Have you noticed that when you are focused only on yourself, you soon become self-critical or low energy? And that when you expand your focus to include others whom you care about, your energy returns? Years ago, I read The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck. It contained a sentence that changed my life. “Love is a verb.” That simple phrase made me realize that whenever I focus on love (or “appreciation”), I can feel “love”. As someone who’s always secretly feared being “without love” in my life, that lifted a huge burden! Never again did I have to feel at risk. I could feel love by simply focusing my attention toward a person, pet, idea, or project with appreciation, and create a feeling of love. I also discovered that whenever I felt stuck or unmotivated, if I shifted from self-focus to loving or offering value to others, I restored my energy and got moving again!

Last month, I encouraged you to “MAKE CHANGES, NOT RESOLUTIONS”. Resolutions sound pretty arduous, don’t they? They’re also generally self-focused. If you’re truly ready for a positive life change, try starting with an INTENTION, and then linking it with others! “I intend to (be/do/have)___________ for _________”. That invites your mind to see your goal as a foregone conclusion AND to link your goal to something larger than yourself. Just remember that your intention is your end point, the “beacon” that draws you toward it. Of course, it does NOT create your results. For that, you must take action! That’s critical, and also challenging to maintain. Keep it simple by choosing only the top 3 high level actions that will actually create your intention. For example, Olympic athletes might focus narrowly on daily skill practice, superior nutrition, and elimination of distractions. And when they find themselves discouraged or low on energy, they shift from self-focus….to something larger than “self” (like winning FOR the USA!) By adding others to their intention, they magnify their power tenfold! We can all do that! Linking your intention to something larger than your “self” is the best way to help yourself achieve your intentions! Along the way, train yourself to always find something positive outside your “self” to feel good about (to “love/appreciate”) and focus on that. Link your intention to others often. Better yet….involve others in your actions! (Invite others to try new things with you…like Dragon Boating!) Here’s an example: “I’m fat and I want to be thin,” can be transformed into “I’m grateful for my body and I will take care of it for others.” After all, aren’t you more enjoyable to be around when you feel good? And, isn’t it easier to take care of yourself when you know that it will benefit others too? “Love”, for others and ourselves, has the power to shift our perspective and illuminate paths that we couldn’t see from a place of self-focus. And as we do that, we not only offer more value to the world, but the world soon offers more value to us…I promise!