I just spent over an hour chatting with a potential new client who’s ready for a major shift in her life. After getting to a point of burnout, she’s realized that her current job isn’t a good fit for her at all. Many of us have been there, or gotten close, and this time of year often inspires us to pause and reflect on our lives.
What do we want to create for ourselves, for our family, for our legacy?
Are you on track with your journey?
One reason I named my company Chosen Course is because we all have the power to choose and intentionally craft the life that we want to live and that is fulfilling for us.
However, too often we relinquish that choice. We stay in the land of good enough or develop a sense of learned helplessness that is so disempowering. Each one of us has particular gifts to bring into the world which only we can give, and we start by choosing to reclaim our power to create our own lives.
I want to share with you three teachings that have empowered me to continue to grow each day of my life and may inspire you too if you choose to integrate them into your life. They are three of the presuppositions of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) that I have internalized as core beliefs in my heart.
1.) I create my experience of reality. I choose to live “at cause” rather than “in effect.”
I acknowledge that we are, in many ways “co-creators” of what happens to us day to day because sometimes things happen that we know we didn’t intend or choose. However, what we have complete control over is our response to what happens.
Vicktor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist, author of "Man’s Search for Meaning" and a holocaust survivor, said:
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Our response to what happens in our lives creates our experience of reality, and over that we have complete control and choice. In claiming this control we also claim responsibility for our lives and shift out of playing victim to anything. What future are you creating for yourself? You are the only one that can change it, and in every moment you are given the opportunity to choose to do so.
2.) If it is possible in the world, it’s possible for me.
There are endless stories of people who have overcome all odds, all disabilities, and achieved things that others said were impossible. While my life has had its share of challenges and struggles, I have been blessed with many more opportunities and advantages. Yet still, I take hope from such stories and recognize that if someone else has done it, then so can I.
The world doesn’t need just one person to shine… we don’t need just one great doctor, one great leader, one great chef… we need MANY. When we nurture our own light it helps others to shine even brighter. Our actions shine the way for those who follow. Therefore, we must seek out our beautiful way to shine. As St. Catherine of Sienna said, “When you become what you were meant to be, you will set the world ablaze.”
3.) There is no failure only feedback.
Just because you choose it, and it’s possible in the world, doesn’t mean that the road will always be smooth. But, I have chosen to remove the word “failure” from my vocabulary, and this belief has been ingrained in me since childhood, long before I started studying NLP.
If something I was trying to do didn’t work, then that means it’s time to re-evaluate. There were elements I didn’t consider, issues that were unexpected, and resources that could yet be brought to bear. It’s time to reflect, but that doesn’t mean that anything (me or the attempt) is a failure.
Life is an iterative process. We try something, learn, change our approach, and try again. It always makes me think of the conversation with Thomas Edison. He was asked by a reporter “how did it feel to fail 10,000 times?” Edison simply replied, “I didn’t fail 10,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 10,000 steps.”
They are all steps on the journey that takes you toward the future you are creating for yourself and for us all. Your persistence may not invent the light bulb, or the flying car, or the next super microchip… but it may bring light to those around you. It may inspire others. It may be part of your legacy to the world and those you love.
Take hold of your life, choose the future you want to create, and shine.
Erin Elizabeth Wells is the Founder & Senior Productivity Strategist of Chosen Course and the Founder and Owner of Living Peace, LLC. Erin is a Productivity Strategist who works with high performers including corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, and influencers to improve their productivity, focus, and effectiveness in their work and daily life. She is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School with a Masters of Divinity (M.Div.) degree, and she holds the designation of Certified Professional Organizer (CPO®). In 2014, Erin received her certification as a practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), which provides many additional skills to support habit formation and behavior change which are key elements of productivity.