A motorcycle is either stopped or it’s moving. How you apply throttle, brakes and gearing, determines how well the motorcycle performs. As the (well-maintained) motorcycle doesn’t do anything not directed by the operator, it’s up to you to be aware of what’s going on around you so you can adjust to the situation accordingly.
The lines between stopped or moving in life – i.e. living one’s purpose or not — are less clear. What is certain though are that thoughts and behaviors control your confidence, feelings and ultimately, your effectiveness.
Identify your values
Values are the things you believe are important in how you live your life. When your actions match your values, things are good and you feel fulfilled. When there’s a disconnect, things feel off and you’re unhappy. Values can change over time. They exist whether you recognize them or not.
List your achievements
This accomplishes two things. First, it brings your successes to the forefront. It’s easy to forget where you’ve been. More importantly, it feeds you information about values and strengths you may not have been conscious of.
Identify your strengths
Everyone has unique gifts. Look at what you do well at and where your successes are. Focus on your strengths and leverage that energy to create synergy and momentum.
Identify your shadows
You can’t be good at everything. While it’s good to know what they are, spending inordinate time trying to develop weaknesses is a waste of time and diverts energy. Instead, use that energy to build on your strengths.
People are your teachers. They act as mirrors and are attracted into your life for a reason. Most have qualities you admire and want to see more of in yourself. Others have qualities you dislike and don’t want, yet the fact that you’re seeing them means those qualities are somewhere in you too. All people have lessons for you. Look for them.
Look at what you love
Make three lists: things that seem easy for you, things that make you happy and activities you do where time flies by. Find the common skills and use them to work to your greatest potential.
Look at what you dislike
Make three different lists: things that are hard for you, things that make you angry or upset and activities that seem to never end. Find the common areas. This time, acknowledge them and park them. Unless they’re creating dysfunction, spending time here is not productive.
Observe your surroundings
Look around your home and work environment. What items are on display? Which books are on your bookshelf? Whose pictures are on the shelf? Are your closets overflowing with things you haven’t used in years? Your living space tells you where your heart is.
Identify your patterns
Everyone has them; many are not aware of them. List the times you were happiest. Identify the occasion, your role and how you responded. Now do the same with the times you were most upset. How can you turn that around next time?
Activating your potential holds the key to navigating your life’s Road through good times or construction. Just like any skill, it takes work to develop. And it’s worth it. It allows you to make better choices and enriches your life.