What If We Could?

One of my favorite things is listening to people describe their dreams, wishes, and goals.  As I listen, the light shines in their eyes as they explain how things could really be.  They have a unique perspective on the changes that need to occur, and they have formulated a custom solution that has for some reason has not yet been discovered by others.  If it would be implemented, true change, restoration, or progress could take place.

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As they speak, their creative energies are fully intact, their life passions and hearts are engaged, and I, as the listener, am completely inspired.

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Then, all too often, as if on cue, their eyes shift from looking upwards as they speak and imagine their idea to looking at the ground.  Then, comes the seemingly inevitable comment, “But, ‘I could never do that’ or ‘it could never work’ because of…”  And, follows the “reason” that it would not, could not ever occur.

From my perspective as the listener, what has been mentioned seems to me only a hurdle to be overcome or an obstacle to be deconstructed.  But, to the speaker, what has been mentioned seems to be insurmountable and final.  All of the energy that had been exerted into the development of the dream is dissipated with one mention of this opposition or an obstacle.

 

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When dreams are tossed aside, my heart sinks.  Something inside me intuitively believes that these dreams are meant to come to fruition, but they are nonetheless all of the sudden off of the table.  They are no longer a consideration.  This has happened so many times; I feel like it is epidemic.

My questions are the following.

  • How can we hold onto our dreams even while we acknowledge the realities that oppose them–big or little? 
  • How can we face reality without giving up on our dreams entirely?  
  • Should we stop dreaming when opposition exists?

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I would assert that dreams should still be nourished–even in the midst of opposition.  Michael Hyatt captures this idea simply, yet profoundly when he states, “Our dreams should be bigger than our obstacles.”  When we grow our dreams, they can gain momentum to move into existence in spite of obstacles.

How do we build into our dreams, even while acknowledging the obstacles?  Here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. Clarify your vision.  As a starting point, as an individual or as a group, visualize how things would be if there were no barriers and if perfection could be achieved.  This is clearly not the only step to take, but it is a great way to start.  As novel ideas are brought to reality, they need to be nurtured for what they are.  Later, you will introduce other realities into them and negotiate paths around them.  They must, however, be fully formed to have the best chance of braving the odds.
  2. Acknowledge the opposition.  Creative thinking is useless if it cannot be applied in real life.  What real life obstacles will work against your ideas?  Take some time to identify these.  Then, evaluate the true impact each could have.  Will they completely inhibit your vision, change your vision, or just impact your vision?
  3. Dismantle the obstacles.  Brainstorm paths over, under, through or around the obstacles you have identified.  Can these obstacles be removed, changed, or impacted?  Often, we view things that are as though they always will be.  This is not necessarily the case.  Often, things can be changed.  Aim to dismantle actual or perceived obstacles that keep you from your goals.

Your unique perspective on life is so important.  In fact, it is irreplaceable.  If you do not make the changes in the world that you see, who will?  If you do not touch the people in your life, who will?  Don’t give up when you recognize opposition to your dreams.  Grow them and nurture them instead.

Take some time today to dream big, acknowledge the real life opposition, and envision paths around the obstacles and to your goals.

If you could bring a dream to reality this year, what would it be?

Christine Wilson, co-founder of Think Time

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Highlights:

“Hold onto your dreams.”  Christine Wilson @thinktimetweets think-time.com

“Acknowledge the obstacles.”  Christine Wilson @thinktimetweets think-time.com

“Our dreams should be bigger than our obstacles.”  Michael Hyatt @michaelhyatt

“Clarify your vision.”  Christine Wilson @thinktimetweets think-time.com

“Creative thinking is useless if it cannot be applied in real life.” Christine Wilson @thinktimetweets think-time.com

“Aim to dismantle actual or perceived obstacles that keep you from your goals.”  Christine Wilson @thinktimetweets think-time.com

 

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Use your whole brain to live your whole life.

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Relationships are a Necessity, Not a Luxury

Last night, we reconnected with my second cousins to watch their daughter in a prominent role in the Nutcracker.  My great aunt traveled to Dallas from Columbus to watch her granddaughter with her son’s family, and my brother joined our family in our family’s carefully chosen back row seating.  Happily, my daughters were in rapt attention during the entire musical–completely engaged.  My two year old kept pointing to the stage saying, “That my cousin.”  By the end of our time together, my daughters were certain that they too were elegant ballerinas and danced all over the Eisemann Center lobby.  The lights in their eyes showed the impact this one beautiful experience wrapped in loving relationships had on each of them.

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One of my favorite authors, Dr. Henry Cloud, says succinctly, “Our brain runs on three things: oxygen, glucose, and relationships.”  

From the moment of conception, we are shaped by relationships and depend heavily upon them for the rest of our lives.  

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The holiday season is a unique time in which most of us set aside time to reconnect with those people who have been influential in our lives. Often times, this is family.  Many times, this circle of deep relationships includes friends, coworkers, and other relationships.  Wouldn’t it be nice to sprinkle a bit of this warm feeling throughout the year?

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Unfortunately, as life gets busier and busier, relationships seem to be the first thing to be put on the back burner. 

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How can we prioritize relationships better in this coming year?

Following are some ideas to get you started.

  1. Recognize that great relationships are in necessity, not a luxury.  Spending time with people is central to life.  When life gets busy, nurturing healthy and enriching relationships can unfortunately be the first thing to go!  When we are isolated, however, our souls can deteriorate.  Our perspective can become warped.  We think too much of ourselves and too little of others.  Don’t let that happen in your life.  You need people, and they need you.  (To explore more on this, check out Henry Cloud’s latest book The Power of the Other.)
  2. Put relationships on your to do list.  Consider including relationships in your planning process.  As you plan your to dos, use a tool like our To Be / To Do Concept Clouds to prompt to yourself to think of those around you. With whom do you want to connect?  Whom can you serve?  Who is moving through a major life transition right now?   Who do you miss?
  3. Sketch ideas you have to connect with these people in the Dream Phase of your yearly Think Time.  Would you like to plan a camping trip with one family?  Meet up at the playground with another?  Go on a mission trip with another?  Attend an art exhibit with another?  Invite a neighbor for dinner?  Babysit for a young mom?  Mow the yard or hang some pictures for an elderly friend?  Let the ideas flow, and when you get closer to scheduling them, you will be able to sift and sort which ones will fit into your real life in the Decide Phase of Think Time.
  4. Identify and maximize your relational strengths. What do you bring to relationships? Do more of it! Brainstorm how your strength can impact even more people.  Are you great at organizing parties?  Keep doing it.  Are you one to rush to the aid of someone in need?  Allow that strength to be used in even broader ways.  Do you have a listening ear?  Take a moment to think of who may benefit from having a chance to share their thoughts and feelings.  Do you have specific skills?  Carpentry? Mechanics?  Design?  How can you serve those around you in the coming year? Take initiative and see how you can bless others by being more fully YOU in your relationships.
  5. Do some internal work. Take some time to evaluate what type of person you bring to the table when you bring yourself into a relationship. What are some of your strengths and what are some of your weaknesses? Get some feedback from those around you and get to work on your stuff.  A trained listener such as a counselor or a life coach can be invaluable for this process.
  6. Schedule it!  When you have an idea to get together with someone, pencil it in the Do Phase of Think Time, and follow up!  When you see someone that you really want to get together with or someone comes to mind, get it on the calendar! It is better to have it on the calendar and move it then to go months or even years without connecting with that person. Pull out your Think Time and write it down.  Set up reminders on your phone to follow up and make it happen.
  7. Be fully present.  Focus and full attention are the premium gifts in a relationship.  Make eye contact.  Prepare ahead of time thoughtful questions and listen fully to their responses in the moment.  When your nieces and nephews are showing you something, ignore that notification that just buzzed.  For portions of your time together, consider placing your phone on Airplane Mode to protect your time together.  If you are an introvert, schedule time by yourself before the holidays and take quick breaks during them to maintain relational energy.  Soak in these special moments…you only get to live them once.

These are some of my ideas?  What are some of yours?

Christine Wilson

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Co-Founder, Creative Director of Think Time

 

Blog Highlights:

“Great relationships are in necessity, not a luxury.”  Christine Wilson @thinktimetweets think-time.com

“You need people, and they need you.” Christine Wilson @thinktimetweets think-time.com

“Our brain runs on three things: oxygen, glucose, and relationships.”  Dr. Henry Cloud @drhenrycloud

“Identify and maximize your relational strengths.” Christine Wilson @thinktimetweets think-time.com

“How can you serve those around you in the coming year?”  Christine Wilson @thinktimetweets think-time.com

“Make it happen.” Christine Wilson @thinktimetweets think-time.com

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Think Time Life Leadership System

Use your whole brain to plan your whole life.

Shop now at think-time.com.

Live Your Unique Story

Take a moment to look at your fingerprint.

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If you are like me, it has been years since you reflected on the uniqueness found in such a simple task.  Take a moment to reflect on the uniqueness of your fingerprint.

No one else has the same one.

Sure, there are patterns of types of prints the helps us to categorize fingerprints, but NO ONE has one quite like yours.

Remarkable!

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Now, think about your unique personality design.

Are you energized by being with people or being by yourself?

Are you a person who lives in the world of tangible things you can touch or in the world of ideas?

Do you tend to lead with your heart or your head?

Do you live within defined time and space parameters, or do you wait until later to decide what seems appropriate?

Do you work in a logical or sporadic sequence?

Do you like to hear the high points or all of the details?

Are you quick to start something you are energized to do or are you motivated to minimize unnecessary change?

You are likely somewhere on a continuum of each of these categories as unique as your fingerprint.  Sure, we can think of areas that help us to understand our uniqueness, but the fact remains that each of us is one person as unique from others as our fingerprint.

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Now think about your unique story.

Where were you born?  Who were your parents?  Who were your friends?  What was your community like?

What did you notice as a child?  What places made you feel alive?  What relationships inspired you?

What tragedies have you lived through?  What obstacles have you overcome?

All of these things and more tell the unique story which is our life.

These uniquenesses of our lives can also hint toward our purpose.  Our past–including the most glorious and the most tragic moments–can be used to bring good, truth, and beauty into the world.  In the realm of purpose, nothing is wasted.  Oftentimes, comfort flows from us to another because we have lived through unique experiences.  If we are willing, we can offer ourselves–life on life–in comfort to another person as our experiences give us custom lenses through which we can view the world and recognize things others don’t.

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We are unique.

Our time is short.

There will be no repeats and no do-overs.

Time is marching on, and we have one life to live.

Let’s maximize our unique place in this world by embracing our unique design and living our life to the full–just as we are.

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Check out our collections of Think Time tools-Think Pads, Smart Planners, Ponder Prompts, and White Space White Board Walls.   Each tool is designed to help you to engage your deepest desires and both sides of your brain so you focus on what matters most as you live your irreplaceable story.

 

The best blogs are dialogues.  What makes you unique?  What do you see that no one else sees?  Please comment in the comments below!

 

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Christine M. Wilson, LPC

Co-Founder, Think Time

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Think Time Life Leadership System

Use your whole brain to plan your whole life.

Shop now at think-time.com.

 

 

 

 

This is Your Life. Fight for it!

Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song,” after only one year on YouTube, has reached over 239 million views.  After only three years, Disney’s Frozen “Let it Go” is approaching a billion views.  These songs obviously strike a chord in our hearts today.  Why is this?

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Both songs center around a theme of reclaiming our hearts and our lives.  Whether we have not been heard by others or whether we have chosen to keep our voice silent, our inner beings were designed to express themselves.  If suppressed over time by others or ourselves, they may demand to make a debut–even if it requires an “explosion.”

Let’s look at Rachel’s song.  Her video begins with a glimpse into her personal grief.  In a torn shirt she scribbles down her thoughts in journals.  As she sings “prove I’m alright” her lip quivers…  She is losing her friends and missing her home, but there is a fire that is burning.

“Fight Song” Lyrics (excerpt)

Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

And all those things I didn’t say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

Songwriters: Dave Bassett / Rachel Platten
Fight Song lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

In “Fight Song,” Rachel reveals that she was ready to use her voice.  Even one word could make a heart open.  She would no longer wait for others to hear or to believe.  With renewed hope, she discovers the strength that she possesses.

But, you can’t miss the word, “fight.”  More on that in a minute.

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Let’s now look at Elsa’s journey.  Having been given a gift of being able to turn things into ice and cold, she learned at a young age that the immense power she had could be used for good or for harm.

Instead of harnessing the gift, she sought to hide it from others and herself out of fear.   When it was clear it could not longer be hidden, she explores her strength in the safety of isolation while singing the following song.

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“Let it Go” Lyrics  (excerpt)

Don’t let them in,
don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel,
don’t let them know
Well now they know

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore

Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care
what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on.
The cold never bothered me anyway

Written by Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Emanuel Kiriakou • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Walt Disney Music Company

In both of these songs, each person recognized that to express their strength they needed to separate themselves from others’ thoughts and feelings.  Somewhere in the past a line between themselves and others had been blurred.  Each expressed feelings of storm, rage, and anger in this process of realization.  What is this all about?

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In the process of becoming a counselor, my graduate program required that I go through counseling myself.  I distinctly remember one point in a session.  After sharing a story, my counselor looked at me and simply asked me, “How do you feel about that?”  I returned only a blank stare.  I had no idea.  Realizing in that moment that I was completely emotionally illiterate, I asked, “What are my options?”

Other people must have been just like me because she literally had a little board on the floor beside her chair with words like, “anger, sad, hurt, fear, shame, and joy.”  I don’t remember what word I chose at that time, but the realization that I had no language for understanding the feelings inside me struck me to the core.

Fast-forward another year or two.  I was interning at a psychiatric day program in Dallas.  One of the young counselors was teaching the clients in a psycho-educational session about feelings.  She discussed how feelings are “flags.”  They point to things that have happened or actions we need to take.  For instance, feelings of sadness indicate that there has been a loss.  Guilt indicates action needs to be taken to correct something.  Notably, she taught that anger is often a feeling that tells us that a boundary needs to be drawn.  

 

From the time that we are toddlers, we know as humans that it is extremely important to define what is mine and what is not mine.  Things that belong to us are our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, actions and behaviors.  Things that do not belong to us are others’ thoughts, feelings, attitudes, actions and behaviors, the weather, the rotation of the Earth, and a trillion more things.  In healthy development, a toddler learns what is his or hers and what is not his or hers.  This is why his or her new favorite word–though often overused at first–is “NO!”  This is also why he or she may breakdown when this separateness (at his or her current level of understanding) is not honored.  He or she has discovered a new thing–my own personal power to be separate from others and to create unique change in the world.

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Life affirms or denies what we know intuitively–that we have personal responsibility for our lives, we are separate from others, and we are to uniquely impact this world with our design.    For many of us, these healthy boundaries were either affirmed or denied as we continued to grow.

Judging by the number of views of “Fight Song” and “Let it Go” it seems safe to say that many, many in our day are feeling a need to better define and communicate their boundaries.  We feel the inner voice inside us that is designed to speak.  We feel the strength in our souls that is designed  to stand firm.  We recognize our unique gifting and personality is designed to make a creative change in this world.

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When we realize that our boundaries have been violated, we may experience feelings that resemble the words in the above songs like “explosion,” “storm,” and “fight.”  Healthy boundaries should ultimately lead to resulting feelings of peace as the Think Time Serenity Circle Tool implies.  However, the recognition that the drawing of initial lines is needed may be accompanied by feelings of anger that fuel the strength to buffer these storms.

Rachel Platten knew she was only one person, but she was capable of changing the world with her carefully chosen words and her unique voice.  Nearly a quarter of a billion views later, she has proven that her words can open hearts, her voice can be heard, and her small waves can set things in motion.

What is your fight song?  What waves are you ready to set into motion?

 

 

Blog Highlights:

“Our inner beings were designed to express themselves.” Christine Wilson @thinktimetweets

“We all have immense power that can be used for good or for harm.” @thinktimetweets

“Harness your gift.  Don’t hide it out of fear.”  @thinktimetweets

“To express our strength or gifting, at times, we need to separate ourselves from others’ thoughts and feelings.” @thinktimetweets

“Our feelings are ‘flags.’  They point to things that have happened or actions we need to take.” @thinktimetweets

“Anger is a feeling that tells us that a boundary needs to be drawn.”  @thinktimetweets

“It is extremely important to define what is mine and what is not mine.” #serenitycircle @thinktimetweets

“Things that belong to me are my thoughts, feelings, attitudes, actions and behaviors.” #serenitycircle @thinktimetweets

“I have personal power to be separate from others and to create unique change in the world.” #serenitycircle @thinktimetweets

“We have personal responsibility for our lives, we are separate from others, and we are to uniquely impact this world with our design.” @thinktimetweets

“What is your fight song?  What waves are you ready to set into motion?” @rachelplatten @thinktimetweets #myfightsong

 

 

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Christine M. Wilson, LPC

Co-Founder, Think Time

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Think Time Life Leadership System

Use your whole brain to plan your whole life.

Shop now at think-time.com.