The tug-of-war in our culture is exhausting. People are forcing us to take sides. Every day there's a developing story or breaking news that pulls on our emotions. There is so much to process and some of it is too consuming and flat out ridiculous but these are the times we're in.
Stewing in uncertain or unstable times isn't a pass to slow down. Just the opposite is true, this is the perfect time to crank things up and keep rolling towards getting stronger and achieving greatness.
Now is the time to call on your higher self and bring goodness into your life and into the world. Be a self-starter and choose to focus on the things that bring fulfillment and joyfulness to yourself and others. Here are four ways to start.
Just scratching the surface doesn’t do much, especially if you’re seeking answers to some of life’s big questions. Dusting off the first layer doesn’t move the needle. To find what we’re seeking, we’ve got to peel back layer after layer and be willing to reexamine ourselves in a new way. We must make a shift.
What do you want? Do you desire a better career or marriage? Do you want to make more money? Do you drive to be healthier? Do you want to help end poverty?
All of those questions usually enable good responses but they don’t reveal what you really want. The questions are broad and the responses generally follow.
In our superficial society we keep our answers to what I call “Surface-Short”. We don’t penetrate beneath the surface of our general response for loaded questions such as “What do you want?” Our answers are usually short and concise but still lack clarity. They lack reflection. They are in fact: cluttered.
The Surface-Short response floats on the top layer because we haven’t thought beyond that level. Most people don’t have a clue of what they really want out of life, work, marriage, fatherhood or fitness workouts. They’re repeating what sounds good and what might feel good. We carry the dreams and ideas of others (parents, mates, etc.) and don’t have any idea of what is desired for themselves.
What is a successful career to you? What does that mean? What does having a good marriage mean to you? A healthier body might mean lean muscle or a 50-pound fat loss, or a 10-pound loss. Get exact in your responses.
A large percentage of people won’t dive deep into what they truly want. If you want to crack open your life and allow the rays of goodness to warm your spirit and boost your confidence, you need to get rooted in the work of identifying what you truly want and why.
During a self-awareness training with a group of managers on the west coast, I asked the group to hone in on what they wanted. I asked them: What do you want, and tell me what does that mean to you? Their responses intensified over the original request of charting wants and desires.
On her first response, Deborah said she wanted a good marriage. I responded, don’t we all, but what is a good marriage to you, what do you want out of it, what does it really mean to you? She responded, “I want a marriage that allows me to be myself and be expressive, and one that operates on a value-based system.”
Whittling it down helped others gain clarity. Instead of repeating wants and desires without clear direction, they became exact. Their verbiage and body-language changed.
From wanting good kids to: “I want my children to be healthy and feel safe, so they can thrive in everything they do,” a participant said.
From wanting to help others to: “I want to end homelessness across the country and help people find jobs and become self-sufficient. I want to end suffering,” another woman said.
You can easily see the difference between the first and second responses. When we gain clarity, our vocabulary changes. Our words change because our desires are explored on a deeper level.
What do you want is one of life’s biggest questions and many of us go about our daily lives without ever really considering what we really want. Therefore, we rarely get what we desire.
When you lack clarity- you lack a plan and when you lack a plan you lack possibility. A life without possibility doesn’t move towards opportunity. We remain stuck.
You can’t identify a goal or even succeed if you don’t know what you want. Clarity is the starting point. Get clear. Define your desire. Move.
Getting clear on what you want frees up your headspace to focus on exactly what you want. It prevents you from wasting time. It keeps you on track.
People are hurting.
Some are in physical pain and others are experiencing emotional pain. Emotional upset can be just as gripping as a sharp pain down the spine. It can stop us our tracks. We groan from past regrets and ache from fear of the unknown. Sometimes we inflict this discomfort on ourselves. Sometimes we allow other people to infringe on our well-being. Either way, the worst thing we can do is succumb to the discomfort. Bad situations, tough experiences or problematic people can be sounding alarms or screams for attention. Our attention. The call-out may be pushing you to step up or simmer down. Remaining dormant isn’t an answer; it’s a call to do something.
Being compassionate, patient and present with others is not only commendable but it’s good for everyone involved. It becomes a problem when people continue taking and taking, leaving you depleted and numb. Know when to pull back and help from a distance.
I often envision walking through these types of scenario as a hesitant walk. It’s like I’m walking through a field of thick, cold syrup; while I’m able to take steps, the movement is slow and restricted. Part of me yearns to help but if there is too much drama tied up in it, I’m unsure how much I can or want to help.
Building boundaries around compassion is the way to handle it. You still offer help, but you establish a limit so that you’re also able to help yourself. As with most things in life, defining boundaries requires a plan. Decide what’s enough for you and know when you’re nearing that boiling point.
Stepping back to reassess your position isn’t selfish but beneficial. It prevents you from going over the edge. Sometimes all it takes is one more thing that sends us over our limit. One more thing, be it a small or large thing, can tip the cup.
Women are caregivers, we want to help…a lot. We do help a lot. At times, we pay a high price for over-extending our doing-good-o-meter. Pull back and give yourself ample time to rest and nourish yourself during times that require high demands.
We can better assist others when we are whole. Wholeness begins and ends with self-care.
Author and businessman Napoleon Hill noted, “Your strength grows out of your struggle”. Hill understood the principles of life and the basic fact that you can’t get something for nothing. With every desire you have, you’ll have a series of tests. This is how we prepare for the next challenge.
These tests build character. But if we belabor the negative, we’ll wither in confusion and failure. Being embroiled in a pessimistic wasteland will blind us from life’s truest treasures.
I mentor a young woman who has great ambition and superstar talent but she’s drowning in fear and anger as some colleagues try to tear her down. Even some of her relatives shoot down her goals and big ideas.
My advice to her is to avoid taking on their fear and negativity. I also gave her a strategy for relinquishing the desire to argue against their disbeliefs and doubts. I coached her to use this challenging time as a time for growth. You can advance during your struggle.
Just because things seem hard doesn’t mean you stop forward moving or forward thinking. You don’t have to tango with the mayhem. If someone has wronged you, it can be transmuted into good, the malicious rumors and lies told on you can bring about a higher truth. The pain inflicted by others can manifest into strength and determination.
Successful people know how to maneuver through chaos. We all have instances where we get stuck in the mud with some sourpusses, but we can’t stay tied to them, blinded by the drama. We must see it as an opportunity to advance.
Obstacles support our next move. They help prepare us for a turn in our careers and businesses. Take the lesson, learn from it, transform it into something positive. Make adjustments and continue working towards ideas and solutions that empower you.
Work from a higher thought pattern. Move towards what is good.
Sharing can be a positive action.
Two decades ago I may not have needed to say that because it was obvious. Now, with the very tempting opportunity to share on social media, we’ve become busier than ever with threads of stuff. Everyone has a megaphone, and most aren’t saying anything of great value. Frankly, a lot of sharing has turned into gloating. This braggadocios approach doesn’t contribute goodness into the world.
Some of the content people choose to share can be uplifting while others gravitate towards baleful criticism with matching photos and videos to support destructive behavior.
There is plenty of that type of self-promotion out there but there is also a lot of great things too. There are resources to make us laugh or help us wiggle our way into a new job or relationship. Videos teach us how to redo our homes or take it easy on the yoga mat. You can find a vast amount of content through stories, quotes and art.
All of it, right there, just key stroke away.
Sharing on social sites can eat into your time, especially if you aren’t posting with intention. A random post about being ticked may garner comments but in the end, did it really serve a greater purpose?
The decision is obviously yours in not just how much you share but what you share. Do you want a platform that’s informative or one that inspires people to take action?
Do you want to positively contribute to the followers on your page or is your page simply all about you? Do you want to embrace challenges and post your thoughts on American culture? What do you want to give to your audience and why does it matter?
Share things that serve a greater purpose. Make an impact with your experiences. Even if you’re posting about a meal, which I enjoy doing, try inspiring others with your recipes or talk up a wonderful waiter at the restaurant. Be purposeful in your sharing.
Just because it’s your personal page, doesn’t mean it should contain all personal information. Broaden your perspective.
Raquel Eatmon is founder of Woman of Power Conference and ProjectHeard.com. She enjoys hiking and is a fan of cupcakes and breathing. RaquelEatmon.com Follow @RaquelEatmon Join the conference: TheWoPC.com