Embrace Abnormal

April 19th, 2015 § 6 comments § permalink

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” —Maya Angelou

Are you hiding behind normality?

You have a choice to make. Either you can decide to play it safe and follow the crowd. Or, you can choose to embrace what makes you unique and the gifts you have to offer. Normality is a myth and success depends upon your willingness to affirm who you are and what you have to offer.

It takes courage to be true to yourself. As you step out and let the real you shine through, there’s always a risk that others aren’t going to like you. Even those closest to you might not agree with your beliefs or approach. However, no matter what you do there will always be someone that doesn’t care for you. The greater risk is living a life of mediocrity.

A seed of potential exists within every one of us.  Unless we’re willing to take the necessary steps to cultivate our potential it will never blossom. The first step is to become clear about who you are.  Discover your passions, values, and strengths so you understand the impact you want to make.

Once you have this foundation of self-awareness in place you can begin to develop your potential. Actively look for opportunities to use your strengths. Start sharing your desires with close family, friends, and colleagues to see what ideas they might offer for practicing your strengths. The more you experiment the more clarity you will have about what is a best fit for you. Additionally, you will continue to refine your strengths.

Accept that it’s okay not to be normal. The concept of being normal is a myth and only exists when people continue to feed the belief that we have to fit in to some popularly accepted norm. No body is normal. We are each unique with our own set of strengths, challenges, desires, and fears. Recognize that these are the things that make you amazing and embrace who you truly are. Then you can begin the path to happiness, success, and fulfillment.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Identify three strengths you possess and share one of them with someone.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

 

 

Life is an Adventure

January 25th, 2015 § 4 comments § permalink

“An original life is unexplored territory. You don’t get there by taking a taxi, you get there by carrying a canoe.”  —Alan Alda

Are you charting your own course?

Life isn’t a guided tour. You can’t sit back and wait for someone to point out the direction you need to take. You’re the captain of your life and it’s up to you decide who you want to be, what you want to do, and take action to achieve the life of your dreams.

Your path is unique. There’s value in listening to others share about their experience and lessons learned. Although you can likely learn a lot from those who have gone before you, they can’t speak to what is right for you. Only you can determine what is right for you.

You have a responsibility to design a life that is right for you. You’re unique and here for a reason. Make time to get clear about your strengths and define the impact you want to make with your life. Once you have this clarity, you need to take action and use your strengths to be of service to others.

I believe you’ll experience fulfillment from being the authentic you. Once you begin to live your unique life, and make your unique contribution to the world, you’ll be filled with a sense of satisfaction and contentment.

That’s not to say your life will be nothing but smooth water from that point forward. You’ll inevitably experience some rough rapids, demanding courage and the willingness to make course corrections along the way.  Rely on your strengths and authentic self to guide you back on track.

The world needs what you have to offer. Everyone benefits when you are able use your strengths to be of service. Are you ready to pick-up your canoe and chart your own course?

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Identify one action you can take to become the captain of your life.

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

Don’t Let Life Pass You By

May 18th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

 

“Lots of people let life go by and never accomplish what they want. I wanted to see what I could do.” Edwin C. Moses

What action are you taking to accomplish your goals?

Life is short and you have a finite amount of time to make a difference. Your life is your responsibility. If you choose not to make an effort to achieve what you want out of life, you can’t make excuses or blame anyone else.

The older I get the faster it seems time slips away. It’s easy to allow yourself to be swept along by the currents of life while telling yourself that you have plenty of time to achieve your dreams. In reality, before you know it you’ll wake up one day and wonder how you arrived where you are. You’ll find it heartbreaking as you try to comprehend where the time went and the opportunities you have missed.

It’s never to late to choose to achieve your goals and design the life you want. However, the sooner you begin the quicker you can experience the fulfillment that comes from living a life of purpose. Don’t wait until you have all the answers before getting started or you’ll find your self permanently stuck in fear. Recognize that life is a journey and that your goals and dreams will evolve along the way. The most important part is to be an active participant in your life while remaining open to opportunities to learn and grow.

As Stephen Covey stated in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, it’s important to “begin with the end in mind”. Imagine you’re retiring and are being given an award. What do you hope people say about you? How do you want them to remember you? What difference do you hope to have made in the lives of others? How will your community, industry, and the world be better off because of you?

You are the captain of your own life. It’s up to you to decide what you want to accomplish with the life you have been given. The rest of the world is waiting for you to share your gifts and strengths. Don’t deprive yourself of the fulfillment you deserve!

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Identify one step you can take to begin achieving your dreams.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

 

 

 

 

Define Yourself

January 19th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

“We must not allow other people’s limited perceptions to define us.”

—Virginia Satir

Are you proactively defining yourself?

Everyone’s perception is limited. We all believe our perception is reality, but it’s actually only one piece of a bigger puzzle. Each of our individual perceptions are based upon our unique set of experiences and are therefore biased.

You’re the best judge of what’s right for you. Nobody else, your family, friends, or manager are in a better position to accurately assess what you need to do. Others have a valid perspective to offer and you may benefit from learning from their vantage point. However, you need to recognize the limitations of these various perspectives. Ultimately what is right for one person may not be what is best for you.

In any given situation, you’re the one that must decide which route to take. Take time to consider how the various options align with your strengths and values. Also consider which option excites or energizes you. Although having a steady job with an established company may be the best approach for a close friend or family member, maybe starting your own business or going back to school to change careers is what is most consistent with the real you.

You only have one life to live! It’s your life and you’re responsible for making the most of it. Fulfillment comes from refusing to live a second rate version of your ideal life. Make the decision to take your dreams seriously. Start today to define and claim the life you want to live.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Write about how your dream day would look if you made the decision to embrace the life that is right for you.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker M.Ed., LLC

 

 

 

One Day at a Time

January 5th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

“The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.” —Abraham Lincoln

What steps are you taking each day to create the future of your dreams?

We’re almost a week into the New Year and if you’re like most people you’ve probably fallen off track already with your resolutions. Frankly this is normal. The key is not to give up and to reset your expectations of making a perfect transition.

Bottom line: making a personal change is hard. Recent research has determined our brain is actually very elastic. So the popular adage, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, simply isn’t true. Although we’re very capable of learning new things and making changes in our life, it doesn’t happen easily.

Significant change whether starting an exercise routine, eating better, starting a business, or changing jobs contains inevitable ups and downs. Successful navigation of these challenges is dependent upon your ability to maintain a high level of energy and focus. This level of enthusiasm can only be sustained if the change is important enough to you. Focus on the areas that are truly meaningful for you and create a compelling image of what it will look like when you achieve your change.  This vision will keep you moving forward when the road gets tough.

Once you have a meaningful purpose and clear vision of what success looks like, approach the change one day at a time. Identify steps you can take each day to move forward and don’t get discouraged when you fall short or step backwards. You’re human and every path to change is full of twists and turns. Simply pick yourself up and make progress the next day.

One very true cliché is, “It’s about the journey, not the destination”.  Making the decision to take action and move forward will have a positive impact on your life, regardless of whether you ultimately reach your goal. It’s never too late to begin taking positive steps toward living the life of your dreams and you’re worth it! Make 2014 a year you look back on as a turning point in your life. Contact me if I can assist you in achieving your dreams. I’d be happy to partner with you on your journey.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Identify one step you can take each day to move forward with your goals for the year.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker M.Ed., PCC

 

 

Embrace Your Dream!

December 15th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

“In each of us there is a private hope and dream, which fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone.” —John F. Kennedy

 

What dream do you hold inside?

We all have a dream. Each of us has something we long to accomplish. Unfortunately most of us keep our dream hidden deep inside. Whether we’re afraid of failure or embarrassed about what others might think, we never give our dreams a chance to become reality.

The world needs you to embrace your dream. You have something unique to offer. You’re meant to make an impact in a way that only you can.  However, if you never let your dream shine you’ll never know how successful you could be. You’ll never fully comprehend the positive impact you could make on the world.

Life is too short not to follow your dreams. Don’t allow your dream to wither and die within you. This will only lead to a life of regrets. Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and give your dream a chance. Although you can’t know for sure if you will ultimately be successful, I can assure you that failure isn’t as demoralizing as regret.

Make the decision today to make 2014 your year! Choose to take your dream seriously and allow it to see the light of day. All that is required is a commitment to take a few simple steps to explore the possibilities of your dream and see what you might uncover.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Identify 3 steps you can take in 2014 to embrace your dream.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

Don’t Fear Failure

November 17th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

 

“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.” – Beverly Sills

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

We all have a tendency to create barriers that hold us back from achieving our potential. You might worry about failing in a new endeavor or simply spend so much time trying to figure out how to do it perfectly that you never get started. Or maybe you’re worried about being embarrassed if things don’t turn out like you had hoped.

The bottom line is that you’ll never know what the outcome could be if you don’t take a chance. By stepping out of your comfort zone you might discover that success is right around the corner. Your new venture, whatever it is, could potentially open the door to a more fulfilling career or life.

Of course it’s also possible that you could fall short of your dream. However, this doesn’t mean you’ve made a bad decision. By choosing to take a chance you’ve given yourself an opportunity to learn more about yourself and what you’re capable of. You’ll likely discover abilities you didn’t realize you had which may become your foundation for future success.

A fulfilling career and life requires risk. You can’t sit back in your comfort zone and play it safe if you want to be successful. If you’re ready to experience genuine fulfillment in your life, you need to let go of your fear of failure and step into the new experiences waiting for you. Embrace the possibilities of what you could create in your life and throw yourself into new experiences.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Take one action this week to push yourself out of your comfort zone.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

 

Be True to Yourself

September 15th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

“I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure which is: try to please everyone.” – Herbert Swope

 

Whose life are you living?

Life is short and you only get one chance to make it count. Choosing not to live your best life simply wastes the gift you’ve been given. In order to look back on your life with satisfaction, you need to blaze your own trail and not allow yourself to be influenced by the desires others have for you.

You’re here in this moment in history for a specific reason. Success will be yours once you gain clarity about, and embrace, your purpose. When you embrace who you are and what you have to offer you’ll be an inspiration to others. Not only will you make an impact in the way only you can, you’ll also demonstrate to others the fulfillment that comes from being true to who you are.

This doesn’t mean everyone is going to like you. You will come across plenty of people in your life that disagree with your choices. They may be strangers, co-workers, friends, or even family members. Sometimes it’s simply a difference of opinion and you won’t agree with their choices either. In other instances, they may actually be jealous and threatened by your confidence.

Regardless of why people disagree with you, don’t let this deter you from following the path that is right for you. There is only one you! If you don’t live the life you were designed to live, nobody will. Not only will you miss out on a fulfilling life, the world will never have the opportunity to benefit from what you have to offer.

One of my favorite movies is “It’s a Wonderful Life”. While some may find it cheesy, I believe the story does a wonderful job of showcasing how important every one of our lives are. Don’t waste any more time living someone else’s life. For the benefit of yourself, and all of us, embrace everything you have to offer and start living your best life.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Identify one change you want to make to embrace the life that is right for you.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

Fulfillment Matters

September 8th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

“To love what you do & feel it matters – how could anything be more fun?”

—Katherine Graham

 

How fulfilling is your career?

Feeling fulfilled in life is important. We all have a natural desire to make a positive difference with our life. Although your career doesn’t have to be the only source of fulfillment in your life, since you spend approximately half your waking hours at work it’s critical to enjoy what you do.

Every job serves a purpose. What matters is whether that purpose feels meaningful to you. Every career has high points and low points but your fulfillment is largely dependent upon how you view the overall purpose of your role. For example, you could be a teacher who struggles to be patient with the kids. In this case, you’re not likely to find being a teacher very meaningful even though it’s a very important role.

In order to feel fulfilled in your role, you need to focus on the greater purpose it serves. I encourage you to step back and consider why your current role is important. What would happen if no one were around to fulfill your role?

Consider the story about two different masons who were asked about what they were building. The first mason responded that he was building a wall while the second stated he was building a cathedral. Rather than allowing yourself to become stuck in what you’re doing in the moment, it’s your ability to envision the end product you’re creating that will increase your sense of fulfillment.

Once you’re clear about the ultimate purpose of your role, it’s possible you still won’t find it fulfilling. At this point it’s important to begin thinking about other areas of your life in which you feel like you’re making an impact.

Think about times when you felt you were in a flow state and time slipped away. You may have even experienced this in your job at various times. Step back and reflect on what you were doing in those moments. What issues were you addressing? What skills did you use? What did you find energizing about those moments?

Next, begin to look for opportunities to do more of these tasks. Start where you are and consider how you might bring more of these skills into your current role. For example, say you determine you like to train people. Look for opportunities within your department to provide training on new processes or technology. Once you’re clear about your interests, you may be surprised about the opportunities that magically appear.

If you can’t find the opportunities you’re looking for in your current role or company, begin to explore other possibilities. Consider who can benefit from what you have to offer and how you can demonstrate your ability to help. Returning to the training example, you can offer your services to local non-profit organizations to help train their volunteers. This is a great way to develop your skills as well as network with a diverse group of people. Regardless of whether this leads to a new career in the short-term, you’re bound to feel more fulfilled.

Life’s too short not to feel fulfilled. You will inevitably have good moments and bad moments, but at the end of the day you want to be able to say that you’ve made a difference in some way. Don’t waste any more time and resolve to discover what it will take for you to be fulfilled.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Identify your current role’s purpose and determine if it can provide a sense of fulfillment.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

What’s Your Inspiration?

August 18th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” —Ella Fitzgerald

Are you inspired?

I hope you have something in your life that inspires you. Life can be hard and it’s all too easy to resign yourself to living an unfulfilled life of going through the motions. In order to thrive, rather than merely survive, you need to tap into your passion.

Everyone has passion. I guarantee there are at least one or two topics, subjects, or activities that energize and excite you. The problem isn’t a lack of passion, it’s that you don’t take your passion seriously. You might simply blow it off as silly or maybe you don’t believe you can make a living by playing to your passion. You might be right but you’ll never know if you don’t give it a try.

The key is to simply take one step at a time. First, don’t belittle your passion. If its something you enjoy, the worse thing you could do is to disregard it as silly. What matters is that this activity or topic inspires you in some way.

Next, permit yourself to spend time with your passion. Although you may not be able to make it your livelihood at this time, dedicate a little time each day to your area of passion. This will help you develop a deeper understanding of the topic and/or become more effective at the task. Not to mention it will provide you a sense of fulfillment, which will positively influence the other areas of your life.

Finally, develop a deeper awareness of why you are passionate about this task or subject. What aspects do you get most excited about and why do those things speak to you? With clarity about the elements that are most inspiring to you, search for opportunities in other areas of your life where you can make a similar impact.

Don’t get hung-up worrying about making a living through your passion. As you embrace your passion and learn more about why it’s important to you, you may discover opportunities you didn’t know existed. Even if you ultimately decide not to make a career out of your passions, you will have cultivated a hobby that can continue to be a major source of inspiration and fulfillment for you.

Time for this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Spend at least 30 minutes each day devoted to your area of passion.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC