The Hidden World in Front of You and How to Find It
Have you ever had to eat crow? I hate the taste of crow but I had to eat it last week. My friend Chelsea and I were attending an early morning Business Breakfast. The meeting was about to begin so we sat down at our table to listen to the first speaker. As soon as I sat down, I realized that I didn’t have any water. Anyone who is even remotely acquainted with me understands that I have a deep, intimate relationship with water — its true love; a perfect match made in heaven. I am rarely without a glass, a bottle, or a cup of water in my hand.
So of course I got up as quietly as possible so as not to disturb the speaker and went on a hunt to find water. I saw serving tables: coffee, creamers, sugar, and orange juice. No water. I went outside where the servers were breaking down the breakfast tables: coffee, creamers, sugar and orange juice. No water. I went back inside and found another table with you guessed it: coffee, creamers, sugar and orange juice. There was no water anywhere to be found.
For years I had always teased my children for not being able to see the obvious; the milk on the top shelf of the fridge, the 60LB dog food in the garage, or the keys on the key hook anchored to the wall. We’re not talking about a needle in a haystack; we’re talking more like an SUV in the garage.
The years of joking with my kids came back to bite me really quickly that morning. After failing to find water anywhere, I asked one of the girls at the registration table where I could find some water. She politely responded, “There are two pitchers of water at each table.” Sheepishly, with blushing cheeks, I sat back down again and immediately saw two pitchers of iced cold water. For a few moments I turned into my kids; I had been searching for something that was obviously staring me in the face.
So what is staring you right smack dab in the face? How often do you go down rabbit trails searching for something that is right in front of you only to miss it again and again?
I consistently see two areas where people fail to see the obvious: their own personal strengths and opportunities staring right at them.
Let’s look at these 2 key areas in your life where potential might be staring you in the face.
You were born with your own unique natural talents. When these talents are nurtured, they can develop into your signature strengths. According to Gallup’s Strengths Finder 2.0, your talents are naturally reoccurring patterns of thought, feeling or behavior. It’s what comes effortlessly to you. To develop your strengths, you must first identify your dominant talents and build upon them by applying knowledge and skill. It’s difficult, however, to develop your talents and turn them into valuable strengths if you are unaware of them.
Opportunity is a very positive word; it inspires us and gives us hope. Sometimes just one tiny opportunity can mean the difference between having an incredible life and one that’s subpar. When you are preoccupied, it’s hard to recognize an opportunity from a distraction. Some of the most successful people aren’t necessarily the brightest or the most skilled, but they are quite accomplished at recognizing and taking advantage of opportunities.
What are some roadblocks to seeing your personal strengths and potential opportunities in front of you?
We all have blind spots. Many times they come from our own biases, judgments, pre-conceived ideas or flawed belief systems. Regardless of the source of the blind spot, their results are the same; they prevent us from seeing what’s in front of us.
Technology has totally changed our lives and the way we function. Slowly as a society we have become less and less productive both personally and professionally. Because of the new high tech world we live in, time management tools, mindfulness exercises, and productivity techniques are hot topics these days. Focus is the new IQ. Distractions create the perfect environment for us to miss what’s right in front of our faces.
Not Living In the Present
Our minds wander constantly. Researchers call this waking sleep; which is the same thing as being engrossed in a daydream. Everyone does it, but the question is how much time do you spend in waking sleep? What are you missing out on by not being fully present?
What Is This Costing You?
Regardless of the source, what are you failing to see and what is it costing you? Is it draining your energy, affecting your finances, and possibly jeopardizing your future?
So what can you do to be more aware of the things that are holding you back from living in the present so you can build your strengths and seize golden opportunities?
Identifying Blind Spots
Faulty belief systems can develop from how negative life experiences are perceived. They usually come from a place of insecurity or fear that in turn causes judgment and gives people a sense of superiority. Calming down the mind allows you to more clearly identify when you are operating out of a flawed belief system. Recognizing the clues that you are operating out of a flawed belief system is impactful to changing those limiting beliefs. Take note of when you are experiencing negative emotions so you can choose to respond versus react. Mindfulness practices, breathing exercises and meditation all help quiet the mind chatter.
Distractions not only prevent you from living in the present they also throw a monkey wrench into your time and the quality of your relationships. I have to credit my oldest son, Jordan, for helping me manage my distractions. He introduced me to the Pomodoro Technique.
The Pomodoro Technique is a productivity system that splits tasks into timed intervals. As I plan my week, I write out my daily schedule and the projects that need to be completed. I then use a timer for my projects and turn off all notifications. I set the timer for 25 minutes followed by a 5 minute scheduled break. During your scheduled free time, you can do anything you want. You can check your social media, make phone calls, answer texts or emails or practice meditation.
This system works so well and has literally changed my life and the life of my clients who use it. It fuels that feeling of accomplishment and gives you a sense of empowerment. An added benefit is that it snowballs and keeps the momentum of progress going throughout the day.
Being Fully Present
Creating a lifestyle of greater productivity and living fully present has unlimited rewards. Living in the present gives you a deeper appreciation for life and allows you to enjoy so much more in your surroundings. From a mindfulness standpoint, you’re more likely to hear and trust your gut feelings, recognize emotional triggers that drive behavior and see your stress levels decrease.
A first step towards being more present is to slow down; slowing down both your actions and your thinking. Adding tempo breathing techniques also calms the mind and brings you to the present. I recommend setting aside a few minutes a day to meditate and listen to not only your intuition but also to what your body is telling you. Are you able to recognize your body’s stress signals and the ensuing emotional triggers? Awareness is the first step to making the changes you want. Become aware of your personal mind/body connection and start listening to what your body is trying to tell you so you can choose your responses; not just react.
It’s a sad fact but the majority of people are not even aware that they possess personal strengths let alone know what those strengths are. Can you name your top 5 strengths? Identifying your personal strengths is best described as what talents you possess; what comes relatively easy for you. Being aware of and knowing your personal strengths allows you to cultivate them and live out of your strength’s zone; your power position. Some examples of talents turned into strengths listed by Gallup’s Strengths Finder 2.0 are:
Priming the pump of your mind will create a more fertile environment to being open to opportunities. Some of the things you can do to increase your awareness are:
- Acquire knowledge that you do not currently possess
- Be intentional
- Read books
- Develop a growth mindset
- Learn something you don’t know
- Ask questions from successful people
- Find a mentor
“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”
I have to be honest with you, 99% of everything I’ve learned in life I have discovered from my children, who are now adults. As a young mom, I recognized early on that each of my kids were unique and exceptionally talented; just as you are.
Looking back, I see how they have developed the talents they had from a young age and turned them into strengths.
The child who had a constant thirst for knowledge and started his own lawn service business at age 12, is an entrepreneur, founder, partner and curriculum creator for an accredited coding school in Utah.
The child who wouldn’t be caught dead with mismatched clothes, was always dressed to a T, and could run the entire office system of our home business at age 12, is now the Operations Manager for Prada Beverly Hills.
The child who had both a flare for the dramatic and a love for dissecting frogs and bats in grade school worked as the sassy Tinkerbelle for Disney and is currently in nursing school.
The child who was born with the biggest heart since birth and is loved by family and friends alike did not hesitate to put on his hoodie, pack up all his personal food rations and distribute them in the pouring rain to the homeless during Hurricane Harvey.
So look at your own life. What talents and giftings do you have in your hands? What comes naturally to you? You don’t have to go down rabbit trails searching for them — they are most likely staring right back at you.
Find your talents, nurture them and if you can’t see opportunity in front of you — create your own.
Originally published at www.transformuniversity.net on November 7, 2017.
Impossible, Difficult, Done
I am a single mom and the Founder/CEO of Transform University, a company that specializes in lifestyle transformation. As an Internationally Certified Coach through Coach University, an accredited institution by the International Coaching Federation and a John Maxwell Certified Coach/Trainer I always love helping entrepreneurs/ achievers make positive changes for greater success.
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