We all have times when things aren’t going well, life isn’t going according to plan or we’re at the mercy of others for the outcome we’re hoping for. I like to have a plan, a set of goals I’m working towards and action steps to get there. This is my happy place. The land of control. Sadly, life doesn’t always play ball. So how do we remain powerful when it feels like our hands are tied by circumstances? We build within.
We are all building in life, one way or another. We are building careers and building families. We are building homes and wardrobes. We are all reaching for a future vision, whether it’s to gain financial security, get a promotion, start a business or change the world. Vision is important. It motivates us to keep going when times are tough. But it’s not enough. The path to our future fulfilment lies in the present moment. It’s not just building a bank account or a skillset that counts as you look to the future. It’s who you become in the process of life’s detours. We have to build ourselves.
You can’t always control what happens to you. You can’t make a company hire you or your boss promote you. You can’t change a person who won’t change themselves and you can’t rewrite the past. Nevertheless, I find great comfort in the fact that in the midst of everything I can’t control, I can always choose to let life build me, knowing that this inner process is the most important of all as I prepare for my future.
Recently, I read “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. Through his research, he found “A great CEO is someone who looks in the mirror when it’s time to take responsibility, and out the window when it’s time to take credit.” I was floored. What kind of people are unmoved by applause and yet consistent in their actions? People who have built an internal structure that looks beyond success and failure. They do what they do because it’s who they are.
How do we get there? There’s no time like the present, and there is no way but the present. Whatever you’re in right now, don’t just survive it, make it worth it. If you talk to God, ask Him what He is building in you. Ask yourself what kind of person you want to be. It’s especially fun if you defiantly go in the opposite direction life is tempting you towards. Defiantly be generous when finances are tough. Defiantly be kind when others are being cruel. Or not, but don’t react. Choose.
Sure, it takes a little faith. It takes faith to believe that you’re still building, no matter what. This too will pass, and things will get better. It takes faith to know that you are worth it, and what you have to give is essential. Your small victories today store up treasure for your tomorrow. Trust me. You are, it is and they do.
Living a fulfilled life means fully being ourselves. We find ourselves in every small choice we make. They are the essential path to everywhere we want to go. Our power comes from taking responsibility for the people we are beyond our circumstances.
No matter what is happening in your life, choose to let it build and refine you, knowing that your choices today are shaping your future. Kick every negative circumstance in the butt by making it work in your favour, knowing that it is forging you, enlarging your capacity as a person and therefore what you can give to others. Set yourself up for success, knowing that what you build will become a foundation for every area of your life.
There is no time like the present. Who do you want to be?