Inspired Family Lives Their Dream – Integrating Life and Work

Beerhorst Family Wonder Wagon - Grand Rapids Artprize

Beerhorst Family Wonder Wagon - ArtPrize

My city, Grand Rapids, Michigan, is abuzz with all the art that is on display in the downtown area as part of the world’s largest ArtPrize, which runs from September 23 – October 10, 2009.

On Sunday, I took my family downtown to see some of the art.  We couldn’t see it all, as there are over 1,000 art entries:  sculptures, paintings, stabiles, mobiles, etc.

Some are in buildings and some are on buildings.  Some are outside in parks, promenades and sidewalks.  Some are in the river and on bridges.  Some are fixed or static.  Others move or involve audio, video or performance arts.

Of all the great pieces of art, and artists, we were especially impressed by the entry called Beerhorst Family Wonder Wagon, created by the Rick Beerhorst Family and their friends.

The Wonder Wagon isn’t just art to look at, it is art to feel, hear, and experience through several different stations they’ve set up like a gypsy encampment.  During ArtPrize, the family is at the Wonder Wagon encampment every day, creating the hands-on experience for the visitors.

The Beerhorsts are a family of eight.  They live very simply near downtown Grand Rapids on an urban homestead, where they grow much of their own food (and even raise chickens).  They have no car or tv.  Their six children, ages 5-17, don’t attend school, but gain a rich education in the context of their family environment and experience.

They all work together creating various forms of art, which they sell to sustain themselves, in their studio located in the carriage house behind their home.

What impressed me about their ArtPrize entry is that it involved the entire family.  And this, really, is how they live their lives.  Everyone is involved.  Everyone creates.  Everyone produces.  Everyone contributes.

This is the lifestyle the family has aspired to live, and they seem to do it very well.  They have successfully integrated their life and work.

The idea of “integrating life and work” means different things to different people.  But it begins with a desire, and then a plan, to design the life you want to live.

Do you have dreams of changing your life, achieving greater work-life balance, or creating more freedom and fulfillment in your life and work?  If so, what steps are you taking to create that life you want?

Or if you’re not taking any steps to create your dream life, what’s keeping you for getting started?  Please share your thoughts and comments here, or contact me directly.  I’d be glad to help.

What I Want From Life

In my last post, I shared my Monday Motivator for today and I encouraged you to ask yourself the question, “What Do I Want From Life?”  I promised that in this post, I’d share my answer.  Here goes…

What I want from life:  I want to…

  • Live to my full potential (spiritually, emotionally, financially, career, etc.), and help my wife and children to do the same.
  • Achieve my dreams, fulfill my life’s purpose, and help my wife and children do the same.
  • Use my skills, abilities, passions and influence to make a real difference in the lives of others in my community and world.
  • Have the freedom (time and money) to arrange my work around the life I want and believe would honor God.
  • Live generously by blessing and encouraging others.
  • Annually increase my giving to, and participation in, causes that are important to me and my family.

I originally wrote this out over a year ago, after being encouraged to do so by a mentor.  It took some time, because I did a lot of refining and rewording.  I’m glad I went through this process, because it helped me sort through my dreams and goals and helped me to hone in on what, to me, was most important.

You might have noticed that my family was mentioned several times in this list.  That’s because I want to bring them along with me on this journey.  I’ve met and heard about too many people who “win” at work, but not at home.  They achieve the applause of the world, but their family barely knows them.

I’m not perfect, but I do have a growing desire to live a balanced life and to achieve success in all of my life areas, not just in my career.  What about you?

Pillar #10 – Review and Track Your Progress

Welcome back to Life Compass, where I’m sharing my Ten Pillars of Lifestyle Design.  Congratulations on making it to the end!  Here’s what we’ve covered so far in the first nine Pillars:

In this post, we’ll cover the final Pillar, Pillar #10 – Review and Track Your Progress.

A wise person once said, “What is expected must be inspected.”  The point here is that we need to set aside a regular time to inspect or check the progress of our targets or goals.

This is another area where many people fall short in achieving success.  They set out with the best of intentions when they make their goal, but if they don’t visualize their success on a regular basis (Pillar #9) and set aside a time to review and track their progress, they lose sight of the goal and it gets forgotten.

I recommend you set aside at least an hour every week to review and track your progress.  Maybe you choose a time at the beginning of the week or maybe toward the end.

Go over your Master Dream List and add any new ones that come to mind.  Then review your life purpose, values, and Plan of Action.  Are you on track with the goals and deadlines you set?  Have you set aside enough time in your week to accomplish the goals that have the highest priority?  Do you need to adjust your deadlines, or set aside extra time in order to complete them?  Have you achieved any goals that you can celebrate this week?

If you stick with it, the weekly review will become one of your best allies in achieving your dream life, because you’ll have a set time to review your progress, make adjustments, and celebrate successes!

That’s Pillar #10 – Review and Track Your Progress.  I hope these 10 Pillars of Lifestyle Design have been a help to you in designing the life of your dreams.  Now the achievement of those dreams is up to you!

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me!

Pillar #9 – Visualize Your Success

Welcome back to Life Compass, where I’m sharing my Ten Pillars of Lifestyle Design.  Congratulations on making it this far!  Here’s what we’ve covered in the first eight Pillars:

In this post, we’ll cover Pillar #9 – Visualize Your Success.

You already possess one of the most powerful tools that will help you succeed in achieving your dreams and goals.  Master it, and nothing will stand in your way.  Ignore its power, or use it wrongly as many people do, and it will surely keep you from achieving success.  What am I talking about?  Your mind!

One of the biggest reasons people achieve success is that they regularly visualize their success.  In other words, they make time every day to create a picture, or a movie, in their mind’s eye of the things they want to bring into reality – whatever it is they want to do, have, or achieve.

Professional athletes and highly successful people use this technique regularly.  One of the most famous examples is Jim Thorpe, known as one of the greatest athletes of all time.  He was a Native American, All-American, Olympic champion, star NFL running back and Major League Baseball player.

On his way to the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Thorpe and his fellow Olympians sailed aboard the ocean liner Finland. As others trained on a cork track laid on a deck, Thorpe sat nearby in silence. A sportswriter named Francis Albertani asked him, “What are you doing, Jim? Thinking of your Uncle Sitting Bull?”  “No,” Thorpe said, “I’m practicing the broad jump. I’ve just jumped 23 feet eight inches. I think that can win it.”

Thorpe, who preferred visualization to actual workouts, did in fact win the broad jump event in the Olympic decathlon!  He also won three more of the 10 decathlon events en route to the gold medal. He also won four of five pentathlon events to earn a second gold.

How does visualization work?  When you visualize an outcome you want over and over again, you build “cells of recognition” in your memory bank.  This helps you become consciously and acutely aware of everything that can help you achieve the visualized outcome that you desire.

When you continuously focus on an idea or image in your mind, you program every cell in your body and mind to work toward achieving that idea or image.  Once you impress it into the subconscious part of you, it eventually becomes ‘fixed’ and you automatically attract and move towards that which you desire.

The reason athletes do this is because they want to condition their mind in such a way that the body automatically behaves the way they want it to without effort.  They become “unconsciously competent”.

The same is true for you!  If you visualize the success you want over and over again, your body will eventually automatically do whatever it must to make the image a physical reality.

Take the time to review the Goals you’ve set in your Plan of Action.  Write out a vivid, detailed description, or draw a picture, for each one.  Then review that description or picture in your mind at least three times a day.  I’d suggest morning, noon, and bedtime.

For example, if one of your Goals is to have a better relationship with your spouse and children at home, visualize yourself coming home at the end of the work day, and greeting each member of your family with love.  Visualize sitting around the dinner table having a great conversation about each person’s day.  Whatever it is that you want to see happen, see it happen first in your mind.  Make a picture, or movie, in your mind’s eye and review it over and over.  Eventually, it’ll become a reality.

That’s it for Pillar #9 – Visualize Your Success.  Next time we’ll cover Pillar #10 – Review and Track your Progress.

Life Change For the Right Reasons

If you’re new to Life Compass Blog, on Sundays I write on Spirituality, Faith and Ethics.  Click here to read why.

Are there right reasons…and wrong reasons…to engage in a Life Change process? I think so. I’ve encountered more than a few people who want more money for the sake of having more money. And want more free time just so they can travel more and be entertained more.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting more money, wanting to travel, or enjoying entertainment. But if those things are the focus of our efforts, if they’re the reason we want to re-organize our lives, I believe we’ll be disappointed pretty quickly.

Why? Because more stuff is never enough. And more things can’t bring happiness.

Solomon, one of the kings of ancient Israel, was known as the wisest man of his day…perhaps of all time.

He had it all….hundreds of women (I’d question his wisdom a bit, on this point), dozens of palaces, the finest clothes, food and toys a guy could ever want.

Later in his life, he wrote a book called Ecclesiastes, which contains a lot of wisdom he learned from all his life’s experiences – both good and bad.

In it, he tells us that he “denied himself no good thing”. He chased after, and achieved, every single thing he wanted.

But in the end, it was all “meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 2:11). None of his belongings could end his longing for more. I think it was because he had the wrong motivation.

When it was all said and done, he realized that God is the source of true happiness and joy, and that he needed to recognize and thank God as the giver all the good things we could ever want (Ecclesiastes 2:24-16).

So, my question for you today is this: What’s your motivation for living, and for wanting to achieve your dreams? Is it just to get more stuff, or is there a higher purpose?

Pillar #8 – Identify People or Tools that Can Help

Welcome back to Life Compass, where I’m sharing my Ten Pillars of Lifestyle Design.  Congratulations on making it this far!  Here’s what we’ve covered in the first seven Pillars:

In this post, we’ll cover Pillar #8 – Identify People or Tools that Can Help.

Take a good look at your Plan of Action.  Then make a list of all the people who might be able to help you achieve it.  It doesn’t matter whether you know them or not.  If there’s anyone at all whom you think can be of help to you, write their name down. If you don’t know them personally, then also write down who it is that you know who might know them, or who might help you get access to them.

Next, make a list of all the things you need to know or do in order to achieve your plan.  For example, if your life’s dream is to be a published author, and you currently don’t know anything about how to write or market a book, then perhaps you need to attend a writer’s workshop or retreat.  Or maybe you need to sign up for an agent.  Whatever it is that you think you may need to know or do, write it down.

Lastly, make a list of all the tools you might need.  Maybe you need a new computer in order to write your book.  Maybe you need to get your home or office organized so you’ve got a good space to do your writing.

Once you’ve made your lists, start working on them.  Prioritize them in the order you think is important.  Then get going!  Start contacting all the people who can help, make a plan to help you learn what you need to learn, and figure out how to get the tools you need to get started.  You’ll be amazed at how quickly things start to move when you identify the people or tools that can help!

That’s Lifestyle Design Pillar #8 – Identify People or Tools that Can Help.  Next, we’ll cover Pillar #9 – Visualize Your Success.