7 Strategies Toward a Decided Heart





“A dream is not just a wish your heart makes.  It is the hope that God places inside your heart to believe in what may seem impossible to accomplish, but in fact is completely obtainable.” – Shonna Stallworth

And so began Matthew’s personal journey to find his life. Only 3 shortish long months into his journey and already the path he thought he set himself on has altered completely and he now finds that he has to start all over again, from scratch, setting out a new course but trying to keep to the integrity of his decided heart. Oh how life twists and turns and messes with our plans. But I believe that life’s destiny is about facing life with a decided heart which is embedded with courage.

“Struggle is proof that you haven’t been conquered, that you refuse to surrender, that victory is still possible, and that you’re growing.” Jon Walden

What is destiny? The dictionary defines destiny as a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency; something that happens or will be experienced in the future.

Are you living your destiny right this second? This moment right now is the present and the future of where you were and you don’t know for sure if there will be more of a future for you. So if you are living your destiny right this minute are you happy, satisfied, excited, and energized?

Is there a way to harness destiny? In other words, should we stay the course with rigidity or should we be flexible to the changes?

I’ve always believed that flexibility has its merits. Being stuck and rigid to one plan or ideal can cause more harm than good but it also shows perseverance and determination. Can your mantra, your credo, your personal life code be rigid and yet flexible within?

In his book, The Traveler’s Gift, author Andy Andrews talks about 7 decisions for determining personal success. He lists these decisions as a code of ethics, as armor toward his destiny. Take a look:

  1. The buck stops here. I am responsible for my past and my future.
  2. I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others.
  3. I am a person of action. I seize this moment. I choose now.
  4. I have a decide heart. My destiny is assured.
  5. Today I will choose to be happy. I am the possessor of a grateful heart.
  6. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. I will forgive myself.
  7. I will persist without exception. I am a person of great faith.

The thing that strikes me most severely is Mr. Andrew’s passion and determined presence in these 7 decisions. He sets his destiny within the decisions his heart makes. I feel the power of his convictions in each one of them and I am moved to believe without a doubt that he will meet with great success toward his destiny. The pathway to his destiny will, however, be tried and tested and so will his 7 decisions. The trick is to approach his future with passion and stability in his decided heart but make friends with the flexibility life will require of him. Once you know where your heart stands the devil then is in the details.

Matthew has a decided heart. He knows where he wants to make his life happen. He is staying open and flexible within his heart in order to live these 7 decisions. He has already come up with a possible plan should this new pathway on his journey not work out quite like he is imaging. To me this means he has already learned that what he set out to accomplish may take a whole lot longer than he hoped it would because one just never know what fate has in store. The big lesson here is to remain determined to see this journey through and to learn as much as he can along the way.

I am so jealous and so inspired. I am jealous because I have yet to master the flexibility aspect to my satisfaction and I sometimes feel stuck in the events of the past. I feel inspired because he is like a jumping bean moving to the rhythm of his decided heart and adjusting for curves along his destiny’s path. This is the year of my battle with indecision. I have a deep, yearning pull deep within my core to have a decided heart but to decide so many important things about which direction my life should go has left me standing still. Some things have been decided for me. As I have learned if you don’t decide, that itself is a decision which yields ugly outcomes. Some things are still hanging in the air, blowing in the wind, and waiting for me to attend to it.

Getting in touch with the truth of who I want to be now, how I want to live my life now, and what influences I want in my life now are really tough decisions to make. Some people call this a mid-life crisis. I call it lunacy. I was so happy living in the fantasy of existing in someone else’s life. I was a mom full time and caught up, lovingly and wholeheartedly in raising my children to be able to do exactly what Matthew is doing. I should feel so proud and I do, truly I do, but I never imagined how lonely and lost I would feel when the kids all grew up and spread their wings. I have had many incarnations of myself throughout the motherhood phase of my life but now I really need to hone in on what exactly I want to absolutely dedicate my time and energy toward.

“No matter what your history has been, your destiny is what you create today. What are you going to create?” Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

If every decade has the potential to be a new incarnation, a chance to write a new and exciting chapter of who I am evolving toward then this decided heart thing should be fun not anguishing. 

And so it begins. I give myself permission to create a decided heart around a lot of emotional topics like my marriage, my career, my financial future, my home, my family, etc. I am not the kind of person that can cross the street without looking both ways. I just can’t leave it up to fate to determine whether I make it across safely. I think things through to such a degree that I make more choices for myself than need be and that is where I get stuck. Some people see the world and their decisions as black and white but I see all shades of gray and have a hard time choosing which shade feels the most authentic.

The question then becomes how can I create my own destiny and therefore a decided heart? Here is what I’ve learned so far…

  1. See your future. Silly right? If you can build it, it will come. Build the image of the future you want and plan every step along the way as best you can but allow for divots. Life will always create a sinkhole somewhere but instead of seeing that sinkhole as a problem see it as part of your destined path. What will you fill them in with?
  2. Get real. You can play a really amazing game of baseball but truly, will you become a pro athlete on a team for the MLB association? Know your limits and strengths and play to them always. Stay authentic and relevant so that you don’t waste too much time getting lost in fantasy.
  3. Know your why. Knowing right from the beginning why you are in pursuit of your destiny will help determine who you want to see yourself becoming and what the purpose of your destiny really is. Defining your why will enable you to streamline your energy, focus, values and ethics.
  4. Source it out. Don’t always think old school when creating ways to get where you want to go. You may not be in the know about new resources and how they work but don’t let that stop you. Part of your destiny is to learn, learn and then learn some more.
  5. Enlist your tribe. There will be those people that want to and feel compelled to tear down what you are trying to achieve but don’t listen. Most likely they are jealous because they lost momentum along their destiny’s path and haven’t been able to get it back. Use constructive criticism to your advantage. Seek out those people that know more than you so that you can grow and gain insight into your journey.
  6. HARD is not a four letter word. Adjust for rough roads. Those rough roads are the nitty-gritty of your destiny’s journey. The grit is what makes the hard work worth it in the end. Let hard work be your friend and ally. If there is no sweat or tears then it wasn’t worth pursuing in the first place. Nothing that comes easy ever has a really great story attached to it.
  7. Eat your way to the top. Always be mindful of your health. Know your energy limits and eat when you are hungry. Your journey depends on you actually getting to the end of it alive and well.

Please visit this list for more destiny to- do’s.

When all is said and done destiny is very much like the chaos theory or the butterfly effect. The butterfly effect simply means that the tiniest influence on one part of a system or plan can have a huge effect on another part down the road. Your destiny will have details to it that will undoubtedly impact your preconceived outcome and will also then affect someone along the way. It did for me when Matthew decided to take his destiny in his own hands and it did for him when one small fluctuation changed everything. It wasn’t just the act itself that impacted me as his mom but the way in which he lets his heart decide his next steps when the butterfly affects his plans.

Call to Action 

“Decide in your heart of hearts what really excites and challenges you, and start moving your life in that direction. Every decision you make, from what you eat to what you do with your time tonight, turns you into who you are tomorrow, and the day after that. Look at who you want to be, and start sculpting yourself into that person. You may not get exactly where you thought you’d be, but you will be doing things that suit you in a profession you believe in. Don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you don’t want to become.” – Chris Hadfield


If you would like to explore more about personal growth, building and strengthening your success characteristics, or discovering what more you have inside of you please call for a free discovery session in my Art of YOU coaching program. Not ready yet? Please visit my website at www.journeyoncoaching.com. You can reach me by calling 203-560-3061 or send an email to: lisa@journeyoncoaching.com.

6 Strategies To Be Kind To Yourself

“I met someone that was unkind to me. He treated me as if my life and my feelings and my essence did not matter. I felt used, abused and trashed. I felt like dirt and I felt dirty. He lured me in with pretty words and he made sure that I was as hooked on his bait like a fish to a lure. I didn’t see it coming. I was in such desperate need to have those words and thoughts said to me that I didn’t see what was really happening. I became unkind to myself.”

A client came to me a few months ago and this is how our conversation started. She was devastated and feeling down on herself. Since our initial coaching session there have been tiny breakthroughs and the breakthrough that seems to be helping pull her out of her sense of worthlessness is kindness. My client discovered the power of kindness when I asked her how she expresses kindness to herself. How was she expressing kindness to herself , her essence when she allows someone to have such influence over her emotions and thoughts?

We all need reassurance and validation. It’s okay to fall off the top of the “I like me” cheerleader pile. Making sure you get back up is the hard part but no matter what you have to do, get back up. We have to find a way to restore ourselves to rights when we get knocked down. How do you show kindness to yourself when someone has not been kind to you, even if that someone was you?

I think Plato said it best and true when he said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” In the months following my initial session with my client, she has come to realize that along with forgiveness of self and of this unkind person, comes the realization that her self-worth would benefit from not being wrapped up in someone else’s actions. This guy that was unkind to her was definitely dealing with some deep personal issues regarding women and she just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The question now is, what lessons can be learned strongly and deeply enough that compassion and kindness become the rule and the norm?

American humorist and writer Sam Levenson understood what women really needed when he wrote what I have come to refer to as the Bobby Brown commandment book of becoming an awesome woman:

“For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it at least once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone. As you grow older you will discover that you have 2 hands; one for helping yourself and one for helping others.”

There have been too many times in my life that I have let a low sense of self-worth get the better of me. As I’ve gotten older I have realized that one quick way to help alleviate the pain of that personal despair is to help someone. Getting out of my own way, getting to the business of kindness toward others is a sure fire way to leave myself behind and make someone else feel like a winner. It’s very simple really and you have heard me say this so many times before, other people matter. So ultimately someone else is going through just what I am going through therefore I am not alone. And because I am not alone I will reach out, share my story and heal, not only my heart but the heart of someone else.

Recently I committed to volunteer and teach a creative writing class to a group of middle school children through the Boys and Girls Club of America. I am so excited to work with them. It is an uplifting way for me to give not only of my time but of my passion. It gets me out of my own head and into the thought processes of children that carry hope and possibility through their veins. For me, this is an exercise in kindness; the giving of myself to the betterment of others. I like that….

“When you are feeling bad about yourself or your life, do something you love. Make sure that the thing you love to do is good for you. Make sure that it will not hurt anyone else. Make sure that while you are doing it, you remind yourself of all the ways you can be more loving, more supportive, and more encouraging TO YOURSELF.” – Iyanla Vanzant

One great step in helping my client through her awareness of kindness was to start her on a personal kindness journey. Here is a small list of personal kindness steps you can take right now so that you can spread kindness from the inside out:

Speak patiently and lovingly to yourself: Whenever you start to feel like you want to berate yourself for a job not done so well, stop, take a deep breath and turn the words around. Take it one word at a time. Think in baby steps about all of the great things that happened along the way toward the end of the job. What did you accomplish? What do you like so far? What personal values are you bringing right now that let you know you are worthy? How did you forgive yourself for falling short of your values today?

“If I knew your thoughts, I would know what you are, for your thoughts make you who you are. By changing our thoughts, we can change our lives.” – Dale Carnegie

Smile: We have tried this exercise before. Look in the mirror and force a smile on your face. It will feel awkward and strange and weird and silly. Good. Play around with different ways to smile. Then go out and smile at people at the grocery store. How many times did you notice a smile in return or kind eyes staring back at you? How much more at peace and how much more happy do you feel because you smiled? How did you appreciate yourself today? When were you filled with pride for yourself today? How many times did you catch yourself feeling love for yourself today? Self-compassion is as important as compassion for other people. Practice on yourself and it will be natural to show to others.

This quote can easily be read and adapted to be personal….

“One of the most spiritual things you can do is to embrace your humanity. Connect with those around you today. Say, “I love you”, “I’m sorry”, “I appreciate you”, “I’m proud of you”…whatever you are feeling. Send random texts, reminders, write a cute note, embrace your truth and share it…cause a smile today for someone else…and give plenty of hugs.” – Steve Maraboli

Create an encouragement jar: Lots of people have a bad habit of using foul language. In an attempt to break their bad habit they put the nasty word in a jar each time the nasty word is spoken out lous and create a fine or punishment in order to help them turn it around. The opposite is just as helpful. For each time you start to get down on yourself, quickly think of something encouraging to balance the negative personal thought. Put the encouraging word in a jar and see how many times in one week you broke the bad habit of discouragement. Before you know it the encouragement jar will be so full you might need more than one.

“Encouragement from any source is like a drop of rain upon a parched desert.” –Claire Gillian

Forgive yourself: This is a hard one for sure and the angel and devil have at it when forgiveness looms. Forgiveness starts with learning. Did you know better and ignore it? Did you learn something from a negative experience? Allow forgiveness and it will be easier to forgive others too.

“Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim; letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.” – C.R. Strahan

Show gratitude: Gratitude can show up in many forms. Gratitude can look like giving, listening, stillness, meditation and acceptance. Speak out loud all that you are grateful for in any moment, day, week, month, or year. The more you hear your own voice sincerely speaking gratitude the more your body will start to relax and build self-worth.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” — Epicurus

Activate you soul: Go for a bike ride, spend time in nature, read a book that makes you happy, listen to your favorite music while you make dinner or do laundry, end your day with a laugh, wash your face at the end of the day, take a bubble bath by candle light, grow something, learn to play an instrument, clean a room, bake your favorite cookie….

“Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.” –Walt Whitman

Call to Action

How do you show kindness to yourself and/or to others?

How do you feel when kindness reveals itself?

Where in your body do you feel kindness first, strongest?

If you would like to explore more about personal growth, building character strengths, or discovering what more you have inside of you please call for a free discovery session in my Art of YOU coaching program. You can reach me by calling 203-560-3061 or send an email to: lisa@journeyoncoaching.com.

Image by Simplereminders.com