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Written by Vicki Hinze

On April 5, 2012


© 2012, Vicki Hinze

You are not the person you were.  You are the person you’ve become.


There’s comfort in that.  Because that simple quote holds promise and opportunity.  If you don’t like who you are, change.  If you don’t like your life, change it. 


People make simple things complex.  But every complex equation breaks down, bit by bit, and every individual’s traits do, too. 


Too often we look at ourselves and see so much we want to change that we feel overwhelmed, and when overwhelmed, we tend to shun.  It’s too hard.  Too much.  We can’t deal with all that, and so we end up doing nothing.


But the truth is that we have great capacity to do what we want most.  That’s the key—that most.    When something is significant to us, we focus on it.  We study it, dissect it, we break it down until its complexities are revealed and it becomes a simple equation.  Every journey begins with one step.  Every thing we want most can be attained if we take that first step, and then follow with another and another and another until we address each of the revelations in the simple equation.


We can eat a bear… one bite at a time.


The difference in winning and losing is a simple equation, too.  And where most err is in not getting specific.  Not getting a clear vision in their own mind of what they want and then following up with the homework of analysis so that the person can develop a plan for making that “dream” a reality in life.


A few days ago,  a man told me, “I want to earn more money.”   I asked, “How do you intend to do it?”  I got a blank look. 


The point is that he wishes he could earn more money but he isn’t doing anything to make it happen.  He isn’t actively pursuing the tangible things he can do to help himself.  No increasing his skills, no risktaking, no broadening his prospects, no … well, anything. 


When we really want something, we invest in it.  We devote our time, energy and resources to it.  We look hard at those who have done what we want to do for clues on what worked, what didn’t, and how they did what we want to do.  If what we want to do hasn’t yet been done, then we look for others who have accomplished similar things.  We try to pinpoint their steps to success, and we don’t just look at their physical steps but at the individual in all three dimensions:  physical, emotional and spiritual.  Because they work together in tandem and if any of the three aspects is weak . . . well, think of it as a three-legged stool.  What happens to a three-legged stool when one leg is weak?  When two are weak?  You try to sit on it and end up with your backside flat on the floor.


So here’s the simple formula: 

1.  Identify what you want. “Know thyself” got to be an old saying because it is key to contentment and fulfillment.  If you don’t know what makes you tick and pops your bubble, you’re not going to be content until and unless you stumble into it.  Knowing yourself and what most matters to you, you can actively seek ways to attain it.  Maybe it’s tangible, maybe it’s emotional balance, maybe it’s spiritual wisdom.  Whatever it is that most matters, you have to identify it and keep it firmly in mind to make judgments and decisions working toward it.  This is a journey… a series of steps, not one big leap.  To consistently make the right steps, you have to know clearly what you’re stepping toward.  The leaps of faith come in between but the goal line is firmly fixed in your mind.


2.  Analyze what you want most.  Look at those who’ve done it or something similar.  Look at their steps, their traits, their philosophies.  Look at their mistakes, learn from their wisdom, their successes and failures.  Look at what you want most.  Those who have it hold common traits.  What are they?  Which of those traits do you have?  What in you needs to change to better your odds of success?  Need more skills?  More dedication?  More intestinal fortitude for the tough times? 


3.  Develop a plan.  Think of this journey as a road trip.  It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon—coast to coast.  Remember the bear.  On a road trip, there are pitstops.   You stop to refuel, to grab a bite to eat, to see the World’s largest Whatever at a tourist trap, to view the scenery.  In other words, you take a series of steps toward the goal—the far coast—getting what you need physically, emotionally, and spiritually along the way—but you don’t lose sight of where you’re going.  That far coast is planted in mind and while you might take a few detours and you might take a few scenic routes, you’re headed for that far coast.


4.  Enact the plan.  Lots of us do the first three things but when it comes to this one, we procrastinate or avoid because we look at how far the journey is, look at where we are, and there’s just too much road in between.  To travel it, we must step outside our existing comfort zone and into the unknown.  As a rule, we hate that.  So we look at all our plans and get lazy or scared and talk ourselves right out of our dream.  Or others, typically those closest to us, do that for us and we let them.   I wish I could say that was rare.  It’s not.  It’s so common it’s heartbreaking.  But here’s the thing:  if your dream matters most to you, you will seek it.  You’ll have the drive, dedication, discipline and devotion and  you won’t be detered. 


Over time, dreams change.  Experiences change dreams, too.  So you might start out thinking you’re headed for the far coast, but at a pitstop or a tourist trap something happens and it changes everything.  Your vision is refined.  Your dream morphs into dreams of something else.  Something that puts fire in your belly and ignites your soul.  Something you love.


And you know that you are no longer the person you were, you’re the person you’ve become.  And so the series of morphing begins, and the process of tempering you, the human being, takes on the attributes of tempering steel.  It’s said it takes a lot of heat to temper steel.  It takes a lot of heat to temper people, too. 


And so, as the Apostle Paul said, we die daily.  Because tomorrow we become a new person.  Every choice we make in each day we live changes us from the person we were into the person we’ve become.


It is this truth that says if you aren’t content, don’t claim depression or stress and reach for some pill.  Instead know that the power to change lies within.  And if you want it, that’s where you must begin.  You must recognize change is possible.  One bit at a time.  Not with a pill but with a promise.  Seize the opportunity.  If you don’t like who you are, or what you’re doing, or your life, make different choices.  Embrace change.  You can do it.  Because…


You are not the person you were.  You are the person you’ve become.








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