My cyber-pal SurfaceEarth asked me to write something about how we find the courage to change the way we live. Ah! A challenge. She was responding to my post Energy, Fortune Cookies, and Life where I wrote about what I found in a fortune cookie that day:

“Energy is equal to desire and purpose.”

A message maybe from the universe telling me I should accept no less, despite all those temptingly easy diversions from a path I could truly embrace and – dare I say – love. Feed the inner chi by attracting the universal chi, eh?

Well, I must admit her “simple” question about where to find courage to “accept no less” was not one I could readily answer. I too ask the same question when faced with tough challenges. The one thing I’ve learned in my life, is the best way to find an answer is to first believe there is one.

And to this point, I happened to find Christen Resmo’s blog The Law of Attraction and a post called What is the Law of Attraction?.

I’ve often felt mixed feelings about some of this new agey stuff – like the idea that all we need to do is surround ourselves with positive energy and positive visions and our lives will be great. Seems a bit too gimmicky to the cynic in me. But I also know in my own life that when I’ve aimed for things I want with all my heart armed with a sincere belief that I could get there, no matter how many obstacles got in the way, I wound up in some amazing places. Not always exactly as I imagined in the first place, but good stuff none-the-less. (When you are on a path toward something you are passionate about, new paths open up that you could never imagine. Some are good, some not so good – but they are all interesting and all filled with lessons that really matter to us.)

And so for a moment I’m telling the cynic to go take a much-earned nap (she does work so hard) and sharing what I found on Christen’s site. She did a radio interview and here is the podcast, well worth listening to! Just click on Christen Resmo Interview and then click on the green Play button. (Just so you know, this takes about 20 minutes and starts with an ad. But it’s worth the time.)

Basically she is talking about two key life changing concepts: “I want” and “I will”. (Reminds us of our old friends “desire” and “purpose” from the fortune cookie.) Christen’s key points are:

  • Set a goal you truly care about
  • Believe it is possible for you to reach it
  • Take action to get you there!

She makes a point of telling us that we shouldn’t wait for fear to go away. In fact, besides fear, there will be other obstacles that get in the way like “I can’t” “I’m not good enough” “This is stupid” “What was I thinking?” and that voice we all hear “Who do you think you are?” (Sometimes a real voice, sometimes just inside our head.)

Challenges of all kinds will pop up, but the trick is to go on anyway and trust in yourself and the universe to help get you to where you want to go. See yourself getting there.

Christen suggests we ask ourselves “Is my fear deciding or am I?” She says that challenges like fear are a good thing – a sign that we are moving toward real change. Often they help teach us things we need to know. “If your want is big enough,” she advises. “They can be overcome.”

Taking on things despite the fear puts us up against our own paradigms of who we are and how much we can accomplish. If we take on a goal that is bigger than who we see ourselves to be, that’s mind-blowing right? But that’s not a reason to give up. Who’s driving your life anyway?

The idea isn’t to make our goals smaller, but to see ourselves bigger! And it’s important to know this will also challenge the paradigms of those around you who are used to you being just as you are. But that’s not a reason to stop. In fact, it may be a sign you are on the right track.

Now…that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be open to hearing real things we need to take in. There’s a lot to learn when we venture into new territory. We can’t know everything and need to be open to what we can learn from others. In fact, look for advisers/mentors knowledgeable about the path you’re pursuing. But if certain friends and family delight in telling you you’ll fail, the best thing you can do is look for support elsewhere and continue to do your best.

And to help in this process, in addition to the big goals you imagine for yourself, set some goals that are achievable – allowing you to prove to yourself and others that you are capable of setting your own course in life. I once read about someone who wanted to start their own business and to wrap her brain around how big this felt, she set the first goal of recruiting 1 new client in the first month. Her life coach encouraged her to go for 3 new clients in one month. “Impossible” as the person thought it was, she made 5! We don’t know our own limits, but it sure feels great to challenge them and see where we wind up.

This is a lot to take in and to be honest, I’m going to listen to the podcast a few more times myself. There are a lot of barriers and limits and fears I face on a daily basis. We all do. But fear shouldn’t decide who we are or what we do – otherwise we just become the fear.

Final tip from me: I suggest starting a journey like this by writing down your initial “I want” and the “I will” in a promise to yourself – a contract of sorts. Pick something you care deeply about and not some blah thing. I mean…what the hell? Make sure you write down the reasons and what this means to you. Really let yourself dream. (This will be a nice reminder for you should obstacles arise.) And make yourself a promise that you will do your best and accept any and all learning that comes with the journey.

Add in some details about how you intend to get there and some initial goals – the biggest one you can imagine right now. (If this is all very new to you, you might want to make the first goal fairly easy. You can always do more contracts later after you’ve got some successes under your belt.) No matter how big or small the goal, add in some even smaller short term goals to help get you there. Stepping stones.

Now list the first step you will take and by when you will take it, sign the contract with yourself, place it somewhere special (maybe even put a ribbon around it) and start on your exciting journey toward owning your own life and future.

This time, you’re driving!