It's all about you.
You get to decide what's possible. Not your parents. Not your best friend or spouse or community or culture.
In this case, both the good news and the bad news is that nobody else is responsible for you. In order to fully step into your power, you get to learn radical self-responsibility.
How terrifying is that?! It seems much easier to blame others when life doesn't quite go the way we'd like it to, doesn't it?
And why does it matter, anyway? Because, as Rick Hanson, in Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom, says, "Who is the one person in the world you have the greatest power over? It's your future self."
A lot of the work I do with clients is teaching them how to be radically responsible for their future selves. We begin with mindful awareness of what's happening now, right where they are. Using gentle self-observation. Eventually moving to self-observation without self-judging.
Once the mindfulness journey begins, it can become a powerful path for cultivating a rich life filled with those things that most matter to you and your beloveds, including your future self.
10 Power Tips for Mindful Working, Loving, Living
1. Are you sleepwalking through your life?
Time is rushing along, whether or not you're paying attention. All of a sudden, you'll find yourself living your future life.
Oops! if you've been mindless all that time. Begin with self-awareness. Paradoxical as that sounds, self-awareness is how to fast-track toward your future self. Use mindfulness to wakey, wakey!
2. Define your own success.
Use mindfulness to articulate your value system. Next, make choices from those values. Don't be comparing yourself to anyone else. Own your future self, beginning right here, right now.
3. It's all about passion.
Yours, no one else's. And when you're going big, reach for grand and glorious ideas. According to Scott Dinsmore, "Those around you absolutely must dream as big or bigger and have as much passion or more than you do."
Use your mindfulness chops to know and embrace your passions.
4. Work and love and live from your strengths.
The brain is wired for the negative. Poor thing, your brain is just trying to protect you from perceived attack.
Developing a mindful awareness practice allows you to make choices from your strengths -- once you acknowledge them -- rather than your brain's ancient fear-based vulnerabilities.
5. Start listening to your stories.
The ones you tell yourself all day long about why it's not happening, why you're the wrong person for the job or the relationship, how s/he's a jerk.
You have the power to change your world by simply tuning into your own stories, using mindfulness as the foundation.
6. Ask questions.
A lot of them. Your future self depends on you questioning the status quo. Otherwise you might end up mindlessly rocking on the front porch one day, wondering what the hell happened to your life.
Ask "Why?" And "How?" And "Why not?!" Use your mindfulness tools to discern the deeper answers, and cultivate the courage to move ahead from there.
7. Remember, there's no such thing as failure.
Rather, there are lessons learned. Explorations undertaken. Experiments tried.
Mindfulness teaches us to pay attention, notice what's really going on rather than what we're pretending is happening, and to sit quietly with the non-judgmental observations. Course correct. Move forward, into your future self.
8. Who are you hanging out with?
Make sure you're spending time with at least some winners. With people who refuse to let you give up. Because who you spend time with now means an awful lot to your future self.
Pay attention, notice what you notice, mindfully up your game as necessary.
9. Ask for help.
It won't hurt you, I promise. Many people are compulsive about not asking anyone for anything -- it's that Lone Cowboy thing. Here's the problem. It ain't gonna happen all by yourself. No successful person ever got where s/he got without standing on the shoulders of, even being held up by others once in a while.
Use your mindfulness skills to learn how to connect with others, ask for help when needed, hang out with people who'll have a positive impact on that future self of yours.
If you wait 10 years, you've lost 10 years.
Where does that fit in with a mindful awareness practice?! Actually, there's a lot of action going on, it just doesn't look like much from the outside. But when you get off the cushion or out of the chair, and begin taking mindful action on behalf of your future self, you begin moving from a lovely place of quiet confidence.
You future self will be most grateful, I promise.