Six Steps to Creating the Life Your Want

Assess and Plan

What time is it? Now is the time. If not now, when?

Think back to one year ago. You were on the verge of ending the year. Perhaps you were finishing up loose ends. You were on the cusp of starting a fresh New Year. Was the year all that you dreamed and wished? Why? Why not?

One thing is for sure — the year flew by more quickly than expected. Each month, week, and day had great potential. Did you achieve what you wanted? This New Year has 365 precious days, days that you can choose to live life to the fullest or not.

As we end one year and transition to the new one, here are a few things to do.

Six Steps to Creating the Life Your Want

 
ASSESS. What were your goals? How did you do in attaining them? Looking back, what would you change / release / purge if you could? Don't over analyze this. Just let it flow. Write it down.
 
CONNECT. Ask for feedback. What people whom you respect can provide you with valuable insights on your last year? Give them a call. Or if they're not reachable, ask yourself what would that person say to me? Is this what you need to hear?
 
GO DEEP. Inside each of us are seven chakra centers. Many people believe, including the Native Americans, that there is a symbolic power animal associated with each chakra and it has great wisdom. Get to know your animals through a meditation and invite them to share their wisdom with you. What do they tell you about your last year and about priorities for the New Year?
 
PREPARE. Gather all the insights from within and outside yourself. Put them in the back of your mind. Sleep on them. Meditate and let them percolate. Pray and ask for guidance. Take notes. Let a new understanding emerge.
 
ENVISION. See yourself living the New Year and standing at year's end. What does your vision look like? How does it feel to you to fulfill it?
 
PLAN. When you are ready and with your vision in mind, put together a list of your top 3-5 areas of focus to attain your vision. What do you need to do to bridge the gap from where you are now to where you want to go? Create a written list of the steps in your plan. What is a word or simple phrase that encapsulates its theme?

Summary

The time is now to create the life you want. Don't wait. Assess, connect, go deep, prepare, envision, and plan. Then as Lao Tzu says, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." Take that first step.

 

Theresa Szczurek (www.TMSworld.com, www.RadishSystems.com, www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose.com)

all rights reserved.  Copyright 2016 Theresa Szczurek

 


LIVE YOUR PASSION: Follow the 2-4-6 Formula

How can you turn a good life into a great life? We can all use a reminder at times, even me. The process of researching and writing the book, Pursuit of Passionate Purpose, has provided some insight to me on the success formula for life. My hope is that others will benefit as well. The research affirms what others have said through the ages, "The pursuit of passionate purpose and relationships along the way bring meaning to life." Make a meaningful difference by aligning your passions with a worthwhile purpose and then persistently pursue it.

Live Your Passion: Follow the 2-4-6 Formula

My theme in 2015 is "Be a SUNFLOWER." Each letter of the word aligns with one of the traits of successful Passionate Pursuers. L stands for "Live the 2-4-6 formula." From Pursuit of Passionate Purpose (p.8), this formula "is the basis for successfully pursuing passionate purpose and reaping real rewards." The two-step formula (p. 253) consists of "following the proven four-stage process, then applying the six success strategies." Below are the tactics to effectively implement this formula.

Follow the Proven Four-Stage Process

Know and Nurture the Person (Find Your Passion). Get to know who you are and nurture your whole self.
Find Passionate Purpose. Foster passion, align it with a worthwhile purpose, and commit fully to the purpose.
Pursue Purpose. Develop and focus on implementing a plan by persistently involving people in partnership, resources, and communication.
Assess Progress. Evaluate progress, recognize success, appreciate, and determine what's next.

Apply the Six Success Strategies

Polarity Strategy. Instead of seeing a polarity as a problem to solve, honor opposites in life and allow dynamic movement between interdependent poles.
Attraction Strategy. Hold a broad intention and remain open to the opportunities that are everywhere — while thinking, feeling passionately, and taking action to get what you want.
Persistence Strategy. Mindfully persevere with focused determination using a divide-and-conquer approach.
Allowing Strategy. Be clear on what you want and allow 'how you get it' to unfold.
Connections Strategy. Bring the proper people and web of life along and lessen the impact of improper ones.
Pack Strategy. Pack energizers and remove hindrances from the journey.

Summary

Success is self-determined. You can turn a good life into a great life. Life is exactly what you choose to make of it. Life is short. Follow your heart, in harmony with your head and hands. Live your passion. Enjoy the process. Begin now!


ENERGIZE: How to Live to Be 100

Passionate pursuers, those people who find and successfully pursue their purpose to reap the real rewards of life, increase, focus, and use energy. Ask yourself,' do I have the energy to do what I need to do?'

 

WHY IS ENERGY IMPORTANT?

 

My theme in 2015 is “Be a SUNFLOWER.”  Each letter of the word aligns with one of the traits of successful Passionate Pursuers.  E stands for Energy..  From page 52 of Pursuit of Passionate Purpose, “The capacity to do work--energy--is a habit of vigorous activity and forceful expression.  Your head, heart, and hands are your energy centers.  There are simple ways to increase your energy levels.  David Hawkins, MD, PhD, explains in Power vs.  Force:  The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior that energy levels can be calibrated into a map of consciousness.  Low energy levels manifest as shame, guilt. grief, and fear.  Courage, acceptance, love, and enlightenment align with high energy levels.  Positive jumps in energy are possible through intention, will, choice, and motivation.  Many spiritual disciplines of the world are interested in approaches to ascend these levels. ”

 

Seven Practical Pointers to Increase, Focus, and Use Energy

  1. Be Aware.  The first step toward increasing the strength of your energy is being aware of what energizes you.  Note what makes you feel alive, engaged, and energized and what does not.

 

  1. Build.  Intentionally nurture and build your positive, energizing forces.  Do more of what makes you feel energized and do less of what zaps your energy.  Say NO to zappers and distractions.  Say YES to energizers.  Be good to yourself.

 

  1. Meditate.  Hawkins notes that one technique to increase energy levels is meditation.  It also increases your ability to focus and concentration. Do you have a regular practice?  Even one minute each day is infinitely better than no minutes.  Find a teacher or a support group.  Improve your meditation posture.

 

  1. Surround Yourself with Energizers.  Ask yourself, 'what people energize me?'  Spend time with those supporters that provide encouragement and external validation.  As Kit Fox summarizes in the article "How to live to be 100 (or pretty damn close) in Men's Fitness, "Finding a healthy partner could actually save your life.  University College London researchers studied 3,722 couples and found that 67% of men became more physically active if their partner was." Smiling is an energizer! 

 

  1. Sleep More.  After decades of burning the candle at both ends, and surviving on 5 hours of sleep / night, I realized the price I was paying because sleep is important,  Not only does it feel good, sleep improves your cognitive and physical abilities.  It gives you energy.  For an even bigger energizer, try jumping out of bed in the morning, clapping your hands,  and saying, "I feel energized.  Today is a great day."

 

  1. Move More.  Exercise, even just a 20-minute walk, increases your stress robustness and resilience.  It provides a source of energy.  Ask yourself what movement works best for you? Using energy creates more energy.  Too much media zaps energy too -- turn off the TV, smart device, or computer, get off the couch, and move!  While you are at it, breath.  Oxygen is an energizer.

 

  1. Eat Well.  There are certain foods that zap energy.  Fresh, colorful vegetables and fruits are energizers. Pure, clean water energizes -- are you drinking enough water per day?  Too much fat, salt, and sugar reduces your energy.  Fake sugar zaps energy.  Too much food in general reduces energy -- do you have the ability to stop eating when you are full?  Be aware of what works best for you.  When did you last have your blood tested?  Make sure you have enough iron and other important elements are in balance.

 

 

Summary.

People who find and successfully pursue their purpose are energetic.  They have tremendous energy and know how to increase, focus, and use that energy.  What are you doing to increase your energy? Start now.

 

Theresa M. Szczurek (www.TMSworld.com, www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose.com, www.RadishSystems.com)

copyright 2015 Theresa Szczurek.  All rights reserved.


BEGIN ANEW: How to Regenerate like a Sunflower

We have all been there -- the place where we feel exhausted, depleted, and lost in pursuit of a meaningful life. Before you take on the next year of Pursuing your Passionate Purpose, STOP and pause. Consider doing a "Ceremony for Beginning Anew." Why? It helps you Regenerate.

My theme in 2015 is "Be a SUNFLOWER." Each letter of the word aligns with one of the traits of successful Passionate Pursuers. R stands for Regeneration. From page 53 of Pursuit of Passionate Purpose, "A regenerative nature allows Passionate Pursuers to revive, renew, and produce again despite adversity, setbacks, and obstacles. With the ability to bounce back, recover readily, and rise from the ashes, they possess the Phoenix Factor (described in Chapter 6). As a process of human development explored by Erik Erikson in his seminal work Childhood and Society and reinforced through life, generativity is indispensable in all pursuits of passionate purpose. Such resilience appears to be inter-dependent with the traits of confidence, optimistic attitude, and integrity of effort."

Begin Anew

Therefore, I kicked off the New Year (and at times throughout the year) with a group ceremony led by Buddhist teacher and therapist David Chernikoff. It's based on the work of the Zen Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, and called the "Ceremony for Beginning Anew." Here are a few highlights that you can design into your own ceremony:

Center. Do a walking or sitting meditation, go on a walk, breathe deeply, or whatever helps you be in the moment.
Bow in Gratitude. Express gratitude for all the teachers you have had along the way; for mindful and joyful work; for the seed of awakening in children, sprouts and all beings; for Great Understanding; and for Great Compassion.
Begin Anew. Vow to appreciate the gems within you. Practice mindful breathing and smiling. Offer joy to one person each morning. Help relieve the grief of one person in the afternoon. Live simply and sanely. Keep yourself healthy. Let go of worries and anxiety. Be light and free. Find a theme to keep you on course.

Practical Pointers for Beginning Anew (from David Chernikoff)

Start fresh. Use the Beginning Anew ceremony. Meditate moment by moment.
Set a fresh intention. Use the power of intention. What is the intention behind your actions? Intention shapes us. Embody these in affirmations such as "I aspire to live lovingly."
Forgive. Explore your life. Where is there room for forgiveness? Where is a knot in my heart? Forgiveness must be invited. It cannot be forced.
Have Vision. Vision acts as a North Star. It orients life to where we want it to go. From the best-selling book, Built to Last, by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, "Vision has become one of the most overused — and least understood — words in the language. A well-conceived vision consists of two major components: core ideology and envisioned future. Set a ten-to-thirty-year "Big Hairy Audacious Goal" and create a vivid description of what it will be like when the organization achieves that BHAG.

Summary

What about you? What will it take for you to stop and give some attention to regeneration? Take time to assess your progress on a regular basis. Then stop. Express gratitude. Get in touch with your vision, intentions, and goals for life and this year. Revisit what is and what is not working. Make some changes. Begin anew. Regenerate. Live this life to the fullest!

Theresa M. Szczurek (www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose.com; www.TMSworld.com; www.RadishSystems.com)


JOHN MAXWELL ON HOW SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE THINK

Many remember and use Napoleon Hill’s classic book Think and Grow Rich.  Now Dr. John Maxwell, internationally recognized leadership expert, author, and speaker who has sold over 16 million books, reaffirms the importance of thinking in his new book How Successful People Think.  Here are some Practical Pointers.

 

Why You Should Change Your Thinking? Changed thinking is not automatic, is difficult, and is worth investment.

 

How Do You Become a Better Thinker?  Maxwell recommends that you expose yourself to good input and good thinkers, choose to think good thoughts, act on your good thoughts, allow your emotions to create another good thought, and repeat the process.

 

Here is what works for Maxwell.  Find a place to think your thoughts, shape your thoughts, stretch your thoughts, land your thoughts, and fly your thoughts.  Regardless of your circumstances, you can learn to be a good thinker. 

 

There are many types of important thinking skills including: 

  • Seeing the wisdom in big-picture thinking
  • Unleashing the potential in focused thinking
  • Discovering the joy of creative thinking
  • Recognizing the importance of realistic thinking
  • Releasing the power of strategic thinking
  • Feeling the energy of possibility thinking
  • Embracing the lesson of reflective thinking
  • Questioning the acceptance of popular thinking
  • Encouraging the participation of shared thinking
  • Experiencing the satisfaction of unselfish thinking
  • Enjoying the return of bottom-line thinking

 

Think about it and take action.  You can improve your thinking and reap better business and life performance.

 

Theresa M. Szczurek (www.TMSworld.com and www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose.com)

 

© Copyright 2010.  All rights reserved.


OBAMA SAYS TO AMERICA: PURSUE PASSIONATE PURPOSE

With the historical inauguration on 1/20/2009, record numbers of Americans and citizens of the world paused to listen. President Obama's message ignited millions of people. Many were moved to tears or felt goose bumps and tingles up their spine. Why?

As summarized in the Denver Post on 1/21/09, "The president's much-anticipated inaugural speech fused inspirational rhetoric with pragmatic goals aimed at compelling Americans to act while reassuring them that the country can rise to the occasion." The inaugural address tapped into a ancient, universal and sacred process that has been proven to help people produce extraordinary results -- the results needed by America and the world. Here is an overview of how Obama's message utilized the four-step process, called the "Pursuit of Passionate Purpose" process (www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose.com), to inspire hope, courage, and action.

Assess Progress.

Obama honestly assessed the current situation, "We are in the midst of a crisis..our nation is at war...our economy is badly weakened...our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many, and ... the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land--a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable and that the next generation must lower its sights. Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America -- they will be met." Built from this honest assessment, the new president then reaffirmed our passion, connected it with our purpose, and established a clear plan of action to pursue.

Find Passion.

Passion is the fuel of any pursuit. It is found in the alignment of values with core competencies. Obama restated what we stand for, "We're guided on a path by core values and what our system stands for. Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends -- hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true."

Our core competencies are many as Obama explains, "It has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are...productive. Our minds are...inventive, our goods and services...needed. Our capacity remains undiminished." Obama also stated, "Our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth."

Align Passion with Purpose.

Passion alone is aimless, it must be aligned with a meaningful purpose. As Victor Frankl concludes in Man's Search For Meaning, "There is a human need for purpose." Obama connected our values and gifts, our passion, with a noble purpose, "On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit,... to carry forward that noble idea that ...all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. We understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. The success of our economy depends not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity, on our abiity to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity -- but because it is the surest route to our common good. " Thus, our passionate purpose is to continue the journey toward freedom, greatness and common good.

Pursue Purpose.

In setting a plan with clear goals, the new president encouraged right action, "Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin the work of remaking America." Highlighting some of the key strategic initiatives in his plan of action, the president stated, "The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and
  • We will act--not only to create new jobs but to lay a new foundation for growth...

  • We will restore science to its rightful place and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost.

  • We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.

  • We will transform our schools and colleages and universities to meet thedemands of a new age."

Obama continues:

  • "We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan.

  • We will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

  • Those who manage the public's dollar will be held to account--to spend wisely, reform bad habits and do our business in the light of day."

Having a plan is not enough. It takes courage and action to pursue it. Obama charged Americans to pursue this passionate purpose and in so doing reap the real rewards of meaning and satisfaction, "What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility--a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

And so President Obama on this historic inauguration inspired Americans and the world to 'Believe and Act' and in so doing continue to bring forth the great gift of freedom.

Theresa M. Szczurek (www.TMSworld.com and www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose.com)


YOUR WORK AND LIFE AS A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY

If you slow down enough to be mindful, you might notice and treasure the spirituality of every day life and every day work. What is spirituality? It is connections -- with your self, with other living thngs, to nature, and to the greater spirit. These connections nourish the soul. When asked in my "Pursuit of Passionate Purpose" research study what brings meaning to life. Most people mentioned two things -- contribution and connections. Contribution is what you get from a pursuit of passionate purpose. Connections are deep caring, meaning relationships. They are the spirit of life and the Connections Strategy is one of the six Success Strategies that facilitate forward movement on your journey.

Scott W.Alexander in his book Everyday Spiritual Practice: Simple Pathways for Enriching Your Life encourages intentional, active, and regular practice by engaging the mind, body, heart, will, and soul. How do you engage and connect? Here are some ways to engage.

  • Engage the mind through meditation, prayer, affirmations, journaling, planning, writing, speaking, and silence.

  • Engage the body through exercise, dance, yoga, eating, singing, and other physical activity.

  • Engage the heart through everyday relationships, grieving, parenting, and partnership.

  • Engage the will through recycling, social justice activities, vegetarianism, volunteering, giving, and working toward a cause.

  • Engage the soul through music, cooking, art, gardening, story telling, and meditation.

Passionate purpose optimally engaged your whole self, or spirit, as well as others in the pursuit. The pursuit is consistent with the common myth about the hero's journey. The hero leaves home in service of a worthwhile purpose, encounters obstacles and hindrances, eventually succeeds, and returns home to be of further service. Work and life is our story of living this myth.

What is your spiritual maintenance schedule on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis? Have you, like me, built spirituality through engagement and connections into your personal action plan? This practice can bring the peak performance you seek. Begin now! Believe and Act!

Theresa M. Szczurek (www.TMSworld.com and www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose.com)


LET IT BE A DANCE

What makes your spirit soar? What makes your heart sing? What makes you feel great? It is helpful to know because you can be more productive, creative, and happy in this state. I find that certain music helps.

Last Sunday at church our congregation sang this song, Let It Be A Dance, by Ric Masten with Mastenville Music. It really lifted my spirit. If you are like me, perhaps it will help you too. It speaks to an attitude and belief that can carry you to greater joy, passion, performance, success.

Chorus: Let it be a dance we do.
May I have this dance with you.
Through the good times and the bad times, too,
let it be a dance.

Let a dancing song be heard.
Play the music, say the words,
and fill the sky with sailing birds.
Let it be a dance.
Let it be a dance.
Let it be a dance.
Learn to follow, learn to lead, feel the rhythm,
fill the need to reap the harvest, plant the seek.
Let it be a dance.

Chorus.

Every body turn and spin,
let your body learn to bend,
and, like a willow with the wind,
let it be a dance.
Let it be a dance.
Let it be a dance.
A child is born, the old must die,
a time for joy, a time to cry.
Take it as it passes by.

Chorus.

Morning star comes out at night.
without the dark there is no light.
If nothings's wrong, nothing's right.
Let it be a dance.
Let it be a dance.
Let it be a dance.
Let the sun shine, let it rain,
share the laughter, bear the pain,
and round and round we go again.
Let it be a dance.

Chorus.

As you embark on this new year, you have a choice. You can choose to trudge on with heavy spirit OR to lightly dance through life with laughter and joy. Why not sing the songs, dance the dances, and pursue the passionate purposes that can carry you, your business, your customers, and others to greatness.

Let it be a dance!

Theresa M. Szczurek (www.TMSworld.com and www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose.com)


UNPACK FEAR TO OVERCOME CHALLENGING TIMES

These are fearful, challenging times.  If you listen to the media, you hear news telling us why we should be afraid.  Fear breeds more fear.  You can turn the worst of times into the best of times by letting go of fear.

In my research study about factors that help and hurt people in successfully pursuing their passionate purpose, I asked people what holds them back and what encourages them on their pursuit.  One of the biggest hindrances is FEAR.  Fear causes self doubt; fear is a heavy burden. 

Sometimes it makes sense to be fearful.  It can stop you from crossing a dangerous road or from getting hurt.  However, so often fear is not rational.  Fear is often irrational.

Once you are aware of the negative impact of fear, the next step is to take appropriate action.  Use the Pack Strategy (see the book Pursuit of Passionate Purpose) to unpack hindrances and pack energizers for your journey. Here are some practical pointers:

*  Limit the amount of exposure you have to the media and to be selective in what you listen/watch.
*  Be aware if your fear is rational or irrational. If irrational, force yourself to quiet the mind and to focus on positive aspects of life.
*  Say positive affirmations.
*  Surround yourself with less fearful people.  Surround yourself with people who are not afraid.  A recent research study showed that happiness is contagious.  If you are around happy people, you will be more happy.  If  you are around fearful people, you will be more fearful.  So find happy, unafraid people to be with. 

Theresa M. Szczurek (www.TMSworld.com and www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose.com)