Principles on Why and How to Create a Meaningful life through Self-Renewal

“The richest, happiest, and most productive lives are characterized by the ability to fully engage in the challenge at hand, but also to disengage periodically and seek renewal”–Dr. James Loehr and Schwarz, The Power of Full Engagement

” One of the reasons people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure.” (Self-Renewal). John W. Gardner “

Let’s start with a speech by John Gardner, who wrote the short but powerful books on Excellence and Self-Renewal  “Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of your affections and loyalties, out of the experience of humankind as it is passed on to you, out of your own talent and understanding, out of the things you believe in, out of the things and people you love, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there. You are the only one who can put them together into that unique pattern that will be your life. Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you. If it does, then the particular balance of success or failure is of less account.” 

Personal Renewal is the ongoing and continuous focus on reflection, choice and purposeful action to change your life’s direction.  Renewal is based on learning how to reframe your vision and purpose for an improved “quality of life”. Discovering and learning about new ways to grow and uncover a new sense of being alive. It involves reviewing and if needed re-focusing and adjusting your life priorities. It is opportunity for you to stop living on autopilot and begin to experience how to live a life of fulfillment and meaning in the “here and now”.

Renewal is a lifelong learning and growing process.  We need to be continually engaged in it so as to stay energized, fully present and alive in the ”here and now”.  I had originally thought of renewal as something people do once (or at most a couple of times) in reaction to a crisis like l like hearing you have cancer or been fired from your job of 15 years. Significant emotional experiences like these stop you in your tracks and can be seen as opportunity to change or re-adjust life priorities or as scary moment filled with disillusionment (why me?) or fearful anxious moments where you have loss control of life.  Now I understand it is much more clearly as a proactive process based on choices and how I spent my time.  I’ve found that with each step along the way it remains necessary to re-examine what decisions or choices brought us to this point, to continue asking ourselves reflective questions like– what is my purpose in life? Or how is what I am doing been working so far? And are the choices that I have made leading me to joy and happiness? Or Am I just stuck and overburden by my present life.  Here are 4 ways for getting started on a Self-Renewal process:

  1. Unlock the power of Renewal by identifying and capturing how you spend your time over the next thirty days. See
  2. Renewal provides you with the opportunity to re-assess your life’s direction and meaning. It provides you with a map for being and a reason for getting up in the morning. Fill in this sentence–The reason I get up in the morning is____________________________________________________.
  3. The power of renewal is to help you unlock your strengths, challenge you to grow and learn and to take action by turning your dreams and potential into a higher “quality of life”. List your top 5 strengths.
  4. Renewal Setting:– Reflect on and identify 3 times in your life when you have “Played to Win”. When you gave a 110% and embraced the possibility of greatness.

Secret to Personal Change–Art of Intentional Living or Sleep Walking through Life

Daily Quote: As Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian said, “A good coach will make a player see what he can be rather than what he is.”

Reflection: To create a strong and clear purpose in life means doing things purposefully or intentionally and not just letting things happen.  It means doing what you want to do. Learning to say “no” to things that do not fit your values or goals. To me experimenting with a new strategy or activity means actively pursuing something of interest to see if you enjoy them and are good at doing them. It means that you must stop sleep walking through life, so that you can create a life of purpose and fulfillment. Stop wondering what you have done with your life and start creating it with intention and purpose.

I say this because many people I coach lack the understanding and motivation to make personal changes and commitment to change things that are not working for them. Many people settle just for things in life because they mistakenly believe that successful people are either lucky or “have” an inborn sense of greatness or “god” given talent. It is my believe that our mindset and lack of a strong belief in self (self-efficacy) are the critical factors that many of us overlook when it comes to changing our life circumstances.

More often than not, a change of mindset from fixed to growth needs to take place in order to create new habits and behaviors that support your goals for change. In order to make personal changes that “stick” you need to LEARN and GROW in a number of ways to support yourself both mentally and emotionally to take on personal challenges and self-directed change plans.

What does research tell us?  We need to coach ourselves so as to create strong self-efficacy (belief) and a Growth Mindset to get what we want in life. A strong belief in self is not sometime you have or don’t have (fixed mindset)  it real is something you create through effort, failure, feedback and deliberative practice.

Self-Coaching Challenge: This weekend or next week identify a personal habit or activity you want to change in order to create a better quality of life. Use the Smart Step and Plus One techniques to accomplish your goal. 

On Gratitude–New Poem by MW hardwick

Gratitude Poem by MW Hardwick

Mysterious and powerful this thing called gratitude…

Being grateful turns sadness, irritations and isolated lives

Into a new mindset–life becomes more enriched and elevated

What I have is good enough because it is a gift.

Turns day-to-day issues I face into challenges…

Victim mentally disappears…happiness seeps-in…

Getting your gratitude muscle going leads to

More self-compassion, less disappointment and stress

Positive mental and physical well-being take center stage

Whatever it is that you might be struggling with starts to fade…

And hope is renewed and fostered.

An “attitude of gratitude” clears the way for happiness

Promotes and increases a satisfying life by—focusing on the good enough…

And replacing negativity with a positive outlook…

Thus increasing health, optimism and your “quality of life…

It starts with observation and awareness and many times

Ends with a “THANK YOU”

Feeling appreciated and important drives happiness…

So start today to be more grateful…choose it and live it

Gratitude ripples out to others

Think about it. Capture it. Share it .

And make the world a better place…by being more grateful

Thank you…Thank you…Thank you…

Note: Inspiration from Dr.Robert Emmonsbook on the New Science of Gratitude

entitled–“Thanks! How The New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.”  

Daily Quote and Self-Reflection: Embracing Change and Openness

Daily Quote: “Things do not Change: We change.”  Henry Thoreau

Self Reflection: When “IT” comes to change and upsetting the “status quo” I am a searcher. Searchers look for problems that can become opportunities. They are open-minded about how to solve problems and do not think they have all the answers. The main tools searchers use are a “growth mindset” seeing problems as challenges, experimentation and piloting potential solutions.  Their change mantra is:: “Whoever Tries The Most Stuff Wins.” Always be open to try new ways to find the right answers. I believe one must never lose time in vainly regretting failures nor in complaining about the changes which cause us discomfort, or making excuses because the essence of change is shaking things-up.

Self-Coaching: What are you facing in your daily life that needs changing and you have been procrastinating from doing it. Listen to Graham Hill, feature speaker at TED, talk about how to create more happiness in your life. Then reflect on the TED talk and pick one thing in your daily life that will make your happiness soar. Good Luck and have fun.

Want more Success and Impact on Others? Research says: Fake It until you make it

Daily Quote: “Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen.” Marge Piercy, Poet

Reflection: What Piercy is telling us to do is when you’re not sure of what to be just “Fake it until you make it.” In words create your own personal self-fulfilling philosophy. Dr. James Loher a colleague makes this powerful insight about “faking it” “pretending that you’re happy–requires you to smile, be engaged by mimicking positive energy and enthusiasm–not only can this approach earn you some of the benefits of happiness (returned smiles, connecting with others successes as a public speaker or at work and school but can actually make you happier.”  Why does this “fake it till you make it work? How can acting like you are happy make you happy?

Researcher’s On this subject focus primarily on two reasons for this phenomena one internal and one external.

1. Internally, our brains interpret the positive thoughts and physical manifestations of happiness by releasing adrenalin, testosterone  and dopamine ( pleasure drug) levels into the blood stream while decrease cortisol (stress hormone) so that  we actually experience the emotion to a greater extent. and shows through our external appearance to others and says not in words I am confident and happy to be with you.
2. Externally, our manifestations of happiness are typically mirrored by others, creating a cycle of positive emotions of confident appearance and tone of voice, twinkling eyes, smile and relaxed posture other body language signals of the emotions itself.

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success. Don’t miss this TED video by Dr. Cuddy where she presents very insightful research and findings on how “faking it” can influence power and dominance in relationships.



Learning… By MW Hardwick

Learning … by MW Hardwick 

I now see the world with new eyes.

I see the benefits of trying new ways,

To learn—I observe, experience, reflect and listen

I see a model to follow and read about a new way

and I now know I can learn anything.

No matter how difficult or time consuming

learning comes through effort and practice

I keep an open mind and change comes naturally

if I stay focuses the payoff is great…

if I persevere I can win..

If I am praised I can stagnate and lose

What will you choose? What will you choose?


Part III: Self Coaching and Career Development: Awareness and Commitment to Personal Change

Daily Quote:  “The degree to which I can create relationships, which facilitate the growth of others as separate persons, is a measure of the growth I have achieved in myself.”  Dr. Carl R. Rogers
Reflection: Developing effective interpersonal communication is self-awareness at its finest. It is all about developing a sense self-efficacy (belief) and awareness which entails knowing who you are, what you can do, and where you are now and where you want to go.  In addition to the above, you must have the ability to access and master self-awareness and reflective thinking by choosing to accept relevant feedback and your feelings or emotions surrounding decisions and taking personal action to change. Your success in self-coaching relies on using a “process and structure” that allows you to discover and choose what fits your needs, time and personal change goals and objectives.Self Coaching equates to the “soft skills” used in counseling such as  observation, questioning, listening, reflection, problem solving and choices. Most of these skills are encompassed in the popular Emotional Intelligence category of Self Management. But most importantly self-coaching can impact all important values and priorities of your life, including health, education, career, relationships and spiritual arenas.To get started with  Self Coaching you must make a commitment to personal change and then assess your readiness for coaching. This process takes a time commitment and a decision to risk exploring who you are and what you want to do in life plus examining life priorities and  values.The first question for getting started with self-coaching is why do you want to begin this journey of self exploration and development. The second question is to consider is what behavior or thinking patterns your want to improve upon. In answering these questions you will need to explore where you are now and what is important to you to live a more fulfilling and meaningful life. By doing this type of assessment you can start living a more self-directed life of choice.

Self-Coaching Challenge: To see if self-coaching is for you it is important to consider something you are trying to achieve right now such as getting healthy, increasing your social contacts or developing a relationship.

Start with translating your self-coaching challenge into concrete actions by answering the following questions:

  • Why is it important for you to achieve this personal change goal?
  • What is it you want to achieve?
  • What actions do you need to take to achieve this goal?
  • What barriers or distractions may keep you from achieving your goal?
  • Who could give you feedback on how you are doing in achieving your goal?
  • How will you know or measure your success in meeting your goal?

By asking these self coaching questions you pave the way for reaching your goal and if need be making adjustments required in your thinking and behavior to achieve your desired outcome.

My 30 day goal for personal change is to  _________________________________________________________________________________________