A Passionate Letdown: Writing Challenge

I have had several conversations with close friends about the challenges of finding their life’s passion. Instead of just writing my thoughts I thought that it would be great to also hear from people that I trust and look up to. Over the next few post you will hear from myself, my sister-in-law, my wife and others.

 

Here are several thoughts about passion that we hope to discuss further: 

  1. We are deceived to think our passion should automatically produce wealth.
  2. We are deceived to think that passion is a static emotion.
  3. The obsessive pursuit of discovering our passion is in itself our passion. Change it.
  4. Our frustration with a lack of passion is a pretty mask that hides an ugly battle of being discontent with our life.

 

I also invite you, the reader, to think through these points and perhaps offer alternative views, suggestions or add your own blog post to the discussion.

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3 Barriers to Progress

The weight of the unknown can causes one of three negative responses fight, flight or freeze.

Freeze is horrible because it tricks you into thinking everything is okay while time eats up your chances for progress. Freezing leaves you stuck in the lie of the potential and fooled by the prospect of tomorrow. It teaches you in the school of deep thought but leaves no space for practical application. One day you realize that although the window of opportunity still exist you’ve grown too old to step through.

Flight is horrible because it is essentially your effort to drown out the noise of the weight of the unknown. Instead of dealing with it you take to stimulating your senses through listening to music, eating food, playing video games, physical comforting activities. You do this so much that the hope of your next fix becomes louder and more enticing than the possibilities of your next phase.

Fight is horrible because it convinces you that your effort is enough to bear the weight of the unknown. It tricks you into pouring all your efforts at an inaccurate target. It tells you that if you try hard enough and long enough all associated challenges will be met. It becomes your cause and consumes your goals. One day you realize that there has been so much effort but no movement and your exhausted.

The common ingredient in freeze, flight and fight is the issue of deception.The only requirement to deal with the weight of the unknown is the courage to take the next step forward. Refuse to listen to the enticement of procrastination, the temptation to go back into your comfort zone and misdirected aggression. You are so close! Strip away the deception of the unknown. Write your goal on a piece of paper then plan out specific reachable steps that will enable you to move forward.

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Eyes on the Ground

Photo Credit: annie_merrill via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: annie_merrill via Compfight cc

After spending a refreshing morning stroll in a local park I realized that I spent most of my time staring at the ground in front of me. I admit I regularly allow my focus to be on my feet and the ground when I walk. Perhaps this is due to my need to be prepared for ultimate challenges, or just an innate need for control. I challenged myself to take in my surroundings for the rest of my walk. I focused on  looking at up at the configuration of the trees ahead of me, took a look at the kinds of birds that flew in the area, I took in widescreen mental notes on as much of the landscape that my eyes would allow. For the last 2 minutes of my walk I felt more reinvigorated and inspired than the first 30 minutes of the walk.

I’m now wondering how often I allow my focus on the challenges of the present to take away from the inspiration that comes from the choreographed perfection of the journey. Even though, at any given moment I can find myself struggling with a myriad of personal deficiencies, situational persecution, relational misunderstandings, if only I allow myself to see the beauty of my journey towards personal maturity, the reinforcement of my closest relationships and coinciding growth of those around me. I can find inspiration in that.

Take just 2 minutes and look at the beautiful tapestry that is your journey!

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Love people, manage systems

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Edvardo Archer is the founder of Anchor Point Family Services (APFS). At APFS we work with individuals, professionals and leaders that are seeking to breakout of the pattern of emotional exhaustion and find internal and external balance. Click here to learn more.

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If THIS was suppose to be easy then why have others failed before me?

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In high school I competed in some regional health service competitions. My area of specialty was sports medicine, as this was probably the closest that I would get to an actual football field.

In order to progress to nationals all I had to do was complete a simple written, oral and skills test. And let me tell you…I had this one in the bag. Multiple choice exam (*yawn), oral test (nailed it), wrap some mannequin’s foot (really? can someone give me a challenge?).

After breezing through my exams I strolled out of the testing area, into a hall way where my teacher, Mrs. Kissel, was waiting.

“How was it?”, she asked.

“It was pretty easy. Actually, I think I did extremely well.”

“Well, Edvardo, don’t forget if it was easy for you, it was probably easy for other people.”

For a second I thought that her statement was a quip towards me or perhaps a lack of trust in my abilities. Though, the one thing I remember clearly was my mind cycling through my preparation and attitude. It was only after a couple hours that I realized I was both under prepared and over confident! Sure enough, I did not place and did not progress to nationals that year.

Little did I know, Mrs. Kissel’s statement went beyond that instance and had significant life implications. I revisited this statement when I sat for my SATs. It came back up when I applied for college, and when I later asked my wife to marry me.  Even now, the lesson resounds loudly as I launch my private counseling practice.

Am I under prepared and over confident? This question leads to the next: If (*blank*) was suppose to be easy then why have others failed before me? If marriage was supposed to be easy then why are 60% of marriages ending in divorce? If social work was supposed to be so fulfilling then why do most people change careers after three years? If I’m supposed to love who I am then why does shame and guilt torment me when I let myself and others down?  If (*blank*) was suppose to be easy then why have others failed before me? You fill in the blank.

If the surmounting reality of your situation is hitting you like it hit me in high school, here are 4 things to remember:

  1. Be sober. Accept your situation. The difficulty of your context doesn’t dictate the outcome.  Therefore, the answer to your issue isn’t finding your next “emotional fix” simply because emotions have no influence on outcome. So, remember: You are in the situation, the situation is difficult, difficulty does not dictate outcome.
  2. Surround yourself with the standard. The greatest deception of life difficulties is to make us think that we are the first and only people that have ever experienced such difficulties. I want you to realize there is nothing new under the sun, everything has been done before and there are people that have found the technology to succeed against it. Other people have paid the price and emerged successful, access those people and learn from them.
  3. There is power in PACING yourself. You are involved in a process not a task. Realize that the issue at hand is something to be dealt with over an extended phase not a moment. The war is one battle at a time. Let go of the outcome of each battle and focus on your internal conviction that already defines you as victorious. Stop stressing about next week’s battle, relax…
  4. If it was easy then it wouldn’t be as valuable. Realize that it is the battles that give us the grit for the war. It is life’s pressures that forms our internal muscle to push forward. The brightest days only come after darkest nights. If you learn this, you will also learn how to relish and love the fight.

Feel free to leave your thoughts or email us

http://www.anchor-point.org

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3 Reasons You Need an Anchor Point

I’ve spent years dreaming about starting a counseling practice. Among the many nuanced details, one of the biggest challenges was looking for an adequate name. After some time the name “Anchor Point Family Services” surfaced. The more I reflected on the name the more I realized that Anchor Point pushed beyond a catchy cliche and  began to define me as an individual. It describes the internal structures that ensures  that my decisions are solid. Beyond the work that will happen within the walls of my practice, EVERYONE should find an anchor point for their own lives.

Please click on the picture below to learn 3 reasons why (use the left and right arrows on your keypad to navigate the presentation)

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She punched her newborn baby in the face

My jaw dropped as he told me about a case of a young mother who was impregnated by a family member that subjected her to years of abuse and neglect. On the day of the child’s birth the mothers accumulated pain, stress and anger climaxed into her reaching across delivery table and punching her new baby in the face.

As I struggled with my emotions about the story I couldn’t help but notice the almost nonchalant attitude of my friend, almost a callousness towards the situation. When I asked how does he work in these situations he shrugged his shoulders and said, “People are messy.”

The Symptom:

Months later I found that my friend was involved in mess of his own and brought the same callus into his own life. As a result his callousness ended up alienating and hurting many friends and families.

The Issue:

I realized that if we don’t appropriately handle our own trauma and the trauma of our world we too can one day treat the things that should be precious with violence.

The Solution:

1. Let trauma break your heart

  • If we keep ignoring our feelings we will one day forget them.
  • Callousness isn’t the answer, confrontation is.
  • Just because we are made to help others doesn’t mean we are impervious to the impact of their problems
  • Never see yourself better than another person’s ‘mess’. Always find yourself inside of their trauma. Remember at any given time we can be one catalyst away from their struggle.
  •  Our heart has to remain sensitive enough to allow the people closest to us to hurt us. Our eyes have to be open to see how we hurt others. We still have to gauge and reciprocate the emotional demands of our environment.

2. Be processed by the trauma

  • The natural pull of life leads us to place of instability and ignorance.
  • The natural progression of our professions makes us emotionally exhausted, cynical and divorced.
  • If we are to beat the natural pull of life and profession then we must be  conscious and deliberate.
  • We have to know how and when to deny our professional lives access to our personal lives.

3. Be defined by the things you value rather than the trauma you encountered.

  • Identify the root behind the trauma and determine the principles that contradict it. (sacrifice VS selfishness; community VS isolation)
  • Be conscious and deliberate about making a plan to uphold the principles in place of the hurt from the trauma.
  • Let your actions and decision be based on a principle and not an occurrence. Remember I am therefore I do. In other words, function emerges out of identity, my identity is not dictated by function.
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If you want people to succeed don’t make it so difficult

Any person that works in human services is bound to have “success” as a key indicator in their work. We are going to want to see people succeed. That success maybe a person transitioning from poverty to middle class, graduating high school, or saying please and thank you. Some transitions are harder than others and some more important than others.

But we don’t realize that our passion to see change and desire to see success can actually work against those we serve. If we find ourselves too dependent on results we can find that our methods become too “teacher focused”. We then resort to using ourselves as the benchmark for our learners. Rather than having our learners “memorize” our best practices let’s instead have them internalize our best principles.

Here’s how we do it:

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Own Yourself

How often are you engaged in a conversation or in a meeting and you find that you’ve completely lost your sense of self. In a moment and without realizing it you have lost your personal identity. Here are some instances we see this happen:

  • During an interview
  • During a meeting with your superiors
  • In a room full of people you do not know
  • In the presence of a “celebrity”
  • In the presence of a someone you admire

Here is my suggestion: Own Yourself

What does that mean?

  • Ensuring that your personal reference point is unconquerable
  • Carrying confidence in what you have to offer
  • Not feeling a need to apologize for who you are
  • Becoming conscious in every environment you enter
  • Be unyielding in your value system
  • Refusing to easily forfeit your preferences
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