"Your past is not your future; you have the power to make new decisions for your life starting today."
- Deb Sofield

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Harness Your Power

Recently, I was reading a review about Laird Hamilton’s life that will be seen in an upcoming documentary called “Take Every Wave.” Laird is a legendary big wave surfing star who, according to the write-up, is as polarizing as he is acclaimed. I know a bit of who he is from magazine articles and his one-time marriage to volleyball star Gabrielle Reece, so in reading the write-up I was curious about how he pushed himself to set aside his fear of the water and waves and sharks and whatever else lurks in the ocean to become the master of the elements.

In the article, he talks about being able to harness his power to overcome obstacles in his life, and this got me thinking about the value of learning to harness our power as we move forward into the life we want and dream of.

There is something wonderfully amazing woven into the idea of harnessing our power into a stream of strength that by its own force cannot be broken by anyone on the outside.

In thinking about harnessing our power I wonder what would happen if we stopped going in ten different directions and focused on one big idea, and then harnessed all our energy and power and strength and mental capacity to make that idea, dream or concept a reality.

Oprah Winfrey is famous for her quote, “Forget about the fast lane. If you really want to fly, just harness your power to your passion.”

The problem with that idea is that, if you’re like me, you have about thirty different passions that you hope will all move at the same speed and time so maybe one thing on your list would be a success. I am speaking to myself here as I wonder out loud about what would happen if I set aside the extra things I do, and simply harnessed my power and focused on one big thing. Now that leads me to another difficulty, which is that is I am not sure which of my thirty big ideas I want to harness my mind around to see it to the end.

I’m guessing you might be in the same boat with me on this idea. Sometimes I think my life slogan should be so many great ideas, so few hours in a day. That is the best excuse I have for not being great at being harnessed to one thing. The truth is, as Stephen Covey said, “I am not a product of my circumstance. I am a product of my decisions.” We all are, and if truth were told, I bet we all like the idea of options in case the thing we are working on doesn’t work out as planned.

That being said, maybe I need to rethink my thinking and follow the advice of Robin Sharma when he says, “Push yourself to do more and to experience more. Harness your energy to start expanding your dreams. Yes, expand your dreams. Don’t accept a life of mediocrity when you hold such infinite potential within the fortress of your mind. Dare to tap into your greatness.”

We all agree that to be successful we need to push ourselves daily to do the work that needs to be done. Nothing is going to be handed to you (as much as you’re hoping it is). I believe our life goals should be more than the everyday work we do that puts food on the table. And while that is a blessing unto itself, I would venture to guess that many of you believe that you were made for more than punching a time clock…even if you love your job.

I believe to achieve the dreams we have not told anyone about, or the dreams that we have posted on our computer, which remind us that we are more than our cubicle or our office chair, we need to change our thinking and be focused enough to harness our mental capacity. Then we need to concentrate that harnessed energy into our dreams, and couple the power that we have from this new source of power to make our dreams, hopes and desires come true for ourselves and our family.

Harnessing all our power is not an easy thing to do, so it is rare to find someone who does it well and with balance. We all know those few friends who do nothing outside of their drive for work to the detriment of their health and family and community. And while the image of the no sleep, 18-hour day dealmaker was fun to watch in the movies, that type of physical neglect can be damaging in real life.

Recently, I have been keeping track of my time spent surfing the web and reading blog posts and twitter feeds and commenting on Facebook, and when I add it up, an hour or more is gone. I like to catch up and keep up with friends but I have learned to limit my time online or hours will slip by with nothing gained but a feel good “like” or smiley face. If I harnessed the time I waste daily, there is no telling what I could accomplish.

I believe we all need to be reminded of a few big ideas for achievement using the theme of harnessing our power for success.

The full Winfrey quote is this, “Forget about the fast lane. If you really want to fly, harness your power to your passion. Honor your calling. Everybody has one. Trust your heart, and success will come to you.” Let me use that quote as a jumping off point to encourage you to not only find your passion but also how to dust it off and figure out how to bring it back to life. I have a great picture of a little girl on my computer, and she is standing in the rain with her arms outstretched and appears to be screaming at the top of her lungs. The quote at the bottom of the picture is this, “Remember her? She is still there…inside you…waiting. Let’s go get her.”

I love that picture because that is who most of us were at one time in our lives–arms wide open–defying the rain, speaking our truth and not worrying about what others thought of us. Just living out loud with no worries or regrets. I wonder what it would take in your life to once again harness that childlike freedom, energy and vision that you left behind when the world told you who you were supposed to be, so you could regain the power you lost or gave away at some point in your life.

Another reason why I believe we need to harness our power is because, when we harness the power of light and focus the beam, we release a blast of light into the world. I have mentioned in my blog posts for five years now that you were not made to hide your light; you were created to live a life that lights the world for others. You need to shine as best you can in this dark world to lead others to safety. Let me go one step further and remind you that you might need to fan your lighted flame to warm the hearts and souls of others. As you watch the world around you, if there ever was a time to be a beacon of light against the storms of life that pound our friends and family, that time is now. I also wonder if you do not release your light into the world, who will? As a leader in your company, community and country, I encourage you to figure out how to harness your power and focus your beam to light the world.

One of my favorite motivational speakers was the great Zig Ziglar, and he was known for his down-home style that packed a punch of reality so we could see through the mess we’d made in our lives and find our path forward for success. I love his quote, “I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.” As much as your ability warrants–what a great line that encourages us to harness what we already have and to use it.

I don’t do well with waiting. I want things to happen quickly so I can move on to the next thing, but the truth is that sometimes success takes a while, and it is the wisdom of a steady hand that waits for the specific target or opportunity to come into view before any movement can be made. The truth of the matter is that timing is everything, as much as I hate to admit that. Like you, I have story after story of when I didn’t do my part and wait for the right time. I have pushed against closed, locked doors and demanded to be let in only to crash because I was not prepared. It had nothing to do with my power, my brilliance or my energy; it had everything to do with my lack of harnessed knowledge to complete the task. Looking forward, I am now zeroed in on the targets I have set, and I am holding out for the right time to make them come to fruition.

Let me close with this well-known line from David Brooks. “Almost every successful person begins with two beliefs: the future can be better than the present, and I have the power to make it so,” and I will add that we all have the power to make anything happen in our lives that we work for if we will harness the powers we have and use them for good.

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Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. - Mark Twain