Friday, April 30, 2010

Enthusiasm Leads to Greatness

"Nothing great in life has ever been achieved without enthusiasm" – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I just read this quote in a book I'm reading, "A New Earth" by Eckart Tolle and it really resonated with me. While I know how great it feels to be enthusiastic about something, I never tied it to greatness. But, as I sit here and think about all those people who have achieved greatness throughout history, it is evident that enthusiasm is at the center of what they do. Winston Churchill for some reason comes to my mind. He was faced with the heavy weight of some incredible challenges, more than any of us will hopefully ever have to endure, but he approached each on of these challenges with a strong belief in his core values and with a sense of enthusiasm that what he was doing was ultimately for a higher purpose.

How often do we check in with ourselves to see if we're approaching our actions with enthusiasm? A great idea will initially excite us and the thoughts of how to bring that great idea to life just seem to flow. That is because we are operating from a place at that moment that is directly connected to the divine source and His vision and purpose for us are just flowing into our lives. When we live a life from a sense of purpose, you cannot help but be enthusiastic. You are riding on the current or energy of life. At that moment of inspiration, we are given a glimpse of the greatness we are each capable of and the guidance on how we can get there. We are of course open to that guidance at that time and allow those thoughts to flow freely. But all too quickly, our ego steps in and before you know it, the potential we saw and all the energy and enthusiasm that accompanied that is now replaced with doubt and uncertainty. "Who am I to think such things" creeps into our mind. Before we know it, we've stepped out of that flow from which inspiration and enthusiasm are born and allowed that inner critic to take over and direct our thoughts and actions. Once we give into that, the enthusiasm is gone. What once inspired us now feels unachievable and more like a burden. Rather than stepping into our greatness, we shrink from it and settle for something far less.

So how do we sustain that flow of inspiration and enthusiasm? First, know when that inner critic has taken over, stare it directly in the face and say "Who am I not to be great!". Embrace the dreams and ideas that are born from inspiration and recognize they were divinely given to you for a very specific reason because your purpose is meant to shine through them. Don't look for all the pieces to be in place before you take action but rather step out in faith without always having all the answers in front of you. Find some quiet time each day to connect to your dreams and ideas. Get lost in the possibilities of what could be. And finally, don't be afraid to ask for help. All too often we feel as though we have to go it alone. We're afraid to ask for help for fear it will allow others to see a perceived weakness or inadequacy within us. Learn to ask "who can help me" versus feeling like it has to be a personal struggle. God did not intend for any of us to go it alone and as such, the path to achieving our purpose will not be reached on our own. He endowed each and every one of us with a unique ability and when embraced and applied towards a much bigger whole, the results can be incredible. Inviting others in magnifies the potential for greatness that lies within us all and allows us to step into our purpose with energy and enthusiasm.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Change Your Reality

"It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not" – Anonymous

I included this quote in my ezine this week where I talked about how the tendency towards perfectionism can really be a disguise for feeling inadequate. But the issue of feeling inadequate goes much deeper. I think man has struggled since the beginning of time with believing in themselves. Why is this such a difficult concept for us to grasp? When we believe in ourselves, we feel good, energized and things just somehow start to fall in place. We get a taste of that inner peace we know about and hear people talk of and everything in our lives for just that moment feels right. But rather than living a life totally believing in ourselves and sharing our unique gifts with others, we tend to fall back into our habit of living in a reality that centers on lack and questioning our abilities. No one is immune to this struggle. Even the greatest athletes and actors who have clearly accomplished so much still confront this in their daily lives. I remember once listening to an interview with Meryl Streep and she said still questions her ability to be a good actress. I found that absolutely shocking how someone who has clearly accomplished so much in her career could even begin to question if she is good enough. 

Many philosophers over the ages have provided us insightful quotes in an effort to share their wisdom and help us overcome this struggle. They have all deeply felt the pain and complexity of the struggle that lies within ourselves and hinders us for experiencing true peace. We all are familiar with, "I think, therefore I am" from 17th century philosopher René Descartes who did his best to deny the existence of a divine source and searched for the meaning of man's presence. But his quote, which is just as relevant today as it was back in the 1500's, demonstrates this struggle is not bounded by time or place. I find it interesting that Descartes in all his efforts to find a meaning to man's existence came to the same conclusion that has already been provided for us in the Bible. Proverbs 23:7 says "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he". The reality of life most definitely resides in our thoughts and what we embrace as truth in our hearts. If we believe we are not good enough or can't do something, then that is our reality and unfortunately that is a reality too many of us have painted for ourselves and have grown accustomed to. But consider for a moment if you were to paint a different reality. Change those thoughts of not being good enough into positive affirmations that you are good enough and you can do whatever you put your mind to. Exercise those thoughts on a daily basis just as you would exercise a muscle and allow yourself to embrace a new reality of peace, abundance and success. Don't give into the struggle to go back to your old reality but rather press forward to overcome that struggle stay focused until you find yourself living in a new reality that provides you with deeper fulfillment and a sense of inner peace. We have been told since the beginning of time that that reality does exist and all we need to do is make the conscious decision to embrace it. God has a given each and every one of us a unique gift or talent to share with this world and our role is to uncover what that is for us and then live our lives in the reality of moving forward fulfilling that purpose. In God's eyes, you are more than good enough to fulfill that purpose, you were uniquely created just for that very reason!