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The Slacker's Guide To Success -- Step One: Strengths & Challenges

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This is the second installment of The Slacker's Guide To Success, based on my work with struggling teens and young adults. The introduction can be found here.

Step One: Investigation Of Strengths & Challenges

We can change our lives for the better right now!
It starts with looking at the strengths and challenges in our daily life. Through these challenges, we can understand the patterns that we keep repeating and the self-limiting tapes running in our sub-conscious. Our strengths can inspire us to rise over these repeating patterns and tapes, leading us to a richer life. I invite you to try these exercises:

Exercise One: Challenges

A) Challenges -- Write down three things that are challenges in your daily life.
B) Obstacles -- Think about what stops you from getting beyond each of these challenges.
C) Success -- Choose something that would show you that you've been successful in rising above that challenge before.

(You can download a version of these questions here)

Exercise Two: Strengths

A) Talent -- Write down something that you are good at. It may be what you know you do well or something that comes easily to you but dismiss because "anyone can do that". Both are strengths.

B) Inspiration -- Think of a person, past or present, who you find inspiring? When you find yourself in a frustrating situation, ask yourself: "What would they do?"

C) Power Place -- Imagine a situation that makes you feel powerful. It could be something you've seen or heard about. It could be something you hope will one day happen. Try to make it feel real through your strongest senses. Imagine what it would feel like to be experiencing that right now.

A great film director was once asked what the most important quality for a leader was. He responded that it was the ability to make an immediate decision. It didn't matter if it was right or wrong or if it could be corrected, but once the crew sensed that decisiveness, they could relax into their jobs, knowing there was direction. The same is true of our sub-conscious -- it's that crew waiting to be led and our will becomes the director.

Here are some things you can do starting today with these exercises:

Daily Practice:

1) Choose the challenge that you wish to work on first. Reflect on the obstacle that is in your way. Choose three things you can do to "soften" the obstacle. Decide to work on one aspect of this a day until you begin to see your indicator for success emerging. Then move on to the next challenge. It sometimes help to have an outside person work on this with you. A mentor can often be very helpful.

2) Each night just before falling asleep, imagine your power place. Live it as if it was happening to you right now. Take in every feeling of it. Decide to let yourself be open to things that happen during your day which bring you closer to making your power place a reality.

3) When you wake up, take a moment to reflect on one quality that your inspirational person has. It could be one you have used before or a new one. Decide to implement that quality today.

4) Keep a journal.

What will these exercises do for you? They will begin a solid direction. Will your answers change? Probably. Are they the perfect choices? Time will tell but they are a great start.

The longest journey begins with a single step -- Lao-tzu