you were designed for adventure with all the hardware and software already built in. Batteries are included. And remember this, too: every great story we admire, every amazing feat ever accomplished at some point sounded ridiculous, or was met with ridicule, or was declared impossible or foolish or outrageous or imprudent. Yes, yes, I know, there are truly foolish ideas. But among those things most lamented at the end of one’s life will be the good chance not taken, the “what ifs?” that can’t be answered, and the risks that in retrospect really made all the sense in the world – but for our fears in the moment. Faith, or the lack of it, plays a part in this. The loss of comfort, or losing the familiar, plays a role, too. But mainly it’s fear that undoes us.  Fear keeps us living safe and small and beneath the dignity with which we’ve...

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The Illusion of Certainty

By on Jan 14, 2015 in Blog |

I love a good quote, don’t you? For example, Mark Twain said something like, “The two best days in a person’s life are the day they are born, and the day they figure out why.” I love that! Or, how about (to paraphrase) Yoda’s famous quote: “Do, or do not. There is no try, there is only do!” Anyway… Here’s another one for you to ponder: “All certainty creates an illusion of stability.” Author Unknown Whoa! Think about that for a moment. How many times in your life have you felt like, “If I could just know (fill in the blank), then I’d have this thing nailed down.” But you don’t know. So you stay stuck. Or, how often have you had the idea that if you could be a little more certain of the outcome, then you’d be able to (fill in the blank) because that would offer the certainty or stability you need to take that next step. The implications of this in our lives are huge! For example, the assumed certainty of our jobs gives us the illusion that our incomes and lifestyles are stable. Yeah, right! Just ask anyone who’s ever been downsized without warning or who’s company went belly up. Or, our temporary physical condition, assuming we are reasonably healthy, gives us the illusion of a stable and dependable “picture of health” that has the feel of permanence. Yet nothing could be further from the truth! We’re all in a constant state of aging and “wearing out.” Finally, consider how this illusion of certainty especially messes with the idea of “faith.” Let’s say I can get you to trade in your faith and your belief on the unseen. In exchange you begin to seek out and value the notion of “certainty” above all else (which associates itself with the notions of dependability, predictability, and other widely valued and mostly transient concepts). This trade-off (faith in the unseen for reliance on the visible) is entered into with the idea that the result will be something like “stability.” Rather than a dependence on faith and what I don’t know and can’t see, I now have the idea that predictable outcomes are possible by following the rules...

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