During an interview I conducted for an open sales position, I asked, “what is it that separates you from others that do the same job?” The candidate stated, “Every day is a good day.” He went on to tell me about fighting for his life with cancer and how that changed his entire perspective. I couldn’t help but be awed with the passion for life and passion for helping others that this person exuded as he spoke to me.
Our world is so often filled with so much noise…deadlines, tasks, relationship drama, and all types of life’s stressors. But, where is it that we place the majority of our attention? Is it on mundane and routine tasks where we just move through life, or is it on the essence of life, regardless of what it is we are doing?
Whatever it is you decide to place your attention on will grow stronger, and whatever you decide to take your attention away from will wither away.
If you have to perform a task like digging a trench for a sprinkler system or cooking dinner for your family, is your attention focused on getting the task done so you can get the kids bathed and to bed, or is it in relishing the moment? Are you loving the conversation that takes place with your kids while you pour the noodles into the boiling pot? Are you breathing in the fresh air and the smell of moist dirt, while feeling the cool breeze on your face as you take a shovel full of dirt out from the trench?
We have to perform our duties, regardless. The way we approach it has a significant impact on our life.
Every day we look around us, we are reminded that life is just too short. Tomorrow is never a guarantee. That brings me back to the question, what is the essence of life and how do we truly live while we’re still breathing? As I’ve read other’s opinions and contemplated it, for me, it comes back to three core questions:
- What is it I value?
- What type of life do I… my true self… want to live?
- Is where I place my attention consistent with my values and add to the type of life I want?
In business I regularly applied the book Strengths Finder 2.0 with my team as an integral part of the culture. The concept is around identifying core strengths and the values that truly ignite the fire inside and to place those strengths as the primary focus. This flies in the face of “focusing on developing a person’s weaknesses.” There is a base capability level that one has to obtain to achieve a task, but once those base capabilities have been obtained, focus on individual passion and unique strengths differentiates individuals and teams from the masses. In other words:
…to make a real difference in the world, you tap into what makes you unique and INCREDIBLE every day of your life. The more your strengths and your passions are your focus, the stronger they become, and the more effective and fulfilled your life becomes.
So, how do you determine what you truly value? One of many defining moments in my life came as I saw my marriage falling apart before my eyes. To the outsider, my life looked perfect. I was respected within my profession with a good paying job that enabled me to lead a team that made a positive difference on a terrible orphan disease. I was married with four smart and healthy children with a nice house in a great neighborhood. But, my entire world seemed to be falling apart beneath my feet.
During this time in my life, I spent hours in the desert by my home in the very early or late hours of the day and night. It was a place I used to escape and to find space. One early morning, I stood contemplating the concept of Controlling your Reality. I also contemplated what others had said about Fate and how things may be predestined to occur. I considered that there are things that may occur beyond our control, but at the same time, I have no doubt that we can choose much of our “fate” and have a choice over how what does occur that is truly out of our control impacts our lives. With a stick I held in my right hand, I wrote CYF (Choose Your Fate) in the desert sand. At the very moment I finished, two groups of coyotes howled around me. Chills ran down my spine and the CYFworld concept was born, which is a place for all to come together to unite and share how WE have the ability to choose our fate, regardless of the place we find ourselves in life. Two years later, I published Lulled, that was written under the context of a suspense novel to address two primary questions:
- Is there a difference between living life and embracing it?
- Is it possible to control your reality and choose your fate, regardless of where you find yourself in life?
Many inspirational and spiritual leaders claim that the way to determine what you truly value and the life you want to live, is to calm the mind through stillness or meditation. In The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success Deepak Chopra outlines three steps to calming the mind:
- “Take time each day to be silent…just be”
- “Take time each day to commune with nature”
- “Practice Nonjudgement”
The desert allowed me to get in touch with nature and helped the noise in my mind dissipate, allowing me to get more in touch with my true self. Where even though it was just for a moment, I felt fearless, neither inferior nor superior to anything, and immune to criticism because I felt something bigger than me and larger than the problems I had been focused on.
Even in a city, there is nature, one just has to be willing to see it. In Lulled, Stephanie Peterson is struggling with the world crashing around her. A six-year-old little boy awe’s her with his perspective, despite the circumstances he had been placed within. As Stephanie left the rundown duplex, she noticed one beautiful blooming rosebush among a brown and unkept yard. She had not been open to seeing it when she came to this place, regardless, there it was for her to enjoy once her mind had been freed of the noise that kept her trapped.
To often when analyzing people or situations, we label and judge with our internal dialogue, which creates too much noise to hear or see that which actually connects us.
Strive to see things for what people and situations are, without the negative emotion or labels applied to it.
As Eckhart Tolle states in A New Earth, “the primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation, but your thoughts around it.” If you don’t like a situation, do what you can to change it. If you have an unrealized goal, do what you need to achieve it…then let it go and allow the Universe or God to act. Once in touch with the life you want to live and the values you hold to your core, it opens up the ability to Live Intentionally and to place conscious intention with what has our attention.
Live each moment as if you are achieving your most fulfilling dreams and becoming your best true self
Give what you want in return. If you want joy, give joy. If you want love, give love. If you want attention and appreciation, give attention and appreciation.
Again in Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, he outlines three action steps for living with Intention in everyday life
- “Make a decision that each time you come into contact with anyone, you will give them something.”
- “Gratefully receive all the gifts life has to offer.”
- Commit to give and receive “life’s most precious gifts…caring, affection, appreciation and love”
Gifts can be as simple as recognizing that someone else does exist with a pleasant smile or a hello. When it comes to giving and receiving, it is important to note that it is just as important to gratefully receive the gifts that come our way. Life is a circle, and if we give without receiving, we are disrupting that balance.
To unite with others and share your Choose Your Fate perspective, please visit CYFworld.com.
Also, please take a look at the recently published books from CYFworld Press
Wow Travis! Just came across this post – sounds like things are good in your world. When I met you at Pfizer I knew right away you were a special person. Love what you’re doing to make positive impact! Keep it up:)
Emily Carrell Pickett
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Thanks girl! Now we just need you to share your perspective on CYFworld! 😉