Monday, February 19, 2007

Who Am I Really?

Have you ever asked any questions like these?

Am I just the reflection of what other people say I am? Isn't there anything special about me? What am I here for? What am I supposed to do with my life?

The best way to find your purpose is to define what you want to be. Bring the Big Guy in on it. Ask Him. Don't just say a few prayers, keep it up. God will direct your path and help you because He set it before you.

Determine who you want to be in five years. Not where, how rich, or how beautiful. Those are only surface qualities. How do you spend your time, money, and energy? These are the things that matter to you. Do they match your true desires or are they a bandaid fix to get you by? If it's the latter, is that what you want for the rest of your life? No? Then begin to acquire your goals.

How?

Such a fortunate question!

Let me give you a few examples. Three years ago, I had some goals. They were to become a writer/speaker, get in shape, and define me. Those are pretty generic. I had to break them down further. I began exploring the general areas. I started working out harder, reading how-to books on writing, and journaling my feelings and desires. It was a start.

I had a story kicking around. I didn't know how to turn it into a book, so I just tried. Dismal failure without some guidance. I kept rewriting the first 3 chapters because I couldn't figure out how to go forward. I started looking for guidance. I found the Idaho Writer's League in a newspaper ad. They were holding a conference only two hours away. The conference had some beginning classes. Bingo. Off I went. And boy did I learn!

I met Sunni Jeffers. She spent time just getting to know me and answering questions. Then she pointed me to Romance Writers of America and the Faith, Hope, and Love chapter. Jackpot! Tons of classes available and other folks to answer my questions. One year later, I finished a book I'm proud of and began the second.

I continued working out, but without any real guidance there I had no success and a few injuries. I wasn't really losing any weight (which was my real goal that I hadn't defined.) Finally last summer, I joined Weight Watchers. I'm half a pound from my goal now 6 1/2 months later. Leaders that helped me define my dream and stay on track. Funny aside, I'd been praying about losing weight the whole time. Often the idea of Weight Watchers would pop into my head and I'd push it away. I thought, "I'm intelligent and capable, I don't need to pay for WW." But God was nudging me. He knew I needed accountability and to learn some things about eating that I didn't know (even though I was sure I did.) The point is that had I listened when I first started praying, I'd have had a much less difficult time. sigh. I'm sooo human and headstrong. Somehow there are times when I still think I can do without God's guidance. Silly human.

The question is though-who am I really? How does all this fit together?

When you choose a path, first get directions:-) Otherwise you might wander around in circles for a long time. Reach down inside yourself and find your dreams. Now take the first step toward them by exploring through inexpensive means. Read, watch some videos on it, ask someone who's done it. In fact, this last suggestion was my most successful. The people who have gone before are those who really want to share. They like talking about their successes. Most people don't have the courage to ask. Be one who does. Make an appointment or ask if you can have a few minutes of their time. (Honor that time and don't stay over. You might be able to call again that way.)

I enjoy inspiring others through public speaking so I joined Toastmasters. This has helped me focus and learn the basics. Most of all, Toastmasters helps me to be professional, prepared, and polished. There are a few other groups out there that I will be moving toward also. I've learned about C.L.A.S.S. I'm going to check that one out a little more. Why? Because my goal is to become a professional speaker/author that makes a difference in the world. That means I want to travel outside of my hometown to embrace this goal. Onward.

The practical tips:
1. Pray. (This is an ongoing thing, not a one time activity.)
2. Journal or list your goals.
3. Read up on your goals and educate yourself.
4. Join a group that will help you learn. Watch how those people succeed.
5. Talk to people who have already accomplished it (or similar if your goal is unique.)
6. Try/fail/try again etc.
7. Every time you master something, stretch and add more.
8. Upgrade to a new group if you've outgrown the first (this is not disloyal, it is necessary to continue to grow.)
9. Be willing to let go of things that do not move you in the right direction.
10. Act on the knowledge you have, always continue to get more.
11. Share your knowledge with someone following after you with grace and encouragement.

So who are you really? What do you want to do with your life? Have you taken the time to break out of your every day gotta- get-the-chores done mode? I know chores have to get done, trust me, but if you schedule in time to work on you-well then you get to become you. If you don't, you get to become what everyone else molds you into. Which would you rather?

Angie

A wonderful book by Sunni Jeffers. I really enjoyed it.
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