Reflect to see

Jenn Shallvey, @JennShallvey posts her Reflect comments at @reflect2see. It’s a great collection of thoughts and things to reflect on. Here are some of them, go check the Twitter profile for more. And while you’re there, follow it so you get the new ones.

Reflect: What pushes your buttons? Ever wonder why?

Reflect: Building a tribe is not about building your ego. If you can’t separate the two then you have false followers.

Reflect: Changing the outside appearance of what is on offer does not change the source. Always go to the source and be true.

Reflect: What you really truly desire in your life will come to you, but not necessarily in the way you think. Pay attention.

Reflect: On what terms are your relationships with others? Conditional or unconditional? Free or at a price?

Reflect: The places you go may be the same but you change each time you go there.

Reflect: How do you get in your own way?

Reflect: How many times do you need a life lesson before you get it?

Reflect: Many wise and wonderful souls may help you on your journey but ultimately the choice to heal is yours.

Reflect: What matters most in your life right now? How much attention and time go to this priority?

The last one goes nicely with the following two quotes that I have in front of me.

What’s the No. 1 thing you KNOW you should be doing that you’re not currently doing? Plant the seeds. Now.

Is the way you’re living your life today a foundation for the future you hope to build?

Jenn runs Reflect 2 See which is reclections with photos, very nice.

This was originally posted at Bengt’s Notes, another blog of mine.

Great resources on personal growth

Mary Jaksch at Goodlife Zen has posted The Ultimate Personal Growth Guide: 100 Best Posts. It’s a gold mine and an excellent starting point.

Peter Clemens over at The Change Blog has posted The Definitive List of Free Personal Development Ebooks. It is a collection that covers different aspects of personal development. Dive in and see what’s there for you!

This was originally posted at Bengt’s Notes, another blog of mine.

How to find your passion in life

Coaching is about change. It can be finding a new career, creating better balance in life or adding a new activity in order to “spice up” life. In these contexts we often talk about trying to find ones passion and to follow ones passion. But finding ones passion is sometimes easier said than done, we either make it too complicated or think (hope) that it will be obvious and just pop up.

It is said that “Find Your Passion; the Money Will Follow” or “Do what you love and money will follow“. Money is not guaranteed but finding and following your passion will for sure make life better. Your passion might be in a tiny market which means you can not make a living from that alone.

If you don’t know what your passion is, you are not alone. At INeedMotivation it says that According to a recent survey, about 75% of the population do not know what their true passion is.

Where to start?

Finding your passion is not just about work, it’s about your whole life. If we have activities off work that we are passionate about our life will improve. It’s also a way of testing if our passions can be transferred into a job or a business. Skellie writes that Your hidden talents are the things you could do that would make you happy. My view is that among your hidden talents is your passion.

Your hidden talents will always fit your personality or interests in some way. Instead of being hidden and random – things to be discovered by accident – the things you love doing actually make a lot of sense.

Life Script says it well, A passion in life isn’t something you’re born with. It’s cultivated by your interests, what stimulates you and what you are genuinely excited about.

At Lifehack it says If there’s already something you love doing, you’re ahead of the game. Now you just need to research the possibilities of making money from it. They offer some questions that will help you in the search for your passion.

Mike over at ZenDonut writes in 3 Steps To Develop Your Passion … Not Just “Find” It that:

My concept is that a passion is not just floating around waiting to bump you in the head (i.e. “to be found”), but rather, by taking an active approach, you can develop your passionate interests proactively.

I share that view, we have work to do in order to figure out what our (more or less) hidden talents are. Then we have to find out if we can make money from it and how.

How did I find my current passion?

I had been working with IT and computers for a long time. That was and still is a fast changing area which made my work my passion, learning and doing new things at a pace that kept me on my toes. Off work I have always been doing other things, being active in organizations and learning new things – more or less related to what I worked with. Personal development, my own and others, has been a running thread in my life.

As often happens, eventually my passion for IT and computers started to fade. I wanted to do something else but could not figure out what. Like Mike says above, I could not describe my passion yet I knew it was hidden somewhere within reach. That was rather frustrating but I started putting the pieces together. I described my own personal profile, in terms of knowledge – experience – interests etc, using mind mapping and other techniques to connect the dots. One thing I focused on was analyzing situations that made me really feel alive, what was the key and was there any common factors.

After spending time at connecting the dots I realized that many of my different interests overlapped to some extent. That made me curious and I focused on that common ground, the core area that united things. I started to describe that core area in more detail and then realized that I had found my passion: I want to help people be the best they can be.

I had been coaching friends and workmates for years but I decided to take a coaching course that made me a professional coach. I love working as a coach and I learn something from each client session.

Are we resisting it?

Jonathan Mead asks if we know what makes us feel alive, why do we resist it? Why do we avoid doing what we love to do? and lists four reasons. One of them is that we have turned our passion into work. “Anytime you feel that you must do something, you lose inspiration.” Once we have made a passion our work we do need to keep the fire burning, to re-ignite our passion.

Read more elsewhere

7 Questions To Finding Your True Passion
The One Question
The 5 Percent Trick: Finding Passion and Purpose in Life
How Do You Find Your Passion In Life?
Find Your Career Passion
How to Find a Passion In Life (eHow)
If you don’t have passion and purpose, greater productivity won’t help you!

Update September 10, 2011
A great post: 5 Ways to Quit the Confusion & Find Your Passion

Note: This was published in the weekly newsletter Coaches Mojo on May 26, 2009.

This was originally posted at Forty Plus Two, another blog of mine.

What it takes to be great

Fortune has a very interesting article about What it takes to be great. The article is from October 30, 2006 but it popped up on Twitter today. The post title says “Secrets of greatness: Practice and hard work bring success” which sums it up nicely.

The good news is that your lack of a natural gift is irrelevant – talent has little or nothing to do with greatness. You can make yourself into any number of things, and you can even make yourself great. It’s nice to believe that if you find the field where you’re naturally gifted, you’ll be great from day one, but it doesn’t happen. There’s no evidence of high-level performance without experience or practice.

They conclude that practice makes perfect but it has to be practice that is focused on improving performance – challenge your comfort zone in that area – and gives you feedback:

The best people in any field are those who devote the most hours to what the researchers call “deliberate practice.” It’s activity that’s explicitly intended to improve performance, that reaches for objectives just beyond one’s level of competence, provides feedback on results and involves high levels of repetition.

The article then goes to the business side:

How do you practice business? Many elements of business, in fact, are directly practicable. Presenting, negotiating, delivering evaluations, deciphering financial statements – you can practice them all.

Still, they aren’t the essence of great managerial performance. That requires making judgments and decisions with imperfect information in an uncertain environment, interacting with people, seeking information – can you practice those things too?

The key according to the article is to change your mindset: Instead of merely trying to get it done, you aim to get better at it. It is about constant improvements, Kaizen, and seeking feedback and ways to measure your progress.

In summary, change your mindset – aim to get better at what you do – and then practice to make you great.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Using SWOT analysis for personal purposes

The image below comes from Wikipedia’s article about SWOT analysis. The article starts like this:

SWOT Analysis is a strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture.


I have used SWOT for business purposes but it turns out that SWOT can be used on a personal level too. Mary Jaksch at Goodlife Zen has a very interesting post about how to Optimize Your Life with the SWOT Matrix. The second part was posted on December 3rd, 10 Questions That Will Change Your Life: SWOT Analysis Part #2.

Do not get too hang up on your weaknesses. When it comes to weaknesses we shall think wider than about what we can improve. Do we need to improve in that area or can we team with someone else that balances our weakness?

Keep in mind that what shows up as weakness in one situation can be a strength in another situation, and vice versa.

When searching for more information about SWOT I came across this one, Using a SWOT Analysis in Your Career Planning. There is an example that helps you get started on your own career assessment.

Update November 30, 2009.
There is a new post on Good Life Zen, How to Reboot Your Life With the SWOT Matrix

Read more:
SWOT analysis method and examples, with free SWOT template
SWOT Analysis Discover New Opportunities. Manage and Eliminate Threats.
A Business Owner’s Secret Weapon: Swot Analysis
SWOT Analysis Mistakes to Avoid
An essential guide to swot analysis

This was originally posted at Forty Plus Two, another blog of mine.

How to make gradual changes

Sometimes it feels too overwhelming to make radical changes. When that is the case then it works much better taking one step at a time and to change gradually.

Kaizen, which means “Continuous Improvement”– slow, incremental but constant, is a concept for that. Companies like Toyota use Kaizen to improve their production, we can use it to improve ourselves.

Mary Jaksch has written two posts about using Kaizen for personal changes. At Zen Habits is a post about How to Establish New Habits the No-Sweat Way and at her own blog Goodlife Zen is a post about How to Get Back into Shape – Painlessly.

This was originally posted at Forty Plus Two, another blog of mine.

Is self improvement possible?

PickTheBrain had an interesting post by Kent Thune about “Is There Really Such a Thing as ‘Self Improvement’?”. It starts like this:

Can the self be improved? What is the self, anyway? Does the currently popular “self-help movement” really help us or is it a paradoxical diversion from our true self?

The post at PickTheBrain brings up some questions and answers and then ends like this:

I submit to you that there is no such thing as self-improvement – only varying degrees of self-discovery: This process of discovering who you are consists primarily of eliminating who you are not and, thereby, uncovering your true self…

I do not like the term self improvement since I think it is about finding our true self and not about improving our self. In my blogs I use personal growth or personal development which I think say more about what it is.

I got my Jon Kabat-Zinn Mindfulness books and CD-box today and on a coupon in the CD-box they use the words personal discovery. That sounds really great to me, finding your true self is a journey and a discovery.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Tony Robbins at TED Talks

Among the TED Talks is one with Tony Robbins where he talks about Why we do what we do, and how we can do it better. It is an intense and interesting 20 minutes session.

Among other things Tony Robbins mentions the six human needs:
1. Certainty/Comfort.
2. Variety.
3. Significance.
4. Connection/Love.
5. Growth.
6. Contribution.

I have never seen Tony Robbins live, he is very intense and somehow gives me the impression that he uses force and tempo to convey his message.

This was originally posted at Forty Plus Two, another blog of mine.


Success Soul had an interview with Leo Babauta on Simplicity, Clarity, Happiness and Success. Shilpan asked:

What is the single most important advice for my readers to use simplicity for their personal development?

I like Leo’s answer and his definiton of simplicity:

Simplicity is, at its core, just choosing the essential over the non-essential. It’s a way to make the most use of your time, to be more effective, and to do the things you love.

Start by identifying 4-5 things you really love — those are the essentials in your life — then build your life around those things. Eliminate as much of the rest as possible. The same is true of work tasks and projects, of the things you spend on, on the clutter in your house — choose the essential and eliminate the rest.

The essence of his answer sounds easy – choose the essential and eliminate the rest – but is harder to implement.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.