To win, you must conquer self…

“I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply ALL my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy.”

Og Mandino

What is your purpose? How hard are you willing to push yourself to achieve that end? Will you go past your comfort zone? Will you intentionally set aside ease and comfort and “strain your potential until it cries for mercy?”

It is one thing to know your purpose, it is entirely another to embrace the hard and necessary work to achieve that end, no matter how many obstacles you encounter along the way.

I have found through life that the biggest impediment in my path of achieving purpose is principally myself. It is always easier to take the path of least resistance. It is always easier to stop early, to let a little bit of the remaining work wait until tomorrow. It is always easier to find an excuse of why something won’t work instead of soldiering on getting it done, no matter what.

To become the highest mountain, to achieve your God-given purpose in life means that you must overcome the drag of this world and never buy into the reasons why something can’t or won’t work. It means you have to look in the mirror and realize that the single most important obstacle to overcome is yourself.

Are you willing to push yourself hard and farther every single day? Are you willing to go so hard that you will cry for mercy? If the answer is “no,” then you either haven’t discovered your true purpose or you have surrendered to becoming a grain of sand.

Don’t surrender to your own desire for comfort and ease, push through and become a victor over self. No one knows the enemy better than you do. You are uniquely situated to conquer the enemy, you just have to make the choice to do so.

Don’t compromise…

“Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.”

Henry David Thoreau

In order to be “true to your work, your word, and your friend” one must first have a full and clear understanding of what is most important in your life. What are the “non-negotiables” that form the bedrock of what you believe and define your decisions and your behaviors?

Find work that aligns with those principles. Don’t compromise.

Let your words always match those principles, even when it is hard to say what needs to be said. Don’t compromise.

Choose your friends based on aligned principles and values. Don’t compromise.

Doing these things is what allows you to be true and live a life of authenticity. Don’t compromise, because if you do, you aren’t being true.

Truth is fertilizer for growth…

“All progress begins with telling the truth.”

Dan Sullivan

Lying to yourself, or others, is poisonous on so many levels. An inability to both see, and tell, the truth is one of the most limiting and self-destructive behaviors one can exhibit.

If you are lying to yourself about anything you are only hurting yourself. You won’t be able to grow and learn and you will forever be captive to a “victim mentality.” When you are lying to yourself about something, about anything, you are saying that it is someone’s else’s fault or responsibility for whatever situation you find yourself in. If you want to grow, you have to be able to tell yourself the truth first.

If you are lying to others, for whatever reason, you are making a conscious choice to put the relationship at risk. You are making a choice to value self over others. If the relationship is important, and valuable, then speaking truth will enable further grow and progress, even if it hurts at the time. Mistruths and lies become poison for growth.

To truly get better, start by committing to only tell the truth, both to yourself and to others. There is simply no other way.

Transparency = authenticity…

“If you are honest, truthful, and transparent, people trust you. If people trust you, you have no grounds for fear, suspicion or jealousy.”

Dalai Lama

I despise politics. Posturing and posing in order to achieve some agenda that is masked or not transparent is just something I can’t do very well and is something that I don’t have a lot of patience with. I have long believed that being transparent in your intent is the key to building strong and lasting relationships with others. If you have this type of relationship politics doesn’t enter the picture. Transparency equates to authenticity.

But with this degree of transparency comes a great burden of responsibility. As leaders we must ensure that our actions align to our words at all times and if, and when, they don’t that we own our mistakes and missteps. I like this verse when thinking about the power of honesty, truthfulness and transparency.

“For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.” 2 Corinthians 8:21 NIV

I’d much rather be known as a person that speaks the truth, conducts himself with integrity at all times, and is transparent with my intentions towards others. I love people that are like this and they are the ones that have my greatest respect and admiration. Who are the people in your life that live like this? What is their impact on you and others they come in contact with?

Where do you find the truth?

“There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.”

Maya Angelou

I’ve long believed in the old saying: “In the mind of the believer a perception is a fact.” The “truth” is created because of the facts we want to believe in, even if they aren’t true.  The facts we choose to believe, or the ones that we seek out, can obscure the real truth from us.  

That is why it is so important to get perspective from others.  We need insight from people that don’t see the world the same way we do.  Only through searching out other ‘facts’ can we ensure that we are seeing the truth.  

Who do you go to to help find clarity and perspective?  Who’s perceptions do you trust?

Break free to change…

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

Socrates 

Sometimes the clearest way to see what change is needed is to separate oneself from the cacophony of daily life and simply be still.  The hustle and bustle of activity serves to lock oneself into a routine, a relentless hamster wheel effect.  It is hard to see what change is needed when your energy is spent just keeping up.  Sometimes it is not about fighting the old, it is about breaking free from it long enough to know what change is needed.  

Seek wisdom, or risk being a fool…

 “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
 
Proverbs 13:20 ESV
 

We are product of the people we spend time with, the things that we watch and read, the groups that we associate with.  This quote applies both to the people we spend time with, and the things that we choose to watch and read.  

I love to read and to learn new things that challenge my beliefs and perspectives.  Reading is a great way to get outside of your own perspective and find wisdom from others; it’s another way to walk with the wise.  In my mind not reading and seeking new information is the same as choosing to be a companion of fools.

It doesn’t mean you have to read to excess or try to read a book a week.  Just pick one book, and walk with the wisdom that is being shared.  You don’t have to agree with all of it, in fact you probably shouldn’t!  But pick one book that interests you and commit to reading 15-30 minutes per day.  

Seek wisdom.  Seek knowledge.  Seek to learn from the wise.  Or you will run the risk of being one of the fools mentioned above…

Do not be afraid…

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”

Rosa Parks

The minute that you let the fear of being wrong, of failing, or of making a mistake paralyze you you have already lost.  You will make bad decisions when you are trying not to lose or if your decisions come from a place of fear and doubt.

Taking action is what allows you to break free from fear.  You don’t have time to focus on being afraid if you are making decisions and implementing those actions.  So what if you make the wrong decision?  What if it gets worse?  That’s okay, if you have a bias towards making decisions and taking action you can make another decision, you can learn and get better.

Did you know that “Do not be afraid” or “do not fear” is written in the Bible 365 times?  One of my favorite verses (any many others folks I am sure) is Psalms 23:4. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Make up your mind to make up your mind.  Decide to address whatever it is that makes you fearful and take action.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

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