Dec 112011

Are you one of the millions of Americans are asking themselves today what they are doing, where they are going, and what  they want to do with the rest of their lives?

Faced with a myriad of options, many become paralyzed. Author, speaker, and counselor Richard Leider offers this simple formula for making life choices:

T + P + E x V

T is for talent. What are your strengths and weaknesses, and are you maximizing those strengths while managing the weaknesses? Many of us aren’t aware of our talents and shortcomings, and as a result most of us aren’t living up to our full potential.

P is for purpose. Most of us are searching for meaning, and we want to know that our lives matter. “Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation,” Aristotle once offered. How are you using your talents to make the world  — even your little part of it — a better place?

E is for environment. Many people have real talents and are prepared to apply them in something they believe in, but their environment holds them back. What environment best suits your style, your temperament, and your values?  Using the Birkman Method, I  help clients determine their ideal work environment so that they won’t make costly mistakes.

V is for vision. Talent, purpose, and environment are about work style and choice.  Vision describes how work fits into the rest of your life. For close to 25 years, Richard Leider interviewed more than 1,000 people who retired from leading companies after distinguished careers. Most said if they could live their lives again, they would:

1.      Be more reflective

2.      Take more risks

3.      Understand what gave them fulfillment

Leider concludes that fulfillment is the truest measure of success, and fulfillment comes from integrity, knowing who you are and finding the courage to express yourself in the world.

Nov 272011

Where is a burning bush when you need one? I’ve been waiting for clarity and direction for some time now, and no lightning bolts of inspiration have hit. Or have they?

Maybe insight is whispered, not shouted. Maybe we find direction through a gentle nudge, rather than a harsh shove. If this is true, we have to trust more.

While it’s easy to trust which direction to take when Moses parts the Red Sea, it’s a little harder when that quiet voice inside whispers, “This way.” It gets even harder when you look up to see where “this way” is taking you, and the fog is so thick you can’t see the destination, only the space right in front of you.

I am beginning to learn that “this way” can only be achieved one step at a time. God didn’t supply Moses and his people a week’s worth of manna; it came one day at a time.

When I am still and listen, the quiet voice inside tells me that right now it’s not about what I do, but how I do it. For someone who gets his sense of worth by checking things off the “to do” list and for the “attaboys” I receive for making things happen, this is a hard lesson. Yet it’s an important one.

Happiness may not depend so much on what I do. I can do many things and not be happy. Instead, maybe happiness comes with focus. When I focus on awareness, attention, and intention, life seems richer.