I want to share a story with all of you today, which is something I have rarely discussed with anyone, because there was a time in my life when I almost gave up! I am not sure if the story I am about to share is going to seem critical, but the message and the underlying premise should ring loud and clear. Many of you might be aware of my original email subscription, Jared Yellin Revisited, which began in November of 2007 and lasted until the day Brandentity was launched. The purpose of these inspirational messages was to communicate my feelings on a variety of topics concerning the establishment of your identity. After four months of successfully growing the distribution list and receiving unbelievable feedback, I was in the process of composing my Valentine’s Day email. Upon completion of this message, where I felt an enormous amount of pride in myself for sharing my thoughts on LOVE, my computer froze and the work was lost. For about forty-five minutes, I just stared at a blank computer screen with feelings of resentment, aggravation, and gloom surfacing. I felt completely empty as I realized this was going to be an important decision in my life—to write or not to write—that was the question?
Many of you might think that I am dramatizing this situation, but I encourage you to think about a time in your life when everything seemed to be coasting, you were gaining momentum, achieving success in whatever it is you were doing, and simply feeling wonderful about life. This might have been when you were in relationship, pursuing a career as an entrepreneur, or participating in an activity that was a passion for you. As you are picturing yourself taking part in any of these situations, I want you to try and feel the incredible energy that began to surface as a result of your excitement and enthusiasm. As you begin feeling the emotions of this event, I want you to think about how you would feel if everything all of sudden became frozen, you lost the feeling, and the only way to get it back was to start from scratch. My passion at that time, since I was on Wall Street and living an identity-less life, was spreading a message of hope because it was therapeutic for me to discuss topics that were prevalent in my world. And then the computer froze and a message about LOVE was lost in cyberspace.
The question I would like all of you to consider answering is when did this happen in your life? I am sure at some point in the past you were passionate about something, until a barrier stood between you and the passion, resulting in an abbreviated journey. But as you stood looking at this barrier, which could be a lack of identity, an injury, divorce, and a variety of other challenges, you had the opportunity to ask yourself—to continue or not to continue—that was your question? Only you know how you answered, only you know if you are still pursuing whatever it is that was halted, and only you know if there is an empty feeling inside because you gave up on something you loved dearly. I am not here to put you through a guilt trip, while putting myself on a pedestal, because I obviously did not allow myself to give up, but I am here to tell you that one of the reasons you might be struggling when it comes to establishing your identity is that this scenario has taken place on a number of occasions in your life.
Since this might be the case, I am going to provide you with the Six Steps To Continue, which enabled me to look past the barrier of a frozen computer, to the endless opportunities which were on the horizon:
1.) Make a list of how not continuing has or will change the way you live your life.
In order to begin this process, you will need to forecast what you believe your life will look like if you decide not to continue. For example, let’s pretend that you were beginning a diet and exercise program, and as you started to gain momentum, you broke your foot which prevented you from the physical aspect of this lifestyle change. If you allow this injury to keep you sidelined for longer than you need to heal, then there is a possibility that you will allow yourself to gain weight, raise a family that is unhealthy, have additional hours of sleep, have a shortened lifespan, etc.
2.) Write either a P for positive or an N for negative besides each of these items.
Each of the consequences that you find will lead to a positive or negative interpretation. Everything happens for a reason and the barrier you are facing on your journey may have developed for your own good. Only you will be able to determine if the benefits of not continuing will outweigh the advantages of enduring.
3.) For the items that received a P, determine what actions will need to be taken in order to continue.
This is your opportunity to create a strategy to succeed with this continuation process. In the example from above, you could hire a personal trainer who is going to create a program for you to follow once provided with the approval from your doctor. You could prevent yourself from binging on processed foods and instead focus on consuming healthy alternatives. You could purchase a clothing item that is too small for you, but your ideal size, in order to inspire yourself to fit into the outfit. You could commit to a gym membership for your entire family so that this can become part of the culture at your home.
4.) Consider the potential barriers that could surface
By addressing the challenges that you could face, before they even happen, you will be prepared to navigate past these circumstances and achieve your desired goal. I believe that preparation is one of the fundamental elements of success, and by addressing the barriers prior to them surfacing, you will be fully equipped and ready to take on the challenge.
5.) Imagine what you life will feel like once you make the commitment to continue
This relates to Starting With the End in Mind because once you are able to envision the emotions associated with overcoming the obstacle and continuing the journey, you will do everything in your power to make this a reality because victory is far too sweet to neglect.
This is plain and simple because once you follow the prior five steps, the last thing you must do is TAKE ACTION on all of your findings, believe in yourself, and never allow a barrier to prevent you from accomplishing whatever it is that you desire in your life.
I think it is important to commend all of you because as you can see from the list above, the first step to reclaiming your identity is to begin realizing when it was lost. This does not necessarily mean you are all of a sudden going to find the root of your pain, but you might be able to discover something that has contributed to your feelings of loss. Once you determine what this is in your world, and follow the steps from above, the sixth and final step is simply to take action, and reclaim whatever it is that was left behind. As we progress on our journey to BRANDENTITY, there will be countless times when you are faced with similar challenges, and once again, you will be forced to ask yourself—to continue or not to continue—that is your question? But this time around, I am confident that continuing will be the only strategy you consider…
What does this mean to you? Please leave a comment.
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