Have you ever thought: How am I supposed to keep this up? Throughout the twists and turns of daily life, you’re bound to get off track here and there. Living purposefully, and actually taking action, involves A LOT of effort. And it can be a lot of responsibility. Not to mention life getting over scheduled, hectic, and sometimes downright hard.
How do you commit to purposeful action when everything vies for your attention?
How do you stay motivated toward your goal, your core issue, and your values?
First, accept that life unfolds in a way that challenges your commitments and convictions. We don’t like that, but it’s unfortunately true. The good thing is, in some ways, things get easier as you stay committed.
Second, much of the action you’d like to take has become habit (or is on it’s way to being so). You’ve either automated or set up systems that steer you in the direction you want to go.
But what if you still veer off? Or you want new ideas and insights to further your work?
That’s when it’s handy to have inspirational resources at hand. I always surround myself with books, podcasts, and other input that inspires me to keep going.
Purposeful Action: Explore sources of inspiration until you find something of interest. Search for keywords that relate to your core issue or theme. Online, at your library, in iTunes, etc.
If you already have a few favorites, keep them, AND explore new, tangential topics that seem interesting. I thought I’d share my favorites.
The Art of Taking Action, by Gregg Krech
This book was a great resource for this challenge, and I recommend picking it up at the library!
The Art of Possibility, by Benjamin and Rosalind Zaner
One of my all time favorites for seeing different perspectives on challenges and motivation.
Braving the Wilderness, by Brene Brown
Her latest book (they’re all great!) that talks about belonging, self worth, and taking action toward what matters most to you. (So good that my dog tried to eat my copy. Tasty too, I guess!)
Unmistakable Creative – A focus on creativity in every aspect of life. Interesting people and great conversations. I always learn something new.
Uninterrupted – This one has thought-provoking guests, though it looks like it’s taken a break or no longer running new shows. Worth a look at the existing ones.
Joyful Courage – Focused on positive parenting, this is always insightful, real, and helpful. Even when the subject is difficult.
The Brendon Show – Brendon Burchard, a high performance coach, is eternally motivating and talks a lot about habits. His books are worth reading too.
Ted Talks – Hopefully you watch these already! Not really a podcast, but an app, wealth of inspiration and interest in literally every field. (And they’re usually less than 20 minutes!)
There’s much more, I’m sure, but these are my favorites. I haven’t ventured too much into the realm of “apps” as I try (and try and try) to stay off my phone as much as possible.
Warning: Do not use all your time consuming information and inspiration instead of taking action! It is eternally tempting to feel like you need more *whatever* to start. You don’t.
Use the inspiration for the times when you have mindless activities, when you’re dipping in energy or motivation, or when you’re craving a new perspective on the same topic.
Staying inspired can become a full time job if you let it. Be mindful about the best balance of action and input that works for you!
We’ve all had the thoughts: Who am I to be so bold? Who am I to expect this? Who am I to think that I can…?
At some point, you have to decide for yourself.
I am someone who: ________________________
How you view yourself, how you talk about yourself, and what you believe to be true all make an enormous impact on your behavior.
You have to believe you can do the thing you want to do. Believe you can be the change.
Purposeful Action: Write out who you are at your best. Who are you to… see your positive vision to fruition? Write it out in detail. Why you? Why now? Keep it positive. 😉
Remember that every single person on the planet doubts their abilities in some respect. (Unless you’re a psychopath, but I’m hoping that’s not the case.) I’ve also heard that the more you know, the more you doubt. Simply because you see how many different factors impact what you’re doing.
Today I want you to own WHO YOU ARE to be doing what you’re doing. There’s no better person.
I have a personal philosophy in life: If somebody else can do something that I’m doing, they should do it. And what I want to do is find things that would represent a unique contribution to the world – the contribution that only I, and my portfolio of talents, can make happen. Those are my priorities in life.
– Neil deGrasse Tyson
Who are you? The old you? The new you? What threads are the same and where are you ready to adopt a different picture of yourself? As a creative, an artist, and activist, a scholar? A comedian, a writer, a leader?
It’s up to you. Completely.
After challenging you to do something that scares you, I’m gonna do it again. This time it might look different. I read a lot about creativity, the process and the products of. When I speak with people, however, I find most people don’t view themselves as creative.
Creativity means art. Painting. Dance. Sculpture. Something official.
That idea does you (and me) a disservice. We are all creative. We all have unique talents that we can develop and grow and share with the world.
You don’t have to pick up a paint brush to be creative.
I see creativity as any way we play with ideas and mix things up. You have to express yourself and your perspective. In the frame of purposeful action, how can you bring a creative approach to your core issue?
Purposeful Action: Play the strengths game to brainstorm creative approaches to your core issue. (Instructions below.)
Go back to your lists of strengths and things that bring you joy. Write each one on a piece of paper or sticky note. One pile for strengths/skills and one for joys.
Then choose one paper from each pile (so two different things strength and joy) and use them to think of a creative approach to your core issue. Repeat at least ten times, so you have a bunch of different ideas.
The point of this is not to be practical (we do that enough already), but to have fun and let your creative side shine.
Don’t censor your answers. I also encourage you to come up with at last three ideas for each pair.
Creativity is a skill that can be (and must be) exercised like any other muscle. The people who produce great work practice their creative craft everyday. There’s no reason we can’t bring our creative perspective to the table in all that we do.
That’s the element that makes us different. That makes us able to achieve the goals we have in a way only we could.
Have fun, then choose one idea and try it!
PS. You might feel that expressing your creativity doesn’t scare you, and that is awesome if that’s the case. If that’s you, then play the game and keep creating sans fear.
Making friends with fear may not have been the message you wanted to hear right now. If you’re going to take action, toward anything, at some point you have to make fear your buddy.
Fear lets us know when we’re extending our comfort zone.
I’ve written lots about fear before. How it’s useful and how, most often, it leads us where we need to go. (Not as in ‘down a dark alley’ kind of fear.) Into the unknown. Uncertainty. Into the limits of what we think we can do.
I’ve been pretty quiet most of my life. That’s kind of an understatement and I’m kind of tired of it, to be honest. A couple years ago, I remember a moment when I was upset about something (can’t remember what). And I thought:
That makes me want to scream inside my head!
So full of emotion. So upset. And my reaction was to keep it all to myself. To scream in a way that would not be heard.
It made me wonder if friends and family knew what I was passionate about – likely not. I vowed then to begin, and persist, to speak out about what I believed. It’s supremely difficult. That’s partly why I created this challenge. To keep me on track. To offer you support in raising your voice too.
Fear is a part of the equation when you’re showing your heart.
Fear of being ridiculed. Fear of ‘Who are you to…’. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of the unknown. Fear of loss. Fear of gain. Fear of whatever it is that keeps you quiet, hiding, and motionless.
Fear is what stops you AND it’s your pathway out.
Purposeful Action: Do something that scares you. Rinse. Repeat.
You know the fear I’m talking about. You can feel it in your heart, maybe even a gripping of your entire chest, when you think about doing that thing, whatever it is.
Yoga helps with this, by the way.
Go do it. Embrace the fear (and it’s cousins anxiety and resistance). The world needs your voice. Your kindness and creativity. Don’t let fear hold you back. Don’t let it keep you in the audience.
Don’t let the fear be in charge.
It happens to all of us. Particularly if you’re striving for a goal of any sort. We make our To-Do lists and factor what must be done.
Our focus becomes the never finished.
There is ALWAYS more to do. When you focus only on what you need to do, it leaves little time to appreciate what you got DONE! (And little time to even breathe.)
Taking time to review and appreciate what you DID makes a difference in your outlook. It gives you a chance to see how you’re giving purposefully, taking baby steps, and making your way toward your goal even when you think you’re not doing enough.
(Because don’t we all feel like we’re not doing enough most of the time? Or is that only me…)
Purposeful Action: Make a Done List.
At the end of the day, write a list of everything that you actually did. Think about your goal of purposeful action, but also think about your relationships, your self care, and your joy and your job. What action DID you take? Write it out and allow yourself to savor those moments. Can you see threads of your core issue/theme in the small, seemingly unrelated actions too?
When you focus on the actions taken, it gives you momentum to keep going. Baby steps or elegant leaps. You see how you’re making progress and that gives you a sense that you can keep going.
It all makes a difference. To you and the world.