Step 3: The wholeness of the giver.

“I know enough to help those who cannot help themselves.” -Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman had the whole if “serving is below you then leading is above you” cliche down pat. She got it. She understood. She knew ultimately all that mattered wasn’t what she took away but what she brought to the table. So many times we look at what we are trying to gain, what our need is and we work with that as our focus….us.  What do I need to get done today? What is my goal? What do I need to accomplish for my plan? Not only is this contrary to the goal of living an impactful life, we soon find out that we have endless needs and therefore we can never be truly satisfied.

Bear in mind, I’m not saying goals are bad or you should just frolic about filling every need, everywhere, at every corner. There is a balance. More on this to come in future posts but for now just recognize what I’m saying is that there has to be a focus external of you to feel truly fulfilled. I’ve found in my own life that as long as I focus on what I will end up “taking away” from a given relationship, friendship, network, community….(and so on) I almost always come up short. More often then not I feel most fulfilled when I realize what I can BRING to the table and act from that.

What can I do to help? What skills do I have that would benefit others? What can I do to help solve the problem? How can I positively impact their life? What can I GIVE?

Suddenly, my entire perspective shifts from what I need to what I already have. There’s some psychological reason this happens I’m sure but granted I’m not a psychology major I can just say that you feel a lot more WHOLE.

 

And from this WHOLENESS so much becomes possible. Its strange to say but you actually learn about who you are because you start to realize that you have a lot to offer. After all, to give something you must first have it, right? And when giving becomes your focus there’s less time to focus on what you lack or need. Perspective is everything. In changing your mindset from one of “I need ________” to “I have _________”, you remind yourself continually that you HAVE not that you NEED. And in turn, you quite literally start to realize you are pretty whole on your own because you’ve taught yourself that there’s a lot inside you, rather than there’s a lot to fill.

If I truly want to impact the lives of those around me, it’s imperative that I come at it with a perspective of giving from wholeness. Otherwise, I will always come up short, unfulfilled and frustrated. After all impacting others isn’t about my needs, its about how I can positively leave a mark on someone else’s life. It’s not about what I gain it’s about what I give. This requires me to be pretty dang selfless, and let’s be honest that’s not easy nor do I always win that battle. To even start to impact others I must first realize that I have something to offer, and when I give it that there’s more where it came from. What I have to give becomes my power. Take it from Wonder Woman, even if you have no idea where to start “know enough to give to those who cannot give to themselves”. Trust me, lasting impact is impossible without the ability to continually be the giver.

Alright now to put all this into action…..

STEP 3: Make another list separate from the list you made for Step 1 & 2. In this new list write down all the ways you can impact with traits and talents you already possess. Ask yourself, “what do I have to give?”.

Feel free to check out the other posts from this series on building a life of impact, The Superhero Chronicles Step 1, and Step 2! More to come!

 

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Step 2: Who’s behind the mask?

The great writer Nathaniel Hawthorne once wrote….

“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.”

We all wear masks, we all have different faces we put on…..we all have parts of us we hide. However there comes a point where under the mask we have to find a common ground, that common ground is our character.

In the prior post, Superhero Chronicles: Step 1, we discussed who we believed ourselves to be. Now it’s time to take a look at this list and ask ourselves, is that who we WANT to be.

Masks are powerful, because masks enable us to hide. But the truest impact is made by people who don’t choose to hide behind a heroic ideal but rather become the ideal.

The truest impact is made by people who don’t choose to hide behind a heroic ideal but rather become the ideal.

Did you catch that? I’ll say it again a little differently. Making an impact on the world isn’t about choosing a powerful career, or partnering with an influential organization, it’s about becoming a person capable of massive impact. It’s about becoming a person of character worthy to wear the mask of a hero and make the type of lasting impact they would.

We often think that if we find the right opportunity then we will be able to achieve our goals. If we find the right job, if we find the right people, if we find the right network…..strangely enough that never works long term. It would be like if our military men went to war but had zero tactical training prior to combat. Or if policemen went out on the streets to keep the peace but had no idea how to resolve conflict. Or if a doctor went to operate on a patient but had no idea how the body functioned and what did what and just started to cut things open!

These ideas sound insane. No one would do that! And if they tried we would all look at them as if they had lost their mind!

Yet, this is often times exactly how we choose to try to make a difference. We get an idea of what we want to accomplish, we make ourselves look good on paper (get a degree, find the right connections) and we look for our next big break.

We search for the opportunity for impact before becoming the type of person who can handle it.

And I’m not going to say that the motivation behind this is inherently bad, I’m just saying it’s not an expression of someone who is 100% worthy of the mask of a hero.

Personally, I’d rather become the person who gives character to the mask rather than allow the mask to make up for my lack of character. Wearing a mask may enable me to win a battle but my character will determine if I win the war. My character is what makes me sustainable. My character is what withstands storms and overcomes obstacles. My character is what determines if I am strong enough when no one else was. My character determines if the impact I make will last. And is that not the ultimate goal?

You see, the mask doesn’t make my character….My character makes the mask. And if I want lasting impact, if I want to build something huge that matters, then it starts with who’s behind the mask. If I’m not who the mask portrays……then I’m going to eventually fail to live up to the ideal of who I’ve said I was. And let’s be frank, I’m going to avoid failure at all costs.

Step 2: Take a look at the list you wrote from the prior post and cross out any words that you don’t want to be a representation of your character. 

Feel free to post your thoughts below or send me a tweet to chat more.

 

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Step 1: You are never too old to wear your cape.

Were you that kid in the Batman cape? Were you the princess with the fairy wand? Maybe you were the little boy with the firefighter hat….or were you like me and had magic glitter dust that you used sparingly and only for “special”, really “needed” things to happen? We all had something as a kid that defined our invincibility….and we thrived in the moments we embraced it. We threw ourselves around the house soaring in our capes, or we threw glitter dust on our little sister and told her she could fly if she jumped of the swings. Most of us had that moment where we felt completely powerful….

The tragedy is that as we grow up somehow we forget this feeling we had where we could conquer anything. You see it was never the cape that made Batman, it wasn’t the fairy wand that made the princess, and it wasn’t my glitter dust that made me feel like I could conquer the world…..it was the fact that I believed in who I was.

Did you catch that? It wasn’t what we wore, it wasn’t what we held….it was a belief in who we were that made us powerful. 

Our ability to impact the world around us is first determined by our belief that we are capable of greatness. If we believe that in our maturity we lost our right to be capable of the same impact as the heroes we admired as a kid then we already lost the battle.

Yes, I am telling you that if you don’t believe you are capable of massive impact then why bother trying? You’ve already told yourself what will happen. In simple terms, your thoughts have already determined the outcome. You can’t expect to live out massive impact if you don’t believe you are capable of it first. So stop, and change your belief now.

 

…I’ll wait. Be sure you believe you are capable of the outcome you desire to have in your life.

 

Really…… it’s okay to stop believing in Santa Claus…… but it’s not okay to not believe in you.

 

No but really…

 

Okay….now read on.

 

We are never told old to pick back up the cape and remember the kid who once wore it. You see the first step to winning the battle of living an impactful life is to believe you can. It’s really that simple. Belief is a decision that is characterized by action. So start by believing that you are capable of greatness. And watch as you become capable.

So who do you believe you are?

STEP 1: Make a list of everything you believe you are and circle any or all portions that are characteristic of superheroes. 

Now, don’t be discouraged if this list doesn’t look like the heroic kid who wore the cape. It’s all okay. The next post will talk about who that kid is, where he or she went and how to get them back. Check out the prior Superhero Chronicles before this as well!

 

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The Superhero Chronicles: Think Big

      “Dreamers think about a better future, Visionaries ask how they will create one”. -Andy Stanley

So many of us want to leave an impact, make a difference and truly change the world around us, but do we know what that looks like? Do we know what it takes to be the difference we want to see in the world? Do we want to become the type of person big enough to make a difference?  Because if we are going to be honest, the world is full of dreamers but dreamers aren’t the ones who change the future. Its the visionaries.

The future is written by those who believe they will be the ones to create it. The ones who are constantly asking how it will be THEM who make the difference they want to see. The ones who are constantly pushing themselves to be better then they were yesterday. The ones who realize that its not about what they say or think, life is about what they DO that makes them who they are.

Let’s be real, we all want to change the world, but we all won’t. Really, did you catch that.

We all won’t change the world.

Some of us may even make it worse. We all have the same opportunity to make a difference but not all of us will. You see only the superheroes of our generation will leave a massive positive impact. Its that simple. The ones who change the world will be those who are disciplined enough to become a person big enough to do so.

To change the world for the better, isn’t easy. The superheroes have it right. It takes motivation, drive, disciple, character, integrity and a desire to impact the lives around you. And the last piece of the puzzle, you truly have to believe that you were called to make a difference. We will talk more about this last piece later but you’ll find that every superhero felt fulfilled by acting out in their ability.

This is the first of many posts on how to become a person who’s fulfilled, a person of impact, a person of vision….a person capable of changing the world.

These are the Superhero Chronicles.

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Limitless: A decision that becomes you.

I use to believe that fear was this horrible thing that would take away anything powerful that it could, and steal things it had no right to. I hated fear so much that I would do whatever I was afraid of simply because I resented the thought that anything outside of my control would be able to exercise power in my life. I would see fear and the only thought I had was to conquer. But what do you do when you start to realize that your greatest fear isn’t anything external?

What do you do when your greatest fear isn’t what the world holds, but what’s inside of you?

You can’t run from you. You can’t fight you. You can’t hide from you and you can’t lie to you. You can’t tell yourself to get smaller, because you already have started to see the massive size of your heart. You can’t convince yourself that you’re not strong enough because the drive inside you to win is far too strong. You can’t tell yourself it’s a figment of imagination because your feelings know better. You can’t turn it off. You can’t shut it down. You can’t sleep it off. You can’t conquer enough externally to satisfy the wonder of where your limitless heart will take you. You can do everything you put your mind to but somewhere along the lines you just keep getting bigger and stronger.

 

I was very clear on how to conquer all the fears before me. And then I met me.

 

You see, somewhere along the lines I started this journey to find myself and as I found me I realized what I was capable of, who I could become and the impact I could leave on this world. The more I found of me the more I realized all I wanted was more. I became my own high. I started to find my drive to live a life that mattered. I realized that life is so much bigger then my world. I started to find myself wondering what I could become and what I could accomplish. I was both terrified and thrilled not that I COULD become all I imagined but more so that I WOULD become all I imagined. It wasn’t the possibility of what I could accomplish but rather that I would actually CHOOSE to become that person capable of a huge life.

So what do I do with this newfound fear, when all I’ve done was paint a life that didn’t allow for fear? Let it drive me.

The day I realized that who I was becoming was so powerful that I was starting to fear my own capacity was the day I realized I would never go back. I knew if I was slightly concerned that I might just be big enough for the life I imagined then maybe, just maybe I would live that life. And that, THAT motivated me more then anything ever before.

Its a strangely terrifying thing to say that I’ve already decided regardless what life brings I will choose to outgrow every trial and circumstance. I will choose to allow struggles to prepare me for what’s next. I will choose to come out of pain stronger, come out of overwhelming moments with a greater capacity, and out of every experience learning something. It’s terrifying because I know what I promise myself, I will do. There’s no possible way I won’t succeed. Will there be a battle I may fail? Sure. But I am certain I will always win the war. I am certain that I will defy every limit put on my heart and it’s capacity to love and conquer in this adventure we call life.

People often times say that the world is limitless but the truth is the world is very limited, scientifically speaking there are definite limits. Ask Einstein. What we don’t understand so often is that it’s not the world that’s limitless it’s the hearts of a rare breed of people who choose to not live confined.  These people change lives, they write history and they live huge. They impact hearts, they thrive in all circumstances, and they inspire many others simply because they have become so conditioned to not know any other way. They have trained their hearts to feel that nothing is out of reach. These people are powerful.

These people have realized the only limit they fight is yesterday’s version of who they were. And they know yesterday’s version won’t be big enough for today. #levelup

The biggest tragedy of my life would be to short myself the ability to grow and overcome every trial, struggle, pain, or fear. Because as I overcome the things I thought defined me, I start to realize that my only limit will only ever be me. You can be sure if I won’t let anyone else limit me I sure won’t limit myself! I’ve found the more I defy my own limit the more powerful I become. This feeling of power, as you feel your heart grow is continually one of the most beautiful, satisfying things I’ve ever experienced.

Everyday we are given two choices to look at the size of our struggles or to look at the size of our heart. When we focus on growing our hearts, circumstances shrink, pain starts to heal and we only get bigger.

Limitless. It’s a decision that becomes you.

 

 

 

Impact and Fulfillment.

I had a revelation about 7 months ago. This revelation changed my entire life. I can truly say that I always thought I had a good picture of who I was. ….I thought. Sure, I went through my teenage identity crisis and hit another little spell in my early 20’s finding out who “me” was, however recently what I found was entirely unexpected…this revelation was different.

It all came about when I started to notice that my life was cycling…..like a roundabout, and in circles and circles I was starting to go. No joke, I know we’ve all had these moments where we start to feel like we’ve been here before. I’ve come to learn that these are things I need to pay attention to, because if I’ve been here before I clearly didn’t learn the first time. As of about three months ago I was about to start this round about for the 4th time…

I found myself ready AGAIN to readjust my life because I felt unsatisfied.

Now if you know me, you know that I have zero qualms with change, I actually enjoy it. I’ve moved 16 times, have a fairly extensive resume, and love to travel. In short, I hate monotony. However, there comes a point where you realize that even change won’t solve the problem. The problem wasn’t monotony, the problem wasn’t the job, the problem wasn’t the apartment, the problem was my choices.

I kept trying to build my life on the idea of what it SHOULD look like.

I started to look at my life for the past several years and realized there was a definite pattern, it looked like this:

Step 1: Find something to conquer. Often times this was in the form of career endeavors. After I decided on what to conquer I would make sure I excelled at whatever it was whether it was educational goals, sports or work life.

Step 2: Prove to myself I could conquer it. Truth is, if I didn’t have something to conquer I would get bored, so I would always take up a good chance to conquer. Why not right? If I knew I would make sure I pushed myself until I won, why not play a game I’ll win at. So at this point I would just fight and push and fight some more until my goal was within reach.

Step 3: Right before I reached my ultimate goal, I would walk away. Typically up until this moment I was so caught up in excelling that I wouldn’t realize I didn’t want what I was fighting for anyways. So as I started to see my goal, as it became attainable and as I could “see” myself at the top, I realized I never wanted to go there…..BOOM. That’s where I would walk away.

Step 4: Find something else to conquer. Seeing the pattern?

It took me cycling before I realized this is what I did and in order to break the pattern I had to find what I really wanted to conquer FOR ME. Not because it looked good, sounded right or read great on a resume. What would make me come alive? This was my mission.

I can honestly say, I have started to find it and it has been the most beautiful beginning.

I found that the two most important parts of my heart are IMPACT and FULFILLMENT.

Impact on the lives of those around me, and fulfillment for my heart in doing and living everything I am passionate about.

This revelation caused another massive shift in my life but for once it was in the direction of me, not just something else to win.

So I challenge you. What are you waking up for every day, a good resume, a good promotion, a good reputation, is it for you or is it something that you were told SHOULD be for you? Are you seeing a pattern? Break it. Because no one will have to live in the lack of fulfillment but you.

Caveat. Please know I am not saying that achievements, or career goals are bad, by no means is that the case. (I LOVE achievements, maybe too much.) I’m saying that when we are looking at the story we want to write, we write it best when we can identify with what makes us come alive. DO identify what makes you passionate and fulfilled, and build a life around it if possible. But DON’T build a career, spending your life trying to convince yourself that your career is what makes you passionate if you know it doesn’t.

Time often doesn’t change passion, don’t waste your life trying.

Broken Bridges.

This biggest little city has me more determined to look forward then ever before.

It has come extremely easy to me lately, never before has my future been so clear. Never before have I wanted my future so much. Never before have I been so excited to be me, and live MY life. Forward. That is the direction I am going and that is the direction I will look. However, tonight I found it hard to ignore the amount of past life that seems to be everywhere…

I have lived here long enough to have memories in every nook and cranny of this city. Almost every suburb. Every church. Every area of town. It all holds a memory from my past some amazing, some good and some not so good. In many ways this city is like a scrapbook of the biggest parts of my life, stories made, lessons learned and some broken bridges.

Broken bridges are what got me tonight. You can’t always choose to let things end well. You can’t choose how others will respond. And you can’t determine how people will handle it when you walk away. Broken bridges. They aren’t a bad thing. But tonight I couldn’t ignore their presence. I started thinking about why some things need to break, and why some things need to end, I started to think on my role, and what I can and can’t control. Friends and relationships alike, the past is the past for a reason.

It’s my job to keep me classy, but I can’t keep others classy. 

Nope, I don’t really care what my history with so and so looked like, who I am after the fact is a me issue. Any unforgiveness I have is a me problem. Any left over pain is a me problem. I am mine to handle. Others are their own responsibility. Its that simple.

It’s my job to seek reconciliation when possible, but I can’t make someone want it. 

Reconciliation is often difficult, but it’s not always possible. You can never force someone to want to rebuild a friendship with you, they may just not want it. That’s ok.

It’s my job to make sure I am going in the direction I need to go, but I can’t control if it’s not where others are headed too. 

In the end, if I haven’t married you, I’m okay with that. If you aren’t that friend right beside me, I’m okay with that. Because the truth is I know that those who are meant to stay in my life (friends or relationships) will be there, and it won’t be at the cost of my dreams and goals.

It’s my job to love, it’s not my job to rebuild every broken relationship/friendship. 

Reconciliation sometimes isn’t an option because whatever did exist had to break. Every bridge doesn’t need to be rebuilt. Some are better left broken because I don’t ever want to go that way again.

…..In a city where so many of my memories were made I can honestly say that I can look on the broken bridges from my past and say that there are some that are still broken, and that’s okay. Because I can truly say “I’m not going that way”. I have so many memories in this city, so much of me has been built here, and I love this city for it. I love what I’ve learned. I love who I have become. I love where I am going. But I can tell you with 100% certainty that the direction I’m going is not backwards. I’m not about to rebuild bridges to places I don’t want to go and a me that I don’t want back.

Relationships come and go. Friendships will come and go. Those that are meant to last will. Those that keep me from moving forward, those bridges will stay broken.

Forward. Even if it costs breaking some bridges.

Impact. Leadership. Fulfillment.

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