“There is a point in every race when a rider encounters his real opponent and understands that it’s himself.” –Lance Armstrong
Are you living out a life with passion, chosen by wisdom, defined from your deepest values and beliefs?
Is your life a clear reflection of your integrity, all you stand for, and the difference you want to make in the world?
Do you move forward in life inspired by a powerful identity you have chosen and live out?
When I think of living awake and full of life, I think of a level of awareness and a personal lifestyle that I have chosen – that defines me for the man I am and want to be. In other words, I am living out an intentional life and I strive to stay on a path that moves me closer to my real identity and what matters most to me.
And so I can’t help but wonder what personal ingredients are necessary to make this happen. In other words, to live a full and vibrant life, decided on from our own heart and person, what gets in the way and what helps us stay on course?
This becomes practical when we think of the necessary momentum and habits of living that feed a successful approach to life – and how many distractions and challenges we face keeping energy and direction moving forward.
I believe the answer to living a more fulfilled, successful life, in part, comes from defining our center or what I call our “core.” And I believe this is potentially a lifelong journey.
Imagine for a moment that you could describe, in detail, all the unique characteristics that represent who you are, your true essence – what you really stand for in life. This would include your key values and the integrity you live by, what impact you hope to have on others, what love and connection mean to you and what meaning life has that keeps you going!
I call this your core or center. Each of us has one. Invisible yet real. Our “center” directs our behavior, how we feel about events and people and what we want out of life. It provides a roadmap and shapes the choices we make on this journey we call life.
Living out of our core means our actions, thoughts and feeling mirror our center. In other words, who we are deep inside becomes manifest in the choices we make, in how we live our life.
Interestingly, we all do this to a greater or lesser extent. Think of a time when you made choices that went against your true beliefs. In some real sense, you walked away from your core. This may have surprised you at the time and may even have caused anxiety.
Yet we can walk away from our central beliefs from time to time. And for some, there can even be a lifestyle of compromise, where a man’s true center gets buried in choices that do not reflect who he really is.
This happens in addiction to drugs, sex or alcohol. Men with addictions have truly moved away from their key beliefs and values in service of the addictive behavior. They have walked away from their core!
The process of recovery, in fact, is moving back toward a man’s center, what he really believes, what he really stands for. This is becoming whole again, or perhaps for the first time.
Finding Ourselves – Our True Identity
For men, life is a quest to reach their true potential, to discover their identity and all they can be! And reaching for life with passion, love and conviction. To do this, we must identify and honor our core.
For some men, this means identifying who they are deep in their center. In other words, labeling those values and beliefs that best represent their character and person!
For others, it means giving up behaviors and patterns that have kept them walking away from their core, not embracing their strengths and true beliefs.
Once we truly establish who we are, what we stand for, and the real person we want to honor, we have moved toward wholeness, toward our true center and the meaning we give life.
Our lives then become integrated – all we do and think moves us with momentum toward our best self, toward a greater definition of ourselves. And our lives begin to mirror what we stand for inside!
So our core becomes a metaphor for thinking about life, the choices we make, the decisions that best define us. It becomes a target. Our core represents our best self. We can add to our core, grow it and allow it to represent a path toward our true potential to make a difference in the world.
As a target, it becomes what we aim or reach for. It’s also a repository to be filled with treasure. It is to be embraced and nurtured and understood. It is to be pondered and revered. It contains what is most precious to me – everything I stand for. And at times, what I wish I stood for.
Remember, we can walk away from who we are and the best self we want to develop and sustain! This is humbling. The power of addiction attests to this. Most men who struggle with addiction freely admit they have compromised their true self – instead living a life imprisoned by compulsion!
Here’s where it really gets interesting. Spiritual ideas and concepts can truly inform us about our core, what integrity and love are really about, what kind of man we hope to be. Spiritual ideas lift us beyond ourselves and into a vibrant pool of exciting realities I can choose to integrate into the meaning I feel life has for me.
A great example of this is God as He is represented in Biblical thought – or for some of us, the inspired Scriptures. One definition of God is “love” but He is also the fount and source of wisdom, righteous living and integrity. Defining our core around truths that emanate from God’s mind gives direction and a way to think about constructing a meaningful life.
Who are you? How would you define your identity? Can you identify your core beliefs, values and what truly defines you as a man?
Is your “core” reflected and mirrored in all you say and do?
Does your path represent a clear vision that comes from your center?
I truly belief that life has meaning to the extent we define and live out our core and that this center becomes a rich repository of the highest values and aspirations we choose to entrust it with – that ultimately represents our true potential for success, fulfillment and our way of making a difference in the lives of others!
So, one final question,
“Who are you?”