3 Powerful Steps to Find Your Vision

pexels-photo-462353Have you ever heard the word ‘chazown’? Probably not, unless you read Craig Groeschel’s incredible book about finding your vision. He reveals to us that ‘chazown’ is actually the Hebrew word for vision.

You know, in the recent years I’ve been meeting more and more people who don’t know their purpose, their vision in life. At the same time they would desperately want to find out what God had in mind when He created them. Are you one of those people? What is your vision? What is your calling?

There are three powerful steps that will help you find your chazown. According to Craig Groeschel, the first step you need to take is define your core values.

Core Values

What do you value the most in your life? What stirs up righteous anger inside of you? What drives you when you make your most important decisions? It can be your family, freedom, faith, discipline, success, humility, patience, justice, kindness, relationships, giving, etc.

Make a list of your 5-7 values and set it aside. We will come back to it.

Your next step will be to identify your gifts and talents.

Gifts and Talents

Think about your strengths. What are you really good at? What are you passionate about and enjoy doing the most? When you’re engaged in this activity, you sometimes lose track of time. Try to remember the last time other people were saying you’re really good at something. Take a note of that skill.

Is there anything you secretly believe you can do, but you’ve never tried? You might even dream of doing it one day, but for some reason you have doubts and fears. What do you do that seems to have the most effect on other people?

The answers to all these questions and hints will help you make a list of your gifts and talents. You can call them your strengths as well.

Past Experiences

Finally, we’re coming to the third step. Think of the main events in your life, negative and positive, which influenced you the most. These experiences shaped you into who you are today. Usually, these are emotionally strong episodes which left a noticeable trace in your memory.

After you remembered the events (it helps to draw a timeline with milestones), think what they all have in common. How are you different inwardly because of what you enjoyed and endured?

Got the list of past experiences? Now you’re ready to bring it all together and write a one-sentence purpose statement that describes your vision or ‘chazown’.

Bringing it all together

The final step in this process will include some drawing. Are you up for it? You’ll need to draw three circles on a piece of paper like you see on the picture.3_circles

Locate the part where all three circles overlap. This red part is your ‘chazown’. Ok, this is just a graphic representation of your vision. Now, let’s get to the purpose statement itself.

Put all three lists in front of you: your core values, gifts and talents and your past experiences. What do they have in common? Write down all similarities and let them inspire to answer the following questions: Is there something specific God is calling you to do starting now or sometime in the future? What possible title could be for the next chapter of your life?

Think of one action-focused sentence and let it motivate you to move forward in your life. May it serve you and many other people around you!

Please, share your purpose statements in the comments below to inspire others. I will look forward to hearing from you.

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Is Personal Growth a Luxury or a Necessity?

What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase ‘personal growth’ or ‘personal development’? Does it make you cringe because you heard it too often? Or does it make you feel proud and hopeful because that’s what you’re working on constantly?

One morning I was running near the lake listening to a great audiobook recommended to me by my friend. It was ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ by Paul Kalanithi. The book is autobiographical depicting Paul’s struggles to fight cancer.  He was a talented neurosurgeon and an aspiring writer. Most of his life he was studying to be a neurosurgeon or working as one but always dreaming to one day become a writer. And only by the end of his life when he knew he didn’t have much left he decided to write his first and last book.

I vividly remember the very place I was running by when I heard this quote. It was right by the benches near the lake when the narrator said:  “Darwin and Nietzsche agreed on one thing: the defining characteristic of the living organism is striving.”

As a matter of fact, I am not a big fan of both Darwin and Nietzsche. I do respect their intelligence but absolutely disagree with their beliefs. However, this quote became an inspiring metaphor for me. It showed that each living being is characterised by striving. Striving to survive. Striving to grow. Striving to succeed.

Tony Robbins once said: “When we stop growing, we stop living.” Somebody else might have said it before him, but that’s not the point. The main idea is to continually develop, grow and learn.

Gregory Caremans, the founder of the Brain Academy, in his Udemy Neuroplasticity course explains very clearly why our brain must have new experiences on a regular basis and must constantly learn something new.

So, to sum up, let me give you 5 reasons why I think personal growth is an absolute necessity for each human being.

  1. It helps our brain grow constantly and keeps it from shrinking.
  2. It prevents such diseases as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
  3. It gives us more confidence and more opportunities.
  4. It helps us stay alive and at the top of the game.
  5. Life is just more fun with it.

So, continue growing, developing, learning, acquiring new skills and habits. Life will present you more opportunities to grow as soon as you show interest in it. There’s always a chance to read another book.

What are your favorite ways of growing personally?

Is Your Sun Still Behind The Clouds?

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I’m sure you heard the phrase ‘every cloud has a silver lining’. How do you apply it in your life? I’m asking this because it’s crucial for your mental and emotional health to see this idiom in action every day of your life.

Have you had situations when everything seemed too difficult and unsolvable? Have you been desperate for advice and clarity? I’m sure you have.

Not that long ago I had too many questions about my business and was wondering what I should do. And today everything is clear as day. Solutions didn’t come all at once. Each day brought one or two ideas. One by one puzzles fell into place and formed a clear picture. Sometimes the source of help was a person, other times it was a website or a book. Working together as a team all these helpers led me to new decisions and new strategies.

Today I was walking to my usual place to see the sunrise. It’s my new favorite habit. I wake up earlier, do some reading and if it’s not my running day, I go to the lake where the sunrise can be visible. So, when I was walking there, the sun was hiding behind the clouds. The lining wasn’t silver though. It was golden! And it was gorgeous! You could still see the sun. Kind of.

So, when I got to a cafe to get my latte, I looked through the window and couldn’t keep my eyes open. The clouds parted and the sun was shining brightly.

Our life is the same. Sometimes we need to wait for the clouds to part and for the sun to shine on our path and show us the way.

Tell me in the comments, have you ever experienced anything similar?

Stop Burying Your Talents

Have you ever seen a superhero movie? Wouldn’t you want to possess at least one of those superpowers?

I’m a big sci-fi fan and love all kinds of movies about non-existent universes and people with supernatural abilities. It fascinates me to see what human beings can do when we get in touch with our talents and strengths.

There’s one more important fact you’ve got to know about me – I’m a strong believer in the power of human potential. I believe we all have incredible God-given potential which is not realized to the fullest. We might not even know we have it and just live our life from day to day in total ignorance about our hidden ‘superpowers’.

What makes me really sad is that the majority of people don’t use their gifts and don’t work in the areas of their strengths. Can you imagine the world where all people realize their talents and develop their strengths? Just think how happy everyone would be! It’s an amazing feeling when you know you’re using your gifts.

What a beautiful world it would be!

I want to challenge you to think about your own talents, gifts and strengths. If you don’t know, ask your closest friends and family. People around you might help you uncover those gifts. As soon as you find out your strengths, start using them for the greater good, for improving the level of your own life and the life of people around you.

Let’s make this world a better place where everyone is using his or her potential to the fullest!

Do You Still Rush while Traveling?

img_5136Sometimes I have a bad habit when traveling to new places. I run around trying to capture everything on my iPhone camera which is far from perfect. The desire to save this moment of beauty for future enjoyment is inspired by the magnificence of the view. Although, what I don’t realize it might be worth it to just stop and take in all the exquisiteness I’m surrounded with.

Perhaps, if I remember to enjoy every possible moment, the imprint of it in my memory would be much brighter than the photo. Don’t take me wrong, I admire photographers and their amazing ability to see the world. It’s my own way of rushing through life and its beauty that I sometimes regret.

Not that long ago I came back from the trip to Europe. We visited 5 countries in 10 days and got to see a lot of fascinating places. Unfortunately, I had to limit the number of excursion I went to due to the amount of work that had to be done while being on the trip.  However, it turned out to be a great blessing for me.

I had a chance to take a break from all the sightseeing, go sit at a cafe and enjoy my quiet computer work while observing people around me. My first such experience was in Prague.

jan HusHave you ever been to Prague? The Old Town Square and Charles Bridge create the illusion of being in a fairy-tale. The old astronomical clock is right there, around the corner playing its music every hour. The statue of Jan Hus impresses you with its seriousness and grandeur.

Two in Prague

A group of students gathered in the middle of the square deciding what to do next. Two young men found a place on the ground and placed their beer and food between them on the curb. Their relaxed postures exude freedom and independence.

Then we were in Strasbourg, France. We had a few hours in the city, and I was lucky to find a nice little cafe outside with chairs facing a picturesque bridge. Two young women probably in their 30s were having a glass of wine at a café. They had come there by bikes which means they’re most likely local.

There’s a muslim couple carrying big bags and arguing about something. They had just been to a mall and probably bought a few new clothes. A man with a backpack walked by – he’s definitely a tourist slowly looking around, taking it all in, enjoying the old city of Strasbourg.

After that we went to Geneva and Zurich, then Salzburg, Vienna and Budapest. And every city gave me an opportunity to find a quiet place to work while observing people and enjoying local cappuccino or a glass of wine.

22053071_10155717220076613_1973212020_nHave you ever thought why we love to watch other people so much? What is it about seeing them interact with each other that fascinates us so much? It’s incredibly interesting! It’s like real life TV. And every person has a story to tell.

Next time you’re traveling, try not to rush from one landmark to another with a camera, but stop somewhere and simply observe people. Give them a chance to share their stories with you. You will be surprised how much you can learn from and get inspired by those stories. Your life will become richer, deeper and much more interesting.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me, do you travel fast or slowly? What do you like to do the most when you’re in a new place?

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My friend Maia spotted me with a camera in a cafe in Zurich.

What’s It Like To Be Colorblind?

5181903845_121bf85bc4Once I heard Tony Robbins do an interesting exercise with his audience. A few days later I tried it with several different groups too. Here’s how it goes: first, you look around and take notice of everything brown. Then you’re asked to close your eyes and remember everything green or blue. Usually it’s hard to remember what you weren’t paying attention to. You might think of a few green things but definitely not everything because when you looked around, all you fixed your eyes on was of the brown color.

There are three main conclusions I want to draw from this exercise.

1. How we see our life.

Some people live their life seeing only brown, grey and black colors around them. What’s even sadder, they constantly blame others for that or even the whole world for lacking bright colors.  It’s easy for such people to see the negative and the wrong, to notice failures, faults and problems. On the other hand, it’s hard for them to see the good in people. It’s terribly difficult to notice opportunities, potential and success.

I hope it’s not about you. I pray you learn to see the silver lining in every cloud. It might not be easy at times, but as soon as you open your eyes and choose to see the bright colors, you will see them.

2. How we live our life.

Another important point is that we hurry through our life and forget to notice the beauty. We fixate on the wrong things. We worship productivity and strive to be achievers of this world. Is that what life is all about? Unfortunately, there are so many people around us who spend their days working from 9 to 5 and hate their job. They get up every morning counting hours and days till the weekend or vacation.

Let me ask you something, do you remember the color of yesterday’s sunset? Or all you can remember is the screen of your computer, the colors of your TV or the glare of your smartphone?

     3. How thankful we are.

I once saw the video of a colorblind dad who received a birthday gift – the glasses that let him see colors. When he put them on and saw the color of his kids’ eyes for the first time he started crying. And I started crying with him. This man has never seen the sky in all its beauty. His world was different from mine, but suddenly everything changed. He saw what he had never seen before, and his heart was filled with gratitude and joy.

How often am I thankful for the ability to see the world in all its colors, the way it meant to be, the way it was created? My mom is a diabetic and has lost almost all her eye-sight. Her one eye is completely blind, and her other eye can only see 5%. And she is thankful for these 5%! She can at least see something, and she is incredibly thankful!

What can we do about it?

  • Let’s try to see the good in people even if they hurt and wronged us.
  • Let’s count blessings every day and see the opportunities in every challenge, trial or drawback.
  • Let’s slow down in the craziness of this world and enjoy the beauty of our life.
  • Let’s never take anything for granted and be thankful for every little thing.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me in the comments what is hardest for you – to see the good in people or situations, to stop and notice the beauty in our hectic world or to always be grateful? What’s most challenging for you?

Should You Train Your Body to Need Less Sleep?

pexels-photo-271897Why do you think the topic of sleep is so popular nowadays? There are books and researches, articles and blog posts, infographics and videos on this topic. Everybody is ready to offer an opinion. Everyone seems to know so much about it.

I’ve been experimenting with my sleep for several years now. About two years ago it became particularly crucial for me to have more hours in a day. I’m a full-time missionary who is also teaching English on the side and owns her own business. Three full-time jobs demand a lot of time, that’s why training my body to sleep less became a new challenge.

What To Remember

If you think you can just decide to sleep less and start your new life easily, you’re in for a big surprise. Unless you’re one of very few people with gene called hDEC2, it will be pretty hard to retrain your body. You may function pretty normally one or two days, but soon sleep deprivation will kick in.

Also, there’s one very important fact to remember – we all need at least 7 hours of sleep. Every source I’ve read shouts loud and clear that 6 hours of sleep or less is not enough for our body to function normally during the day. Therefore, if you normally sleep more than 8 hours, it’s probably a good idea to train your body to sleep less. Otherwise, learn how to be more efficient during the day, and make sure you get your 7 magical hours.

Sacrificing your sleep won’t help you to be more productive. Your brain won’t generate creative ideas or solve intellectual problems on the level you want it to. Your body will lose its strength, so you won’t perform serious physical tasks as well as before.

pexels-photo-359989What To Do

Here’re a few tips I can give you based on my own experience:

  • When reading various books and articles, listening to other people’s advise, always keep in mind that we’re all different. If something worked for one person, it doesn’t mean it will work for you.
  • Increase self-awareness by understanding your personal sleep-cycles, best night and morning routines and the amount of sleep you need.
  • Experiment with the number of hours you need to feel rested. Allow yourself to wake up without an alarm clock a few nights in a row.  Keep record of the time you went to bed and woke up to learn how many hours of sleep are ideal for you.
  • Don’t stay in bed after you wake up. Majority of people are lazy by nature, that’s why we may allow ourselves to keep sleeping when our body doesn’t need it anymore.
  • Go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. It’s more natural for our bodies to prepare for the night after it’s getting dark outside. On the other hand, the sunlight helps us wake up naturally. A lot of processes in our body are connected with the amount of sunlight we receive during the day.

 

Conclusion

So, the answer to our big question ‘Should you train your body to need less sleep?’ would depend on the amount of hours you sleep now. If it’s more than 7-8 hours, definitely try to retrain your body. Too much sleep can be as dangerous as too little of it. There’re only 20% of people who need more than 8 hours of sleep according to BBC.

At the same time, if you sleep 7-8 hours every night, enjoy it and learn how to use the rest of the day more efficiently.