Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Crossroads

The Crossroads

“Now is always beginning.” Thomas Hornsby Ferril, author

Every day we stand at the “crossroads of our lives,” which, if the truth be known, is a “Y” in the road. One path leads toward sameness––the other path leads toward no-limits––living that is new, exciting, and adventurous.

Every day there are decisions to be made about which direction we will take. And every day new opportunities for personal growth present themselves to us. Maybe we don’t always see them, but they’re there.

Those opportunities are there for you. Your personal “Y” in the road represents unlimited possibilities to be explored, challenges to be met, and chances to experience life to its fullest. When we take full advantage of those opportunities, we overcome (imaginary) barriers––and prove to ourselves and anybody who’s watching that there are no limits.

You may be asking yourself: How do I know when it’s time to take that new direction? Which fork in that crossroads do I choose? And how do I change direction again if things don’t work out quite as well as I’d hoped? What if it ends up looking a whole lot like there are limits for me, after all? Answering those questions is what this is all about.

When we’re born, our developed potential is only a microscopic dot that sits inside a large circle of our very own undeveloped potential. Then we go to school and the circle gets to be a little bigger, and we start to have more experiences and the circle, again, gets a little bigger. We learn more things through new experiences, and the circle gets bigger still. And then, all too often, when we start a career, the expanding potential stops. We are left with a large area of unfulfilled potential. When we stop developing our potential, stop striving to fill up those circles of potential, we start to take the perceived barriers––that dotted line––for granted.

We often look at that division between the developed potential and the undeveloped potential as though it were a wall. But it’s not; it’s merely a boundary. To move past that dotted line, we must summon the steel inside ourselves.

Thomas Edison’s widely quoted observation that “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration” if often misunderstood. Because of this remark, many people think that Edison believed a life of toil and pain was necessary to produce breakthroughs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Edison delighted in his work, worked on things that delighted him, and was constantly inspired by the task of finding new ways to move past old barriers to take advantage of undeveloped potential. He enjoyed the process of impressing himself––of summoning the steel inside himself to move past what he had done before.

Everyone has a “steel thread” woven into the fabric of their being, whether it’s discovered or undiscovered. What’s yours? If you don’t yet know (or don’t remember) what your steel thread feels like, this book will help you pose the questions that will point you toward the answer.

Immediate Action: Keep reading!

Point to Ponder Before You Go On: “Successful [people] pay no attention to barriers, real or imaginary, erected by people or by customs. [They] persistently refuse to limit themselves, knowing the stagnating and destructive influence of restrictions…Those who limit themselves or others are not only engaging in a certain form of self-destruction, but are traitors to humanity and to the world…One need but choose whether he would take his place with the traitors or with the heroes.” ––Sherman J. Kline, author

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Your New Birthday

There Are No Limits

Breaking the Barriers in Personal High Performance

Each week I will post a select chapter from my popular book, "There Are No Limits" on my blog.

“Apply yourself. Get all the education you can. But then, by God, do something! Don't just stand there––make something happen." Lee Iacocca

This is it––the moment you’ve been waiting for––your moment of glory. Your opportunity to put into action everything you’ve learned thus far in your life––and what you’re about to learn in this guide to a “no limits” life.

We make a pretty big deal about the birthdays we find on our birth certificates. Those birthdays are good reasons for a party––but they’re not the best reasons to celebrate. When you think about it, what did you really do to deserve a birthday party? You were born––you showed up! That’s about it. You should really be throwing a party for your mother on that day, if you ask me!

Actually, I think each of us needs to pick a second birthday––to mark the day when we committed ourselves, consciously and completely, to becoming the best person we’re capable of being, to developing our vast undeveloped potential. By the end of this book, I believe you’ll be ready to make that special commitment.

When someone writes your biography, that person may have to devote one whole chapter to the day you decided, with full conviction, to take personal responsibility for developing all of your remaining potential. In my seminars, I encourage the people I’m training to write a declaration of personal responsibility, a special personalized document that marks the decision to take control of one’s life.

Here’s my declaration. May I suggest that you write your own?

My Declaration of Personal Responsibility

I currently possess everything I've truly wanted and deserved. This is based on what I have handed out to date. My possessions, my savings and my lifestyle are an exact mirror of me, my efforts and my contribution to society. What I give, I get. If I am unhappy with what I have received it is because, as yet, I have not paid the required price. I have lingered too long in the "quibbling stage."

I fully understand that time becomes a burden to me only when it is empty. The past is mine and at this very moment I am purchasing another twenty-four hours of it. The future quickly becomes the past at a control point called the present moment. I not only truly live at that point, but I have full responsibility for the highest and best use of the irreplaceable now.

I accept full responsibility for both the successes and failures in my life. If I am not what I desire to be at this point, what I am is my compromise. I no longer choose to compromise with my undeveloped potential.

I am the sum total of the choices I have made and I continue to choose daily. What I now put under close scrutiny is the value of each up-coming choice. Therein lies the quality of my future lifestyle.

Will my future belong to the "old me" or the "new me"? The answer depends on my attitude toward personal growth at this very moment. What time is left is all that counts and that remaining time is my responsibility. With a newfound maturity I accept full responsibility for how good I can become at what is most important to me.

With personal growth comes a fear of the unknown and new

problems. Those problems are nothing more than the expanding shadow of my personal growth. I now turn my very real fear, with God's help, into a very real adventure.

My life now expands to meet my newfound destiny. "Old me," meet the "new me."

Immediate Action: Describe your life 10 years from now. That’s 3,650 days. Will they be 3,650 “reruns”­­––or will they be 3,650 days of purpose, adventure, and growth? How much joy will you be experiencing compared to right now? What form will that joy take? (Note: Expect your answers to change by the time you finish this book.)

Point to Ponder Before You Go On: “When what you’ve done in the past looks large to you, you haven’t done much today.”––Elbert Hubbard, American author of (among many other inspirational books) A Message to Garcia, one of the biggest-selling volumes of all time.