UNCOVERING YOUR STRIVING STRATEGIES
I'm excited about this month's theme -- From Surviving to Striving to Thriving. the stimulus for this series: The Last Word on Power by Tracy Goss.
Each Sunday this month, we will build on the previous weeks as we move a step at a time toward thriving. And while I'm not going to review each week - because there is just too much to cover -- I do want to remind us what our definition of thriving is - and expand on it a bit from last week.
First, a quote by John Randolph Price from The Jesus Code: "God expresses Itself as me, and I eternally live in God, with God, as the Spirit of God. The fullness of the Godhead dwells in me and expresses through me as every good and perfect thing. I am a channel for positive change in this world. I recognize my value as an individual being living on earth at this time. As the very worthiness of God, I am part of the Grand plan of continuing creation, and my contribution to this world is vitally important in the divine scheme of things. Poised, powerful, and peaceful, I do my part with love and joy. I am guiltless, open and receptive to right action and devoted to my purpose in life. Everything I do is meaningful and worthwhile. I am free because I know who I Am."a
And, thriving is making the IMPOSSIBLE happen, not through force as the word "making" implies, but by "being" the impossible. It is time we stop talking about what Jesus did and do what he did! And if you're not sure what it means to "be" the impossible, just wait a week or two and you will.
From a New Thought perspective, thriving is unleashing our DIVINE POTENTIAL. Here's how Holmes describes Divine Potential, which I think defines thriving:
"That Spark of the Divine Flame of Life within us through which we may develop into a perfected human being - the Christ, or the illumined one. The God-in-us that is mighty to do for us all that we can conceive ourselves to be. Through this infinite Potentiality for Perfection in us, all things are possible."b
That last line describes thriving beautifully! "Through this infinite Potentiality for Perfection in us, all things are possible."
Today's talk is entitled "Uncovering Your Striving Strategies" and it might also be entitled: "Know Thyself!" Or "What got me HERE won't get me THERE."
Let me explain . . . Here's what happens, once we move into the "striving mode" (the "By Me" mode -- remember), we develop our strategies of being to be successful in the world. They become who we are and, up to a point, they can be very effective. But, those strategies will not take us to the place of thriving - to the place of making the impossible happen - to the place of allowing Spirit to express Through Me and As Me.
So today, it is my intention to help you know yourself a little better by showing you how you might UNCOVER YOUR STRIVING STRATEGIES. I'm not going to tell you what they are because you are the only one who can know. But, I will give you some tools to uncover them yourself, should you choose to accept this mission!
Ernest Holmes told us over and over: "Change your thinking and change your life."c In order to change it, you need to know what it is. Today will help you know what it is.
CONSCIOUSNESS OF SUCCESS
So, what is a Striving Strategy exactly? Well, it's the sum total of who you are right now and how you show up in the world to achieve success. We might call it your CONSCIOUSNESS OF SUCCESS.
It's what matters to you; what gives life value and meaning to you. It's what motivates your words and your deeds. It's what defines success for you. And for the most part it's completely unconscious and automatic.
And here's a paradox: It is the source of your success up to this point and the source of your limitations to go beyond. Which is why I said today's talk could be entitled: "What got you HERE won't get you THERE." And that's going to be our mantra today. So, say with me, please: "What got me HERE won't get me THERE."
Now we're grateful for everything that brought us to this point -- yes?! So we love and bless it all!
And are you ready to move to a more expanded level? Do you want to release your Divine Potential??! Do you want to thrive? Well, you've all heard the saying: "If you keep doing what you've always done; you'll keep getting what you've always got!"
So it's time to move beyond the Striving Strategies and thrive! Tracy Goss, in her wonderful book that has been the stimulus for this entire month, gives some great examples of Striving Strategies. See if you recognize yourself in any of these. One person's Striving Strategy might center on "being able to fix whatever is broken." Whatever comes up in life, this person responds by looking for something broken to fix.
Another person's strategy might involve "doing the difficult thing that nobody else will do." So this person is always willing to take on the dirty job, not afraid to get some grit and grime on them, figuratively and perhaps even literally.
Another's might be "take control of the situation" so they immediately jump into leadership whenever the slightest opening occurred.
Striving Strategies might be centered around:
challenging and provoking others;
relating and communicating well;
avoiding being ordinary;
facilitating and empowering;
being admired and respected;
being convincing and motivating;
being safe and secure;
or an infinite number of other avenues for producing successful results. I'm curious, did anyone see themselves in any of these strategies??
The particulars of each person's own strategy are unique, but they are always the way that you, as an individual, have learned to "win" in life and get what you want.
According to Tracy Goss, in The Last Word on Power: "Your . . . Strategy is not what you do. It is the source of what you do. It is a manifestation of who you are being. The times when you speak and listen, the choices you make of what to pay attention to and what to ignore, the conclusions you draw, the deals you engage in, and the actions you take are all expressions of the Striving Strategy that has brought you success or survival in the past."d
As long as your strategy is your ground of being, it will never occur to you to take any action beyond it. In fact, when other people suggest actions to the contrary, or to go beyond the limits of your Striving Strategy, those suggestions will occur to you as being "preordained to lead to failure," and you may not even hear them.
For example, let's say you have been one who has been very, very successful at "making things happen by doing the right thing." That's your strategy. You live in integrity, you are intelligent, articulate and you have always been successful at getting things to turn out your way.
And then you run up against a situation where, through no fault of your own, your Strategy doesn't seem to be working. In fact, it seems to be failing miserably. And someone comes along and tells you, "You know, you really didn't do anything wrong and there is nothing you can do to make this happen. You need to trust. Trust God; trust that even though you can't see how you can make this situation turn out OK, there is a Higher Intelligence than can; Trust the process of God unfolding in this situation."
If your Striving Strategy is to "make it happen by doing the right thing," you might not even be able to hear the idea of trust. And if you do hear it, you "poo poo" it as unrealistic -- and continue to ask "but what am I going to DO??"
Your Striving Strategy is so ingrained in you, so much a part of who you are being, that you will find it difficult, if not impossible, to give it up. You might even sacrifice your fondest hopes and aspirations for the sake of your strategy, telling yourself all the while that you are being "realistic" or that this behavior is "who I am and I can't change it!"
For much of your life, your Winning Strategy was an ally, providing you with a formula for living effectively, helping you make your way into and through life.
But as soon as you decide to step into thriving, to make the impossible happen, to living from that place of DIVINE POTENTIAL, as soon as you make a conscious choice to live from the Through Me and As Me Consciousness, this strategy will not only cease to be useful, it will keep you from exactly what you desire.
Remember: What has gotten me HERE won't get me THERE. Say that with me, please!
The purpose of uncovering your striving strategy is not to find a better one, but to recognize it so that you may expand beyond it.
Ernest Holmes in The Science of Mind: "If we rise superior to the world, we shall create a new pattern."e
The way to reveal your Surviving Strategy is to unveil its anatomy. Everyone's is entirely different. The process of divining yours involves reflection and directed self examination -- uncovering what you don't know you don't know about your hidden source of action.
You must start by learning more about how you are being now. There are three questions to ask yourself:
The are: In my everyday life . . .
1. What do I listen for? Said another way, to what is my attention drawn?
2. From what actions do I expect power? What represents an essential solution or action, in any given situation, to produce a successful result?
3. What is the desired outcome of my life? What's most important to me in the long run?
So, why is it spiritually important for us to identify our Striving Strategy? Well, until we identify it and expand beyond it, we will stay in the Striving or "By Me" mode. And, as we looked at last week, there isn't a lot of room for God in this mode.
But by becoming aware of it and understanding how it works, we can, as I said before, go beyond it, to a greater level of spiritual functioning -- the "Through Me" and even the "As Me" mode, where we are consciously connected with Source, working in partnership with the Divine Intelligence of the Universe, knowing that there is something greater than what may be in front of us. Living in harmony with our Divine Potential and expressing life, and more life, as Spirit intended for us to. When we go beyond our Striving Strategies, we give space for God in our lives. That's why this is spiritually significant.
In Lessons in Spiritual Mind Healing, Holmes writes: "In expressing more life we are expressing a greater degree of Infiniteness of the Spirit. We are more completely personifying It. This is the real purpose and meaning of existence. It is the nature of the Spirit to express through us, not in limitation, fear or want, but in freedom."f
If you are serious about thriving, then you must understand your Striving Strategy on a deeper level than a mere conceptual grasp. Knowing that you have one is not enough. Having thought it through and recognizing part of it is not enough.
If you are serious about thriving, I propose that you must not only grow reflective enough to be able to distinguish your strategy, but you must begin to engage yourself in a new conversation with the world: one in which you have learned how to listen and speak differently, stepping out of your Striving Strategy at times and slipping in it against your will less and less frequently.
It is here where the possibility of thriving begins!
And next week, we will look at how to move closer to that ability. This week, your assignment is to begin to look at:
1. What you listen for . . .
2. So that you might act by . . .
3. In order to . . .
In the process of moving from surviving to striving to thriving, next week's step represents a giant philosophical leap, with enormous practical implications. It is time to make the leap!
So let's meditate. And let us use this meditation as an invitation to Spirit to reveal to us our Striving Strategies:
So close your eyes, and relax in your seat. Let your breathing slow. "The Voice of Truth speaks to me and through me. The Voice of Truth guides me and keeps me on the Path of the Perfect Day. I will listen to the Inner Voice and It will tell me what to do in the hour of need. I shall be told everything that I ought to know when the time of need arrives, and I shall not be misled. The Voice of Truth cannot lie, but always speaks to me from On High. Nothing enters but This Voice, for it is the Voice of God."g
aJohn Randolph Price The Jesus Code
bThe Ernest Holmes New Thought Dictionary (originally published in 1942), p. 36
dTracy Goss, The Last Word on Power
eErnest Holmes The Science of Mind, page 302
fErnest Holmes Lessons in Spiritual Mind Healing, p. 30
gErnest Holmes The Science of Mind p 543