Have a Life Attack provides some simple and practical suggestions for you to use on your journey of discovering true life passion and purpose. Arising from a near-death experience, Have a Life Attack uses Sean's twenty-year experience as a reluctant pharmacist-along with valuable lessons learned from embarking on his own Life Attack journey-to encourage you on a similar path of challenging the status quo of your work, love and laugh lives.
Have a Life Attack incorporates inspiring stories and insights from friends, professionals, and mentors who have encouraged Sean along the way.
"Have I really lived, have I really loved, and have I really laughed in life?" If your answer to this question leans in any way toward no, then Have a Life Attack is tailor-made for you.
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HAVE A LIFE ATTACKLive, Love, and Laugh Full Out
By Sean Willard
BALBOA PRESSCopyright © 2011 Sean Willard
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTHE LIFE ATTACK CHALLENGE:
Your Life Attack Tools
"Look, I don't want to wax philosophic, but I will say that if you're alive you've got to flap your arms and legs, you've got to jump around a lot, for life is the very opposite of death, and therefore you must at very least think noisy and colorfully, or you're not alive." —Mel Brooks
Some time ago, I heard Wayne Dyer sharing a story that he had been given to read when he was a young man.
Wayne had been standing on a dock with his uncle Bill, waiting to embark on a twenty-nine-day journey across the Pacific Ocean in order to join the navy ship to which he had been assigned.
Wayne remembers that, as they said their farewells, Bill handed him a book of short stories by Leo Tolstoy and told him to specifically take a look at the one entitled, "The Death of Ivan Ilyich."
This story tells the tale of a judge in Moscow who hated his work, his wife, and much of everything about his life. He pursued this life regardless until, on his deathbed, he looked into his wife's eyes and asked her, "What if my whole life has been wrong?"
Then he died.
For Wayne, the message from this story was clear—choose to live life!
After reading the story, Wayne went on to journal himself a simple request: "Dear Wayne, don't die with your music still in you."
I believe that we can all make this request our own. In fact, "don't die with the music still in you" has already become one of my life aspirations and goals.
I don't want to reach my deathbed with all my potential and capacity still locked away inside me! Do you?
Wayne's reference to the "music still in us" reminds me of the movie August Rush, which tells the story of a young boy with exceptional musical talents who leaves the orphanage in which he was raised in order to find his parents.
He believes that they are still alive, that his being put up for adoption was a mistake, that they still want him, and that if he "follows the music" in and around him, it will eventually lead him straight to his parents.
The music (passion) inside this boy draws him to encounter and affect numerous lives along the way and to be ultimately reconciled with his mom and dad.
I believe that once we answer the "music" (passion) inside our hearts, our purpose becomes reconciled with our vision, which leads us to achieve our goals and to live the life of our dreams.
We give birth, as such, to our goals when our passion causes our purpose and vision to unite.
I once heard someone sharing on purpose, visions, and goals describe purpose as being the essence of who you are, which serves as your "true north" for the decisions you make, the actions you take, and the results you achieve in your life.
This is why the first tool for your Life Attack Challenge is PASSION.
LIFE ATTACK TOOL #1: PASSION
Are you in love with your life? This is a vital question to ask yourself quite early in the game. If you are not leaping out of bed each morning, humming a happy, albeit off-key tune as you face the day ahead of you, then what exactly is the point, I ask you?
Do you merely exist to pay your dreaded bills?
Are you coasting through each minute of every single day until the weekend like a true thank-goodness-it's-Friday (TGIF) type of person? (If this is you, you'll be horrified to note that you hate 71.43% of your life at the moment!)
Are you aware that you are allowed to do what you love, because what you love to do is what you are meant to be doing with your life?
There are many possible reasons for your failure to pursue your passions and dreams:
You might feel that you owe it to yourself, your parents, or your families to live "more responsibly"—pursuing sensible vocations that will provide a sensible income to secure yourself a sensible future.
But all this sensibleness has you dozing in the audience of your own life. It's time to wake up!
On occasion, you might have tumbled out of the nest in pursuit of those dreams whizzing by, only to be shot out of the sky with opinion and ridicule.
Those holding the shotguns could have been your friends, parents, teachers, religious leaders, or other significant loved ones.
It is tough to be believed in less than we need to be. Consequently you may have chosen to walk everywhere and as a result have never learnt to fly. The concept of living and doing what you love might never have crossed your mind.
You might have grown up believing that the things you love to do should be classified as hobbies and luxuries, while what you do for a living should taste, feel, and smell like work—arduous, boring, uninspiring, dutiful —definitely not like a kid let loose in the toy shop of his or her wildest imaginings!
You might have bought in to the belief that money or education is the deciding factor for living a life of dreaming.
You long to live significantly and in step with your passions, but you just don't have the cash or the skills.
You might have grown up hearing the sayings, "Money does not grow on trees"; "Who do you think I am, Rockefeller?"; or "Money talks—mine says good-bye!"
It might be comforting to know that Virgin's Richard Branson did not start his hugely successful life adventure with money or a tertiary education. He started with his talents and passions, around which he developed plans.
His firm conviction is that if you do what you enjoy and if you have fun while you are at it, the money will happen.
You were never created to live a life of scarcity—you were created to live a life of abundance! The choice is yours—will you approach the ocean with a spoon, a cup, or a bucket? When you receive from abundance, there is always enough!
Sadly, the reality could be that failure is more daunting to you than sheer, life-sapping boredom.
Instead of dreaming, you kit out your current rut of choice with a lean-to shack and settle for squatter rights instead of a trip on the Autobahn in your own Ferrari!
You see, you had a Ferrari dream, but a VW Beetle paycheck ... the one with the double exhaust pipe, so that when you broke down, you could pick it up like a wheelbarrow and push it to the nearest garage. Your dreams and passions were downsized or capsized by the voices of "reason" around you ... even your own!
Or, oddly enough, success (and therefore the pressure to continuously succeed) could be more daunting to you than any failure.
You have boycotted yourself time and again—and have failed to find out how brilliant you truly can be. After all, how long can this good thing last, right? If you reach your goal weight, you'll have to maintain it, so rather fall short and disappoint only yourself!
It's now time to put this in your pipe and smoke it:
So I ask you, what concepts and ideas stir up your passion? With which ideas could you fall—or have you already fallen—in love?
Is it creating an excellent home life and helping others do the same?
Are you in love with the ocean and all that it encompasses?
Perhaps design (interior/fashion/engineering/architecture) is what energizes you most.
Or maybe helping young people get properly educated is what accesses your talents, strengths, and contentment levels best.
Some people love writing; others love speaking and motivating. Some cannot get enough of their sport of choice.
Perhaps you don't know what you love. Perhaps you have never scratched around on your Life Boat to properly discover your passions.
No one is born without dreams, passions, or a love for something. So, don't fear; they are in you somewhere!
The following activity might help you to start dusting them off.
Find yourself a quiet space and take an honest moment.
Why have you not been living your dreams or following your passions? _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________
What current life frustrations are you experiencing? Why do you think this is so? _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________
What have you done so far to alleviate these frustrations? _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ Have you implemented any Life Attack game plans of your own? Have they been successful? _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________
Which activities or contexts get you rubbing your hands together with excitement and energize you so much that you struggle to leave or stop doing them? _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________
What did you love to do as a kid? As a teenager? (You were born with your purpose "wired" into you, so you would more than likely have been acting it out from a young age.) _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________
What gifts and talents have other people affirmed in you? _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ Are you getting an idea of what your talents/longings/ passions might be? _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________
As you read through what you have written, can you feel some longings rising inside you? Are your creative juices starting to flow? Is your mind beginning to slip free from boredom's noose? Are you ready to about-turn and face life head-on?
"So, what am I meant to be doing with my life?" This is something you might have asked for some time now.
Complete the following sentence:
I love ___________________________________________________________
What you love is your purpose. It is as simple as that!
Having a Life Attack is not as much about finding "the thing" to do with your energy or time as it is finding the passion for life that will feed everything you end up doing.
A Quick Aside: The Issue of Talent
Just because I'm passionate about singing and love to sing does not mean that I am good enough at it to necessarily become the next Idols sensation.
It may, however, mean that I might get to sing and play guitar every day at a luxurious seaside resort for holiday makers—if this is my passion and purpose!
There are, of course, those unfortunate few who insist on doing something they love to do when they really are not gifted in that department. (Do any faces spring to mind?) This is where it helps to have a group of friends who know, love, and care enough about you to find a position for you singing in the 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. slot in a pub that closes at midnight!
LIFE ATTACK TOOL #2: VISION
If I asked you where exactly you would like to be in a year's time, would you have an answer for me? What about in five years' time? Ten? Have you ever stopped to visualize the future that you would like to have and to be living in clear, crisp detail?
On the other hand, if you have a vision for your future—a clear destination in mind of where your Life Boat is going and why it is going there—you will have a reason to get out of bed in the morning and to make things happen!
Vision Creates Purpose
Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor E Frankl noted during his years in the Second World War death camps that when prisoners believed that their lives had some form of meaning and potential (caring for others and helping others survive, for example), despite the horrors of their circumstances, they were able to survive courageously and with dignity.
On the other hand, those who found no meaning to help them rise above their circumstances lived like animals (only concerned with survival and meeting their need for food, rest, etc.) and were less likely to stay alive.
This is why I believe that it is vital for you to discover your "why" and to get a clear vision for it.
Using Your Imagination
You might be out of practice with using your imagination positively and creatively. As adults, we tend to pack away the crayons and the toys and shut our imaginations down once we reach a certain age.
We become realistic. Life circumstances teach us to have small expectations. Failure drives the nail home on the lid of our dreaming and longing.
In any event, it would look silly for a grown man to run around making noises with a toy airplane, wouldn't it? Or for an adult woman to pretend that she was on a cooking channel while preparing the family dinner.
The truth is, we are all creators! Whether we are aware of it or not, our subconscious thoughts, processes, and memories are alive and active in our day, creating our current realities.
Psychologist Reneau Z. Peurifoy explains that we are constantly evaluating our surroundings with quicker-than-lightning thought processes.
We carry our experiences around in the form of memories and project them onto the next event, often without even realizing it! We use our subconscious imagination to project ourselves into circumstances and to play out the results—often before we even get there.
Much of the time, we use our imaginations for self-defeating purposes.
Ladies, how many times have you dressed for an event with the potential reaction of others playing through your head like a movie reel?
You try on outfit after outfit, because more often than not, you imagine a negative reaction to your style of choice. And this is probably because you have already had the experience of arriving at some occasion feeling underdressed, overweight, too skinny, dowdy, unappealing or "out."
For men, the pending interview for that job or promotion can often result in an inner war of self-defeating criticism and doubt about one's ability or worthiness.
You become so incapacitated by critical thinking that you never even get around to applying for the position.
It is time to harness the "power" of your imagination and actively use it for your own good!
Getting You Started: Imagery Test
Imagine that you have won a holiday to an exotic destination of your choice.
You stand in the departures lounge of the airport, ticket in hand, with butterflies fluttering around excitedly in your stomach.
After kissing envious loved ones left behind, you exit the building and climb up the metal stairs leading into the aeroplane, smiling happily at the neatly turned-out air hostess, who points you to your seat in first class!
Your chair is roomy and comfortable. Within minutes of taking your seat, you are handed a tall glass of bubbling champagne and a newspaper. Calming music plays over the speakers. There are gadgets galore for you to acquaint yourself with. As the hours glide by, the sun begins to slowly sink over the horizon, and the breathtaking display of pinks, oranges, and yellows outside your window fades into a black, star-studded night.
When you wake, your aeroplane is within minutes of landing. The view below you of crystal-clear water and a dazzling white shoreline is spellbinding. The aeroplane angles its way down towards the small runway, and you take in the green of jungle and colorful splashes of gaily painted houses.
Life on the island luxuriously stretches out in front of you. Now imagine it for yourself!
Smell the salty sea air. What does the sand underneath your feet feel like on your long beach walks? What island beat envelops you at night as you wine and dine under the stars? Taste the food. See the colors. Smell the smells.
This is the great thing about your imagination. It can transport you to other worlds, free of charge!
It can alter your mood and rouse your sleepy longings and passions.
Hopefully, after the little exercise above, your imagination is humming. Let's not stop there. Let's use it to paint a grand picture of your future.
Excerpted from HAVE A LIFE ATTACK by Sean Willard Copyright © 2011 by Sean Willard. Excerpted by permission of BALBOA PRESS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsIntroduction: Are You On Purpose?....................1
Your Life Attack Tools....................13
Life Attack Tool #1: Passion....................15
Life Attack Tool #2: Vision....................22
Life Attack Tool #3: Goals....................30
Life Attack Tool #4: Action!....................35
Life Attack Tool #5: Thought Life....................38
Life Attack Tool #6: Life Coach....................49
Lessons learned along the way....................51
The Three Cs....................74
Enjoying the Journey....................95
Does a spoonful of laughter make your medicine bill go down?....................97
The Shortest Distance....................104
Happy Humour Hour....................107
Conclusion: Over to You....................115
Starting a Mentor Movement....................117