Category Archives: Personal Development

Getting To Know You, Yourself and You – Life Purpose And Goals

Who Are You?

Tonight I’m going with my 25 year old son to see the classic rock band, The Who, still doing live shows after all these years.   Their music and message is timeless, enjoyed by me back in the 70’s (yes young folks, there was life back then), and by my son now.   Their famous song “Who Are You”, made mainstream popular by the CSI TV Series, asks the question we all have, but don’t always have a satisfactory answer for.  You should listen to the song here before reading further, to get the full huge dramatic effect of this post:

Listen to the challenge of the song now bouncing around in your brain: “Tell me, Who Are You?  ‘Cause I really Wanna Know!”.  Have you spent time thinking about this question and your personal answer, or have you just listened to and gone along with parents, family, friends, teachers, people you look up to, and other authority figures?  You come to your own personal definition of success and getting it is what makes you truly happy, happiness that overflows from you and has a positive effect on everyone around you and the world.

Answering Who You Are

If you do a good job of answering this question, and keep answering it as a continuum throughout your life and you grow and change, your passion for pursuing vocational and entrepreneurial opportunities, desire to bring about positive social change, and to pass it onto others, will grow and grow.  That growth will cause your happiness and personal fulfillment to grow as well.  To help you organize your thoughts and bring it into being in your life, you can start with these four steps, which are derived from the classic book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, which I also encourage you to read and study carefully:

  1. Definite Major Purpose: Perform self-examination and discovery, then write your their true purpose in life, with specifically what you want to achieve short and long term. Then read it daily to cultivate a burning desire to achieve that purpose based on your passion and vision of who you want to become.
  2. Positive Mental Attitude: Deliberately decide daily to create and cultivate a positive mental attitude that leads to happiness.
  3. Written Plan of Action: Quantify your definite major purpose by writing down life, vocational and entrepreneurial goals that are specific, timed, achievable, measurable, and prioritized, then creating an action plan to achieve those goals.
  4. Mastermind Alliance: share your definite major purpose with one or more trusted friends who want to support you in reaching your goals, and then meet regularly to compare notes and support each other.

If you put some thought into the above questions, write down your thoughts – the written word in your own handwriting solidifies your thinking – you will be further ahead in playing the game of life.  Remember there is no rehearsal.  This is it.

So off I go to the concert to enjoy the music and ponder the question again for myself – always changing, as I listen to The Who perform “Who Are You?” live.  Good Fun.

 

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Sharing Life Purpose, Vocational Goals, and Entrepreneurship

UBC Finance Club logo                        CFA Society Vancouver

This week I was honoured to attend the annual University of British Columbia (UBC) Finance Club annual wine and cheese event presented by the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Society Vancouver.  The goal of the annual event is to connect students with finance industry professionals to help students learn about what a career in the finance industry entails, and the club did a stellar job creating a great environment for this to happen.  You can find out more about how the club helps students on the UBC Finance Club Website and by visiting and liking the UBC Finance Club Facebook Page.

At the event, the buzz in the room was energizing and uplifting, with a group of enthusiastic young people from the student community, who eagerly listened to stories from industry professionals like myself about our experiences on the job, in business and personally, with topics ranging from what our daily activities look like, and thoughts about personal investments, both financial and developmental. From my position in the IT Department at Vancity Credit Union, I shared about the finance industry from the perspective of the co-operative business model and information technology.

Life Purpose and Goals – Getting to Know Yourself

I invited the students I spoke with to discuss their own educational direction, aspirations, hopes and dreams for their future, and was impressed with many of their personal attributes, including their savvy in the financial space, their passion for pursuing opportunities in the industry, and desire to bring about positive social change using financial tools. I encouraged them to solidify their great thinking and bring it into being in their lives using these four steps, which are derived from the classic book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill:

  1. Definite Major Purpose: Perform self-examination and discovery, then write your their true purpose in life, with specifically what you want to achieve short and long term. Then read it daily to cultivate a burning desire to achieve that purpose based on your passion and vision of who you want to become.
  2. Positive Mental Attitude: Deliberately decide daily to create and cultivate a positive mental attitude that leads to happiness.
  3. Written Plan of Action: Quantify your definite major purpose by writing down life, vocational and entrepreneurial goals that are specific, timed, achievable, measurable, and prioritized, then creating an action plan to achieve those goals.
  4. Mastermind Alliance: share your definite major purpose with one or more trusted friends who want to support you in reaching your goals, and then meet regularly to compare notes and support each other.

Happiness?? Unrealistic in this Modern World??

Ok, I hear you thinking, “why the heck I need to decide to be happy all the time? Life is difficult and I need to be realistic. I will get happier automatically as I achieve my goals.” Well, this is the way I thought for many, many years, and nothing changed, until I began following the steps above. I found out that happiness comes from inside me, and it is a decision that I make inside me. If I allow circumstances to dictate whether I’m happy or not, I am allowing outside forces to to control how I react to ever situation that comes along. From past experience I found that brought me only misery and despair. Instead of becoming more happy from the success I did have, I actually became less happy. Even though this principle is mostly contrary to popular thinking, it has been scientifically proven that happiness leads to success, not the other way around. Psychologist and researcher Shawn Achor says:
“We believe we should work hard in order to be happy, but could we be thinking about things backwards?”

Dr. Achor explores this question in this fast-moving and very funny TED talk, where he argues that, actually, happiness inspires us to be more productive:

Another excellent resource I use to cultivate happiness in my life is http://www.livehappy.com/, founded by entrepreneur, best selling author, and personal happiness coach Jeff Olson, . His best selling book and community called The Slight Edge, with its message that making small constructive decisions every single day is the key to a world of personal success, has helped millions of people live the life they’ve always dreamed of.

Are You Entrepreneurial?

One definition of entrepreneurship is “the process of designing a new business, i.e. a startup company offering a product, process or service”.  I asked the students if they see starting a business in the future; most I talked to said they would like to get a job first to get some experience, and then the idea of their own business is a definite possibility. But entrepreneurship doesn’t need to be venturing out and starting something brand new right away. Cultivating personal entrepreneurship is a fantastic way to grow and cultivate an attitude of innovation and constant improvement, which will add value if you’re in a job or your own business. And by starting your own small business with the intent to make a profit, you enjoy all the tax benefits that are accorded to any size of corporation. Personally I have started many businesses, and have always had one going on the side to sharpen my innovation skills to be more valuable to my employer, and there have been a couple of times where I was on my own and had to use that innovation to get going.

The entrepreneurial business model I have landed on in the past few years is that of “relationship marketing”, that is the process of building relationships with people, helping them define their true needs, then offering them a product that may help them meet those needs, if that’s what they want. Relationship marketing when grown into a network also allows people to create their own entrepreneurial network to help reach their own goals, thereby improving their personal lives. The resulting business becomes a Social Enterprise, defined as “an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being”. This is the mission I am on, and is why in my LinkedIn profile I add the title “Social Entrepreneur” in addition to being an employee of a wonderful organization which is also a Social Enterprise. Feel free to connect with me on Linkedin if you like.

So do you aspire to be an employee or entrepreneur or a combination?  Only you can answer that very personal question for yourself with lots of learning and introspection.  To help you get started, one of the clearest descriptions I’ve seen of the differences between being an employee or an entrepreneur is given in this video by Robert Kiyosaki, best selling author of Rich Dad Poor Dad:

Applied Entrepreneurship – A Live Event

Some colleagues of mine and I are passionate about supporting young people in their life journeys, so we are sponsoring an evening event in the near future called “Applied Entrepreneurship”, with some great training by industry thought leaders on topics including:

  • Why happiness is a prerequisite to success, not a by product, and how to get more happy in advance of success
  • The contrast between being an employee or an entrepreneur/investor
  • How to be an entrepreneur to add value to your job or school life
  • How to create and blend a small business into your rhythm of your life at school or work – it IS possible
  • The personal tax advantages of a small business

There will be nothing offered for sale at this event – it will be just pure great content and learning, with some great giveaways and a special free gift just for attending. If you would like to be sent an invitation to Applied Entrepreneurship, enter your name and email below.

Let’s Continue Discussing and Keep in Touch

Feel free to leave a reply with your comments or questions and I will respond.  If you got value from this blog and would like more, enter your name and email below and you will be added to my list to be notified of future blog posts in addition to being added to the invitation list for the Applied Entrepreneurship event.

Create a Vision for Your Life

Vision ArrowVision Future Street signs

In the last post I said that to get where you want to go in life, it’s necessary to create well defined goals, and a plan to achieve them.  But I also gave you the news that goals and plans alone aren’t enough to get you there.  If you want to achieve your goals and make your world bigger on the outside, you must get bigger on the inside.  Relax, I’m not telling you need to gain weight.  This is all about your internal mental mojo, or your mindset, also known as a vision.

You won’t be able to create a vision by doing the things I mentioned in my previous post, such as defining specific goals, an action plan, or a daily routine.  All of those things are important, but they are not sustainable in the chaos that ensues when “life happens”. A vision pulls you through the tough times, such as when you’re too tired to continue (like I am right now), when emotional trauma hits, or when you feel like kicking back, drinking a friendly glass of red wine and watching TV when there’s a world out there you want to change.  A vision will create a calling within you to get out there and make big things happen.  Some think this is a “Why”, also known as our reasons for wanting to create a better life, but it’s not.  It’s much much bigger than that.  If you ask most people what their “Why” is, they will say things like it’s to spend more time with their kids, retire their spouse, travel the world, make their parents proud or spend more time with favourite hobbies.  But most people have had their “Why” for a long time and have not seen it come true.  This was my story for many many years. This is because a “Why” is external to us, consisting of things we want to have or give to others, but a vision is extremely internal.  It has to be created and installed on the inside, deep in our subconscious mind.  Creating a vision is formulating, answering and internalizing questions like these by our conscious mind, so that they transfer to and become actionable by our subconscious mind:

Who do you want to become?
Who do you want to represent?
What social causes do you want to be associated with?
How do you want others to see you?
How will others react to you?

For example, maybe you want to impact the world in areas you’re passionate about.  Part of my vision is that I want to create a huge amounts of value to help people like you reach their full potential, unlock their greatness and get all their dreams.  That vision pulls me to write these blog posts, talk to people about what’s important to them, and use my considerable creative power to design ways to help them get what they want out of life, turning their dreams into their living reality.

You must create and see your vision in your mind before you can actually create a new reality.  Create a vision of who you want to become.  Consider the part of my vision where I see myself creating value that impacts people deeply and challenges them to take action to improve and become more.  So in my mind I vision myself being on stage speaking to large groups of people, and speaking with them one on one. Thoughts are strengthened when associated with strong emotions, so I visualize the great positive feelings I will have when I am speaking to those groups of people, then how it will feel having them come and see me after to tell me that what I said impacted them positively and that they want to make changes in their life that will bring about lasting, positive change.  This process is also applicable to other areas of life such as relationships or weight loss. Weight loss is actually a great example.  The first part of the vision is the benefit of the weight loss, such as looking better, feeling better, and turning heads.  The second part is the benefit of the benefit, such as people complimenting you on how good you look, the doctor telling you how healthy you are, and people treating you with more respect because you look so good.  Your vision must be a “you” that’s bigger and better than where you currently and you must feel the associated emotions as if it has already happened, in advance of it happening. Then your subconscious will create the inner motivation to pull you to do the things that you know you should be doing to achieve your goals.  You may be someone who says, “That’s just the way I am.  I tell it like it is”.  Well, if you tell it like it is, it will stay the way it is.  Your vision must portray the you “to be”.

So if you got value from this post, and you want to create your own personal vision, get alone and clear your mind of all other thoughts for a new minutes and dedicate some time to thinking deeply about the components of your vision in the manner I’ve described above, creating your own specifically personal set of questions.  Write your vision down and post it somewhere prominently where you will see it often and recite it to yourself at least once daily.  When you’ve defined your vision, share it in the comments below and invite our personal development community to help you make it clearer.  If you continue this day by day, over time it will become part of you and your actions toward your goals will become automatic.  It requires a little work and dedication, but will pay you huge dividends with a life that exceeds your dreams.  Don’t worry, any negative comments posted will be deleted.  This is a safe place for you to explore how to bring out the big, unique, wonderful person inside of you, and I am dedicated to partnering with you to help you get there.  If you would like to have a more private discussion about vision, please feel free to email me: mike@michaelrbarnes.com.

Are You Achieving Your Goals?

skunk and dog patient endurancemonthly weekly daily plans

You can take anything you do to a fundamentally higher level where it makes more money, impacts and inspires more people, or creates a healthier environment.  The key to begin to unlock the potential for this quantum leap lies in my first two words “You can”. If you believe you can do something before you start, there is a much higher probability you will take the actions necessary to make it happen.  Some might say you can get it done even with a negative attitude and low belief, but that would be an act of the will, like continuing to run when all the energy is gone, rather than a motivation of the heart and mind through positive thought and reinforcement.  Belief starts with desire and decision.  Once those have been established, it becomes necessary define specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound goals, then insert those goals into an action plan with a results section used to track progress.  Sounds great, right?  Sounds highly organized, right?  Just work the plan and you get there, right?  No problem sticking with it because it’s so well defined and organized, right?  Nope, didn’t work for me!  Often we all start out with great intentions and great plans, keep at it for a few days, and then life “takes over” with a long list of demands from brushing our teeth to taking out the garbage, and suddenly a few weeks later we don’t even remember having a plan or goals.  What was it I decided and believed I was going to do?  What’s the missing ingredient?  More determination and grit applied to our plan and goals?  Focus on the embarrassment pain of not reaching our goals?  I hope not.  I don’t like pain.  Nope.  Something much bigger is needed…
Michael Beckwith says “The pain pushes you until the vision pulls you”.  What exactly is a vision?  Come back for the next post to find out…