You Are A Hero – Live your own story

You Are A Hero – Live your own story

Every single one of us is.

Consider this – you are, at this very moment, living, breathing and planning your very own story where you are the major character.  You are the star in your own story.  The person sitting next to you has their own story within which they are the star.  In fact everyone you encounter or see has their very own story going on.

There is no great over-arching story that we are bit players in even when we think there is.  Any ‘bigger’ picture or concern is simply what we choose it to be and how we then embrace it, that then influences how we continue to live out our own story. 

You live your own story while others, and the planet, live theirs

Even something such as climate change is founded upon other people’s stories; in as much as our effect on it is down to the stories that people told themselves in years gone past, which led to its causation and its continuing or not will also be down to what people tell themselves now, and in the future. (I have a pet theory that when the earth has had enough it will get rid of us). 

However, back to the here, now and more personal this is just the way it is.  From the time we are born we develop our own narrative as to what our life is, what we do, the emotions we feel and how outside influences will affect us.  We don’t always know or see the outside influences heading our way but whatever they are we very quickly manage to weave it into a narrative that makes sense to us, even when we are blaming someone else for them. It is the nature of humans that they are driven by a complex combination of nature and nurture but how we react to that is our own choice. Above all we as a race need a purpose, and what that is becomes an entirely personal decision.

We are literally our very own home-grown Hero.

Once you start appreciating this and the fact that you are also the author of your own story you can learn how to become a Master of It.

Fed up with your position in life? You have the ability to change it.  Prefer to work with nature rather than in an office? You can cause that to happen.  Envious of what others have? You can totally alter your future to bring that stuff into your life.

It doesn’t matter one iota what you think you might be missing, you can re-write things, so your story starts to follow the course that you want it to. The hard part is always having the courage to change your narrative and then putting what is required into action.

Our story and star quality is a personal thing.  It may interact, overlap and influence other peoples but it will never be theirs.  So, own it – be the Hero that you decide and want to be. Go enjoy living your own story.

Goal Setting – Your big shiny goal

Dream Big

Following on from my previous articles; find your purpose and self assessment – the 1st step, you now have a pretty clear picture of who and where you are right now so what is the next step on the road to finding your purpose? I personally found this to be the fun part when I was finding my own. Yes, goal setting should be fun!

Decide what you would like to aim for – this is goal setting on a grand scale, – the bigger the better. In fact, it should be huge and almost idealistic as this is going to become your ultimate goal.

Because of the position I was in after the rail crash, i.e. had nothing/was doing nothing the world was my oyster.  The limiters were off and I could let my imagination run riot.

This is what you need to do – take the brakes off your thinking and list down all the things that, how can I put it, turn you on.

Goal setting writ large

Forget the past, the present and the short term.  Imagine the perfect position and place you would like to be at when you die.  For now, don’t worry what is achievable or not, or how you are going to get there.  Aim for what your big shiny goal might look like as if you were already there.

Write a list.  Write down everything that you enjoy doing or being and, if nothing stood in your way, you would like to expand and build upon to turn it into your ideal future.

If you want to be a lion tamer write it down, if you want to become an astronaut write it down, if you prefer quieter pursuits like planting gardens write that down.  It doesn’t need to be titles, sometimes it will be things (as in my case) you would like to achieve or it may be aspirations. It can come from hobbies you really enjoy, it might come from an experience you had on a dream holiday once, it might be wanting to become like someone you admire. Write anything and everything that pops into your head and you think ‘ooh yes I like the sound of that’. Don’t worry if the list gets really long (as mine did) you’ll be honing things down shortly.

Here are just a few of mine to give you an idea:

And so many more…..

Once you are happy you have your list stand back again and look at it.  As you read each line and statement mull over what they are actually saying and highlight the ones that make your gut lurch with excitement.  If none of them do then you haven’t dug deep enough into your psyche – go away, clear your head and start again.

Goal setting- refining your big ideas

Following your sense of excitement as you read you should be able to take your highlighted options and put them into a shorter list.

Clear you head and emotions again and then consider each of the remaining statements.  Try to boil down what they are saying into one word or a short pithy expression. Once you have these words play around with them until they form into a title.  It doesn’t matter if you have never heard of the title you have come up with – know that you have just named your big shiny ultimate, goal.

The reason for the title is so that you can easily remember it moving forward. It should conjure up all the statements you shortlisted and decided to bring forward every time you repeat the title to yourself. This crystalizes your goal setting into something you can say succinctly.

In my case I was left with statements which when I boiled them down the short words that kept on occurring were ‘change’, ‘disruption’, ‘expert’ and ‘speaker’. From these I was then able to give my ideal, shiny goal a name: The Change and Disruption Expert.

The idea of speaking, although for some scary, was exciting to me, but it was more than simply becoming a professional public speaker. My big shiny goal was I wanted to have an impact on others, to disrupt conventional ways of thinking, change situations for the better, and not in a timid or small way. Having lived and breathed my way successfully through almost unimaginable changes and disruption I felt entitled to term myself an expert as I’ve actually walked the walk.

When you embark on this kind of goal setting, you are aiming for feelings, thoughts and ideas that excite you, motivate you, and align with your core purpose…they will help you to define and refine that purpose.

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The Starting Point to Finding Purpose – Self-assessment

Who Are You

Last week I wrote about how, to achieve your goals, you have to know what your purpose is.  I promised to show you the steps to do this so here is the first step: you have to truly understand who you are and where you are now.

The hard bit I found was to a) be completely, brutally honest and b) cut out any materialistic objectives and c) ignore my emotions but this is key to succeeding in finding your purpose.

The best way is to concentrate on the intangibles that will make us truly happy.  What meaning do you want your life to have had when you die?

Self-assessment needs to be objective

Get a large piece of blank paper (or whiteboard) and then look at yourself and the position you are in right at this moment. Stand back and look at your entire life and position now as a stranger might who didn’t know you and was only given the facts.  Stop yourself projecting forward to what you want and concentrate on the here and now.

Now list out, in the form of a pros and cons list, what you have.  Start off with the material things you already possess and the material things that are a burden e.g. nice house v large mortgage.  Keep going and list everything. It is entirely up to you how long and detailed this list is; but a good idea is to start with the material items you feel you could not live without, and/or that make you happy.

Then move on to the skills you have v the skills you know you do not have.   Then your good points/qualities and your bad points/qualities (park your ego and be honest). I found one of the best ways to be honest about my good and bad qualities was to ask my close friends what they thought they were – you don’t have to accept what they say but it can be quite enlightening!

Keep going with your list and include anything such as disabilities, medical conditions or physical/mental constraints etc. Next move on to your achievements v opportunities you know that you have missed out on.  Then add your beliefs (good and bad) and principles you hold dear currently and finally list anyone you think has what you think you want or think you deserve.  No-one is going to see this apart from you so go on and add the people you can admit you are jealous of.

Reviewing your list for accurate self- assessment

Once you have finished listing everything you can think of about yourself in ‘+’ and ‘-‘ columns (I used a flipchart and it ran into 4 pages!) stand back and re-look at the list you have created.  I walked away when I completed my list and did the next bit a few days later as I found it gave me fresh perspective and, quite frankly, when I went back I was appalled at some of my ‘-‘ comments but took heart in my ‘+’ notes.

I strongly advise leaving this list for at least a few hours before reviewing it. Whenever we spend any time in self-assessment it is coloured by recent events and emotions, however objective we try to be. Walking away and returning another day, with a different mindset helps you be far more objective at the second look.

Have a long hard, unemotional, rational and impartial look your lists and ask WHY for each point.  Ask ‘why’ about everything – search for the reason behind everything you have got, done, think and believe for each aspect of your life now. Your present state is the result of your journey to date. Questioning everything that exists right now gives you an insight into what was important to you before the present moment.

From your why question you will understand the reason behind how you have acted and behaved in the past which is when you will truly understand yourself as a person.  It doesn’t mean that you must accept this is the person you are and always will be but self-realisation is a momentous step to then determining your future.

This stage of finding your purpose is needed, before you can decide your future direction. Self-assessment and understanding past motivations helps you formulate a plan for moving forward.

You will also find that this exercise will awaken some clarity around what you really desire so you have meaning moving forward. It can also be a shock to realise that much of what you have in the positive column is meaningless in the big scheme of things. However, when you do this self-assessment don’t get down on yourself about the negative column. Skills can be learned, and self-improvement is a healthy response to areas you feel are negative. The whole point of this is to determine who you are and a good part of who you want to be.

I cover the next step to finding purpose in “Brainstorming your life”.

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How Can You Reach Your Goal If You Don’t Know Your Purpose

Courage

If you are feeling stuck in a rut, feeling unfulfilled, are jealous of other’s successes, or are simply frustrated that you are not further along to where you think you should be then read on.

I wrote a little while back about humans needing a purpose:

What I didn’t realise until recently is that not everyone knows that until you have worked out Your Purpose, your ultimate goal will remain unachievable or to put it another way – you won’t understand what your ultimate goal is until you have worked out your purpose.

I recently reviewed my delegate forms from various talks and workshops I have given in the past 12 months.  They spanned many industries and ranged from the lowest echelons to the highest.  One of the specific questions I asked on these forms was ‘what is your purpose in life?’.

Common denominators were answers such as ‘making lots of money/profit’, ‘not having to work’, ‘having a big house/a flash car’ to ‘being famous’ and variants along similar lines as these.

This is not having a Purpose. At best these are materialistic, myopic goals which are completely different to purpose.

If they are accomplished that just leaves a void as to what is next.  It is part of the human DNA to have something to strive for so once we have got to one of our short-term goals we’ll automatically be looking for the next.

In any case without purpose these short-term goals will more than likely remain unfulfilled unless these people accidentally stumble across their purpose without realising that is what they have found. But you don’t want to hope that you might stumble across a purpose. You want to have it now, change things for the better and achieve your ultimate goal.

Why Bother with Your Purpose?

Because once you have worked out your purpose the path towards your ultimate goal becomes much clearer and easier to achieve.  It does require a bit of work to accomplish at the beginning but once you have it things start to fall into place and move you along inextricably towards your big shiny goal.

10 years after the train crash I had recovered enough to take stock and wonder what I was going to do with the rest of my life.  In a way, I was lucky in that the crash had ripped away most of my previous life and effectively dumped it in the dustbin.  This left me with a blank sheet of paper on which to start planning and I took advantage of this position.  However, you don’t have to trash your entire life to work out your purpose.  All it takes is the will and desire to want to change things, honesty and a little bit of time.

And the great news is that it not only works for our professional lives, it also works on a personal level as the two are linked.  It also works if you are a business rather than an individual if you look at your company as an entity in its own right.

How do You find out What Your Purpose is?

This is where the hard work begins but I promise you that it is worth it.

Purpose starts from within ourselves.  Who are we, what are we, what do we want in terms of things such as contentment, love, harmony, and what we avoid because it might be difficult. Once you have defined Your Purpose this gives you the starting point to make the changes you need to obtain your ultimate goal.

The only thing you need to devote to finding Your Purpose is time and some soul searching.  This is not a quick fix process.  The thinking, reviewing and deciding does require you to dig deep within yourself and you can’t just dash through that in an afternoon or, if you do, the end result will simply not work.

What I am going to do is break things down in the next few articles to give you the tools.  I’ll detail how my thought processes went, what actions to take, the position you need to get to and you’ll be able to use it to begin to create your own new and exciting future.