To keep moving forward in life, we all need solid footing underneath us for a starting point. I attended a spiritual formation and personal effectiveness seminar a few years ago (and have since returned to be a trainer at this seminar). These seven strategies provide this firm foundation for a starting point. The following is a quick overview of these strategies:
Strategy One: Keep Your Balance. This strategy will remind you how important a balanced life really is. Keeping your life in balance provides you the ability to see a world full of possibilities for yourself. But, when you are knocked off balance, it’s your personal responsibility, your choice, to get back on track or not.
Strategy Two: Change Your Point of View. The way you look at your life is called your Point of View. You tend to look at life through a prescribed set of lens you acquired at a very age, which may keep you from experiencing the world in the way it actually exists. A Common Point of View is characterized by logical and rational interpretations. The challenge is to shift to an Uncommon Point of View. This will allow you to step back and ask if what you are experiencing is effective and working for you in your life.
Strategy Three: Move Outside of Your Comfort Zone. True growth happens on the other side of your comfort zone. Fear fills the gap between your comfort zone and growth. Taking the first step and walking through the fear is a fundamental step to creating the life you want.
Strategy Four: Erase the old tapes playing in your head. The central message found on these old tapes playing in your head is based on the “lie.” The “lie” tells you are not enough and that you can’t do or have what you want. Replacing the “lie” with the truth is the mechanism to erase these old tapes. The truth tells you that you are indeed enough. The key is to become a person of choice and choose the truth, not the lie.
Strategy Five: Leave your bag of garbage at the garbage pit. The garbage we carry with us is as heavy to our hearts and souls as any physical weight. Oftentimes it’s difficult to throw out this garbage because it has shaped and defined us for far too long. To begin the process of throwing out your garbage, you must first name it and begin to realize what it’s costing you. Perhaps you may feel a void in your life with the trash gone. Fill this space with blessings and grace for yourself and others.
Strategy Six: Recognize Triggers and Spins. A trigger is cause by a specific stimulus that is usually associated with a bad memory or experience. Spins are the catastrophic misinterpretations that follow. To stop the spinning, you need to “lift the lid” and confront the memories by sorting the past from the present.
Strategy Seven: Putting it all together: Accountability steps for creating the life you want! Before you step forward, it’s also important you don’t analyze where you have been in the past, or even analyze where you might be going. To live and to experience the moment, the here-and-now, can be challenging. But it’s essential you tune into your feelings and you sit with those feelings to get a realistic handle on what it is that you really do want to have.
Here’s the road map: The first four phases are, perhaps, places where you have lived for far too long and places that have contributed to you being “stuck” and unable to make the choices that will help you in creating the life you want. The last four phases are some of the primary tools for building the quality of life you deserve and creates the road map to see the choices available to you:
1. Unaware or Unconscious
2. Blame Others or Blame God
3. “I Can’t” Excuses
4. Wait & Hope
5. Acknowledge Reality
6. “Own My Part” and Release Others
7. Become Accountable
8. Create What You Want!
However, don’t be discouraged by the areas in your life that have caused you to be stuck. There are no accidents without value. In other words, looking for the value of what has happened to you, even it has been dysfunctional, is part of creating the life you want. To further illustrate this point, there are three basic rules of dysfunction:
1. Don’t acknowledge: “I am not going to talk about the fact my mother is a alcoholic,” or “I got even think about telling any one about the abuse I have suffered – it really wasn’t that bad.”
2. Don’t feel: “It may hurt too much to feel love for someone, what if that person stops loving me back?” It’s safer not to feel.”
3. Don’t trust: “I have been let down too many times. At the end of the day, I can only trust myself any way.”
If you don’t look at the costs of the dysfunction then it will keep perpetuating. Behind this dysfunction are experiences from the past. As a result, fear is driving your bus, not your choices. Fear destroys intimacy and acquiring better tools is a part of your accountability.