Denver Bar Association
July 2009
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You Can Create a New Future For Yourself

by Professor Heidi Boerstler

 

More and more, the busy professionals I work with in the classroom right now are seeking a new future for themselves. They’ve either lost their job in the economic downturn or worse — they’ve lost their passion.

That’s where I come in. I teach classes on transformational leadership, health law, and ethics to busy executives, lawyers and health professionals at the University of Colorado in Denver.

Successfully creating a new future for yourself, as challenging as it may sound, is a matter of awakening your potential. Here are some of the suggestions I share with all of my students.

No. 1 — Embrace the Idea that Life Really is What You Make It

Your future is an open field of opportunity. Your work now is to awaken what you already possess. It is never too late to move in a new direction.

You can passively let your future happen, and risk getting stuck in a cycle that is taking you nowhere; or you can act to make it happen.

Ask yourself these questions: Who am I? Do I like who I am? What am I here for? Does my life have any purpose beyond myself? What were the major events that shaped my life? What else would I like to accomplish in life? How do I help?

Remember, how we perceive the world depends on how we understand it. Our ideas shape our experience of reality. We generally find what we expect in life. Those who expect good people, events and things usually find them. Good or bad, the world ends up being like you think it is. Take responsibility for your being.

No. 2 — Use These Tools to Get Back on Track

To move forward on your path, use the following tools to maintain your intention and do things that move yourself in the right direction. Consider experimenting with some of these:

• Develop a supportive environment. Make new friends. Hire a personal life coach or therapist. Face down your critics. Negotiate your goals with your loved ones. Be willing to take some personal and professional risks. Redesign your life space — good spaces build energy; bad spaces consume energy.

• Examine your history. Find personal heroes in your life, either in your ancestry or people who have influenced you along the way. Ask yourself: Who were my childhood heroes? What were my passions early in life? What things have come naturally? What things have been difficult? What in my life has made me feel most alive?

• Imagine yourself in different ways. Make all of them good, all of them happy. Time travel each new you six months, a year, and five years hence. What are you doing? How does it feel? Who are you with? What differences, compared to your old life, do you find over time? Try something new, just for fun. Research other careers and activities that interest you. Volunteer. We grow through serving others.

• Choose to be a living spirit of positive energy. Leave every situation better than you found it. View everything in your life as perfect preparation for who you are now. Do not live in bondage to your past. Practice total acceptance and total forgiveness of what happened before. Put a positive spin on what you usually put a negative spin.

• Ask yourself how you can bridge any gap between what you believe and how you live. When do you let who you are leave you? Make a life plan with goals that match your career. Ask yourself: where am I spending my time and energy? Is it serving me well? What do I need to set aside?

• Spend quiet time alone each day to help refine your awareness. Listen within.

No. 3 — Don’t Give Up

Do not give in to discouragement and self-pity. What is positive in you is so much greater than what is negative. Trust in the abundance of the universe. Trust that events, people and things will appear.

Change is always a challenge. Too often, we do not really want to change. Rather, we just want the pain to go away, and somehow allow us to remain the same with our self-image intact.

It’s hard to successfully bring full attention to actually living. This is because we get too caught up in comparing, resenting, wanting and being afraid. We hold onto anxiety and doubt.

However, change brings things of the heart. Change opens up new opportunities for renewed passion, meaning and fulfillment. Most successful people have had many failures. The difference is they were willing to begin again in a new way.

When we change our thinking, we change our future. With sincere intention and conscious awareness you can develop all that you are. It is the difference between being nominally alive and being abundantly alive. That’s what we’re here for.


Professor Boerstler wishes to thank Dr. Leland Kaiser of Kaiser and Associates for teaching her these principles and so many others. Contact her at heidi.boerstler@ucdenver.edu.


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