Are we on earth by accident, or are we here to fulfil our potential and to be of service to others? Whatever your view, by making the most of yourself you can make the most of your life
By CATHERINE EDEN
We all know extraordinary human beings; people who carry a certain air of greatness, regardless of their circumstances. It’s not money or power or looks that does it; it’s an attractive inner quality that conveys stature of spirit and contentment with life. Such people respond courageously to challenge and inspire others with their positive attitude. Are they born this way, or is their outlook something that can be acquired?
Actually, each of us is inherently extraordinary, and each of us has the potential to live with purpose and passion. The trick is to seek to have an extraordinary experience within a seemingly ordinary life. We may never be famous and we may never be rich, but we all have the ability to live life to the full, to impact on others and to leave the world a better place. Vicky Coates, a local consultant in the field of leadership training, identifies the steps that help to awaken our exceptional nature.
• Identify with your greatness, not your smallness
Acknowledge your strengths and your fine qualities. Know that you have the resources of joy, courage, compassion and patience. You can choose to express the best of yourself in each encounter with another person, in a crisis or in any field of human endeavour. Welcome opportunities to stretch your capacities, while recognising your limitations.
• Walk tall
If you are not noticed it might be because you are not standing up and being counted. Celebrate your greatness and your achievements and do the best you can with what you have today. The action you take now shapes what will be in the future. Life is an ongoing project. Don’t burden yourself with unnatural pressure to perform, but allow yourself room to grow and learn.
• Choose the road less travelled
The well-travelled road is the path of mediocrity. People often choose the familiar, the safe and the unchallenging. The less travelled road is more exciting, as it is the path of change and opportunity. On this road the invitation is to express a remarkable attitude in unremarkable circumstances. Extraordinary human beings choose the more creative option, knowing that a host of possibilities is set in motion the moment they say ‘yes’ to life and step out in a new direction.
• Be courageous
Change can be scary, but choosing to tackle something that you fear can be exhilarating! Take a good look at what really matters to you, and then take a chance. That doesn’t mean recklessly burning all your bridges, but trusting that an appropriate choice will be supported. ‘Jump and the net will appear’ means that action generates results.
• Identify your core values
Identifying the beliefs you hold to be true and the values that are important to you helps you to develop a mission statement for your life. Who are you, and why are you here? The work you do is less important than the way you do it, so focus on the positive, life enhancing qualities you want to express. Having a powerful sense of purpose and an understanding of your role in the world allows you to live more meaningfully. The example of your life will bring about change in others.
• Give thanks for all things
Give thanks for the good times and the difficult times. It is often easier to give thanks for the things we like. However, in our society, cruelty and injustice are part of daily life. If we cannot prevent suffering, we can at least choose our response to it. Since none of us is exempt from pain, it’s worth recognising that there is something to be gained from every experience. Crisis is often the catalyst that stimulates genius, and hardship may be the very tool that teaches us something we need to know.
• Keep your word
Your word is your bond – let other people know (and prove to yourself) that you can be trusted. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Words have the power to build and also to destroy, so be aware of how you use them. You can sabotage yourself with negative mind talk or you can choose the vocabulary of empowerment.
• Tell the truth
This is often a hard one for people who like to keep the peace. Being truthful does not mean being rude or heartless; it means being authentic and not compromising your integrity. If you are uncomfortable with a situation, be honest, stick to the issue at hand, and direct your words to the correct person rather than gossiping to others. There is an art to saying what you feel, without blame and without judgement.
• See the bigger picture
We are inclined to put our own interpretations on the data we receive. Before jumping to conclusions or taking offence, check the facts. ‘He didn’t return my call’ might mean that he never wants to see you again, but another possibility is that he was busy, or delayed. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes to get a wider perspective on a situation.
• Let go
Sometimes, bad things happen to good people. You can choose to hold on to your anger, sorrow and resentment forever, or you can decide to get over your trouble and get on with your life. Don’t waste you precious energy on the small irritations. Drop them, and use the experience as an opportunity to recreate your life in the moment.
Published in Clicks ClubCard Magazine