From birth we all have a desire to achieve the things we set out to accomplish. This doesn't have to be taught, it's an innate human characteristic. Have you ever watched small children trying to do something independently? They try over and over and over until finally they are able to do it with no concern for how many times they failed befored it was achieved. Somehow life experience teaches us that failure is a terrible thing and that we should avoid it at all costs. We're taught that we should feel ashamed when we fail and, after a few more unsuccessful attempts, that maybe we should just stop trying. If I surveyed a large group of people I'm certain the majority consensus would be that failure is a bad thing. However, a recent television interview gave me a new perspective on failure and I'd like to share it with you.
Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, is one of the wealthiest women in the US and was named in Time Magazine's list of the most influential people in the world. In a recent interview Blakely was asked about her opinion on failure and she shared that while growing up her father encouraged she and her brother to fail at something every day. Every night at dinner her father would ask them what they failed at during the day and he would be disappointed if they had nothing to report. To Blakely's father failing meant that they had actually tried something outside of their comfort zones and Blakely attributed much of her success to this daily habit. Ultimately the lesson learned was never to give up, to never stop trying, to be comfortable in discomfort, to step out on faith believing that you can actually achieve what you set out to achieve. Somehow Blakely's father had figured out a way to help his children sustain their innate determination so they wouldn't have to accept the world's view of failure.
If you listen to the stories of most influential people you'll see this same trend. Almost all of them were faced with some opposition that they were determined to overcome. Their desire to achieve outweighted their fear of failure to the point that, like for Blakely, failure became a positive because it meant that they actually tried. I welcome you to join me as I also transform my opinion of failure and step out to achieve my personal and professional goals.
Let your legacy be a story of perseverence, not a tale of surrender.
This image is the new wallpaper on my phone. To you it may not look like much more than a dead leaf but for me this image is a reminder of things to come, a sign of hope in dark places, a trigger to set my mind on what I hope for instead of focusing on where I don't want to be. It's a beacon for me, here's why:
The image is of a dead leaf with the backdrop of a sky with a setting sun. A perfectly shaped heart is created by the broken pieces of
the leaf revealing a peek of bright sun that is lighting up picture. The sun rays peeking through the leaf causes the leaf to shine in the picture even though it is clear that the leaf is falling apart. All these elements combined create a beautiful image of a quiet moment in time.
I see hope in this photo because even as the leaf is dying it is foreshadowing the promise of a new day. Even though the leaf is broken inside it bends towards the sun as if it's fighting to shine up until the every end. And even as the leaf is dying it seems to be using the place where it is broken to give light to the viewer. This, for me, is the image of HOPE.
In a recent conversation I was forced to accept the fact that I don't have all the answers. I'm a very logical person by nature. I like to gather information and find evidence that supports my position so that by the time I make a decison there is little one can say to argue against me. As I've matured I've learned that there is always something I don't know and that there is always another perspective or point of view on a matter. I can accept that for most things but when it comes to issues concerning my personal life I always believed I should know everything. Accepting that I don't have all the answers about myself has proven to be a lifted burden. It's helped me see how much more I have to grow and made me excited about the journey.
A few days ago I revisited the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and found that my "new" insight is a principle in the book. Hill calls it the "Mastermind Principle" and he uses Thomas A. Edison as an example of how it works. Briefly put, Edison was a man of very little formal education, however, he was smart enough to realize that he could use the knowledge other people possessed to achieve his goals. Edison sought the expertise of people who were skilled in all the areas in which he was ignorant and, together, they created inventions that brought Edison great wealth. Edison recognized early on that he did not have all the answers and that he did not need them to be successful.
It may be difficult to see how this principle applies to personal development but it is necessary for anyone who truly wants to be their best self. In order to grow we must be humble enough to receive constructive criticism, mentoring, correction and guidance. We tend to be more accepting of such things professionally but they are also necessary personally.
Here's a challenge for you: ask someone who knows you well, and who you respect, to share one thing you could do to improve your relationship with others. Be open-minded, listen to the response, ask for examples, and don't be offended. You may be surprised by what you learn about yourself.
If you follow this blog then you know I am an advocate for positive thinking and that I strongly believe all change begins in the mind. You also know that I am a woman of faith and that my faith plays a major role in my decision-making.
On the heels of releasing my thought transformation program I had to take things a step further for people who believe their minds are already in the right place. I have one question for you: If you believe you can have a better life and you have faith that change will actually happen, why hasn't it happened yet? If you haven't seen the fruits of your positive thinking and faith chances are you have no works. The scripture referenced above brings to light an issue that keeps many of us from having the lives we truly desire. The issue is simply that we have the faith but have no works.
If you don't quite understand I'll put it more simply, we believe we can actually achieve something, that it is possible even if it seems impossible; however, we have not taken any action to make it happen. How can you expect something to happen when you haven't taken any steps to make it happen? Sure, you can believe that you'll lose weight one day but if you never take steps to clean up your eating and to exercise the pounds will stay on. You can believe you'll be rich one day but if you never take the opportunities that can bring you those riches your bank account will remain the same. It's simple to understand but somehow so many of us get caught up in the space between believing we can do something and actually doing it.
So, whatever positive thoughts you are thinking or dreams you are dreaming be sure to add some works to that faith so what you see in your mind can become reality.
It's here! Unstuck The Rut: 7 Days of Thought Transformation is my first multi-day personal development program and I am so excited to be presenting it to you today. This program is the perfect way to jump start your journey if you're just getting started and to kick it up a notch if you're already on your way. Invest in yourself and your legacy today!