Three little words – Let yourself out!

January 27, 2015

Awaken the Greatness – Phrase seen on a Purina ProPlan dog food bag . Anthony Robbins puts it a slightly different way – Awaken the Giant Within. There are all sorts of little inspirational sayings that use similar phrasing, with words like “free your…” or “unchain your…” or “unleash your…” What all of these little tidbits of advice share in common is the recognition that what’s holding you back is you. We create our own cages or chain ourselves to old habits; we limit our own abilities and refrain from taking chances or risks to explore new idea or experiences. We are incarcerating the giant within and restraining our own greatness. It’s time to change that. Let yourself out!

cagedThere are lots of complex and intertwined reasons that we hold ourselves back and most of them boil down to FUD – Fear Uncertainty and Doubt. We do not let ourselves succeed many times because we don’t ore won’t try what is necessary for success – we are fearful of the unknown, uncertain of the risks and doubtful of our own abilities. We talk ourselves out of it and feel satisfied that we have avoided probable failure by not even trying. We had no chance to win, because we wouldn’t even play. Let yourself out!

Our creativity is stifled many times because we fear criticism of our work. We think it’s just not good enough. Imagine the criticism that Picasso might have gotten from an artpicasso teacher at school for one of his abstract drawings or paintings – eyes pointed this way and nose going that way and those colors. You can imagine the teacher saying, “Give it up Pablo, you just don’t have it to be an artist.” Or how about the first time Bob Dillon performed using the technique that he developed to get the words out? Imagine the critics who panned him for his delivery, rather than listening to the message that he was trying to get across. Don’t let the world stifle what you are trying to say through your art or your writing or your songs. Let yourself out!

Our social lives are often hampered by shyness and self-doubt. After all, who would want to hear what you’ve got to say? You’re not one of the “in” people, the cute ones, the jocks or the popular kids; you’re just an ordinary person with an ordinary life. Yet there is something that you have that no one else has and that is your perspective on the kids at schoolworld, how you see things is definitely different from how others see them. The things that you like and the knowledge that you’ve accumulated provide you with opinions that are different from others – not better or worse, just different. Differences of opinion make for more interesting conversations and relationships. Express those differences and you become a more interesting person; perhaps even the “go to” person when others realize that you are your own person and not just going along with the crowd to get along. You may not please everyone when you learn to express yourself, but you certainly won’t be labeled dull and uninteresting. Let yourself out!

For some discovering the greatness within may take an artistic form – art or music or even acting. For some the route to letting the real you come out maybe through athletics. For many it turns out that the key to letting themselves out is through service to others, through volunteering and helping others through charitable causes and helping handsprograms. Every community has those who truly find themselves and let others see who they are through their tireless work to feed or cloth or house the less fortunate. The tiny voice inside your head that says “let me help” can grow into the strong voice that others hear as they follow your lead or work alongside you on the projects that you take on in the community. Suddenly, you find that you have that greatness that you didn’t know was there and it’s all because you – Let yourself out!

So, don’t let yourself be caged by the opinions of others and don’t build your own cage of fear, uncertainly and doubt. Stand up, clear your throat, and say out loud – “I want to help.” Before you know it, a different you will out there, working, helping and joining with others to make a difference in the lives of others and in the community. Fear, smiling girluncertainty and doubt will be replaced by satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment and confidence. It may not end up that there was a giant within you; but for sure there was always more than the dwarf that you had let yourself become in a cage of your own making. You won’t know how much you can grow until you get out there and get started. But, before you can put yourself out there, you have to – Let yourself out!

Have a great week. Find your voice and express your opinions. Find a cause. Find a need that you can fill. But most of all – Let yourself out!


See it and be it….

September 10, 2014

“Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”  (Arthur Ashe) From the Jack’s Winning Wordsstruggleblog earlier this week.

I understand where Ashe was coming from in this little quote, but, to me, it seems a little defeatist; a little too accepting of things as you find them; and a little to limiting on what you can actually do. There is no ‘stretch” in those statements. Those almost seem to be the aspirations of a plugger or a grinder. If I had to pick a fictional character to voice them, I’d pick Eeyore from Winnie the Poo.

If I were to rephrase this quote in a more positive and upbeat way, it would read like this –

“Start with where you want to be; visualize what you’ll need to do to get there; then, do what you have to do to achieve your goal.” ( Norm Werner)

It seems to me, that if you start each week with your goal to somehow make it through until Friday, then that’s exactly all that you’ll achieve. You’ll grind along using what you have and doing what you can, but at the end of the week you’ll still be where you started. Not very inspiring is it?

dreamsNow, I’m not saying that you can imagine yourself to success; however, a variation of imagining is visualization and that has proven to be one of the secrets to success of people who get ahead and for winners in sports. They “see” themselves being successful. They visualize the perfect golf shot or they “see” themselves getting the big promotion or creating the hot new company.  However; actual success is the product of hard work, in addition to high aspirations. No one said it would be easy; but no one is saying it’s impossible either.

Every story of great athletic success also has a back-story of tremendous amounts of training and striving and putting in the extra effort to be the best and to get to that goal. Every Olympics has tons of those stories associated with the Gold Medal winners. Every story of success in business has a background story of putting in the extra effort to learn or to try and fail and start over again when others would have given up. You don’t get to see how many times that Olympic ice skater fell while trying to perfect her triple toe loop, but she could show you the bruises. You probably will never heart about the 4-5 start-up companies that failed before that young business success got it right, but they are out there in the dust bins of history.  Winners get up, dust themselves off, learn from their failure and try again and again and again and again…until theyfacing new day achieve their goal.

So, here we are. It’s Wednesday and you’re half way to achieving your goal, if just getting to Friday was your goal. Woo Hoo!

What about your dreams? What about breaking out of the rut that you are in? What have you done about that this week? What about having something real to celebrate on Friday? You still have time. Forget about where you are. Where do you want to be? Forget about what you have. What do you need to do to get where you want to be? Do what you must to stay alive; but, then go beyond that and do what you need to do to get where you want to be – to get a new life. It’s only Wednesday, you still have time this week.

If you take the plunge to pursue your dreams you won’t be celebrating TGIF; you’ll be saying, “Oh crap, it’s Friday
already, I need more time to get stuff done.” Don’t worry, there’s always next week; and, if you start it with the right attitude of commitment to your dream you’ll have something great to celebrate again the next Friday.

I believe that’s celebrateanother other key to success, learning to celebrate your successes, no matter how small; and learning how to build upon them. Every hour that you put in is an hour that someone else didn’t dedicate to their success and that puts you an hour ahead of them. Every class that you take gets you closer to your goal. Every sacrifice that you make brings you a step closer to where you want to be. Every time that you fall (fail) but get back up again is another indication that you will not be stopped by adversity. Celebrate that; revel in that; you cannot be defeated and that is something to thank God for on Friday and every day of the week.

Print this quote out and put it on your wall –

I know where I’m going, I can see what I need to do to get there; and, I will not stop until I have reached my goal. (Put your name at the end, because it’s your dream and you own it)

Now get off your duffs and get on with your dreams. Thanks God it’s not Friday, yet.