“The only courage you ever need is the courage to live your heart’s desire.” -Oprah

Now is the time!!!

In her e-zine, Barbara Sher, author of Wishcraft, wrote
You’re all obligated to do what you love because that’s where your gifts lie and those gifts belong to all of us.

Implicit in that statement are three premises:
1) everyone is here for a purpose, and
2) everyone is here to help others, and
3) gravitating toward pleasure, e.g., doing what you love, is not only okay, it is mandatory if you want to help others and if you are seeking the wonderful illusives called happiness, satisfaction, and serenity.

Barbara’s statement reminds me of my favorite quote
“The time to be happy is now; the place to be happy is here, and the way to be happy is by helping others.” - Charles Englehardt. That says it all.

You are retired now. Now is your time to use your gifts to make the world a better place. Doing so will not only enrich your life but also the lives of others.

The following exercises may help you recognize how to capture those precious illusives and impact the world with your gifts.

1. Circle what is most important to you: family, wealth, home (comfortable, opulent), freedom, pets, satisfaction, happiness, recognition, power, the environment, travel, health, serenity, other (be specific)?

There are no right or wrong answers. Whatever you choose, ask yourself what price (time, energy, stress, etc.) you are paying for it. For example, if you circled “health” as #1, are you contradicting your choice by being under stress or eating junk food or staying up too late? What is important is to know what you most value and what price you will pay to obtain what is most important to you.

On an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, fold it in the center--right side to left side. Then fold it the same way again so that you end up with four long, skinny columns. At the top of each column, write one of the following words: SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, EXPERIENCE, TALENTS/GIFTS.

Skills: Take as much time as you need--maybe days--to fill in each column. It’s easy to determine what skills you have: typing, wood working, skiing, cooking. Anything that is learnable is a skill, although it could also be a talent. I could learn to play the piano--a skill, but I may not have a talent for piano playing. List every skill you can think of, especially those you enjoy using. This may be your gift.

Knowledge: What do you enjoy reading and knowing a lot about: steam engine locomotives, dieting, global warming, computers, politics, space travel, raising dogs. List all of the subjects about which you are knowledgeable. Again, be sure you include those areas where you still pursue information.

Experience: What have you done in life from as far back as you can remember? Paper boy, errand boy, sweeper, hockey player, baby sitter, mom, dad, cousin--the potential examples are endless. Write everything you can think of no matter how long ago it occurred.

Talents/Gifts: This is the hardest column and is the one you may need help with. What do you do naturally, without hesitation? What is “easy” for you? Family and friends may more easily be able to isolate what talents and gifts you have. Do you have a great sense of humor? Are you funny? Easy to talk to? A good presenter? Good teacher? Good friend? Good artist, dancer, singer? A kind person? Good mother, father? You may experience a feeling of embarrassment or humility when you relate what you believe your talent or gift is, and that is fine.

Look carefully at each column you’ve completed and circle your favorite thing, the thing that “calls” to you. Look at your four choices--one from each column--and see if you can come up with a way to combine the four and, as a result, make a difference in the lives of others.

To give you a personal example, my favorite skill is teaching (and I believe it is also my talent). My favorite area of knowledge is “people skills.” In experience is my work with “at risk” kids. And I believe my talent is being able to understand, reach, and teach those I work with.

3. Joe Karbo, in his book,
The Lazy Man’s Way to Riches, written in the early 1970’s and equally viable today, recommends making a list of everything you like and everything you like to do. For example, I like pizza, but I don’t like making it. Then take something from the “like” column and combine it with something in the “like to do” column, and you may be able to come up with a good career idea. Take a few minutes and develop your own two lists and see what you would combine.

4. Decades ago, I took the EST (Ehrhardt Seminar Training) and vividly remember the importance “Be, Do, Have” played in the training.

Complete the following sentence with as many completions as you can: “I am happiest when I am __________________.”

To further refine this exercise, complete each of the following with two examples:
I am happiest when I am
having ______________________.
I am happiest when I am
doing _______________________.
I am happiest when I am
being _______________________.

The EST trainer told us that most of us approach what we desire backwards. For example, for a dancer, is it best to
have a tutu to wear while dancing, then do dancing lessons, so you can be a dancer; or should you dance (be), then take lessons (do), and then buy a tutu (have)?

5. Recall a time when you were working on a project and time slipped by without your being aware of it. What were you doing?

Try these exercises and keep in mind, your gift belongs to the world! You can’t give it away unless you are aware of it and use it. What greater satisfaction is there than doing what you love and making a difference in the world!

Good Luck and Enjoy!