7 Strategies Toward a Decided Heart

 

 

 

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“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.

Decisions, Decisions: 5 Mindsets toward Making Your Best Choice

“Choices made, whether bad or good, follow you forever and affect everyone in their path one way or another.”
J.E.B. Spredemann, An Unforgivable Secret

Should I stay or should I go?

Should I turn left or should I turn right?

Should I pick up the phone and call or should I just remain silent?

Should I stay in school or should I drop out?

Should I marry him or keep searching?

“Alice came to a fork in the road. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked.
‘Where do you want to go?’ responded the Cheshire Cat.
‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered.
‘Then,’ said the Cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Sometimes choices we face every day are of little consequence or so it seems and sometimes we know deep inside that the choices we make have a great impact on our lives and those around us. I believe that every time we are faced with a choice to make the decision and choice matter very much. So how do we know when and how to make the right choices?

In his book, The Travelers Gift, author Andy Andrews tells a story of the 7 decisions that determine personal success. In a nut shell here they are:

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 decided heart. My destiny is assured.”

5-      “Today I will choose to be happy. I am the possessor of a grateful spirit.”

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.”

I think, for right now, the hardest item for me is number 4. I don’t yet feel like I have a decided heart about some really important issues in my life like what to do about my son not wanting to get a job and also his decision to not to go to college right now.  Ultimately I know he has to make his own choices about how to live his life but while he is living at home and affecting the lives of those he lives with I am faced with a choice to make about how to teach him what his responsibilities are for not only himself but to the people around him and the world at large. There are several choices I can make here but which one will get me/us to a good place now and in the long run? The choice I decidedly want to make is one of helping him to become a victor not a victim of his own mind.

“I find that the best way to love someone is not to change them, but instead, help them reveal the greatest version of themselves.” – Steve Maraboli

There are some things that I am decided on like the fact that I love, love, love my children and they will always be what makes my day worth living, I will always leave myself in a position of learning every single day, and making G-d more of a central focus in my life grounds me. Those are the things I know for sure and am absolutely decided on. Everything else, well, not so much. Indecision is a scary nowhere place to be and I can feel deep inside a pull to get decided on things like my life relationships, my 5 year plan, and exercise. What I know for sure is that once I am decided I not only make room to expand on the depth of the decision but my sense of self-worth grows from the inside out. At times I feel so desperate to just know the choice I’ve made that I get impatient to get to the choice already. But then I take a deep breath and forgive my impatience as best I can and decide that time is my friend and it is assured that when the time is right I will be decided about many things.

“We face an endless string of choices, which leads us to feel anxiety, guilt and pangs of inadequacy that we are perhaps making the wrong ones.” –Renata Salecl

So why does it take so long to make a choice and how do we know we are even this close to making a good, right, guilt free choice/decision?

I think it’s because we have the heavy job of letting go. We need to let go of bad choices of the past and forgive ourselves.  We need to let go of the regrets and mistakes we made or think we made, we need to let go of the things we thought we wanted but didn’t get and we need to let go of the idea of being stuck. Really, what we need to do is make a choice to either hold on to the pain of the past or choose to forge ahead with enlightenment and hope for a better future based on lessons learned from previous choices.

As for me, I want to take what I have learned about old choices and use the information to make better choices going forward; whatever I would have done in actions and decisions needs to be my guidepost of what not to do the next time or at least what to consider in a better light this next time. Basically, use my heart to guide me toward the best right choice for this now moment.

“Before you can live, a part of you has to die. You have to let go of what could have been, how you should have acted and what you wish you would have said differently. You have to accept that you can’t change the past experiences, opinions of others at that moment in time or outcomes from their choices or yours. When you finally recognize that truth then you will understand the true meaning of forgiveness of yourself and others. From this point you will finally be free.”
Shannon L. Alder

There are concrete steps you can take toward making good choices/decisions but keep in mind that there will always be the possibility, whether now or down the road, where hindsight will make your choices even more clear. This is a good thing because decision making and choosing is a skill that needs to be honed constantly. So where to begin?

1-      Think clearly. The act of thinking clearly simply means to stay as calm as possible. If there is too much emotion revolving around a choice that needs to be made then step back, create space between your emotions and the choice to be made and wait awhile. Don’t be impulsive. Put off making any choices until you can think and see your options more clearly.

2-      Research. Collect as much information as you can about what you need to choose. Consult the internet, a trusted friend or mentor, take a poll, or whatever works for you. A rational, logical mind is what is needed to feel confident of the choices you are facing.

3-      Pros and Cons list. This is my ultimate go-to action step. I love this step. This step weighs risk and reward and lays out possible outcomes either way. Making a pro and con list for each choice needing to be made gives such clarity to not only the choice but to your heart. If you get to a point on your list where you can feel where your heart belongs then you eliminate the high risk of regret now and later. HOWEVER, try not to get too caught up in every pro and con because over-thinking things can create more problems than necessary. It really is a heart thing so listen carefully. Your heart and your gut won’t steer you wrong.

4-      Options within options. This one is really cool. Do you have a plan “b”? I was reading a book recently where the spy was giving advice to a new recruit. The advice was to always have at least 2 ways into a situation and 3 ways out. Create a plan “b” or a plan “c” or even a plan “d” if possible. You win the battle of making good choices by expanding and finding new choices to make. It’s fun and kind of like creating a safety net underneath you. It helps you feel protected and safe in whatever choice you then have to make within the options you’ve created.

5-      Be responsible. Eventually you have to make your choice. Be responsible for the choice you ultimately make. Don’t make a choice out of fear or time running out or any kind of outside pressure. Accept responsibility from the inside out when it comes time to look at the choice you made.

Call to Action

On the list of 7 decisions, what are you working tirelessly at making part of your personal success?

What is very hard for you to start working toward and how would you choose to accomplish that?

What do you think would be the hardest step to really get the hang of?

What choices are you facing now that could use a little bit of the 5 key steps toward better decision making?

Images by bing.com/lifechoicemedical.com

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. You can reach me by calling 203-560-3061 or send an email to: lisa@journeyoncoaching.com.