One of my great pleasures is reading quotes. We are surrounded by extraordinary people who say some wildly impressive things, and the doorway into their thinking can spark our own insights and self-awareness. Some of these quotes are famous and some… not so much.

Take a few minutes to sit with each one. See what shows up for you as you read each one. Consider how the quote challenges or confirms what you know. Think about ways that you might say the quote in your own voice. Are there subtle differences to how you would say it, and what can you learn from the shift?

Ok, let’s have some fun!

One:

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same; there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button screenplay

What does this quote mean to you? I think one of my take aways from this quote is that a) there are no absolutes for life and b) I need to shake up my thinking on a regular basis.

This doesn’t mean that we need to toss out values or beliefs that are useful. Rather that we continue to stay curious about how we think about the world and our place in it. For me, I love the idea that when we reach out to people with differing points of view, we invite ourselves to be startled, and that through diversity of ideas we can learn more about ourselves, others, and the world.

Ultimately, self-awareness comes from not only accepting ourselves, but also stretching ourselves. Most people have glimmerings of the sort of person they want to become. Now take the glimmer and craft the person you will be proud of.

 

  • Who is your best self?
  • Are you courageous person, a person of integrity, light-hearted, confident, or a person of deep thoughts?
  • How do you continue to sharpen the saw on self-discovery?

Two:

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because, without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” Maya Angelou

There is a deep truth to these words. You may have many wonderful values or character strengths, but without courage the first strong wind that sweeps in, may blow you over. When I ran the Anger Management Group at Kirtland Air Force Base people would come to me and ask, “How long does this Anger Management take?” My response was, “I don’t know how courageous you are, and it takes great courage to look at oneself and hold ourselves to making effective changes.”

Another element to this exceptional quote, is that we may have a value of respect or a character strength of integrity, but as soon as we are under stress, the risk of defaulting to self-protection is high.

At the point that you are in a defensive self protective mode, all manner of reactions and responses that are out of alignment to your stated value, are possible. Courage means facing our imperfect qualities, it also means breathing through fear, holding ourself accountable, and being strong enough to apologize when appropriate and continually work to improve. Courage is a mindset as much as an action.

 

  • How does this quote apply to you?
  • What have you learned about your courage?
  • Where do you still need to build the courage muscle?

Three:

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

The fear of failure, of being wrong, or of being imperfect impacts most of us at some point or in certain areas of our lives. I was recently chatting with a client about all the information that he needed in order to make any important decision. As we talked he mentioned that the more important the decision the more likely he was to be caught in analysis paralysis. And, at some point, there is still the need to decide, but the fear of making the wrong decision kept him hostage.

How many times have you experienced waiting to make a decision so long that the choice skipped past you? Or you were forced into a choice you didn’t like? The line is different for each person and each decision, yet, what is enough information to decide? One way I look at decisions is around the risk is to determine if the risk is real or imagined. What is the story that I am telling myself about the risk and what information do I still need to feel at either a “Hard Yes” or “Hard No?”

I love using the entire brain system, head, heart, and gut, to help me. Typically my head will have logic’ed the decision, but if I am still uncertain or wishy washy on making the call, what do I still need to uncover to get my heart and gut in full alignment with the choice to be made? You have a whole body system to support you in deciding, learning to listen to that system can only make your decisions easier.

Overcome Inertia and Make Big Changes

  • What about these quotes speak to you?
  • How do you navigate from paralysis to action?
  • In what ways do you access your gut brain or your heart brain, to support your head brain?

Four:

“Never give from the depths of your well, but from your overflow.” Rumi

This quote is a beautiful way of saying, put the oxygen mask on yourself, before you give it to others. I think of how we talk ourselves into giving to others, without taking care of ourselves along the way. When my mom and my mother-in-law were both living with me, and my MIL was going through end of life, caretaking was a big part of my day. And without finding ways to take care of myself too, compassion fatigue was a real concern.

In our overly busy world, with all the responsibilities, it is easy to rack and stack yourself to the bottom of the priority list.

We all have a bandwidth that we are capable of navigating. We can stretch that capacity when we need to, it’s not fixed. Yet, without giving ourselves the resources and self-care it can become very energetically depleting. When you find yourself easily annoyed, or frustrated these are signs. Your level of exhaustion is a really important indicator to pay attention to. If you find yourself “going through the motions” without vitality or joy, notice that. These are all indicators that you need to sharpen your saw and give yourself a little self-love.

 

  • When you allow yourself to slow down, how in balance does your life feel?
  • Think about successful self-care in the past, what could you re-incorporate into your life?
  • Make a list of all the activities that refuel you: Look to these areas – spiritual, creative, physical or mental activities that give you energy.

Five:

“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make, makes you. Choose wisely.” Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Let this quote remind you that you are at choice. You may not be able to change the world, but you can absolutely change your response to the world. I wrote about Locus of Control in How to Have an Empowered Life. I regularly remind myself of my Locus of Control. It’s a great tool to use to check in with where I am focusing my attention. Am I focused on all the things that upset me and where I don’t have power? Or, is it time for me to shift my focus to where I do have power?

Take time to look at places that trigger your negativity, or worry, and look to what you say, think, and do. How are you talking about the situation, are you skewed to the negative or positive? What is the space of balance that would serve you?

When you notice your thinking, is it skewed too? Do you notice a running negative narrative? Truth often lives in the grey areas. Life is rarely binary, black/white, good/bad. If it would be useful to look at your negative narrative, check out this article: Are You Ready to Challenge Your Negative Narrative?

You may not have the ability to control the external world, but the more you focus on what you say, think, and do, the more influence you can experience. Paying attention to your choices empowers you in ways that knocking your head against the wall, over and over, can’t do.  Consider your goals for any endeavor and then consider what thoughts, words, or actions will take you either one step closer to your goal, or one step farther away. And, then, choose wisely.

 

  • Where are some choices you need to pay attention to?
  • When you think of your Locus of Control, where is you attention focused?
  • What areas need a little more grey area?

You’ve Got This:

I am a big believer that quotes can lead to all manner of interesting thoughts. There is a genius that connects each of us, and that connection become a felt experience when we read words that speak to our soul. Consider some of the amazing things you have said, those things that are true and quotable. Write them down and start your own quote book. Awesome things that speak to who you are, and who you are becoming.

Your Turn...

I would LOVE to hear from YOU!

  • Share a quote you love.
  • What about this quote speaks to your soul?

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