The Power of Declaration

We are just into the New Year and already our world is celebrating success and also facing challenges.  With the recent terrorist attack in Paris, we are once again reminded that a lack of respect and understanding of different world views will lead to conflict, and in radical situations loss of life.  As we see opportunities for our economy to once again become strong with the opportunity for more jobs being created, young professionals are seeing opportunities for their career and their life.  The New Year gives us a clean slate – a place to declare and envision what we want to create in our life.

I am very fortunate to be able to celebrate Christmas, New Year’s and my birthday all within a 10-day period.  For those of you who know me well, you also know that this is the time of year when I look at my vision for the next 5 years of my life. Recently, my husband and I were planning a few days to get away and celebrate the New Year and my birthday and there was no accident that I discovered a piece of paper pressed into a book on his nightstand.  I opened it up and saw it was dated 2009. It was our Vision Map where we had written down exactly 5 years ago to the day our 5 year goals.  I was so excited to see 6 of the 8 things we had identified were achieved.  We had not pulled this paper out and looked at it in 5 years.  I was reminded once again of the power of personal vision and intention.

ImpossibleIt would be wonderful if each person could begin their New Year really believing in the power of achieving their dream.  Many of us see people who have lost faith, given up, become too tired or cynical and stopped believing in possibilities.  As a professional coach, of course I believe in the possibility that each person can create their vision. I have seen it happen many times.  But there are certain requirements that must be in place for that to occur.  We have all heard of New Year’s resolutions – but I am not talking about that. I suggest personal declarations.  The kind of declaration, once shared, you feel in your gut is real and important for YOU; not because you should do it, or someone else thinks you should. Declarations that come from deep inside of you that speak to what is truly important to you.  Declarations that support your purpose in life and your values.  It is great to set goals, but a goal that is not grounded in your personal purpose and vision for your life will ultimately become hard to achieve and not bring real fulfillment.

So, before the end of this month, I suggest you take time to reflect and allow yourself to examine what you really want in life – then declare it to yourself and to someone else who will hear it and check in from time to time to see how you are doing.

  1. What is it that you want to accomplish before you die?  What is that “one day” conversation you find yourself repeating?
  2. What is the spirit you want to being to your life each day?  Optimistic, pragmatic, curious, adventurous?
  3. What are the unique gifts that you naturally have to give?  Perhaps you are artistic, or you have a great engineering mind.  How are you contributing those gifts?
  4. If your life unfolded in the next 5 years just the way that you wanted it to, where would you be living, what would you be doing, what new projects or goals would you be embarking on?
  5. Who are the most important people in your life and what are you doing 5 years from now?keepcalm

It is true, time flies by faster and faster each year.  So take that time now to see yourself in your future and write your declarations down – not from your head but from your heart.  We all know what we really want but seldom take the time to reflect deeply what is really behind what we want.  So, at this time in the peace and quiet grey of winter, look inside and begin to plant the seeds for your future.  When we access our feelings about our life and experience the gratitude for the gift called life – we realize that we are the real gatekeepers of our destiny.

Warmest wishes, Barbara


On Gratitude

The more I listen to the gratitude of others, the more grateful I feel in my own life and the more compelled I feel to share with others that which has been given to me.

teacherThird Grade: Mrs. Bammel, cracks open the math book. It’s time to teach negative numbers. It goes like this: You start at zero. If you move to the right of zero, you’re in the positive. Simple stuff: 1, 2, 3. If you move to the left of zero, you’re in the …wait? What? Negative numbers. Makes no sense: -1, -2, -3….As toe-tinglingly in love as you are with Mrs. Bammel, with her Dutch-boy haircut, caramel voice, and bottomless treasure chest of glue, glitter and felt, you have to protest. “Mrs. Bammel, excuse me, Mrs. Bammel…. Why in the world would we count negative numbers? That’s counting what’s not there!”

You can count your lack forever, and it’s an easy thing to do, and if you’re always only counting then you’re always never at risk of losing anything ever again.

Except even when you think you’ve lost everything, you’re never without. In fact, this is the perfect moment to allow gratitude to be your guru, to whisper with grace small words of thanks for everything – anything­ – in your life. Begin like this:

I am alive.

How beautiful would this world be if we counted all that we have and not what we’ve lost or never had?

The funny thing about life’s riches, they were always there; I wasn’t. Becoming present was not the result of therapy, or chiropractic adjustments, or yoga, or aimless road trips, though all of those things certainly helped. The real key was simply listening without borders, boundaries, or expectations. Letting go of the knowing and really just living in the experience. You are surrounded by people who are living in bliss. I was. I am. And it is our duty, as Kurt Vonnegut shared weeks before his passing in 2008, to help each other through this life in whatever ways we can.

As a journalist, it is my job to listen. So, discarding the third grade math lessons of Mrs. Bammel, I chose to listen. Really listen for gratitudelisten. What I found: Listening feels good. It feels great. I receive so much by simply being more present. This is an enormous gift I have been given. The more I listen to the gratitude of others, the more grateful I feel in my own life and the more compelled I feel to share with others that which has been given to me. You cannot listen to the gratitude of others without being reminded of the great gift that is your own life, without experiencing a profound ignition of your own passions and curiosities about the world in which we live, without discovering anew or for the first time high magic and low puns and great possibilities and unexpected delights that exist right here and now in this universe.

Your universe!

To listen to and be moved by others gratitude, then more importantly, to share in turn, might launch a revolution of sorts, a minor movement toward a higher consciousness that puts at a premium the simple act of counting our blessings and sharing them with others. How beautiful would this world be if we counted all that we have and not what we’ve lost or never had? Your gratitude means as much as anyone else’s. And so I am listening. We are listening. The world is listening. Wherever you are, let it begin now, like this:

I am grateful for…

What are you grateful for and how does truly listening support you in life?

By Todd Aaron Jensen