Tag Archives: Expectations

On the Dark Side of Setting Goals: Live Interview by David F Leopold

Entrepreneur advocate and expert David F. Leopold hosts a daily online discussion focused on providing sound and powerful advice to the entrepreneur. David, who flys under the moniker “SmallBizDavid” was introduced to our post on The Dark Side of Setting Goals and being intrigued reached out to me via my account on Google Plus and immediately scheduled an interview. Here is the video of that live event. And thanks David, I had a great time!

 

You can find a full list of David’s interviews and reach out to him on his Google Plus page by clicking here.

The Dark Side of Goals – Does having a preference hold you back?

Most of us have grown up hearing that one must have a goal to succeed.  While having goals gives us a target or a direction, does that very step towards success have a darker side – one that potentially limits our success?

Goals have a long history in our culture of being the mother of all of signposts on our path. Hitting our goal was, well… the goal.  Meeting that particular expectation might be seen as a successful milestone on the path to our “complete” success – the Holy Grail if you will.  If  one could just hit their goal, then all would be perfect in their world. We have blogged in the past on how that is backwards thinking.  But this is not to say that goals are a bad thing.  Just like anything in our world, there is a light and a dark side – a Yin and Yang.  Anything we label as “good” can swing the opposite direction if misused.

Having a preference provides a target for your goal but your attachment to how the end result should look may cause you to miss out on what could actually be the best possible outcome. If you are too fixed on things looking a specific way, you might miss out on better opportunities that pass right in front of you. Your awareness has been fixed and you see only the things you have expected to see, and that is a form of limiting thought.  Yes the very goal you set to expand your possibilities is, if misused, limiting thought. It’s limiting you to the standards you set rather than leaving the door open for more.

Let’s assume for a moment that your goal is a $250,000.00 per year job in your chosen field – one that would give you options to help others well beyond your present abilities. The Divine wants the very best for you and the world and has greater good in store for you. Perhaps there is a $750,000.00 position that is just waiting for you, but it’s in a different field. You are supremely qualified for it, and the job listing was right there on the very same page of the job site you were looking at, but you chose to avoid reading that column because it’s a field, title or description that is not in your goal plan. The CEO is looking for someone like you, with your experience and your values, but she never gets to meet you – because your focus is too narrow and you see only what you want to see.

Perhaps the right and perfect connection was the person in line behind you at the coffee house. You know, the one you let in front of you, because your that kind of person, only you chose not to respond in your best-self to their light-hearted chit-chat. A choice you made because they were dressed in an old t-shirt and ratty jeans. After-all what could that person do for your goals?  Turns out, Mr. T-Shirt was looking for the connections you could provide and in helping him, something magical would have opened up for you and your “goals” through someone you introduced him to.  But he obviously wasn’t part of your plan, so for now we’ll never know for certain.

“God Laughs at Our Plans”

We like to think we’re under control. That when we plan things, they will fall in place like perfectly stacked dominoes. Honestly, how many times have your plans actually gone exactly the way you expected? If you were all alone on a deserted island, you might have a shot at it, but the more individuals you invite into your day, life or event, the greater the likelihood that their thoughts, plans and actions will redirect what you had envisioned.  On the other hand, there are countless stories of great things happening to people when they least expected it. But just because they did not expect it, does not mean that they weren’t awake enough to take action when it came along. What if these people chose to say “No thanks, it’s not part of my goal”.    Is it enough to learn to expect the unexpected, or should we learn to look for the unexpected?  Now move in close and pay attention here as this is the secret: you absolutely must be willing to take action on the unexpected. Without action, it may as well have gone un-noticed and without willingness, the mind will learn to tune it out and go back to the old ways. Taking action does not meen a commitment to the new direction, but it should at least lead to having a good look at it’s potential.

“A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind.” ~ Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Truth is, any action we take cascades through our physical world and the potential results are so vast that a mere shift in your awareness, a simple change of mind or differing decision can and will cascade into untold numbers of shifts in your life and the lives of others. The entire human condition today – all of it – what we eat, where we live, the languages we speak and even our religious views are the result of thoughts, actions and decisions made by countless others who came before us.  Imagine how different things might be if Christopher Columbus had decided “Meh…enough of this ‘New World’ talk, lets hit the pub for an ale instead!” One decision, or a few negative words have been enough to bring down Presidents, Kings and nations. On the other hand goals and courageous actions have resulted in some pretty amazing shifts in our world, and yes, built a great nation or two.

 

Shift your awareness to a broader view. As you set your goals, make room in your thoughts and actions for something greater. Be open to see more, do more, and receive more than what your goal includes.  As you awareness expands, so will the outcomes.

 

We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences, so please share in the comments area below.

You can watch a live interview on this topic here.

The Story of the Two Cats

I’m fighting the urge to call this The Tale of Two Kitties.  It was the best of times, it was the worst of times……. Tao1

We currently have two cats and a dog.  We lost a cat earlier this year and recently decided that the time was right to get another cat.  Tao, our existing cat, is a lovely little creature who never learned to be a lap kitty.  She was originally a stray and still maintains that “I can fend for myself” air about her.  She used to like to run the hallway and stalk the other cat but since losing him, she’s not done much of the running and obviously, no stalking.

We thought maybe a new cat would be a bit more cuddly to us and would give her a playmate.

Well, it hasn’t worked out quite as we had imagined.

We found a seven month old cat whose family turned up allergic to him.  He’s very sweet.  He wants to sit with us and be in the same room with us.  He’s very social and misses us greatly when we’re not around.  And Tao does not like him.

Tao is the princess cat.  She has that air of royalty that is entitled but doesn’t get her hands dirty.  And she’s always been the Alpha animal.  Since the day we brought her home, she’s been the ruling animal personality in this home.

Stitch, the new cat, doesn’t understand that she’s the Alpha and he’s making a serious play for the position.

The position isn’t open and neither one of them can make the other understand that.

But here’s what has struck me:  In a very real way, Stitch has claimed the dominant role.

Stitch doesn’t realize it yet.  He’s still trying to engage her in a battle.  He spends a great deal of time looking for her and watching her and then plotting his attack.  He waits until we’re out of sight before making his move.  It’s difficult to reconcile the very sweet, wants to be loved cat with the mastermind who has figured out how to get to the other cat.

Meanwhile, Tao spends her time growling at his intrusion into her world.  She spends a lot of time under the bed, or under the table, huddled into a pissed off ball of fur.  When engaged by Stitch, she lets out this unholy scream of indignation that lets everyone know that not only has her bubble been breached but she’s not going to stand for it.

It’s a very interesting dynamic that has become all consuming.   If they are in the same area together, they are stuck in this drama and thus, so are we.  If Tao would concede her authority, she’d figure out how to play with him and would have a companion.  If Stitch would stop trying to take the authority, he’d find himself with a friend and someone to share the toys with.  For all intents and purposes, Stitch is dictating the relationship right now and with that, has gained the upper hand.  But he doesn’t see it.  And so the cycle continues.

Neither one of the cats is fully happy.  Even though they have a nice home, with clean litter boxes and good food that they didn’t have to buy, open or catch, they are not happy.  They are consumed by the other one’s presence.  It’s blocking their ability to see and appreciate all the wonderful things in their world.  And it’s blocking us from being able to give them even more love because we feel apprehensive and divided.  Which, of course, they pick up on and are quick to act on.  It’s a really vicious cycle.

If either of them realized that that their world would not change no matter who “has the power” , maybe the title wouldn’t matter so much.  They both will still be fed at the same time by the same hand in the same house.  The toys, beds, cat perches are all still available to them.  They are safe and warm and tended  to.  But they cannot see it because they are so busy suffering their positions.

This situation has made me wonder what similar situations could be in my life.  Where am I stuck in a dramatic power play that is taking over my thoughts and energy?  What relationships have I decided should go a certain way?  And if that relationship doesn’t fit 100% into what I think it should look like, am I plotting and harassing my way through it? Or am I screaming with indignation?

If I were to realize that power is an illusion and claim the reality that my world doesn’t really change if I change my stance, what could my relationships be?

Something to ponder.

 

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

 

Stitch

 

Who else wants God to stop testing them? – A Path to Peace.

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The good news is that the Divine One does not test us – at least that’s my take. Allow me to explain.

God is Love. Love has no need to test — it believes in you completely. God does not lead anyone into temptation, into failure nor into something you are not prepared to handle.

Our master teacher Jesus tells us that God does not judge.

We are all equal in the eyes of the divine. There are no favorites.

God granted us free will. Not kinda-free will, not sorta-free will, not partial-or-when-I-feel-like-it-free will. To say that God has put us in a situation goes against what I understand the Christian Scriptures tell us. Feel free to comment on this or any part of this post below if you have a different interpretation or understanding you would like to share.

The only one testing you is… well, you. Testing is a human concept for the demonstration of understanding. If you believe that the Divine is capable of knowing what is in your heart, then would any test be unnecessary to satisfy God? The actions of Jesus do not appear to support the idea that God tests us. His example appears to be to the opposite. When one or more of the disciples were unsteady in principles, his comments were more around: “Have you no faith?”, “Where is your faith?” The tests were always about them and by them. It was seemingly about their perception of the events combined with their personal faith. Did Jesus say, “this is The Father’s test for you”

We come into alignment with new Truths when we are ready, and if it feels to you like a test, it could be that you are still in a stage where conscious effort is required to apply the new understandings. If it’s not second nature to you yet, don’t sweat it. Be grateful for the opportunity to practice and move through it with grace using the fullest expression of the Truth that you can at that moment.

We may think of it as a test merely because the new awakening or the condition is something that is freshly in our awareness. The opportunities have been there all along, we are just now awake enough to see them. We might think of it as a test because we lack faith in our own understandings. If we doubt ourselves, there is room for some false perception of failure. With the idea of failure in our consciousness, we may unconsciously go looking for opportunities to practice our new understandings. Perhaps ego may be at the heart of this — putting us into situations where we can fail in our growth so ego can survive.

We live truths to the extent of our willingness to do so. Sometimes, for whatever reasoning, we are not willing to step fully into a principle. So we step into a situation where that Truth is to be expressed, we embrace it halfheartedly and the outcome isn’t as wonderful as we would like. Much like when we were a child and were asked to clean our bedrooms. If you weren’t into doing it, and how many of us really had a ‘passion’ for cleaning our rooms, the end result my have been “okay” on the surface but we knew in our hearts we could have done more. We just wanted to get on with it and get back to play time.

To my way of thinking, “test” is merely a label we apply to events in our lives where we feel unsteady. Events where we have a chance to practice understandings that we feel are not our strongest. Have you noticed, when applying a principle becomes second nature, you gradually stop calling it a test? What changed? Well you did, at the very least, your point of view changed. You decided to stop applying the label. If we get to make the call on when it stops being a test, then is it really God submitting the test?

 

So here is your take away:

We here at Empower-Yourself.com always honor your perceptions on your path. It is YOUR path and you are your own best guide and you certainly get to chose how to walk it. Regardless of your views on life’s “tests”, the ideas below may assist you in bringing personal empowerment and peace into your life.

To live more fully empowered: Stop labeling events as a test. If you are seeing it as a test and have the mindset of “this is for a grade, I better do good”, then you are coming from a place un-empowered – perhaps even a place of fear. If you “do the right thing” because you have chosen to, now you are living empowered. I suspect we all understand how much we prefer to do what we want to do over what we have to do. Feel the difference? Coming from the empowering space makes room for joy, passion and a life of happiness in everything you are doing.

To live more fully in peace: release the idea that events are some test that was manufactured for you and see it for what it is. Just another event in the continuous, unbroken and overlapping string of events we call life. Work through it with the integrity you have and all the Love you can, and you will come through the other side with the highest and best outcome possible to you at that moment.

Be-Do-Have Part 2 (be do, be do)

Okay, so we chatted about how you have to BE something before you can HAVE it.  We received a response requesting some ideas as to how to handle the challenges.  I’m going to go there in a future post but for now, let’s really dissect the trouble, okay?

Sometimes, I think, we make spiritual stuff harder than it needs to be and we get frustrated with it because there’s not an end point we can shoot for.  (Okay, full enlightenment is great, but I would be happy with making it through the day without thinking bad thoughts about someone else.)  It’s really easy to think “my goal is to be nice to everybody, all the time” than it is to live it.  And when it gets too hard or too frustrating to try and think in an enlightened way, we use the guilt and shame as whips against our souls.  Then we affirm that OBVIOUSLY we’re not worthy of the good in our lives, so why try.  Okay, I shortened the process here for the sake of space, but I think you get the gist.

I’m going to liken spiritual learning with something that most of us know a lot about — changing our diet and/or eating habits.pea on fork

When you first decided that you were going to “change your ways” as far as the food you put in your body, do you remember how you felt?  Excited, ready to learn, eager to seek support and more information, and maybe a little apprehensive.  There was so much to read and learn and think about that thinking about food/snacks/can have’s/can’t have’s became all consuming.  It’s all you thought about and all you talked about.  If you’re not eating, you’re thinking about the what and the when of your next snack.

I remember when John and I went off of sugar.  The first days were terrible!  My head hurt, my body hurt and I was just generally cranky.  Going out of the house was a true test.  I remember clearly standing in line at the grocery store shocked by all the walls and shelves lined with brightly colored ads for sugary items.  So, did the grocery chain find out that John and I were off of sugar and put all of those items in front of us to tempt us or to trip us up? (John says, yes, they did.)  No!  Those things were already there.  I just had not ever noticed them to that degree before.

So, let’s go through my analogy a bit more:

My head hurting — Total entrainment with my previous thought pattern.  My human mind was trying to help me to see the error of my ways and convince me that I would feel better if I’d just give up these highfalutin ideas.  Eating had come easy all of the previous years of my life, why give that ease up now?  This new path is hard and I’m tired.

My body hurting — If the mind can’t get you back, the pressure of the many will!  I’m going to equate my body to the tribal teachings (societal agreements) that we’ve all bought into as truth.  My body didn’t agree with the mind’s choices and was willing to take some low blows to make me come back into the pack.  That’s how tribal teachings work — you go against the flow and you pay the price.

And the crankiness, oh, let’s not forget the crankiness —  It’s HARD changing your ways.  It’s hard going against everything you understand.  It’s hard and everyone should understand how hard it is!!!  It’s time consuming and frustrating and …. oh you get the picture.

Now, here’s the part that gives you hope.  While the first few days were horrible, the horribleness didn’t last.  Eventually, the steps became easier to follow and we weren’t fighting against this new way of being.

Here’s where you ask yourself if we’re still off of sugar……….  I’d like to say yes, but I’d be lying.  However, we did learn a lot about ourselves and what to eat and what not to eat during that stint.  Some of the habits we have today stem directly from that particular diet.  So, did we “fail” in our attempt to enlighten ourselves?

I say, no.  Enlightenment can come to some in an instant (or so I’ve read) but I believe it’s more of a journey.  Are we eating better because we went through this diet process?  Yes.  Did we learn a few things that we’ll always remember?  You betcha!  For us, the learning is cumulative.  Each time we change our eating habits, more ideas make sense and are easier to follow.  Spiritual learning is the same way.

The more you study, the more willing you are to look at, practice and TRY to learn a better way, then more sticks with you and makes more sense to you.  One point from a book connects with a talk from a spiritual leader connects with something you hear from an unlikely source.  It starts settling into your understanding and you find that you’re not fighting against this new thought process as much.

So, understand that the challenges don’t come up because there’s a “test” or a lesson from the Universe.  The things we label as challenges were already there — we were either blind to them or we stepped into them without notice.  By deciding that you are going to think in another way and act in a higher way only sheds light on the things in your life that no longer fit in your new mindset.  They must be dealt with and released before the “new” way of thinking becomes easier.

In the meantime, enjoy learning something new, stay in the excitement of possibilities and let go of the apprehension.

Make sense?  Okay, next time — how not to get stuck in your stuff……..

A Path to Peace – Are You Bound by Your Attachments>

Imagine an individual who was self-absorbed to the point of being narcissistic, prone to outbursts and fits at modest provocations sometimes leading to self-destructive or outwardly abusive behavior. This person will swing wildly from rational to irrational with accompanied mood swings and personality shifts at the mere mention of certain words or names.
Does this person strike you as someone who could benefit from some clinical help?  Would you label them a little crazy?

Certainly sounds like someone who could use some help, but these are the outward manifestations we experience from attachments.  They are like a greedy little bully inside of us who absolutely must get it’s way or it lashes out in some harmful manner then burdens us with the consequences.  It may manifest internally as disappointment, depression, anger, resentment, disdain, disgust, or other ugly darkness. Outwardly, attachment might show up as tears, tantrums, aggression, verbal abuse, physical abuse and more.  Like a two year old screaming “mine mine mine!” unhealthy attachments open the door to acts of complete irrational behavior. Our responses to unmet attachments lead to physical and emotional stress that we could avoid if we could lose the attachment.  Detaching from unhealthy fixations in our lives is our path to peace.

Attachments show up in many ways, some obvious and some so are so sneaky it takes practice to spot them. Not all attachments are unhealthy as some serve us rightly. But even those can become harmful if not properly tempered with wise discernment. As the old saying goes: “There are two sides to every coin” and our attachments are no different. As with all things in life, there exists a balance between the dark and the light, the Yin and the Yang, the additive and reductive, the progressive and regressive… you get the point. Too much of a good thing can be harmful.

Basic human needs drive some of our attachments. The need for nutrition and sustenance can drive our attachment to food, which we might label as a healthy attachment but using food as a substitute for actually addressing some sense of lack in our lives can be harmful. For example, if we connect food with happiness and joy, we may tend to reach out for food anytime we feel less than happy and perhaps overindulge or consume items that are not in our highest and best interest.  Buying material goods can certainly serve us properly in life to meet basic needs. Shelter, safety, personal growth, etc, but spending with the expectation that an object will fill an internal void or fix an internal issue. This “Shopping Therapy” may lead to a temporary distraction from the pains in life, but this neither solves root issues within us that could be addressed, nor bring us actual peace.

Understanding when an attachment is healthy and when it is unhealthy is in my opinion the most important factor towards inner and outer peace. My benchmark for determining the healthiness of an attachment is this question: Does the attachment do myself or another individual any harm? If the answer is yes, then I take that opportunity to look within and drill down for the actual motivation for the attachment and when it is discovered, it is noted and work can begin to heal it.

Next up: Spotting Attachments so you can release towards peace.