The entire self-help industry is centred around the idea of helping you go somewhere; the notion that individuals want to travel from point a to point b and that they want to do it with as little trouble as possible.
I’m not going to talk about goals in this post, regular readers will know my thoughts on that one by now, but instead I want to talk about what’s necessary in order to go from point a to point b successfully, meaningfully and with confidence.
There are 2 parts to it – Inspiration and Participation.
The pre-requisite to going anywhere is the motivation to make the trip. No motivation to travel and you’ll never get off the sofa. Finding the right kind of motivation requires the right kind of destination, and that destination has to do one important thing – matter enough to you personally so that it sparks the best parts of you to move.
The destination has to resonate with you – it has to be something you can see yourself being a part of; a place you want to belong; a place you connect with in your bones and an outcome whose potentiality fires you up because it reflects what matters most to you.
Listen to that small voice inside you, because it will always know which direction fits.
A destination that connects with your values, and therefore your sense of identity is vital, but it’s not just about the destination. It’s easy to lose faith when the journey’s a struggle, and it’s hard to keep motivation going when each step is painful. So you also need to make sure that the route you take to your destination fits with who you are and what matters.
Undermine someone else in order to take a step towards your destination when respect is one of your values and you’ll hate yourself. Get side-tracked onto something else that isn’t “you” and your energy will slide. The road ahead will be littered with problems, but if you bring your values with you they’ll help you every step of the way.
The word “participation” sounds fairly pedestrian. It’s something that you begrudgingly do when someone invites you to something you’d rather not go to or join in with. It’s something you want other people to do when you want them to help you out with something. It has that ring of “having to” about it; it’s not always an enjoyable thing.
But there’s a different way to look at it. Participation is about taking action within your own life. It’s the method by which you make stuff happen. Don’t participate in your life and watch as nothing happens. It’s up to you Daddio. That’s right, I said “Daddio”.
But there’s more to this than simply participating within the boundaries of your own life, it’s about having the confidence to operate at the boundaries of your experience and capability. That’s where participating fully in your life pays real dividends.
Put inspiration and participation together, and you’ve got something that’s blow-your-socks-off-fan-bloody-tastic.
One without the other is missing something important, like an egg without salt or Bert without Ernie. Have the inspiration but not the confidence to participate? You keep on bouncing against the walls you’ve imposed and getting mightily frustrated and disappointed. Have the confidence to participate but not the inspiration to go somewhere that matters? You’ll do a lot of things, some good, some not, but none of it will feel quite *you*. There will always be a disconnect between your real identity and values and what you’re working on and achieving.
Inspired participation is being comfortable making decisions that might seem crazy but feel absolutely right. It doesn’t mean you know exactly what will happen, it just means that you trust yourself enough to operate at the boundaries of your life when necessary. It’s what makes it okay to take the road less travelled.
Tell me in the comments where you might be missing a little inspired participation, and what you’d do with it.