Are You Living in Freedom or Stuck in Cement?

Do you have something in your life that is getting in the way of living to the full? Something about you? I do. It’s fear of failure. I was reminded this morning by a friend and support person in my life that we were born fearless. She asked me to look at the things that have happened that took the fearlessness from me. I’ve gone through enough therapy at this point in my life to be able to rattle off the experiences that nearly stripped me bare. I’m naming them and reclaiming my right to live a life without fear of failure. It doesn’t matter in the end if I succeed at my plans. What matters is that I live in freedom and go for it. I want to lay everything I have on the field.
Remember The Pursuit of Happyness? A true story in which Will Smith’s character gave everything he had for the chance at a better life for himself and his son. He didn’t let fear or circumstances hold him back. I want that kind of inner strength. How about you? What is holding you back? What do you want in your life right now? Maybe it’s freedom from an addiction, or a more satisfying job, a healthier relationship, a relationship! What is getting in the way of going for it? What belief do you have about yourself that keeps you stuck in concrete? Is the belief true? Not do you believe it, but is it really true? For me, it’s that my value is tied to succeeding. I am not acceptable if I fail. Not true! Maybe I won’t find success, but does failing mean I shouldn’t even try? So what if I fail. In my situation, the success is not in whether or not my endeavor succeeds. The success will be found in knowing I gave it my all. That’s it. That’s my focus. On December 31, I want to be able to post a blog that I gave it my all. That is my goal.
What is yours? If it’s to finally address an addiction and your concrete is that you aren’t enough, first begin to say, you are enough. That you’re not, is a lie. Your goal could be that you take at least one step this week toward getting help. Maybe it’s sharing the truth with a trusted friend. Maybe it’s finding and attending an AA or recovery group.
Perhaps your life feels completely unmanageable. Your belief could be that you’re not worth having a life of order. Yes you are! Everyone is inherently valuable. So that belief is a lie. Start saying that to yourself daily. Like any of the negative beliefs we have about ourselves, share it with a trusted friend. Seek the help of a coach or counselor to get at the underlying beliefs and where they came from.
No matter what your concrete may be, I believe there is hope! It’s going to take work and stepping out of your comfort zone to get there, but honestly, where is your comfort zone getting you? Does your life feel manageable? Are you living it out with passion, purpose and fulfillment? No? Take a step today to begin chiseling off that concrete and get closer to living your life in freedom!

The Benefits of Assertiveness Part 1

I’m in a Counselor Training Program with Dr. John Townsend and Scott Makin.  One day out of every month I am in Indianapolis being challenged in my personal growth as well as learning all about the counseling approach of Drs. John Townsend and Henry Cloud.  The training involves teaching time and small group counseling also called process groups.  During one of the process groups I stumbled upon a realization that I have a crippling fear of being assertive.  It doesn’t usually show up in my office with clients, but anywhere else I shrink back or regret having opened my mouth.  I have thought that assertiveness is negative.  It’s not that I have never been assertive but when I am I feel like I am pushy and bossy.  Maybe those things are true because I am not very skilled at being assertive but I am gaining an understanding of the importance of being assertive.
At the end of each training day, the 21 of us who are participating take time to share our homework for the next month.  It has to be measurable and challenge us in some way to be stretched.  I came up with the assignment that I would write 10 things that happen when I am assertive.  John added that I write 10 things that happen when others are assertive.  As I pondered the positive results of my assertiveness it was a bit difficult.  I kept running into the negative piece.  When I wrote about the benefits of others being assertive it created a shift inside of me.  I saw how important assertiveness is in the health and growth of the world.  Our very existence depends on assertiveness. This shift opened up a new value for my own assertiveness and the ideas began flowing out of me.
Here they are:
Ten good things that happen when I am assertive
1. I’m not left wondering if I missed out by holding my tongue
2. I feel a sense of accomplishment even if things don’t turn out my way
3. I connect with people versus holding back and being closed
4. I finish things (I’ve spent most of my life dreaming things up but not doing anything with the ideas)
5. I experience forward momentum instead of just swirling in the same old place
6. My creativity is flowing
7. I use the gifts I’ve been given
8. I model self-respect and reap the benefit of respecting myself
9. I create an opportunity for others to find healing
10. My needs get met
When others are assertive
1. Lives are changed physically (like a Dr. helping someone or a person seeking care or health)
2. People’s eternities are altered
3. Dreams are accomplished
4. People are protected
5. Connection happens
6. Employment is secured
7. Babies are born
8. Marriages are saved
9. Truth is spoken
10. Change happens
So here’s my challened to you:  Write ten things that happen when others are assertive and your own list of ten things that happen when you are assertive.  Ponder that list and then get out there and go for it!  The focus isn’t so much on what you accomplish, just that you are actively, instead of passively, living the life that you have been given.  There’s a parable in the Bible that talks about using the talent we’ve been given.  The one who buries the talent is the one who loses out.  Those who go for it, knowing that there is a risk of screwing things up, are the ones who benefit.  So take one step today to move toward really living!