All You Need: Five Life Success Principals

There  is a short distance between where you are and what you dream of.  I know that may seem irresponsible to say, but it’s the truth. I’ll explain.

Fate as it turns out is at best a strange lady that often parades around as chance.  She’s willing to dance by you time and again trying to get you to bite into that destiny that heaven has in mind…it just has to be your idea.  God is not sitting up there with some cosmic plan that includes running you about like a puppet…you’re decisions are what make your reality your own.  Take responsibility for them, good and bad.  They don’t define your future, but it is a good starting place….reality.  Where are you in contrast to what your heart knows to be your destiny?  Really, that is the first step. You need to know what you REALLY dream of, and not just a vague sorta kinda idea.    It’s tough to grab hold of your dreams, and if you’re willy nilly, you’re going to fall into the life that you lead like a toad in a pond.  It keeps you alive, but it wasn’t the prince or princess destiny that was out there with the right kiss.  You have to be willing to live and breathe for the idea, to own it and live it with the love and support of the people that love you.

The first step? It's always belonged to you.

I don’t care if it’s climbing a mountain or leaning how to go on a date, there is something that lady destiny will require in payment for that first step in coming to forever. Maybe it’s giving something up.  Maybe it’s the disapproval of people that will never understand you.  Sometimes, you have to smile at the people who want to drag you in front of the master to be stoned for what they consider “so very wrong.”  I can tell you this from my journey around the sun: I’ve never been stoned by the master of my faith, only by the people who have put themselves in his place.  Square your shoulders and be proud of who God made you to be.  You know the rules…play fair, be honest, love authentically and tell the truth.

The longest, hardest journey of your lifetime begins with one thing: the first step.  Dreaming out loud.

So when your heart has hit the floor and you’re wondering if this is all there is to life, don’t dispair.  Unless you’re being buried today, your life has this amazing thing that offers hope, possiblity and the ability to do anything that you’re capable of – tomorrow.

1.  What is your Destiny?  I shamelessly write to music and live with music that promotes what I beleive in, so start with this one song…click here.  One Republic – Say (All I Need)  There is a difference between a “wish” and something that you just have to do in your life.  What is really, really part of you?  I have found that the more I study and the more I become myself, the more I am in love with my professional writing, the study and practice of psychology.  Although I adore the world of theology, I can’t stomach things that I see in the established church.  A life without writing and working with my clients – it’s not life.  I love the reality of hospice work, being in the reality of people in life, in crisis, in “the muck and the mire.”  I love being with my family more than the average bear, and am really looking forward to working at home more than not.  I love the two house idea that we’re establishing as a family, between the deep roots of my historical house and the sound of the crashing waves in Atlantic Beach.  What is really on my heart?  Dreaming out loud.  Writing with Lexi, zip lining with my BFF Donna, loving my husband like a crazy person.  I don’t want to be famous or president – I want to be the best version of Alison that has ever existed, faithful and strong.  It’s just not that far from where I am to making that true, in faith and in the mercy of the divine.

Austin, Donna, Me (Alison), Mark, Taryn and my hubby Brian. The loves of my life, minus the other daughters who were in Oklahoma this trip.

2.  Take the actions that carry you that direction. Get motivated to move the direction of your dreams. Be absolutely in love with the idea, the concept, and every moment of your life.  Be contagious.  Immerse yourself in the possibility.  I have a friend that wasn’t able to really manage his emotions – he’d been really hurt and hid behind addictions.  We tried that “immersion” technique used in failure to launch, sitting next to one another over lunch in a mock “date,” laughing over his nervousness, etc.  By the time he worked up the courage to ask out the dream girl, he and I had worked through his nerves and dealing with “female energy,” something that scared him to death.  You have to think outside the box of how you want to get from here to there, what type of knowledge and comfort level you must have to succeed.  Some of the best psychologists in the world begin as bartenders, the best pastors as prisioners, the best CEO’s as children of poverty.  Everyone starts with a story.  What is your story?

3.  Enjoy the journey by having hobbies, interests and a sense of humor.  My camera and I took just over 3,000 shots between the beach and the PGA in the past week….the level of satisfaction in my heart as I sit here, talking with you and listening to One Republic’s Dreaming Out Loud.   It’s not that I can’t pull up any music in the world, but I had One Republic on the IPod as I jogged the 11th street beach by the house.  I can’t tell you how much I love to run on the beach, way more than on the cross trainer in the gym.  There is a freedom in being covered in sand, the wind in your face.  Here at home, I walk beneath the trees to the summer porch, viist with the neighboots that I love, cook dinner for my family, and put those finishing touches on book one…or the opening chapters of book two, taking shape now.  I may not always have the health that I want, but I take every great waking moment and give it to my husband with complete and absolute adoration.  Dance in the kitchen, hold hands for no reason, laugh at movies, sing song, play games.  Know the people that you love inside and out, even the wiggly bits that make for life being a little tough.  Be fully awake, fully engaged.  Love your life, build it. You wont be disappointed.  What can you do that feeds your soul, brings you closer in your faith, compliments the people that you love and is still uniquely you?

4.  Let go of the things that bind you.  I love to write and be present with my friends, but Monday morning I am going to clean out my office at AU, bid adieu to the school that I love and turn in all my keys and leave Anderson behind for what is likely the final time.  It’s time for me to move on, time for my family and faith to take center stage.  What is it about yesterday that is holding on to you?  I can’t move forward when I am hanging back with what I once was, and I have outgrown that phase of my life, graduated.  It’s time to go put all of it to good use.  Where can you find encouragement and help that makes you want to succeed? Is it in reading things like this?  If so, put it into practice.  Go out there and equip yourself with the tools you need to succeed in your life, whatever that looks like.  Nothing, nothing, nothing is impossible. You just have to be willing to do what it takes to have what you dream of.  If it’s writing….plan on writing for ten hours a day.  If you want to golf, know that professionals work 8 to ten hours six days a week on fundamentals while no cameras are on them, often in the really hot sun.  If you want to teach, you’re going t have to study.  Doctor?  Work like nothing you’ve ever known.  Psychologist?  Reading…and reading….and reading….  No matter what you do, do it with excellence and faith.

If you look closely, the person in the waves is my little girl Taryn, saying "see you soon" to the beach that she loves. Love changes you....forever.

5.  Finally, don’t recreate the wheel.  Who is really good at what you do?  Study their habits, how they are good at it, the focus and drive that goes into being the best.  Tony Robbins is a master at studying the habits of highly successful people – so I study Tony Robbins.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that he’s brilliant at being both happy and successful.  Since not so many decades ago the guy was nearly homeless and had to steal to eat, I think that his status now proves he is one thing – sincerely smart and way decent.   Find a model of someone with decency and faith, success and the results that you want, and ask them to mentor you.  If you’re being coached by someone who you don’t want to model, you’re headed the wrong way.

Blessings to you on this day, and I hope that your immersion experience in being “All You Need” is successful.  Remember….

Small, thoughtful steps. Stronger every day.

Breathe. Trust.  Pray.

Work toward the goal every day, in every way.

Feel yourself getting more focused, stronger. Take wise counsel from people who reflect the success you want, but still have the same ethics that you treasure.

Learn about how you self destruct or sabotage and what causes it – then confront it.

Let discouragement fall away.  God made you able, capable and just like you need to be.  Don’t listen to people that hold you back based on where you came from. Pray, tuck into the work and be willing to be successful. 

You can. You can do it.

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