When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

Viktor Frankl

Allow me to start by saying: this serves as your reminder that life is short. Whether or not we believe this lifetime is just one of many incarnations on our soul journey, we’re all here for a reason today. Like it or not, there are experiences in your life – past, present, and future – that have been placed right where they were supposed to be, in order for you to have this specific journey, tailored just for you.

The thing many of us get wrong, however, is that we get in our own ways from the get-go. Through most of our childhood, we’re taught to believe that happiness stems from achievements. Get the nice car, then you’ll get the pretty girl, which means you’ll be the envy of all your friends, and your boss will love you, hence giving you all the promotions in the world, and of course, you’ll get all the admiration and respect you deserve.

I fell into this trap too. When I first dove into self-help and self-development, I was lucky enough to have Tony Robbins shape my idea of growth and development. That man inspired me, like no other person has before. I loved his humility, drive, and passion for life. But the thing that didn’t click for me until much later was that life wasn’t about achieving goal after goal. It wasn’t about the car, the money, or the respect. I thought that’s what I wanted, which I thought was what self-development was about.

But instead, what I learned was that my soul was really after the journey: the process of growth and evolution. My soul wanted the struggle and the pain. It didn’t want to just get to the end result. The end results, whether that may be the material possessions or social status, were simply byproducts of what I was really after…

the opportunity to prove to myself that I had what it took: the grit, faith, and love.

When we spend years, if not decades, working to accumulate wealth, riches, status, or even love from others we’ve thrown away the only thing that’s not replenish-able in this world: our time (or how we conceive of time).

We start on the wrong foot. We lean our ladders on the wrong wall, spend so much of our time climbing it, only to realize we’ve climbed the wrong wall.

So how do we save ourselves the regret of wasting our time (or lives) by instead climbing the right wall?

It begins with intention.

Remember when I said I figured out that it wasn’t the possessions or status my soul craved – rather, the process and journey? That taught me that we all need and crave growth. It’s one of the many human needs (another article coming on the ten basic human needs).

For growth to happen, two ingredients are required: intention and goals.

What’s the difference between intention and goals? Because life is all about balance, intentions are the being, and goals the doing.

Intention is about knowing what you want – it’s qualitative. Setting goals takes it a step further and allows you to measure what it is you want. If you set them right, your goals should be quantifiable.

So set your intentions right. Know that it’s not about material possessions, status, or even your physical well-being. Because you know what? All of these things can be stripped from you in the blink of an eye.

Instead, set your intentions on the kind of person you want to be.

This is what clicked for me a year after I met Tony Robbins. It’s about the person you’re becoming inside – your character. Because no one can take that away from you. Your business can come crashing down when the economy doesn’t work in your favor; the company you work for may decide to be bought out by a bigger company, pushing you out and removing your position; you might come down with the elephant disease (… this doesn’t exist, as far as I know) and lose all of your limbs.

But the only thing that can’t be stripped from you is who you are inside.

So here’s where you take what you’ve learned and apply it to your life:

  1. What kind of person are you becoming?
  2. What kind of person is required for you to achieve X, Y, Z?
  3. You should have a list of 3-5 words that inspire you; these words should make you buzz all over, because this is who you know you are at the core (not to be mistaken with your list of values).
  4. Set an alarm to go off three times a day that reminds you of who you are. When those alarms go off, give yourself the space of 15 seconds and breathe in those traits. Imagine yourself acting from that place completely.
  5. Post reminders of these words all throughout your environment: work, home, car, etc. By placing reminders throughout your environment, you’re providing your unconscious mind with primers that help shape how you show up.

What are you made of? What are your three words?

Live with intention, Lead with inspiration.