Harland Stonecipher challenged us to "DARE GREATLY." Let's accept the challenge and have the WILL to DARE!
W = Write down affirmations daily in a journal. Let me address a good question, “what is an affirmation?” An affirmation is a small positive statement which you repeat to yourself, to reinforce or change thinking patterns on a sub-conscious level. Our minds generate a constant stream of sub-conscious chatter. Although we are often unaware of the substance of that chatter, it is frequently a stream of negative thoughts. Affirmations are a conscious decision to implant quality thoughts and to repeat those thoughts to such a degree that they become a belief. Becoming aware of your negative or sabotaging thoughts is the first step. You then need to stop those thoughts as soon as you recognize them. Most importantly, you need to replace those thoughts with positive affirmations. Affirmations are always stated in the positive. Replace, I am broke and in debt, with “All of my needs are met and all my desires are fulfilled.” Affirmations should be stated in the present tense. Replace “I am going to... Is coming… and, Will be…” with “I now have…I am…This is…” And may I recommend that you take a moment and pray or meditate at the same time.
I = Improve your self-discipline. Take one step towards your dream. Stop making excuses. Self-discipline gives you the power to stick to your decisions and follow them through, without changing your mind, and is therefore, one of the important requirements for achieving goals. One of its main characteristics is the ability to reject instant gratification and pleasure. Learn to say “no.”
L = Let go of hate. Forgive someone you’ve held something against. “Hate destroys the hater” – The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. “Hatred is a toxin, which when introduced into the soft, vulnerable and defenseless soul of mankind, wreaks havoc, destroys everything it touches, and sends its host spiraling ever downward toward the lowest pit of hell. Hatred corrupts and perverts, sabotages and undermines.” Pastor Joe McKeever
L =Laugh at yourself. Laughter, smiling and optimism are linked to better overall health. Laughter has positive effects on the immune system. “You don’t grow up until you have your first good laugh at yourself.” -- Eleanor Roosevelt. Here is an exercise. No one knows better than you what your “sensitive areas” are – things you don’t like about yourself or being joked about. Share something from the list with someone you trust every day for a week or so. Learn a joke or two poking fun at your sensitive areas. Have a generic planned funny response ready for awkward or embarrassing incidents. This is self-effacing humor and is a great step towards not taking yourself too seriously.
D = Don’t triangulate. Don’t talk behind anyone’s back; Directly deal with problems. Talking behind someone’s back destroys trust, and trust is the foundation of a relationship. If it is someone else who invites talking about someone else – go silent. You will immediately feel better when you don’t get sucked into negativity. Now think about the person and repeat this sentence, “Because I care for you, and you are an important part of my life, may I suggest…” and finish the sentence with a positive suggestion for them to change.
A = Accept nothing less than your best. Expect more form yourself than anyone else does. When you expect a lot, you can get a lot. Your expectations of others and yourself will become reality. Whatever you expect to happen will happen. If you push yourself hard, you will start to see results. Promise people a lot, and then give them more. This is the way the highest achievers have made it. Tell people what you will do for them, and then do more. “Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend... when we choose to be grateful for the abundance that’s present -- love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure -- the wasteland of lack falls away and we experience heaven on Earth.” —Sarah Ban Breathnach.
R = Release any sense of entitlement. Don’t confuse effort with excellence. Just because you show up does not mean you are doing enough. Just because you try does not mean you win. These are the first and required steps, but a focus upon accountability is how we create a successful culture to overcome the toxicity of entitlement. Keep score. I’ve mentioned self-control. Now I want to talk about self-esteem. When you earn something, you feel good about yourself – your planning, your effort and your achievement. This is self-esteem. It is critical to learn what it takes to earn a positive outcome. When we believe we DESERVE an outcome, we have a false sense of entitlement. We are not grounded in reality. Self-esteem is earned, not given, and it is always grounded in reality.
E = Expose yourself. Let people in. Being open is a kind of invitation to others. What you share about yourself should encourage others to engage with you. To involve themselves with you. Being open is difficult. It makes us feel vulnerable. But it also is important in terms of really letting others get to understand how we think, how we feel and what we believe. Sharing that you just bought a new pair of shoes is a start, but explaining why having nice shoes matters to you is even better. How it makes you feel. That’s sharing, and that’s inviting them to share in return.