2 Keys to Creating a Successful Life

When I say the word service, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?  My own answers surprised because of how many negative associations I had with the word. I found myself saying things like doing what others want me to do; giving more than I get in return in order to be perceived as a “good” person; doing things for free because it is the right thing to do; and finally, I viewed service as something I did for another because I was paid to do it.  My old view of service was narrow and misguided because it was based on the belief of service being about duty and obligation rather than an act of love and contribution. In fact I would argue that the quickest way to success is to see service as an act of creativity and a way to make a contribution to society.

Service is not about giving with no end in sight; service is all about giving from a place of overflow. It requires you to be in sync with your spirit in order to understand what you naturally do from a place of love, joy, and enthusiasm. I know this idea may seem puzzling at first glance; after all, creativity is often associated with being fun, bold, daring and inventive; service, in the sense of making a contribution, brings up words like serious, formal, credentials, and outside approval.  They seem to contradict each other at first glance, because one comes from within and the other appears to be based on external approval. But look again; you make a contribution to society when you are operating in alignment with the love and joy that is within you. This is where all creativity comes from.  When you are right with yourself, you are creating from a place of love. You are contributing to society in a positive way by connecting with others at the soul level, and that is powerful. For example, some are blessed with the ability to communicate and create positive changes in society through the use of language or music. Think about the author who writes a book because she decided to listen to her creative urge and it ends of having a profound effect on many. The book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert comes to mind as I type this sentence.

For those of you out there who insist you are not creative, the truth is we are all blessed with creativity. Think about what you naturally excel at.  What gets you excited and energized? This is your creativity in action. It has nothing to do with being a good painter, sculptor or dancer—although you may be creative in this sense. It is really about being unapologetically yourself by acting in alignment with your deepest truth because it brings you joy. The act of honoring yourself by using your creativity uplifts others, and that is service at its finest.


My Home. Myself.

What state of mind are you in? Take a look around; is it working for you? Do you possess such a thorough understanding of yourself that you are able to effortlessly improve the quality of your life by eliminating bad habits, relationships or any situation that is not contributing to your highest good?  I didn’t think so. We are all traveling along the road to self-mastery and looking to improve by understanding all that we truly are. It is a process to understand ourselves at a deep level, but I have found one way to get a grasp on this is by observing my state of mind in action. And what better way is there to do this than by taking a personal inventory of your home. After all, your home tells the story of your beliefs.

I have heard psychologists and life-coaches talk about everything in your external environment being a reflection of what is going inside of you. So, when it comes to your home, have you paused long enough to observe your thoughts in action?  Is the story that is on display in your home in alignment with where you want to go and the life you aspire to live? Or, are you surrounded by an outdated version of your life that does not reflect your current desires or beliefs? I had some interesting revelations when I started to pay attention to the things in my home. I will share a couple of my experiences with you now.

I recently walked through my house and discovered I had photos on display of people I no longer have good relationships with. A particular photo was from a vacation that I took with a person who had done some pretty hurtful things on that trip. The funny thing is, I was actually having a difficult time setting boundaries with this person. I was trying to figure out a way to have this person in my life but at a safe enough distance that they could no longer wreck havoc in my life. I guess my compromise was to hang photos of this person in my house to remind me of the many bad times we shared together, so I could continue to feel bad about staying in the relationship. I immediately took the photos down. I am interested in good vibes only, especially in my home.

I also realized a piece of artwork that had been hanging in my dining room for a few years made me feel sad and depressed when looking at it. It was a painting that showed couples walking down a street on a rainy day carrying umbrellas, but there was one woman walking alone and following behind everyone else. I clearly identified with this woman walking alone three years ago, but it seemed inappropriate now. I asked myself: how has this scenario played out in my life? And I finally admitted to myself that there were many things that I was just going along with in my life that I was not truly happy about it. Then I dug deeper: did I pick out this painting because it represented the sadness and sense of drudgery I was feeling in my life at that time? Did I believe that someone else would lead me to where I wanted to go? I know that’s deep, but on some level I was drawn to the painting because it did reflect what was going on inside of me at the time I purchased it.

In its place, I hung a painting of a woman gazing out a large window overlooking a city skyline at night. I was instinctively drawn to it a few months ago and now I understand why. It accurately reflects where I find myself at this time in my life. I am at a crossroads and I’ve been contemplating what my next move will be. I have been exploring new options and there are still many unknowns at this time. It seems that the concept rings true: the objects in my home do or did reflect what was going on inside of me.

Now it is your turn to do a little detective work around your house. Take a walk around and consider the following questions:

  1. Is your home cluttered and disorganized? What kind of thoughts or behaviors are you engaging in that clutter your mind?
  2. Do you appreciate and value yourself? Look around at the things in your home. Are they well cared for? Are you wearing things that make you feel and look your best?
  3. Have you intentionally selected the things in your home with care or do you have a bunch of things that you don’t really care for taking up space in your home? In what other ways do you allow things, people or situations to take up space in your life that you don’t really care for?
  4. Have you incorporated objects into your current environment that reflect the life you aspire to live?
  5. What are the pieces of artwork and/or photos hanging on your walls telling you about yourself? About your relationships with others?
  6. Are there old, broken, and outdated objects in your home? In what ways is your thinking old, broken and outdated?

Now that you have reviewed the above questions, start affirming the vision you have for your life by creating a space that is in alignment with your new beliefs and dreams. Changing your current environment to reflect who you want to be can be as simple as throwing out all your ratty and tattered clothing, or getting rid of clothes that do not make you feel your best. It can be disposing of all those photos you have hanging up that remind you of bad experiences or broken relationships. Maybe you will decide to display uplifting quotes and only photos that make you feel joyful and excited. You could affirm your new life by literally bringing in new life in the form of a houseplant or fresh-cut flowers. You may decide to paint a room a bright color such as orange or yellow to create an uplifting mood.

The point is this: If you are considering making some positive changes in your life like starting a new career or ending a toxic relationship, help facilitate the process by creating a physical change in your home environment. Prepare yourself to receive your desires by creating an environment that is in alignment with your aspirations and get rid of all of the things that do not reflect the person you want to be. If you change the things in your home, you change the story and you will change your life.