Believe In a Key To Your Freedom

Is there an activity that is the key to your freedom?

I pose this question because I notice that every time I go to yoga, I free myself from a physical circumstance I once described as a disability.

Not only did I describe my coordination uniqueness as a disability, I believed to my core that I was a VICTIM of my disability.  To me my physical disability was an unchangeable FACT, just like there’s sky above my head.

It’s very human to believe that we are the victims of our limitations or circumstances because they can seem so permanent and insurmountable.  However, it is our BELIEF that our limitations are permanent that holds us captive, not the circumstances themselves. 

No government or judge or prison guard can set us free from circumstances that we determine that we are captive to.

Yet with every prison cell, comes a key to open it. 

A person is not obligated to find the key to his or her freedom.  I was living a fine and productive life when I was certain that I was disabled.

At the same time finding the key (or more likely keys) that free us from our limitations can be an amazing adventure.

Game of the Day

How are you finding the keys to your freedom?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.

I Was Successful, but Shhh! Don’t Tell Anyone

Have you ever been successful at something and kept it a secret?

I pose this question because I have hidden many of my successes throughout my life.

On one hand, hiding our successes seems harmless or even like a considerate course of action.

On the other hand, we are often attracted and inspired by the success of others.  Take the Olympics for instance.  The Olympics inspires spectators all around the world to aim high, challenge their limits and go for their dreams.

Now can you imagine if the Olympics took place in total secrecy?  If this were the case, fans would not be allowed to attend.  The events would not be televised.  The results would never be released to the media.  Basically, no one besides the athletes and the organizers would ever know the Olympics took place.

It makes me sad to even consider this imaginary scenario.  Yet, we hide the personal Olympics of our lives when we don’t share our successes with others.  We succeed, but then by being silent, we miss an opportunity to inspire others to aim high, challenge their limits and go for their dreams.

So in this spirit of inspiring each other, I will share a great success that I realized recently.  During yoga class a couple of days ago, I was able to get up into a headstand against a wall, BY MYSELF!  This is a huge deal in my life!  Five years ago me doing a headstand was as likely as me getting hired by Santa to give a motivational speech to all the deer at the North Pole.  I was certain that I was never going to do a headstand because I was certain that I was disabled.

Then for the last four years, I have been attending yoga classes, slowly building the strength, focus, patience and confidence to do a headstand as well as many other poses.

AND TODAY I DID  A HEADSTAND BY MYSELF!  YAY!

When we share our successes with the intention of inspiring others to realize their own, we offer them an invaluable gift.

I urge you to proclaim the personal Olympics that is your life.  When you do this, you give others a chance to Dream of the Gold and Go For It!

Game of the Day

Share a success that you have enjoyed with at least three people today with the intention of inspiring them to

Dream of the Gold and Go For It.

Living on a Foundation of Appreciation

A few years ago, I had the privilege of being coached by Carol Draper, an excellent life coach.  One of the homework assignments that she repeatedly suggested I do was keep a Gratitude Journal.  This assignment was really simple; each day for the two weeks between our meetings I was to write down three to five things that I was grateful for in my Gratitude Journal.

So did I do the homework? Well kind of…. I would write in my Gratitude Journal for three or four days and then I would stop for one reason or another.

I have a confession to make….I still don’t keep a Gratitude Journal, but now I do see its benefits.

In the last few years, I have come to realize that being appreciative is more than a way of being polite to the people who give me things and the world that gives us life.  Being appreciative is a foundation that can allow us to build a thriving life.

I realize this from personal experience.  For much of my life I considered myself disabled, but in retrospect I think I was more disappreciative.  (If you are scratching you head on whether disappreciative is a word, it’s not.  I just coined it this morning at 7:38 AM.  I italicize the word to celebrate this very tiny event in the history of the English Language.)

When I rested my life on a foundation of disability and being disappreciative, my life was always wrong.  I didn’t speak right.  I wrote too slowly.  I caught basketballs with my glasses instead of my hands. And on a global scale too….the world appeared full of things that didn’t work and things to be afraid of.

Now that I build my life on the foundation of appreciation, I not only notice what is good about the world and myself, but base my actions upon that.  This might sound somewhat lofty, so I will give you a concrete example of employing disappreciation and appreciation in regards to the sound of my voice and how each of these views impacted my life.

When I was constructing my views about my voice based on the foundation of disability and disappreciation, I wouldn’t have dreamt of becoming an inspirational speaker because I was ashamed of my voice, upset that I had a speech impediment and thought that groups would never want to hear me speak.

Whereas, from a foundation of appreciation, I am grateful I can be understood the vast majority of the time, that I have a unique story to tell, a sense of humor, a love for people and a love expressing my creativity through the spoken word.  Upon this foundation of appreciation, I built my career as an inspirational speaker.

How does the shift from disappreciation to appreciation happen?  This is a complex question.  Many factors accumulated to cause this shift in my life.  One thing that has helped me greatly and I think might be useful to you is simply asking myself questions that call for a response of appreciation such as in the morning, “What am I grateful that I get to do today?”  Or during the day when a challenging situation arises ask, “What can I appreciate about this challenging situation?”  And at night of course reflecting back on the day and asking the classic gratitude journal question, “What am I grateful for today?”

Game of the Day

Today- When a challenging situation arises ask, “What can I appreciate about this challenging situation?”

Tonight- Reflecting back on the day and ask “What am I grateful for today?”

Tomorrow morning-  Ask, “What am I grateful that I get to do today?”

 ***These questions are simple to ask.  The fun and challenging part of this game is to ask one of these questions every time you feel yourself slipping into disappreciation mode and then to focus on the power and joy of your answer.

I admit that at first I was a bit skeptical of things like gratitude journals, but I have found living a life of appreciation to be life transforming and a pathway to achieving extraordinary results.

Let’s Play!

One of my wonderful yoga teachers, Rachel, made a comment during class that I think is profound.  She said, “A big part of freedom is having fun, so let’s play!”

Yet it is very human to deprive ourselves of this freedom when we label ourselves as too boring, too shy, too loud, too out-of-shape, too poor, too this, too that… and the list goes on and on.  And on and on.  And on!

Probably around fourth grade, I labeled myself as having a disability and promptly forgot I had done the labeling.  When I spoke, I heard a disabled person.  Every time I looked in the mirror, I saw someone who was disabled.  My declaration of disability was much like metaphorically sticking my foot in wet cement and waiting for it to harden.  With my foot stuck in cement, I did not have to take full responsibility for playing and having fun in life.  I could just tell myself and other people, “I can’t move.  I’m helpless.”

Fast forward to yesterday afternoon.  I was telling the father of one of my good friends, who immigrated from Denmark as a young man, the story of my speech impediment and how I let it limit me in the past.  He couldn’t believe it saying, “You just speak with an accent like me.”

Being who I am now, I totally see his point.  I speak with a unique accent and am fortunate that people now understand me the vast majority of the time.

I also feel for the kid I once was who labeled himself as having a disability and forgot he had done the labeling.

If I had a time machine, I would love to go back and gently tell the kid I once was to relax his hold on the label of disability.  I would tell him to listen to his family, friends and teachers who had confidence in him. I would also tell him to get a jump-start on activities like yoga and Laughter Yoga that would show him that he was not the huge limitations he created for himself in his mind.   Lastly, I would remind that kid to play and have fun instead of being so serious much of the time.

That kid was very stubborn in his views however.  I would have my work cut out for me!

Game For The Day

Think about a limiting label you placed on yourself in the past that over time you found was not accurate.  What people and activities helped you to disprove this label?

Bonus Activity

 Think of a limiting label you currently place on yourself.  What are some alternate, more uplifting ways to view yourself?  Have friends and family been trying to tell you this label is not accurate?  What activities could help you disprove this label for yourself?

 

The Secret to Achieving Extraordinary Results on a Daily Basis

No matter who we are, how much money we have or don’t have, how many times we’ve been or not been to Disney Land, we all have the ability to achieve extraordinary results.

I now define an extraordinary result as any result we achieve that is outside of our comfort zone. I’ve found that achieving Beyond-Your-Comfort-Zone Extraordinary Results is a very effective step towards creating the productive and joyful life that you want.

I spent many years comparing my results to the results of friends, family, and famous people.  I never felt I added up. I would spend lots of time feeling bad about not adding up.  This was a good recipe for many Jason Freeman pity parties, but did not leave me with much energy to feel motivated, joyful and productive.

At last I came up with a new system.

The secret to achieving an extraordinary result is simple.  First you find something beyond your comfort zone, something you want to do that you haven’t done before or done as well before, or done as consistently before or done having as much fun before.  Then you create a way to do it.  And finally you play as you do it.

PLAY is the keyword.  Many times you will succeed at creating your extraordinary result.  Sometimes, you won’t, which will be an invitation to PLAY again.

For example, right now I’m typing on my laptop, which is well in my comfort zone because I’ve been a writer since high school.

And I’m also producing an extraordinary result- I’m writing my first blog entry.  I’ve never been a blogger before.  This is outside my comfort zone and thus an extraordinary result.

 The Game for Today:

Create an extraordinary result outside your comfort zone that you can PLAY at achieving TODAY.

Then Play.  See what happens.  See how your world expands.