It is the New Year again and this year I thought I would do something special and give all the followers of ME and readers of the blog a gift.
This is a tool I have been quietly using for years. Not typically on New Years, but rather on my birthday. My birthday is more like most people’s New Years to me. It is the time that I stop and contemplate the year and who I want to be, how I want to grow and where I am headed.
The tool I am going to teach you has been one of the most important parts of that yearly process for me.
At Metabolic Effect we have a very popular 12 week change program. It has helped thousands of people begin the mindset shift required to make real and lasting change in any area, especially in the area of body change. Each week you get a new lesson that comes along with a video, 7 emails and a support protocol.
The tool I am going to share with you in this blog is the first lesson in that education. And it is my favorite lesson.
This tool teaches you how to come up with one powerful word that can help you change anything.
Personally I have one word I keep with me always as my life word. It rarely changes and reflects the legacy I want to leave and my purpose for being here. I chose this word almost a decade ago.
And yearly I choose another word. A theme word for the year. It guides me in the changes I would like to affect and the areas I want to grow.
I am going to teach you how I do this. I hope it is as powerful for you as it has been for me.
Here it is:
The Inspiration Totem
Do you know the difference between motivation and inspiration? Motivation is borrowed, inspiration is not. Let me explain.
The definition of motivate is: “to provide someone with a motive for doing something”
The definition of inspire is: “to fill someone with the urge or ability to do something”
Can you see the difference? Motivation requires giving someone a reason to act. The definition seems to suggest the person being motivated has to be convinced to act, but does not do it of their own accord.
Inspiration implies the person has taken on the desire and internalized it. They are given both the urge and ability to act. It comes from within.
I see this like that old saying “give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime”. Motivation is giving a man a fish. Inspiration is teaching a man to fish.
Purpose Trumps Motivation
What you want is inspiration NOT motivation. In fact, we would argue that if you are in constant need of motivation, it is not motivation you need but inspiration. Inspiration springs out of meaning and purpose.
So, ask yourself. How can you use your purpose to fill you with inspiration? And how can you remind yourself of your purpose and draw on inspiration whenever you need it?
What is a Totem?
One great way is something I call the “Inspiration Totem”.
Have you ever seen the movie Inception? This movie was about a group of skilled thieves who did not steal money, but rather secrets. The way they would steal these secrets is by entering peoples minds through dreaming.
One major issue was the dream thieves would get so deep into the dream that they were no longer able to tell the dream state from reality. To help them decipher whether they were dreaming or not they used what they called a “totem”. In the movie the main character used a spinning top. In the dream state the top would never stop spinning, but in the real world it would spin for awhile and then topple over.
This concept is a perfect example of how sometimes we get so caught up in life we forget our true purpose and lose sight of why we are doing something in the first place.
We need a reminder of what our purpose is and we need it in those stressful moments when we lose focus and end up making bad decisions. The Inspiration Totem is a powerful tool that helps us uncover our “power words”, words that when said, quickly remind us of our purpose and fill us with inspiration.
To find your inspiration totem click on the video link below, watch the video and read how to do the exercise below. You can also download the document provided that gives you the directions. Then begin using your totem immediately. Use it when you are stressed, use it when you are scared, use it when you lack motivation and use it to charge you up at anytime.
How To Find Your Inspiration Totem
This is a tool to keep your purpose closely anchored so you can call on it in times of low motivation and stress. It takes a little bit of exploration to get in touch with your “big why”. Here are a couple ways to tap into this:
1) Write down 3-5 of your greatest heroes. These could be people from history, real people from your life or even fictional characters from a book or movie. Some people even like to consider the character traits of their favorite animals.
2) For each of these 3-5 “heroes” write down the things about them that are most inspiring. For instance, you might write “brave, kind, loving, strong, resilient, powerful, intelligent, etc”
3) Look over this list and pick out the three words that most “resonate” with you.
4) Now, imagine you are a fly on the wall of your funeral listening to your eulogy. What would you want people to say about you? What are the words you would want people to use to describe you? Write these words down. Choose the three or so that are most powerful for you. Add these words to the list of three words from above. Keep in mind some of the words may be the same.
5) Now imagine you are on your death bed. You know you are going to die. From this place of looking back on your life think about what your legacy has been. Write down what you would want or would hope your legacy might be. You might write, “On my death bed I want to look back and know that I inspired people to follow their dreams, that I was a teacher and a steadfast friend.” From this take out some of the most emotional words, like “inspire”, “teach” and “friend”. Add these words to your list.
6) Now, go through the list of words that you have and contemplate them. You may want to choose the ONE that has the most “charge” for you. Or you may want to consider a new word that encapsulates the essence of these words. Settle on one word. This one word should be a word that when you say it, gives you “goose bumps”.
It should be a word that when you even think about it, it immediately gets you in touch with your higher self and greatest purpose. If you find this word, this is your TOTEM. It is the word you can pull out whenever you need it. You can now use this word to discover other totems………perhaps a song that embodies the meaning of this word. The image of a person who represents this word. A visualization that encapsulates this word.
**If you are unable to find the emotional charge described above, then you have not yet found your word and will need to explore further. Repeat the process above as many times as necessary until you find your word**
Here Is My Example:
- My Heroes: Gandhi, Bruce Lee, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, The American GIs of WWII, My father, My mother, Mohammed Ali
- What they represent to me: Fearless, brave, strong, will, passion, courageous, iron will, resilience, purpose, belief, truth, inspire
- The most powerful words to me in this list are: inspire, brave, strong
- What I want people to say about me: He was a teacher. He was passionate. He was a pioneer. A risk taker. He inspired passion.
- Now I have these words: inspire, brave, strong, pioneer, teacher, inspire. (I see inspire show up twice and a theme of someone who lifts others up and helps teach motivate and inspire).
- On my deathbed, I want my legacy to be that I helped people see new possibilities. I helped light the fire of their own purpose and passion. I help people discover their dreams and have the courage and strength to make the leap.
- Now I am thinking about themes in my head and the idea of lighting a fire. I think about inspiring and lifting up and sparking people with strength and passion. The words IGNITE and INSPIRE come to mind and they both charge me up. IGNITE speaks to me more. It represents me lighting the spark in me and in others and is a force of strength.
- My word is IGNITE. I think about that word and say it to myself and I feel immediately energized and motivated. I visualize times in my past that to me represent this IGNITION. Me running a football for a touchdown in high school. The WWII vets rushing on to the beaches of Normandy driven by a cause and purpose that gave them immense courage. I think about the charge of speaking at one of my events with close to 1,000 people in the room!!
The word IGNITE stays with me and acts as my totem. It is in my back pocket whenever I feel scared, alone, powerless, lost or unmotivated.