What We Believe

Gandhi said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”

What we believe is our foundation, and building on those beliefs can transform our life’s journey. This quote can help us explore and develop specific personal growth plans for our life.

For example, select something important to you. It should be an area in which you want to grow. It could be faith, friends, business, community, or a specific skill. Then spend time reflecting on these questions starting with your basic beliefs, and narrow your focus to the area you selected.

1. Beliefs: How can we explore the foundation of our beliefs? How can we strengthen our beliefs? What opposing beliefs exist in current culture? What defining facts are the basis for our beliefs?

2. Thoughts: When do I take time to transform beliefs into thoughts? How are my beliefs reflected in my thoughts? Are my thoughts productive? How could my thinking be more aligned with my beliefs?

3. Words: Can people see my beliefs in the words I speak? Do I speak in a constructive and supportive manner? How can I communicate my beliefs and thoughts so that I am more understood?

4. Actions: Am I living authentically? Where are my actions not a reflection of my words? What do I need to do to follow through more consistently?

5. Habits: Are my habits aligned with my beliefs? What habit should I develop to live according with my beliefs? What habit should I break that is not in alignment with my beliefs?

6. Values: Do I value what is important and in alignment with my beliefs every single day? What values in my life need developed or strengthened? What values am I living, but not fully understanding?

7. Destiny: Where are my beliefs taking me? What development will help me reach the destiny that I want? What short term desires are pulling me away from longer term success?

These are generic example questions. This exercise really grows in significance when you can ask yourself more relevant questions based on your specific situation and your experiences.

This process has helped me broaden my views, and then re-focus on how to grow. Ready to get started? What area of your life would you like to work on?

A Coach Asks Questions

Last week at an event, I met several new people. One gentleman asked me, “What do you do for a living?” I told him, “I am a coach.” He responded, “Interesting. Who do you coach?” I let him know that most of my clients are business professionals, just like him, but I have also coached CEO’s, VP’s, doctors, business owners, pastors, volunteers, engineers, writers, managers, and students.

“Wow!” he said. “Coaching people with all those backgrounds, how do you know what advice to give?”

I smiled. The most common misconception about coaching just revealed itself again. “That’s where most people miss the point of coaching. A coach doesn’t give advice, a coach asks questions. Powerful questions have the ability to raise your consciousness. Raised consciousness produces new thoughts, new ideas, new options. It allows thinking on a new level and new opportunities for success.”

I then started asking him questions about his profession. I was searching for his boundaries and his roadblocks. “Why did you come to this event today? How effective do you find these events? How else could you achieve this purpose? Who is more successful than you in achieving this? What could you learn from them?”

After only five or ten minutes, he was excited because he had some new ideas about how to reach one of his goals. The power of coaching is in the questions that unlock potential. I added, “A coach also provides a level of accountability to follow through on those ideas.” He learned how a coach can really help people. Every one has the opportunity to benefit from having a coach.

Living in the Moment

Do you really think that living in the past and letting it overshadow today is helping you? Do not stumble on the things that are behind you, nor fear that which lies ahead.

Carpe diem! Carpe diem is a shortened version of the original Latin phrase “Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero” meaning “seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future.”

Carpe diem is commonly used to justify spontaneous behavior and to make the most of today, because one doesn’t know if they’ll live to see tomorrow. It is not saying “ignore the future”. Rather do as much as one can now because you won’t know how the future will unfold.

Carpe diem is a truth. You can only live in the moment. The future has not arrived, and the past is already gone. To make the most of the time you have you must live and act in this moment. But it does not mean you need to act  carelessly or recklessly.

Most meaningful projects take more than one day. The challenge is making the most of each day. Not by being spontaneous, but by being strategic. We still need to maintain some level of spontaneity for unplanned opportunity and fun. But significant projects will never be accomplished through procrastination.

Every action can affect the future. Every action can help reconcile the past. But every action can only be done now. When you think in those terms, hopefully you are encouraged to do more today. Be encouraged and take action now.

The Process of Success and Failure

We tend to think of success and failure as events. They are not moments in time, but rather processes. Our successes and failures come from the actions we take leading up to that moment in time.

In 2013, I defined a goal for myself to write a book. My target date for completion was December 1, 2016. That day passed by without having a book written. I had failed. In fact when I reached my target date, I had not even started writing the book.

Many excuses played in my head. I was busy. I didn’t know where to start. It was too much work. I can’t write very well. But the truth is that I never had a process that would lead to success. By default, I had a process that would lead to failure.

Doesn’t that happen to us quite often. For me, I have a more ideas and plans than time. It requires sifting and selecting the ones that are more important. The probability of success is defined by the next step. We must take that idea and develop a process that will lead to success.

Defining the process is different than defining milestones or goals. Milestones check progress toward a goal. The process is actually doing the work.

If I had dedicated 15 minutes a day toward writing that book, I would have completed about half a page a day. In two years, I would have accomplished over 300 pages of material. Even if I allocate a year for editing a rewriting I would achieve the goal in three years. Instead I wasted five, by not having a process.

But if failure is not an event, we can recover. After realizing failure, I changed my process. Today, I am writing a book using only 15 minutes at a time at least five days a week. It is a process that will eventually lead to success.

When we recognize failure as a process, we can change our process. What process do you need to change to achieve your goals? What should you allocate 15 minutes of your time to every day?