Identity Beacon

Illuminating Possibilities

Identity Beacon - Illuminating Possibilities

“I wish I had loved you more.”

With all that is going on in the world, it can be hard to stay sane, remain hopeful, and indeed, remember our shared sense of humanity. My advice? Let’s all take a break from the craziness and focus on what really matters: the people in our lives who mean the most to us. For a moment, forget the politicians, the pipe bombers and the shooters, at least for now.

The other day, I came across an article in The New York Times that stopped me in my tracks. The title is Writing a Last Letter When You Are Healthy. The author is VJ Periyakoil a geriatrics and palliative care doctor. Dr. Periyakoil describes his experience with end-of-life patients who express regret about not telling the people who mattered most to them how they really felt; among them: parents, sons, daughters, friends, and teachers.

My father died unexpectedly when I was 25. I had no time to tell him anything, let alone write a letter expressing my feelings. Neither did he. That experience has made me appreciate Dr. Periyakoil’s work on a deeply personal level. When I think about that moment, the difficulties that color our world today recede in my mind. I am left feeling clear-eyed about what matters most.

As if the first article weren’t enough to bring you back to what truly counts, here’s another one that grabbed my attention recently. It is entitled Stubborn Grudges Yield Little. Time to Change Your Investing. No, not necessarily your financial investing; your emotional investing.

Written by Carl Richards, a certified financial planner and regular contributor to The New York Times, the piece talks about how holding a grudge can slowly eat away at your soul, draining you of your humanity in small incremental amounts.

In the end, writing “last letters” is about more than affirming love, making amends, or offering, or asking for forgiveness. It is about freedom. The freedom to let go of what haunts you, to release yourself from unspoken burdens of the heart, from regret. It is about finding the personal integrity we all need to feel, well…fully human.

Politicians, bombers, and shooters will be with us no matter what you do, or don’t do. The people who matter most may or may not be.

Write that letter.

Breaking Your Identity Code

The idea of ‘retirement’ continues to lose currency with so many men and women who have better things to do than spend their days on the golf course or traveling (not there’s anything wrong with these activities).

What people do seem to want is a degree of freedom that just wasn’t possible while working full-time, or in jobs that were less than gratifying.

‘Free to be me’ — finally! — is often the unspoken mantra of people contemplating or entering retirement. The idea that, now, you can be whatever you’ve always wanted to be, or do whatever you’ve always wanted to do, occupies your thoughts and dreams.

But where does true freedom come from? Is it breaking free of external constraints, or is it breaking free from constraints we’ve unconsciously put on ourselves?

If you’re ready to ‘break free,’ start by breaking your own identity code. Please download this free resource.

New year, new you?

Ever wonder why the new year inspires so many resolutions? And why so many don’t stick? On the surface, it’s pretty funny. For instance, you see dozens of new faces at the gym starting in January, most of whom have left by the end of February. Where did they go? I’m betting home.

We love change. We hate change. We want more. We fear more. We aspire. We demure.

The new year is a call for hope. For possibility. For “maybe this time.” It’s a worthy pursuit. But, here’s the rub: Most people are trying, unconsciously, to change who they are. Bad idea. You can’t. So when you try, it often leads to let down.

Better plan: Before you exercise your outside, exercise your inside. Examine why it’s been so hard to get moving in the first place. Start with  these 3 “exercises:”

  1. Write down 2 things about yourself you love and do NOT want to change, ever!
  2. Tell someone (starting with you) how you will feel about yourself when you reach your physical target (lose 10 pounds, run 3 miles, do 25 push-ups, etc.).
  3. Let yourself off the hook. It’s OK to not want to go at the gym, sometimes. Acknowledge that feeling – most people have them – ask yourself why, then go anyway. (I’ve talked to people who’ve told me that reason they stopped going is because they didn’t like to feel bad about themselves – not because they were lazy. So, admit what you really feel and move on!)

I know you have the courage to do these things. And when you do, I know you’ll be one of the folks whose face I wind up recognizing in June, long after the “hopefuls” have lost their juice.

One more thing: Write me and tell me how it goes!

 

 

What do you believe?

12. I can’t get the number out of my head. It must be the season…the 12 days of Christmas, the 12 months of the year, even being on the cusp of 2012.

We’re not just in the season of 12s; we’re also in the season of believing. In family, in friendship, in giving, in — yes, for some — even Santa Claus. So, I have chosen to offer up a little “belief” quiz.

Here you go: Continue reading