The Space to Find You

by Mark Sincevich - Date: 2007-01-30 - Word Count: 789 Share This!

What does it take to get you motivated to change your life for the better? What gives you a lot of passion? Certainly a lot of people paused and thought really hard about what they wanted to do with their lives after 9/11. Workplace Visions Magazine reported "many people were once again thinking of the dreams they had before they got involved in their jobs, whether it was to live in places where the pace of life is slower, or to be involved in work that has greater social utility." However, 9/11 was nearly three years ago and most Americans have short memories. We have forgotten that a sudden illness or serious injury can derail one's current plans or occupation. The someday you plan to start your life's passion may never arrive. I was reminded of this as I took photographs at the annual meeting of the ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Association last week.

ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease is a neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells and pathways in the brain and spinal cord. In the later stages of the disease, patients become totally paralyzed, but their minds remain sharp and intact. As I got to know the association members and took their photographs, I had to fight back tears as I realized that many of these people wouldn't be around next year. ALS affects nearly 30,000 people in the United States with a life expectancy of between two to five years. Anyone at any age can contract the disease and there is no known cure. Later, the association had a candlelight vigil at the Jefferson Memorial. I photographed husbands and wives of former ALS patients who were speaking, and then I turned around and photographed the membership, each one holding a candle of hope.

What gives you hope and makes you more excited about the work that you do? Perhaps what you need is the space to find out. Giving employees this extra space or time is something that Procter and Gamble was able to do recently. After reporting record profits last month, Procter and Gamble rewarded their 90,000 plus employees with an extra two days of vacation or the cash equivalent. Sure this will cost the company many millions of dollars, but cost is the wrong word here. It really is an investment in their employees despite the fact that it may dilute the earnings per share of their stock.

Can you imagine if each employee took their two extra days and spent the time on personal development? What if they took the time to step away from their responsibilities and thought about what they wanted to do? Unfortunately, they will never find out if they turn on the television. According to a recent study, the average American watches seven hours of television per day! And with $19.5 Billion in unused vacation time annually, many of these people probably swap their extra time off for the cash equivalent only to finance the purchase of a bigger television.

Amazing things could happen if this time was spent on personal development instead. By focusing on your own development, it will lead to increased awareness and increased performance. The absolute best way to start developing yourself is through the use of a journal. The very act of writing something down in a journal makes it more real. It deepens the connection that you feel to the thought, action or feeling. A journal is a great way to practice what you are going to say during a job interview, when you pitch a new idea to your boss, or when you write a poem to your spouse. Writing down your thoughts allows you to become more focused on exactly what you want to accomplish thus increasing performance.

A journal is also the best place to record your dreams. By taking the time to dream, you create hopefulness in your life that your circumstances can and will be better than they are now. If you are thinking of transferring departments in your organization to pursue more exciting work, write about it in your journal first. If you want to change the relationship you have with your children, write about the best-case scenario in your journal, and then match your actions to the 'ideal' you wrote about. Procter and Gamble had the right idea, but they got it a little backwards. The extra vacation time should have been mandatory with a personal journal thrown in. This would have enabled employees to become more aware about their own lives by dialoging with themselves. Journaling will greatly increase the odds that your plan for increasing your life's passion will arrive before a life-threatening illness or injury. What are you waiting for? Go out and purchase a personal journal now!

Related Tags: writing, leadership, dream, discover, journal, journaling, personal leadership, lifes passion

Mark Sincevich works with individuals and organizations to increase their communication power so that they gain a fresh perspective, generate new ideas, sharpen the focus and create more business. He uses a unique photography angle in his creative keynotes, meeting facilitation and powerful presentation skills programs. Mark is the Founder and Chief Perspective Officer of Staash Press, a member of the National Speakers Association and the Executive Director of the Digital Photography Institute. In between assignments, Mark can be found spending time with his family or writing in cafés with character. He can be contacted at 301-654-3010 or

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