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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Ok, this may be an off the wall analogy, but I think there is some merit to it.  I was listening to an EntreLeadership podcast recently. Unfortunately, I don’t remember who was being interviewed, however they made the comment of how a lot of people go through life doing the status quo, day in and day out. Finding a job that pays the bills (maybe even barely pays the bills) and doing the same thing they don’t really like (or even dislike) for years with no effort to make a change to improve their situation. The interviewee then made the comment that perhaps that’s why zombie shows are so popular, they kind of reflect the behaviors of so many people just getting through life a little numb. Wow! That stuck with me and I wondered what would be the antidote to being a zombie.  How does one ‘stay alive in the moment’? Feel and experience new things? Get the most out of the short time we are blessed to be on this planet?  Curiosity.  I believe it’s a healthy dose of curiosity.  If you’re always exploring, learning, questioning, then life perpetually looks different.  The bad times aren’t so bad because they won’t last forever, the good times should be celebrated because they ebb and flow.  The lyrics to Gary Allan’s song Life Ain’t Always Beautiful are so true – “Life ain’t always beautiful, but it’s a beautiful ride.”  Don’t be afraid to move forward, afraid to make mistakes, or make excuses, be curious and live life out loud, in the sunshine.

This quote captures the jest of it… “Curiosity killed the cat, but where human beings are concerned, the only thing a healthy curiosity can kill is ignorance.”     – Harry Lorayne

Your network, is your net worth.  I head this phrase recently from Bob Beaudine, author of The Power of Who, and it stuck with me.  I have a finance background and was taught the math way to measure the net worth of a person. You take their total assets (home, vehicles, valuable belongings) and subtract their total liabilities (home mortgage, car loans, credit card debt, school loans, any other loans). The higher the assets than the liabilities, the higher the net worth. That is the way to measure a person’s financial net worth. However, there is another net worth too.

When I find a particularly interesting and successful person, I like to research their background.  I’m curious as to how they got to be where they are.  How much time did they put in to hone their skill and craft?  Who helped them along the way? Did they come from a healthy family upbringing, or a troubled one? What I’ve noticed is regardless as to how they were brought up, they have surrounded themselves with a lot of high energy, talented, positive people. They collaborate with these people on a regular and consistent basis and over time they’ve built trust and good friendships – a solid network.  You could say they’ve achieved a high net worth because of their network. I’m now putting more effort into building my network of trusted friends and am excited to see where it takes me. How about you?  What is your net worth?

network-is-networth

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Happy Valentine’s Day.  Let’s all love like this.

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“Times of general calamity and confusion have ever been productive of the greatest minds. The purest of ore is produced from the hottest furnace, and the brightest thunderbolt is elicited from the darkest storm.” – Charles C. Colton, Author

The stronger our intellect, the better equipped we are at accomplishing things in every area of our lives. We can do this because we have a broader understanding and awareness of situations and people. As with the other five categories in life, we don’t grow our intellect without focused effort and action, even in difficult times. Sometimes (maybe more often than not) it’s easy to feel like giving up and throwing in the towel. Life is just plain hard and sometimes when we think we’re doing good, something come at us unexpectedly out of left field to knock us back on our heels. The better we can process what is going on in those moments (emotionally and intellectually), we can grow and get stronger at dealing with life and people in general.

To strengthen my resolve to never give up and go after it every day, I get a boost of intellectual growth and confidence every time I listen to an episode of the EntreLeadership Podcast. Each podcast contains at least one interview with someone incredibly successful you may have heard of or someone who’s name you may not recognize, but is doing remarkable things to make this world a healthier, safer place. I’m currently reading the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, by Travis Bradberry (his interview available on podcast) and Jean Greaves.  I took the emotional intelligence appraisal (free with book purchase) and turns out I have some work to do on managing my own emotions during times of frustration. If I hadn’t listened to the podcast, I may never have known about this book and very well could have missed the opportunity to grow myself in this area and build better relationships as a result.

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” – Zig Ziglar

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

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. 

principles

It seems everyone I talk with thinks about what they do for a living and question it.  Not only do they question it (in a million different ways), they also wonder if there is something else perhaps they should be doing, which would be more fulfilling yet still pay enough so they can pay off debt, save, and live a decent lifestyle.

As the new year gets underway, maybe you are thinking about starting your career, changing careers, or want confirmation you are on the right career path. Here are some questions that come to mind which will stir up the thought process.

Should I get a college degree? How much should I spend? What school should I go to? Will I get a good return on my money?  Is it a degree in an industry where there is good opportunity? Which industries are thriving now, in the future? Am I doing work I enjoy? Do I feel good going to work every day? Am I good at it?  Am I or can I get paid well to do it? Are there growth opportunities in my current organization? Am I a curious person who likes to figure things out? Am I willing to do whatever it takes to do a job well, with excellence, even though I may not receive the recognition or pay I feel I’m worth? What would I do for a living if didn’t have to worry about money?

What are your answers to these questions?  What are they telling you? What do you feel in your gut?

If you are looking to change careers or get started in a career, but not sure what the perfect path is yet (maybe you can’t even see the path), there are some good books that will help.  I recommend Dan Miller’s book 48 Days to the Work you Love, and Jon Acuff’s, Start, as a couple to get you going.  Dan’s book helped me to get my thoughts aligned and begin moving towards clarity.   Both are available on Amazon.

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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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