Archive for the ‘Belief’ Category

I tore a page from a Town & Country magazine a few weeks back and I’ve been carrying it around with me ever since.

It wasn’t colorful or clever or cute. It was a simple one-page ad, on a mostly white background, for Outward Bound. I can’t help but wonder how many times I’ve overlooked it in previous issues as I hurriedly flipped from one slick photo to the next interesting article, approving and disapproving of people I don’t know and lifestyles I can’t fathom.

But this time the message beckoned to me like a whisper of encouragement. And as I’ve reread it during the past few weeks, the hint of a suggestion has transformed into a shout of declaration:

A Farewell to CAN’T

This goodbye does not make me sad. I will not miss you.

I have discovered what it feels like to do the unthinkable.

The hard. The long. The challenging.

You have no business here anymore.

From now on, difficult will seem doable.

I will see the impossible as simply not-yet-conquered.

Farewell, Can’t. You will haunt me never again.

Hello, Can.

Welcome to my world.

Regardless of what person or circumstance or decision you’re facing, I encourage you to say your own farewell to Can’t, and a warm welcome to Can.

As Michael Jordan said, “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

Whatever you are, bid farewell to Can’t,


Stevens Creative Consulting

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I leaned on her
and she took my weight.
~ Hilary Swank referring to Mariska Hargitay

You know all these challenges and tests and trials that you’ve been facing lately? The stray balls out of left field? Those events that (if they don’t kill you first) are supposed to make you stronger?

The circumstances that stretch and pull and change who you are, what you think, how you view the future?  The conditions that (if you allow them) shape your idea of what you can successfully persevere through and overcome?

Yes, I’m talking about those things.

They haunt us at night and burden us during the day. They test us. They taunt and question and demand answers.

And all along we thought the exercise was one for our own self-development.

That our triumph was a solitary victory — one that would propel us forward toward achievement of our own dreams and goals.

But what if it’s not all about us?

What if the result of our overcoming difficult circumstances, is to enlarge our spirits so that we have the capacity to help carry the burdens of others?

What if the true agenda of these challenges is for us to develop ample strength so we are able to bear the weight when others need to lean on us?

Maybe all of this challenge and persevering and overcoming isn’t for us. Maybe our making it to the other side is so we are in a position to help others get there, too.

You can’t lead anyone else
further than you have gone yourself.
~Gene Mauch

Whatever you are, others are counting on you to make it!


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The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions,
but in the quality of our lives.

The greatest waste in all of our earth,
which cannot be recycled or reclaimed,
is our waste of the time God has given us each day.”

~ Billy Graham

Did you happen to catch the story about Chester Reed?  He retired last week as the nation’s oldest postal worker, ending a 37-year-old career without taking a single sick day.  He is 95 years old.

Reed’s story is intriguing.  Who sticks with something that long? What kind of person is able to show up day after day for 37 years — long after the time most people would have retired? He earned the right to kick back and enjoy life without the responsibility of daily employment thirty years ago.

Reed claims the secret to his success is finding a job that provides a steady income and where they don’t hassle you (Here! Here!); as well as a healthy diet of watermelon, alkaline water, and an onion sandwich with mayonnaise every day.

And while all of this is well and good, it was his response to a question about leaving a legacy that caught my attention:

Put your hand in a bucket of water,
put it in all the way to your wrist.

Take it out and the hole you leave
will be how much you’ll be missed.

I chuckled when I heard the news anchor relay Reed’s quote.  I had to agree.

The truth is, unless I discover a cure or establish a multi-million dollar foundation or break a record or change national policy, it’s doubtful I will be remembered much beyond the next generation.  It won’t be too far up the family tree before relatives look at a fading picture of me and say, “I think that was . . .” and perhaps my name will be recalled — but more than likely the memory of me, like my life, will have evaporated like a vapor.

Like a hole in water.

And while no one may miss the idea of my existence, I am hopeful that day-by-day I am able to shift the perception, inspire a life and start a chain reaction whereby the lives I touch, inspire the lives they touch for generations to come.

My name isn’t important. My life, such as it is, is quite insignificant in the grand scheme of things. However, I am convinced there is more to living than simply passing the time.  It’s about passing it on.

Whatever you are, I believe you can leave a legacy by impacting a life!


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You will recognize your own path when you come upon it,
because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination
you will ever need.

Jerry Gillies

Do you ever wander around your life, wondering when things will make sense?
When you will discover your purpose?
When your destiny will arrive?

You’ve taken the tests and discovered your strengths. Read the books and identified the steps.

Yet something remains elusive. In the shadows. Just out of sight.

Surely, you think, there’s more to it than this.

Not that your life is a disaster waiting for the clean-up crew. No, that’s not it.

It feels more like you’re living your life in black and white, when you know for a fact that there is a high-definition option available.

Don’t give up!  Keep searching, researching, looking for your life. It’s out there just waiting to be discovered.

And when you do find it, you must be willing to take the biggest risk of all — exchanging the comfort of what you know for the opportunity to live the life you have imagined.

There is a point
at which everything becomes simple
and there is no longer any question of choice,
because all you have staked will be lost
if you look back.

Life’s point of no return.

— Dag Hammarskjold
U.N. Secretary General (1905-1961)

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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It’s not who you are that holds you back,

It’s who you think you’re not” [unknown].

Do you realize how wonderful you are?

You are amazing.

You have unlimited potential.

You are courageous and daring.

An incredible future is waiting for your arrival . . .
. . . if you don’t quit.

If you quit, you get to stay right where you are, with your current set of circumstances.

Your future will become this very minute.

Really?  Is that what you want?

I don’t care what permission slip life has handed you to step out of the game: unemployment, illness, relationship melt-down, disappointment.  It’s bogus. Forged.

Write a different note.  One that’s authentic. One that reads, “YOU CAN WIN!” Give yourself permission to dare, risk, try, dream, imagine, live, fly.

You are in charge of your feelings, beliefs, and actions.

And you teach others how to behave toward you.

While you cannot change other people,
you can influence them through your own behaviors and actions.

By being a living role model of what you want to receive from others,
you create more of what you want in your life.

~ Eric Allenbaugh

Whatever you are, write yourself a permission slip to win!


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We can change our lives.

We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.

~ Tony Robbins

Do you believe you can change your life?

For the entire journey we call our lives, we want something. Something we do not have.

We want to explore new lands, see new sites, engage in new experiences, grow, move, change.

It’s not that we’re unhappy — not necessarily.  We’re just aware that life has more for us, if we can identify what it is and manage to get to it.

What will it take for you to reach your dream? You can see it, right? And you have amazing potential. And you want it.

But realization and knowledge are not enough. They never have been. I’ve known a lot of people who see the future but can’t get there. They muddle around in the present.  Their life is a perpetual a holding pattern.

What sets achievers apart from the others? The ability to decide. “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”

I don’t know what dreams you harbor in your heart or what distant shores you hope to reach. I do know that if you want to reach for your future, it will take a decision to give up what you hold in your hand this very minute.

As Barbara De Angelis said:

You can’t ask for what you want unless you know what it is.
A lot of people don’t know what they want
or they want much less than they deserve.

First, you have to figure out what you want.

Second, you have to decide that you deserve it.

Third, you have to believe you can get it.

And fourth, you have to have the guts to ask for it.

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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Do you ever watch the game show, Jeopardy?  It works a little differently than most other quiz shows. Contestants are provided an answer and they have to come up with the correct question.

I don’t know what questions you may be facing in your life right now, but it doesn’t really matter . . . because I have an answer for you:

Yes, you can be a dreamer

and a doer, too,

if you will remove one word from your vocabulary:

impossible” [Robert Schuller].

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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Would that there were an award for people who come to understand the concept of enough.

Good enough.

Successful enough.

Thin enough.

Rich enough.

Socially responsible enough.

When you have self-respect, you have enough” [Gail Sheehy].

What we have here is a whole lot of people who need, desire, crave, must . . . have . . . more.

They are possessed with accumulating more Power. Control. Money. Awards. Things.

Anything . . .

. . . to prove they are valuable, substantial, noteworthy, important.

Unless their lives are lit up like the Vegas strip, it’s never enough.  They feel unappreciated and unimportant. Small and insignificant. When will they learn that looking outward to fill the gaping hole left by a lack of self-respect is a waste of time, energy, and resources?

I was watching a program on the National Geographic channel recently about a super ship that provides mega yacht transport across the Atlantic. (Stay with me here, I’ll make a connection.) As the 21 yachts (worth a combined $131 M) were loaded onto the ship, viewers quickly came to understand the important role of boat stabilizers. And I started thinking about the ways in which self-respect in a person’s life serves a similar purpose to those stabilizers.

Ship stabilizers are fins mounted beneath the waterline and emerging laterally. In contemporary vessels, they  have the capacity to change their angle of attack to counteract roll caused by wind or waves acting on the ship.

These unseen stabilizers (like your self-respect) produce numerous benefits including reducing crew fatigue, providing safety and comfort, protecting against cargo damage and loss, reducing motion sickness, increasing performance and safety, and reducing fuel costs.

Luxury yachts can have the most expensive technology, highly acclaimed captain, beautiful furnishings, and amazing amenities, but those “seen things” are not enough to keep it upright when the storms come.

Similarly, you can amass fame, fortune, and numerous “things,” but they will not protect you when the pressures of life are bearing down.

Think about this:

The true concept of “enough” doesn’t have anything to do with quantity.
It is all about sufficiency — having the right amount of the right “stuff.”

I like what Joan Didion said: “To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves — there lies the great, singular power of self-respect.”

Whatever you are, enough is enough!


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“A single lie destroys a whole reputation for integrity.”
Baltasar Gracian

In the days of old, or so I’m told, one could tell a liar by the fact that his pants were on fire.  Oh, that it were so easy to distinguish between honest men and scoundrels today!

Why do people lie? And why in the world do people lie on behalf of other people? Politicians, plagiarism, manipulation, cheating, lost in the mail, dog ate the homework, affairs, tax fraud, half-truths, out right deception — it’s all so ugly.

Now, I’m of the opinion that life would be more enjoyable if one’s pants were to spontaneously erupt in flames as a result of an untruth — and — there would be a good deal fewer false statements blowing around.

It doesn’t matter who says it, or what it looks like or sounds like, or what it’s wrapped up with, or how often it’s repeated, a lie is still a lie.

On the other hand,

Honesty has a beautiful and refreshing simplicity about it.
No ulterior motives.
No hidden meanings.
An absence of hypocrisy, duplicity, political games, and verbal superficiality.
As honesty and real integrity characterize our lives,
there will be no need to manipulate others.
~ Chuck Swindoll

Why not be truthful today? Break through the fear. Face the facts. Take honesty for a spin. Quit lying to yourself and others. Become a person of character. Stop playing fast and loose with the facts. “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters” [Albert Einstein].

Isn’t your integrity, character, and reputation more important than the perceived convenience and comfort of the untruth you are preparing to speak?

Whatever you are, I hope your pants are not on fire!


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You cannot escape the results of your thoughts . . . whatever your present environment may be, you will fall, or rise with your thoughts, your vision, your idea.  You will become as small as your controlling idea, or as great as your dominant aspiration
[James Lane Allen].

The knowledge that you have the power to set the course of your life exhilarates some, causes extreme terror for others.

I was speaking with a woman a while back. Unfortunately, it wasn’t one of those happy-go-lucky, have the world by the tail discussions. Quite the contrary.

Things aren’t going just as she has planned . . . or hoped. A string of disappointments have only served to reinforce the disillusionment that a fulfilling life will always remain beyond reach.

In reality, this woman has simply lost herself. She has forgotten how powerful and wonderful she is. How amazingly resourceful she can be. How important she is to those around her.

I reminded her that if she doesn’t like what’s going on, if she wants to become someone different than the person she currently is, if she wants to turn her circumstances around, she can.  The choice is hers. She has to choose.  Simple as that.

She needs to make the decision to think differently, and then she needs to begin acting differently. That’s really all there is to it. And it works the same for each one of us.

“A man’s life is what his thoughts make it.”
~ Marcus Aurelius

What about you?  Tired of blaming your unhappiness, discouragement, disappointment on others?  Ready to take responsibility for your life?

It begins in your mind.

With the belief that you can make a difference — for yourself!

This life is yours.

Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well.

Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly.

Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature.

Take the power to control your own life.

No one else can do it for you.

Take the power to make your life happy.

~ Susan Polis Schutz

Whatever you are, take the power and live an amazing life!


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