Friday, April 2, 2010

Pace or Push (Read Time: 4 min.)

Is my achieving my dream a product of my pacing myself OR pushing myself?

Have you ever asked the above question?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to achieving a life goal:

1) You can't "make" things happen
This is the Pace philosophy behind dream fulfillment. While there's always a necessity for preparation, this school of thought believes that you can't "make" things happen. Life's not on your timeclock. While there are things you can plan for and achieve at will, there are circumstances, people, and events that you absolutely cannot plan for. Because of this, your goal, in achieving any dream, is to be prepared for the opportunity when it presents itself rather than create the opportunity when you'd like it to present itself.

I call this letting things flow. The second school of thought behind dream fulfillment is this:

2) You are the master of your fate and have the power to create anything you want by sheer will, determination and hard work.
This is the Push philosophy behind dream fulfillment. In this school of thought, the idea is that there's nothing you can't have, do or be as long as you are willing to do whatever it takes to get there. If you want a certain job, knock on every door and, eventually, you'll get it. If you want to buy a certain car, work 2/3/4 jobs until you have it.

I call this forcing the process.

Obviously, the way to go is #1- flowing with life, rather than forcing it. The reality is that there are many circumstances and experiences where we're not sure whether we're forcing or flowing with life, whether we're pacing ourselves through preparation or pushing ourselves through hard work.

Let me give you an example:
You decide you want to have a baby. You tell your spouse. You both think it's the right time. You start trying. Six months pass by. A year passes by. Two years pass by. Nothing happens. At this point, both of you stop and say "Are we flowing with this or are we forcing this?" And guess what? The answer on that is not clear cut and dry.

In the midst of this experience, you won't know 100% that this is the right or wrong time to have a baby. In fact, you won't know until years after the event occurs (or doesn't occur). What you do know is that, in every life situation, there's a part that you do control and a big part that you don't. It's important to be willing to take the driver's seat and be at the forefront of all the aspects that are within your grasp. But it's equally important to know when to let go and let God, when to accept what is and love it as it is... until it changes.

That's the hard part for most of us. Most of us want to buy in to the idea that all of life is within our control, that as long as we can work hard and long, we can have everything we want... and that simply isn't true.

You see, life's seemingly bad experiences come as great teachers. The downs teach us to appreciate the ups. The obstacles teach us how to overcome them. The tragedies remind us that we are not our circumstances nor are we limited to our experiences.

At the end of the day, you can make each day about "pushing" yourself to your dreams... or you can live each day by pacing yourself towards your success. One is about force and the other is about flow...
How will you know if you're pacing or pushing?

Pushing feels tense and difficult. When you are trying to make something happen in your life that it simply isn't time for, nothing seems to work. No matter how hard you try, no matter how long you work, no matter how much you do, nothing seems to come out right. When you feel and experience that, know that you are pushing through your life and it's getting you no where. The best thing to do, in this scenario, is to stop, breath, and let whatever goal you're overly committed to go. That doesn't mean you stop preparing. That simply means that you stop demanding that the outcome show up in your life in your timing and in the way you expect it to show up.

When you are pacing yourself, you remain focused on the why and the what of your dream by taking daily actions towards it but you are not obsessed with how or when it's going to show up in your life. You find the enjoyment in the small steps towards the goal, feeling confident that the dream is coming to pass, and not requiring that it do so in a specific interval of time. It's hard to do this day in and day out. There are going to be impatient moments but the second impatience sets in, understand that you have switched from pace to push... and you have the power to switch right back.

I'm going to talk more about living a life by pace in the next post. Stay tuned...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Exit Strategies (Read Time: 3 min.)

You're never stuck, trapped, or locked in one place in life.

To believe that is to buy into the lie that you are a victim when the sheer truth is that you are the power and authority in your world. But, with power comes responsibility. For so many, the making of mistakes is easier to take when life is happening to you rather than FOR you. It's easy to blame others or circumstances for the choices we made... or for the choices we failed to make.

It's time to open our eyes and see that life is bigger than where we are right now. It's like looking out on the ocean. Through your eyes, the sea looks far and wide but you don't know where it ends. In fact, from where you stand, you feel worlds apart from the ocean and, yet, so close, you can reach out and touch it.

That's how our dreams feel at times. We're living a life, it's regular and okay, and, yet, the deep desires of our hearts go unnoticed. We shove them inside because we tell ourselves that to live that dream would require superhuman efforts that we, at this moment in time, are not able to make.

It's the lie of a lifetime and, when you believe it long enough, you find that life passes by very quickly and with poor results.

Don't die with the music still in you. Don't suppress your dreams simply because you don't know how to make them happen. The hows are not up to you. The whats and the whys always are.

I'm going to spend the month of March teaching about how to develop exit strategies in your life when things, as they are, no longer serve you and those you love. Whether it's a job or a business or a relationship, during the month of March, we're going to dismantle this victim mentality of "I can't do it" and step into the power that comes with knowing that "within you are all the answers to all the questions you shall ever ask."
It's time to ask... and receive...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

You Won't Feel The Same (Read Time: 2 min.)

So many people go into relationships expecting to feel the same over time. How many times have I heard (or said) people say "I don't feel the same anymore." Love is not a static emotion. It's not a noun; it's a verb.

In the same way, love is not supposed to feel the same. It's limitless, ever present, and, unlike most of us, it allows for change. There comes a moment where you have to decide if, in every relationship, you're going to be committed to seeing people's innocence or seeing their guilt.

If you're always looking for what someone does wrong, guess what? You'll always find it.

On the other hand, if you see people with the awe and passion of a first kiss, they'll never disappoint you. You'll see in them things you've never seen before. You'll marvel at the beauty, excitement, and joy of who they really are. You'll go into every moment, even the not-so-great ones, looking for their next evolution.

Let's get out of our love ruts by doing one simple thing- allowing people to change right before our eyes IN EVERY MOMENT...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

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Haiti, I Don't Believe In Defeat (Read Time: 3 min.)

I was at the gym last night watching CNN. What was the title? HAITI QUAKE

It took so much in me to watch even part of the program. The horror of it was unbelievable. A country in shambles, dead bodies everywhere, no lights, families separated, people screaming and here are American reporters in J Crew T-shirts, lit up in a dark world by generators, talking about how horrific this must be for these people.

These people? THESE people?

Maybe it's the Haitian American in me but, last time I checked, as long as they're human, they're OUR PEOPLE.

But that's semantics.

What's real is that this earthquake, for all its physical brutality, is but a metaphor for the socioeconomic reality that Haitians have lived for decades. As long as the only homes, walls and lives that were crumbling were economic, we, in the greatest country in the world, could turn a blind eye to Haiti's poverty and pain.

Weren't we the ones turning away regfugees in boats not too long ago?
Weren't we the ones refusing to send troops when Haiti's corrupt military were wreaking havoc and killing innocent people?

Yes, Haiti's buildings, homes, palace and lives are crumbling but that is the tip of an iceberg we all knew was a long time in the making. How many people have to lose their lives before we, in the U.S., take off our rose-tinted glasses and really see?

Alas, I know that there is a miracle in EVERYTHING. Haitian people are strong. They will triumph through this and adopt, as they always have, the 'I don't believe in defeat' attitude.

The lesson?
Breakdowns ALWAYS lead to breakthroughs.
God does not fail. He IS in the middle of this. Let each of us use the Divine within to reach out and uplift one another.
If not now, when?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What Are You Waiting For? (Read Time: 2 min.)

Sometimes I find myself doing the "I'll do this when..." thing. You know exactly what I'm talking about.

"I'll start going to the gym next year."
"I'll go back to school when I have enough money."
"I'll pursue my passion when I retire."

There are an infinite number of "I'll do this when..." EXCUSES we can give ourselves that, from an unassuming perspective, appear completely rational and logical. The problem with living life on what I call a contingency basis is that life waits for no man. No moment (outside of the very one you're in right now) is promised to you.

Everything you will be is already within you. Everything you can be is already your choice to make in this moment. When you live off of the "shoulds" in life, you eliminate the power that comes with knowing that you could do things differently.

At the same time, it's not about jumping off the deep end and going for broke. When people go from working full time to quitting their jobs with no savings and starting a business, that's not living in the now. Living in the now is operating from a place that says "I can do ALL things and I'm doing this starting now and even one step closer to it makes all the difference." Can you feel how different that thinking is from "Gotta go 100% or 0! If I'm going to pursue my dream, it must be full force! It must be now!" One way is a peaceful journey; the other way is a pressured one.

I've done both and let me tell you when you rush your destiny, you almost always cut it short.

So what is the point of all of this?

In your lifetime, you have enough time to do ENOUGH. What you're here to do you have every ability to do. Living your dream requires patience, persistence, AND planning and that's where time management becomes so critical.

Stay Strong 2010 is dedicated to the teaching of staying power and this year's theme is PEACEFUL TIME MANAGEMENT. I'm not going to give you a daily or weekly planner. I'm not going to tell you things you don't already know. What I am going to do is teach you how to live in the most conscious, productive way possible so you begin (today) to master your time and, in doing so, master your life.

Stay tuned...