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Run like others or be different?

One day a hare met a tortoise. The hare said to the tortoise, “Why do you move so slowly? Why don’t you try to run like other animals?” Thus, the hare laughed at the tortoise for his slow pace.

The tortoise said, “I know that I cannot run. But I can beat you in a race.”

“Then come, let us run a race at once,” said the hare.

The race began. The hare ran very swiftly for some time. Then he stopped and looked back. He saw that the tortoise was far behind. So he said, “Now I can take rest. Let the tortoise come here and then I shall run again.”

So the hare sat under a tree to take rest. But soon he fell asleep.

The tortoise went on slowly but steadily. He did not stop for a moment.

Suddenly the hare woke up. He saw the tortoise very near the goal. He ran as fast as he could. But alas! The tortoise had already reached the goal.

From the book, The Tortoise and the Hare, an Aesops Fable story.

Slow and steady wins the race every time, in every area of our lives.

Slow and Steady

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Have you ever been in a job or relationship where you’ve worked hard, hustled, tried to see things from different angels, and put enormous amounts of energy into it in an effort to move the needle only to see very little or nothing change? Most people have. I’ve certainly been in my share of those situations over the years. I love this quote by Warren Buffett, “Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.” 

After you’ve tried everything else, sometimes it’s best to just change boats.

Change Boat

Proverbs 25:19 says, “Like a bad tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble.” When we decide to make changes for the better in our lives, whether it’s getting fit, getting out of debt, or making career decisions, who we talk to matters.  The Bible says seek wise counsel.  If you just talk to your friends or family who don’t have the experience, insights, or vision for what you want to do and who you want to be, you’ll get frustrated. Some of them will even tell you you’re crazy or you’ll never be able to do it.  Find people who you see are doing the things you want to do and reach out to them. Ask them to lunch, coffee, or go on a hike.  Most times they’ll be flattered and willing to help.  Read, read, read.  Read books about people who have overcome obstacles and are successful in spite of their upbringing, failures, and struggles. The stories will sink into your mind and motivate you.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is exactly what the Bible tells us not to do – rely on people who have proven to us they cannot be relied on. There are so many smart, compassionate people in this world who are working hard to make it a better, safer place. Let’s tap into those minds and build relationships. Those are the people who can actually help us achieve the vision we want.

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Map your course, not theirs.

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong.  There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right.  To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires…courage.”   –Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Author Elbert Hubbard once said, “Know what you want to do, hold the thought firmly, and do every day what should be done, and every sunset will see you that much nearer to your goal.”  Proverbs 4:23 says, “Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.”

When I was in ‘the lab’ back in November working on choosing specific words to be the foundation of my Vision Quest 2017, I realized something new.  Instead of just writing down goals for the six areas of my life, I also needed to write down principles that I would live by, while working towards the goals. The before structure was made up of a specific main goal, followed by points of tactical action steps to get me to the goal. This year I decided to consider those tactical steps as principles to live by, rather than tactical action steps.  With the new structure, I’m incorporating those former action steps as a part of my daily, weekly, and monthly lifestyle. And not just doing them when there is a particular goal to reach.  Once I reach the goal, I want to maintain that goal, not stop doing what I was doing to reach the goal, so I need to be sure to make the activities are part of a lifestyle, not temporary.  I think this is why so many people fail at weight loss programs. Once they reach that magical number on the scale, they go back to doing what they did before.  Below is an example of goals and principles in the financial category of life. 

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year holiday. It’s time to jump right into the new year!  We’ve been talking about building our 2017 vision board, using the special core words and underlying principles we plan to live by this year.  Remember, the overall reason for spending so much time and brain power on building a vision board, is to create something we can focus on every day, that will help make us better people tomorrow than we are today.  The more people who share this frame of mind, the more strength and power we will be as a whole to make our world a better, safer, and more beautiful place to live in now, and create a sustainable, brighter place for our children and grandchildren to live in later.

As promised, today, to kick off the new year, I’m revealing my 2017 vision board. To recap, here are my core words.

  • Essentials: Do essential things only, let the rest go – focus on tasks that move the needle, don’t let the busy things detract me.
  • Presence: Be present with everyone in everything, in good and in uncomfortable situations – I will learn more about them and they will feel heard and understood.
  • Energy: Bring energy – it brings everything up and makes life more exciting for everyone.

As I think of these words coupled together with the principles I’ve identified that I need to focus on (that I wrote down) in the six areas of my life (Relationships, Spiritual Growth, Healthy & Fit, Career, Financial Stability, Intellectual Stimulation), I selected a wide variety of images. I love each one of them. So, here it is, my 2017 Vision Board!

I sincerely hope the very best for all of you in 2017!

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We are well on our way to completing our Vision Quest for 2017.  A few weeks back we picked special, meaningful words to keep us focused on how we want to be different (better, stronger, healthier) next year.  Everyday when we say those words, our brain will keep us focused on moving in the right direction, and ultimately achieving the change we want.

Right now, if you haven’t done so already, you should be choosing pictures that your minds eye can tangibly see.  They should be pictures that draw your attention to them. Don’t be afraid to go big.  Dare to trust that God can do big things with your life. You have amazing special skills, abilities, strengths, and passions the world can use. When we all tap into them, we can make the world a better, safer place tomorrow than it is today.

This week I’m very excited to be picking my pictures. Once the pictures are selected, put them on your vision board (poster board, or digital board), along with your words.

Next week I’ll reveal my vision board.  Lets tackle 2017 and go all out with our Vision Quest!  “Nothing happens unless first a dream” – Carl Sandburg.

As we are quickly nearing the end of 2016, it’s a great time to reflect on the year’s successes.  Perhaps it’s the entrepreneur in me, but as soon as I recount my successes, I can’t help but focus on what I can do to make the coming year more fulfilling than the last. Most people look at the new year as a clean slate and start talking about their new year’s resolutions – what they will change, start, or stop doing in the new year.

In my book, Your Ultimate Life Vision, I talk about resolutions vs. goals. As Earnest Hemingway wisely said, “Never mistake motion for action.”  Some people talk about doing things differently, however those resolutions fade and nothing changes. The only way to make your plans stick, is to put together a written vision plan starting now, in December.  Don’t be confused, this is not a list of new year’s resolutions.  Your vision plan is meant to last a lifetime, but your resolutions will be distant memories by March, like your new gym membership.

In the January 2012 edition of InStyle magazine, the following readership poll results were published, listing the most popular new year’s resolutions.

  •             22% – Manage my money wisely and stick to a budget
  •             18% – Stress less
  •             10% – Read and improve my mind
  •              6% –  Spend more time with family and friends

Webster’s dictionary defines the word resolution as the act or process of resolving as: the act of analyzing a complex notion into a simpler one; the act of answering (solving); the act of determining. And it defines the word commitment as an agreement or pledge to do something in the future. Do you see the difference? Having a resolution is good in that you’ve identified specific things you want to do, or changes you want to make, however only when a commitment is made, will you move those plans forward and actually do them. Resolutions without a commitment are powerless and do nothing.

What are you REALLY going to change in 2017? What are you going to do to make yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally, healthier, build a career that allows you to become more financially stable so you can take care of yourself, your family, and give to those in need right next to us.

Never mistake motion for action.  Proverbs 14:23 says, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”  Don’t be a talker, be a doer, and make it happen!

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Recently, while listening to an interview with Jon Gordon speaking on teamwork and leadership, I was reminded that clear communication is THE important ingredient in building good relationships.  And good relationships are the foundation of healthy families, marriages, teams, and organizations.

John dissected communication in this way – good communication builds trust;  trust generates commitment; commitment fosters teamwork; and teamwork delivers results.  If one of these steps is missing it doesn’t work.  It all starts with communicating directly to the people we engage with (the root). Many organizations get off track by putting all the focus on ‘the fruit’, and stop tending to, or feeding ‘the root’.  If we only focus on the results, and not enjoy and engage in the process, we won’t bear good fruit.  Build your relationships and career with good communication, and you will harvest the best fruit possible.

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Art

Art by Christine (Parrish) Barker. © Christine Barker. All rights reserved.

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© Christine (Parrish) Barker and Your Ultimate Life Vision 2017. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this Blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Christine (Parrish) Barker and Your Ultimate Life Vision with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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