Through many Personal Development programs we are introduced to the concept of a Guiding Light, North Star, or as Napoleon Hill writes in Think and Grow Rich, a Definite Purpose. For many, Guiding Light is an iconic daytime drama that brought us such stars as Ian Ziering, Christopher Walken, Billy Dee Williams, James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, JoBeth Williams, and Kevin Bacon, to name a few.
Your Guiding Light is not a goal, something you have achieved, or the destination of your journey. It is a guiding principle to live by to attain those goals, create those achievements, and is the basis of the journey one chooses.
Basically, your Guiding Light is the foundation of everything you do to achieve and create success. Can one’s Guiding Light change? Yes. That is part of the alignment and realignment one does along their journey and as one enriches their personal development.
When I began my journey, like many, I struggled with my Guiding Light. Immediately I felt I must have one in order to be successful. I had always been attracted to the quote, “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” from the iconic musical, Cabaret. Other idioms such as the Golden Rule, “Just Do It,” and “Think Differently” were also on my list.
Despite proclaiming this as my Guiding Light and writing it down, it seemed shallow. Shortly thereafter, I was in New York and heard the line, “The only Latter Day that matters is tomorrow,” from The Book of Mormon. I remember thinking, “There it is. Add the two together and I have my real guiding principle.” For the next two years, my Guiding Light was, “The only Latter Day that matters is tomorrow, and tomorrow belongs to me.” This told me that whatever I did today determines the quality of my tomorrow.
Since the first of the year I’ve been expanding my Personal Development, enriching it with podcasts and re-reading books such as Think and Grow Rich.
The more I read, the more I listened, the more I studied; I began to realize that my Guiding Light was out of alignment. The emphasis was on tomorrow. What about today? In a moment of true inspiration I remembered what Professor Harold Hill said in The Music Man, “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to make today worth remembering.”
And there it was, my Guiding Light; “Make today worth remembering.”
Do you have a Guiding Light?
A phenomenon sweeping the globe is The Ice Bucket Challenge. Dumping cold ice water over one’s head is an activity gone viral to raise awareness and money for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / Lou Gehrig’s disease). Let’s take the challenge and apply it to our lives and our business.
Daily, we are encouraged to do visualization – where you focus on your goals. Find a quiet place where you can visualize yourself taking the challenge.
Open your eyes. Still freezing wet and in shock, how does the world look to you now? In that spontaneous second what was your first thought? What is different based on how you reacted to the jolt of ice water?
Now visualize if you applied that jolt to your life and/or to your career. How would you react? What would be different? It does not matter if you are the highest income earner or someone still struggling, nor does it matter if you apply this to your career or your personal life; such a jolt instantly changes one’s perspective. You experience something you probably have never experienced before.
Are you willing to take The Ice Bucket Challenge? Once you take the challenge, challenge three other people. That’s the rule of the game! That’s how you build momentum.
21 days to form a habit? Most attribute that theory to a physician who worked with amputees suffering a loss of limb. He theorizes it took 21 days to get accustomed to the loss. Rhetorically, isn’t creating a habit of drinking more water different than adapting to losing your leg?
Many people see habits as routine. Habits are automatic. Habits are decisions we make without even thinking.
New Year’s Resolutions have an 8% success rate and 21 days may seem more like a monumental task. So, how does one overcome that obstacle and create positive change? The secret is in developing mini-habits. Rather than feeling guilty not achieving your goal, break down that goal into attainable results.
I learned of mini-habits from Stephen Guise. The technique comes from Tinkertoys, a creativity book. It is the opposite of an idea you are stuck on. The more ridiculous, the more successful you become.
You may want to create an exercise regimen. Going for gusto of 30 minutes to an hour a day, joining a gym, and hitting it hard often ends in disaster. What if you began by just doing one push-up?
The One Push-up Challenge: As absurd as it sounds, it works. When you get out of bed, do just one push-up. What you find is while you are in the position doing the one push-up you find it easier to do 2, 3, 4, or 5. The mini-habit is born. Habits are built from willpower, not motivation. The reason we fail at creating new habits is we try to do too much at once. It requires more willpower, not increased motivation.
To create a mini-habit, choose a desired change and make it “stupid small.” Say your mini-habit out loud. If it is so small it sounds stupid, then you are on your way. Some mini-habits may include meditation for one minute, one push-up, read two pages daily, walk 100 steps, drink one glass of water, etc.
Choose 3 mini-habits to begin. Incorporate them into one of your 10-minute task. Write down your mini-habit. Check it off daily so you can visualize your progress. When you remove the pressure and expectations, you allow yourself to change.
My mini-habits are: meditate for one minute, read two pages from a book, and drinking one glass of water each morning before coffee.
What mini-habits are you starting?
Have you realized that this very moment is part of your story? There is no right or wrong answers, it is not perfect, but is a blank canvas to use as you please.
You have to live each moment consciously, design your own truth, and share it with others. It’s a process whereby you realize your individuality and can only share it once you have created it.
Consider these six things to love about your life:
1. Spend time on your personal growth and goals.
Remember, “You can like the life you’re living and you can live the life you like.” (Chicago)
bart is a nationally known, sought-after motivational speaker, author, blogger, personal coach, trainer, entrepreneur, and major advocate of the theatre community.
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