Tag Archives: definite purpose

Week 24 – To Thine Own Self Be True

This above all:  to thine own self be true.
William Shakespeare

I must admit, I’ve never been a fan of the Bard’s work.  All the “thee,” “thy,” and “thou’s” just aren’t the easiest things for me to read…or listen to.  In fact, I find it downright painful.

Throughout the MKMMA course, I have learned to be an observer of my own life and the world around me.  Being an observer is an interesting exercise that allows me to look at my life with “fresh eyes” and see where I’ve been unhappy…and, more importantly, WHY I’ve been unhappy.

I wasn’t being true to my authentic self.

In other words, I was in "Lost City!"
In other words, I was in “Lost City!”

When we are true to authentic self, we are focused, driven, and highly productive.  We are living life on purpose.  And when we are NOT true to our authentic self, well…there’s a disconnect that looks like this:

You "know" one thing to be true, but yet you "see" another.
You “know” one thing to be true, and yet you “see” another.

Yep.  Just like a fun house mirror!  I knew my authentic self was in there…it just looked completely different.  Like an Oompa-Loompa.  (Sigh)

The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose.
Richard Leider

I’ve learned that being true to your authentic self can bring great riches, both in terms of personal enrichment as well as monetary rewards.  You just have to invest in yourself first.

I invested in myself when I signed up for the MKMMA course.  It’s brought great rewards to my life in ways I never would have imagined.  As a result, I began re-evaluating and re-defining who I am and what I want to do in my life and with my life.

I am on a journey to my authentic self…to be the best “me” possible.

And I will.  Because that is my true, authentic self.

Week 19 – Live This Day As If It’s Your Last

SO many things have been coming together this week…

In our reading of The Greatest Salesman in the World, we read:

I will live this day as if it is my last.

There is so much power in that statement!

We are also reading obituaries, studying their photo, reading their story, and thinking about what they might be willing to trade for just one more day on this earth.

And there also happened to be a 60th birthday celebration for my dear friend, Brett Elliott, who was taken from this earth WAY too soon, on March 30, 2009.

StacyANDBrett
Brett Elliott and Stacy Ryan, circa 2008, at one of our many visits to La Vista, enjoying good friends, good wine, and warm brownies.

 

There are many pieces to the puzzle that is our life.

In re-reading Brett’s obituary, I read of his surviving family members, a select listing of professional accomplishments, and a small glimpse into his loves:

He loved music; from loud rock to punk to blues to jazz. His favorite pastime was attending concerts and music venues with his many friends, and then burning a CD of the playlist to present as a cherished gift.  Most of all he loved his family and good friends from all walks of life.

(I am a proud owner of some of these CDs, and they truly are cherished gifts.)

What the obituary doesn’t say, is that if you ever met Brett Elliott, you were immediately drawn in…he had the ability to make you feel like a long loved friend…even your best friend…even if you’d only known him for five minutes.  Brett was special in that way.

His memorial service was “SRO” (Standing Room Only…a fitting description of a service for someone who loved music and going to concerts.  (I have fond memories of seeing Jonny Lang, the Rolling Stones, and Sammy Hagar/David Lee Roth together…as well as some “private, unannounced concert appearances” that only someone “in the know” would know about…and he did)

Brett’s memorial service is also the only one I’ve been to that had an “after party” … complete with SWAG … hosted by the advertising agency where he worked.  The after party was a chance for us to celebrate Brett’s life and cherish his memories…and indulge in some of his favorite things.  Like Rodney Strong wine, chocolate covered pretzels (or “Brettzels” which were Christmas gifts of pretzels “lovingly hand dipped into the chocolate with chopsticks” which were given to friends.)

Brett loved life.
He loved music.
He loved his friends.
He was a world-class copywriter.
He enjoyed mentoring students.
He believed in giving back.
He never missed an opportunity to make you smile or laugh.

He lived every day as if it was his last.

He is an inspiration.

Brett Elliott in his "old man suit" at his 50th birthday party.
Brett Elliott in his “old man suit” at his 50th birthday party.

At his 60th birthday party, he continues to make me laugh, through stories shared by his family.  Apparently when Brett was a young boy he had a toy that shot smaller toys out of it.  While playing with the toy outside, one of the toys that he shot landed on the roof of the house.  Brett promptly marched into the house and announced “Houston, we have a problem!”

Even at an early age he knew just the right words for the situation.

He may be gone from our world, but his memory lives on…both in the hearts of those who knew him, and through student scholarships in his name.

What would Brett trade for one more day on earth?  A better question would be what all of us who knew and loved him would trade for one more day with him on earth.

Peace.  Love.  Wish You Were Here.

Week 14 – Cool Runnings, Mon!

This week we had an “assignment” to watch a movie and then observe and report the 4 Tiny Habits that create persistence.

Oh, no!  Watch a MOVIE???  Don’t throw me in that Briar Patch!  😉

I’m somewhat of a movie junkie…I’ve even been known to quote movie lines in everyday conversation…OFTEN.

So I chose the movie “Cool Runnings.”  It’s based on the true story of the 1988 Jamaican Bobsled Team.

Now, if you’re thinking “Jamaican Bobsled Team?  WHAT???”  Then you’re right there with me when I heard about the story.  If you’re familiar with the story, then I guess you were paying attention to the Olympics in 1988.  (I, however, was in my first year of college, and lived in what was affectionately known as “The Baylor Bubble” where only select information made it through to us students…)

But I digress…

THERE ARE 4 TINY HABITS THAT CREATE PERSISTENCE

  1. A Definite Purpose, Backed By a Burning Desire For Its Fulfillment
  2. A Definite Plan, Expressed in Continuous Action
  3. A Mind Closed Against Negative and Discouraging Influences (A Positive Mental Attitude)
  4. A Friendly Alliance With One Or More Persons Who Will Encourage One To Follow Through With Both Plan And Purpose

HABIT #1
A DEFINITE PURPOSE, BACKED BY A BURNING DESIRE FOR ITS FULFILLMENT

Derese was a track star and Olympic hopeful whose dream was to compete in the Olympics.  He “knew” he would make the Olympic team at tryouts, yet his dreams of running in the Olympics turned to dust as a fellow Olympic hopeful tripped and took down two additional runners…including Derese.

Yet Derese didn’t give up.  Far from it!

He was inspired by a photo of his father — a fellow track star — standing next to a man who was an Olympic Gold Medal Winner…in the Bobsled.  This gentleman wanted Derese’s father to be a bobsledder, as he believed that sprinters would make the best bobsledders.  Yet Derese’s father stuck to what he was good at…running.

With just 3 months until the Olympic Games, Derese set his mind on a new goal:  representing Jamaica in the Olympic Games…as a member of Jamaica’s first bobsled team.  And he convinced his friend Sanka — “the best push cart driver in all of Jamaica” — to join him on his journey.

Derese located this man, Irv, who, conveniently, lived in Jamaica, and “stalked” him until he agreed to coach Jamaica’s first bobsled team.  Derese then held a meeting to find teammates, and Irv did everything in his power to convince the attendees NOT to join the team.

Somehow they found two teammates (the other two Olympic hopefuls who lost the opportunity to compete in track and field), and a team was born.

The odds were stacked against them:

  • They were track stars…they could run…on LAND.  But what about running on ICE?
  • They didn’t know what a bobsled WAS…three months before the Games.
  • They didn’t have the ability to practice in the snow.  (Forget “snow”…they didn’t even know “cold!”)
  • They had a reluctant coach.
  • They didn’t have a bobsled.
  • They didn’t have the money to get to Calgary.

But they had the BURNING DESIRE to get there.  Each of the team members had their own burning desire, and their combined desire led to their living their dream.

HABIT #2
A DEFINITE PLAN, EXPRESSED IN CONTINUOUS ACTION

These young men knew NOTHING about bobsledding.  They had to start from the very beginning learning the fundamentals of the sport…with just 3 months until the games.

I’m reminded of Vince Lombardi, who was passionate about the fundamentals:

Gentlemen…this is a football.

These men had to start with the fundamentals:

  • What is bobsledding?
  • Who are the team members, and what are their roles?
  • What is a push start?
  • The importance of cold weather endurance.
  • Running…on ICE.
  • The responsibilities of the Driver.

On top of the fundamentals of the sport of bobsledding, they team also had to raise the money to get them from Jamaica to Canada.  In the movie, the team raised money by street performances, arm wrestling, a kissing booth, and selling a very expensive car.  The first-hand participation in the fundraising events is proof of the BURNING DESIRE these men had to attend the Games.

The team — especially Derese, as the driver — continuously visualized their goal.  Derese studied photographs of the turns and mentally went through the motions of navigating the turns.  And the entire team went through the turns sitting in a bathtub.

Nobody had that much fun in a sled since Santa Clause!  ~ Sanka

HABIT #3
A POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE

Everyone laughed at these men for being the pioneers from their country in the sport of bobsledding.

They were different.  People are afraid of what’s different.

But they never lost sight of their vision…competing in the Games.  Representing their Country.

Other teams laughed at them.  These men brushed off their negativity, because they had a BURNING DESIRE to achieve their goals.  They KNEW they could do it.

Rise and Shine!  It’s Butt-Whipping Time!

HABIT #4

A FRIENDLY ALLIANCE WITH ONE OR MORE PERSONS

Sure, these men had a BURNING DESIRE to achieve their dreams of competing in the Olympics, but they couldn’t do it alone.

They needed the support of others.

They supported each other as teammates.

Yul to Junior:  

I see pride! I see power! I see a bad-ass mother who don’t take no crap from nobody!

They returned to their roots and expressed their authentic selves:

 All I’m saying, mon, is if we walk Jamaican, talk Jamaican, and *is* Jamaican, then we sure as hell better bobsled Jamaican.

When they became JAMAICAN bobsledders, they released their TRUE power.  Ah, the power of authenticity!

They changed their push-start lead-in from “eins, zwei, drei” to…

Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up, its bobsled time! Cool Runnings!

That’s more like it!

Their bobsled was named “Cool Runnings,” which translates to “Peace Be The Journey.”  (Hmmm…talk about being in harmony with MKMMA!)

Even though the team lost control of their bobsled and never finished the race, they still won.  While they may not have won their medals, they won the respect of the world that watched.

WHAT’S IT ALL MEAN?

The bottom line and moral of the story is summed up in this quote from Irv:

A gold medal is a wonderful thing.  But if you’re not enough without one, you’ll never be enough with one.

It all starts from within.

Cool Runnings, mon.

jamaicabobsled

Week 13 – Persistence: Cause or Effect?

When I was a little girl, my dad would go out and ride his bike.  Like most little girls who wanted to spend time with their daddy, I would want to go bike riding, too.

My dad was older than me (obviously!), stronger than me, had more experience riding a bike than me, AND he had a ten-speed bike.

I, on the other hand, was young, inexperienced, and had a one-speed bike…MINE.  My bike would only go as fast as my little legs could peddle.

Together we rode up and down hills that left me red-faced and huffing and puffing trying to keep up.  Dad would always ask if I wanted to stop and rest, and I would always refuse.

I can do it!  I can keep up!

Dad always said I was quite a “stubborn little girl.”

As I grew older, he began referring to me as a “determined young lady.”

Whatever terminology he used…I always considered myself to be persistent.

Persistence is defined as:  firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

Yep!  That’s me!

I refused to back down, admit defeat, or request special treatment.

I will persist until I succeed.
I will persist.  I will win.
~Og Mandino

I have read these words as directed in The Greatest Salesman in the World, and I’ve been thinking about how I have persisted in my life…and how I have quit…and what that has cost me.

And I’ve recently changed my thoughts about persistence, because in the MKMMA we learned that persistence is a HABIT.  Persistence is not the CAUSE of success, but rather the EFFECT that is created as a result of four tiny habits:

  1. A definite purpose backed by a burning desire for its fulfillment.
  2. A definite plan, expressed in continuous action.
  3. A mind closed tightly against all negative and discouraging influences, including negative suggestion of relatives, friends, and acquaintances.
  4. A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.

Hmmm…

So…to develop the HABIT of persistence, I must first have a definite purpose, a definite plan, a positive mental attitude, and a friendly alliance.

Where I have succeeded in life, I have had a strong grasp on the four tiny habits.  Where I have quit, I have lacked one (or more!) of the four tiny habits.

We are only halfway through the MKMMA course, and I KNOW I am strengthening ALL of these habits…

…and the RESULT is the HABIT of persistence.

To create this new habit, I am reminded that I must start each day anew with my habits:

I forget the happenings of the day that is gone, whether they were good or bad, and greet the new sun with confidence that this is the best day of my life…
…If I persist long enough I win.

I’m still that little girl:  stubborn, determined, persistent.

I’m just creating new habits.

I persist.  I win.

ececc842-0da0-4262-9a99-5eae304d896e