1. Who Needs Help Today?
Speaking of change, we can find an incredible piece of insight in the words of the famous philosopher Mahatma Gandhi who simply said, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." His words echoed those of Jesus when he taught that, "he that loseth his life for my sake (we could easily say lose yourself in service) shall find it." (Mathew 10:39).
One of the quickest and surest ways I know of to break out of that "stuck" feeling in life is to get up and find someone to help. Pray for guidance in this and sensitivity to those around you; oftentimes those who struggle the most work the hardest to put on the brave and happy face. Once you have someone or some cause in mind, use your talents and abilities to make a difference. I've seen musicians go play piano at nursing homes to uplift the residences or talented stylists take their scissors to give homeless free haircuts. At other times I have seen gold-medalists give free sport lessons to inner-city kids or bakers make meals for a sick neighbor. A buddy shovels his elderly neighbor's walks when it snows and my friend's daughter drew me picture of a bobsled after a rough day. What I'm saying is that everyone has at least one talent that can be used to inspire and bring joy to others and the great thing is, as cliche as it sounds, you cannot lift another soul without raising your own spirits.
2. What Do I Need to Do?
For some, this question may seem vague, but in reality it is one of the most empowering inquiries we can ask (ask ourselves, God, fate, or the universe; you decide).
Research has proven time and time again that making a simple to-do list leads to increased performance throughout the day and a higher degree of excellence in our actions and quality of life. But that isn't what I'm talking about here with this question, although I do recommend you make a daily to-do list each night for the next day.
No, what I'm referring to is an honest, deep look into our own hearts to see what path in life we should be following, but are avoiding because of fear, apathy or denial. Yes, I have seen time and time again that human beings have a terribly good ability to deny their own inner voice. "Who am I to do this great thing I dream of?" they ask. "I'm nobody special, certainly not someone to write their own book, launch their own business, pursue a musical or athletic career, start a family, get that college degree, or be wildly successful in some other adventure!"
And so, we bury those passionate, burning dreams away behind walls of busy-ness, fear, ignorance and self-doubt. Instead of heading that powerful voice within, instead of listening to ourselves, we fill our mental, emotional and literal ears with the voices of the world. Could that be one of the causes of so much loneliness in the world, that even when we are surrounded by others we feel alone because we have not learned to befriend our own inner champion, the one that will help us reach our highest potential if we will just tune in instead of tuning out?
3. Where Do I Need to Be?
Similar to question #2, this one is deceptive in how easy it seems. Most of us have an idea of where we need to physically we need to be during the day (at work, the store, a dinner, the gym, etc.), but when we struggle to understand where we need to be in life in general, then we begin to feel stuck.
Whenever a friend of mine says they are feeling stuck in life, I like to say that "it's time to change the game!" The idea is to create options and then analyze them, then act. Once you have learned to listen to your own inner voice with question #2, the next step is to figure out where you need to be to make those dreams and desires into reality. Do you want to start your own business? Ok, where do you need to be in life to do that. Do you need to take some classes? Do you need to attend seminars? Do you need to be in an office somewhere filing the right paperwork? Make a list and then make it happen.
Do you want to be a game-winning athlete? Ok, where do you need to be? Do you need to be at practice everyday? Do you need to be meeting with a dietitian to get optimally fueled? Do you need to be in a yoga class periodically to maintain flexibility and promote muscle repair? Do you need to be in front of the TV studying film of yourself to analyze ways to improve? Figure out where you need to be and then get there.
Do you want to have more fulfilling relationships? Ok, where do you need to be? Do you need to be at a library picking out books that apply, then sitting with a notebook to write down the insights you gain? Do you need to be in a counselor's office to work through some of life's traumas and heartaches that are holding you back? Do you need to be attending a relationship-building seminar and social activities to practice what you're learning? Again, figure out where you need to be and then go.
It may cause some discomfort at first because humans are naturally crave routine, but progress only comes through discomfort and sometimes even some pain (and if you ever doubt that, just ponder the birth process we all went through to come in to this world).
4. How Can I Build the Kingdom Today?
Now, if you're a Christian you read that thinking of ways to build God's kingdom on this earth and that's a good thing. We should always be asking how we can help His work move forward, but as one friend recently told me, sometimes the way He does that is through moving our personal works forward.
Building a great life requires all the same things that constructing a beautiful empire does: planning, work, continual learning, adaptation, growth, support, leadership, and so on. But that great life is what you decide it to be. I have come to discover that some of the world's most powerful kingdoms are found within a loving home or a barely-surviving non-profit that serves. Your kingdom is your life, but also your dreams, your relationships, your economic situation, your service, your love and your hopes.
So, ask yourself right now, what can you do to build the kingdom of your life? What small step can you take that will move you forward on the pathway of success? I don't care if that step is a shuffle, a leap or a sprint, take it today. And then once you have, figure out what your next step is.
To build your marriage-kingdom, maybe you need to surprise your spouse with flowers or a thoughtful thank-you. To building your career-kingdom, maybe you need to ask for that raise or start that new product line. To build the kingdom of your mind, maybe you need to read more and play video games less.
You are the king or queen of the kingdom of your life; stop acting like it's servant.