I’ve reached my fourth decade on the Universe this year. I believe this is a significant turning point, a place where each one of us turns a new corner, beginning a new era of existence. And at this time, some poignant questions tend to rise to the surface. I know there is a piece of me a bit disappointed in myself, my lack of fame and fortune. This is probably the little girl who dreamed of being a Champion at something by this time.

So, I followed my own coaching advice and pulled out my journal and favorite pen. I wrote down the same profound questions I place before clients who are a bit disappointed with where they’ve currently ended up in life. The first query is usually the most challenging and rewarding. Maybe part of this challenge is getting your mind open and your pen moving.

If you could take away one year from your life, or even just one event that negatively impacted you, what would it be?

As I started to ponder this with each challenging year and/or event, there were too many significant positive outcomes, major rewards and pay-offs in personal growth and spiritual development that grew from the painful experience. Or even from the experience I’m not too proud of and wish I would’ve handled a bit differently. To take away any one event would be to alter the course of the life I’ve grown into. I couldn’t unravel how any one change could possibly lead to a series of events that would be better than who I’ve become and what I have in my life right now. This leads us right into the next question, when reflecting on one’s life purpose.

Can you find significance in your trials?

I believe this is the key to hope and overcoming any obstacle. In his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, Viktor Frankl talks about the survivors of Auschwitz, himself included, the most horrific of all Concentration Camps during World War II. He was a young doctor, specializing in psychology from Vienna when he was thrust in the environment of the Nazi Death Camps. He lost his mother, father and wife to the camps. Yet, he carried with him two things, his manuscript (until it was later discovered and destroyed) and the hope that he would be reunited with his family. The hope of completing his life-long dream and seeing his family kept him going through the atrocities of Auschwitz. While in the camp, he contracted Typhoid fever and to keep awake, he reconstructed his manuscript on stolen pieces of paper. As he observed slight men survive and stronger men perish in the concentration camps, he noted the one common denominator of those who survived. Hope. Those who believed they had family waiting for them or something more to live for tended to overcome. While those, though stronger and healthier in size and stature, who knew their loved ones had perished, soon gave up the fight.
All of us have trials to endure, obstacles and mountains in our paths. The question is, can you find significance in your trials and can you keep hope that there is something better on the other side? Keeping your faith not only allows you to endure the hard stuff life throws your way, but, it also helps you survive without bitterness. There isn’t always deep meaning in life experiences, but, you can find the lesson FOR YOU. What I mean by this is that in the anguish of life’s darkest moments, we often learn more about ourselves. Sometimes this is our will to survive because of our dedication to our children or a deep desire of accomplishment. Sometimes we find our true character, maybe we did, after all, contain “grace under fire”. Or we may discover our true value system and uncover the base of integrity and our belief system.

Did you look for the lesson? If so, what did you discover about yourself?

The thing is your obstacles and challenges can work FOR you. We’ve all heard, reluctantly, how the tough things in life can make you stronger. But, if I had you take a moment and make a list of the moments and events in your life that truly defined and shaped your character, I bet at least half of them would be the challenges. Make meaning of your life experiences without regret, but, instead with reflection.

How did your obstacles work FOR you?

And finally, after finishing “The Call” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, I began to ask clients her question.

What is the one word in which you are here for?

In her book, she elaborates on discovering the ONE WORD in which to live. Instead of trying to see your word, open up to the possibility of all the places in your life your one word has been calling to you. Look at your failures, not just your strengths, to discover your word. Fill in the following sentences with your one word (mine is in parenthesis);

How can I ___________ (rest)?
What must be surrendered for me to ___________ (rest)?

“Living your word does not cause suffering, not living your word does.” Oriah Mountain Dreamer.
By uncovering your one word, your list of experiences and events will now look like a series of stepping stones on your life path, leading you to the exact place you need to be; right here, right now.

Rebecca Evans is an author, Motivational Speaker and Certified Empowerment Coach. For more information on Motivational Speaking or Support Groups contact her at www.revans33.wordpress.com or www.inner-element.com. -End-

Author's Bio: 

Rebecca Evans is a motivational speaker, author and empowerment coach. She founded Inner Element as a way to combine her experiences as a woman in the military, mom and world class athlete into an organization that provides effective life breakthrough strategies. Her core philosophy, “fitness from the inside out” resounds for men and women of all ages. As a frequent columnist, radio show host and frequent television guest, she shares her empowerment techniques with thousands of individuals weekly. Her accomplishments as a business woman have landed her as Idaho Business Review’s “Idaho Women of the Year” honors, the National Association of Women Business Owners Business Women of the Year honors, and Boise State University's “Women Making History in Idaho”. She is a former Girls on the Run program director, Mrs. Idaho International 2004 and a decorated Gulf War veteran. She is the author of The Art of Self Discovery and Inner Fitness for Empowerment and lives in Idaho with her husband and three children