Jay Rifenbary

Jay Rifenbary's Blog

Purpose - You Are Here For A Reason


Do you believe you have a purpose? I believe you do. I believe we all do. However, genuine purpose is not about the acquiring of wealth, fame, or power, but a much deeper role that strengthens the human spirit in those we personally and professionally interact with each day. Purpose is recognizing and believing your life has meaning. It is revealed to you by reflecting on the ongoing collection of your life's experiences, and how those experiences have created the personal character traits you possess today.

Taking ownership for your successes, failures, trials, and tribulations is the cornerstone to initiate the development of your purpose. To not be personally accountable for your life exhausts any possibility to have a sense of purpose, because you negate your role in your own future. To blame others, or the world around you, for your lack of purpose is the purest of excuses. If you truly believe others and the world are to blame for your misery, you will forever be miserable. As a result, a belief you have no purpose is inevitable. It is what you learn from those experiences that allow you to understand the role you have in being of service to others. It is through that service to others, not service to self, that will ultimately define your purpose.

To substantiate your purpose you must also believe you have the ability to share and teach what you have learned from those life lessons, and how they have enabled you to be a better you. The events in your life that take personal courage, resiliency, perseverance, self-discipline, compassion, empathy and humility are moments that contribute to the development of your character, and the core values that form the direction for your life. They make you a stronger person. The result of each life experience creates a teaching opportunity. It is the comprehensive understanding, and application of those teaching opportunities that will construct your purpose.

Passion is another element that contributes to establishing a belief that you matter, i.e. a sense of purpose. What are your life's passions, or another way of asking that question, what would you like to learn the most? Always remember, and embrace the understanding that “you teach best in life what you want to learn the most." What you want to learn the most will spark your greatest passions, and your greatest joy will be to share those passions with others. The more passion you have for what you wish to learn, and subsequently share, the more meaningful your life will be because it invigorates your joy for living. The more meaningful your life, the greater sense of purpose you have.

On a macro level, in order to have a more thoughtful world it is imperative that there is a congruent sense of purpose among humanity. That purpose being to better the world through acting on ethical values that create unity, human decency, fairness, and a moral foundation of understanding of what we have more in common as a people than different. Congruence is defined as, "the quality or state of agreeing or corresponding". Congruence of purpose certainly does not exist in the most powerful halls of government and business as evidenced by the continual global political, economical and social chaos that we witness daily. Genuine purpose does not require power, greed or politics, but rather an understanding that meaningful purpose is for the greater good of the many, not the self-interested desires of the few. Be a purposeful person by being congruent with other purposeful people. Although it may hard to fathom you can change the world alone, I do believe we can change the world for the better together.

Believe you matter because you, your family, your community and the world will benefit because of your purposeful service to others. Without a sense of purpose you are less motivated to create the life you wish for, because you have minimal understanding of the reason behind your life. Purpose provides the drive to believe and become more than you are, and to also believe that your existence is congruent with others in making the world a better place. Being an instrument of goodness in all you do is a purpose worth living for.

Self-Discrimination - Don't Undermine Your Potential


Do you ever put yourself down or belittle your own abilities? To discriminate is not only applicable to how you perceive and treat others, but it also applies to how you perceive and treat yourself. Self-Discrimination is defined as, "an act or instance of discriminating, or of making a distinction; treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit."

How often do you tend to make a distinction against, rather than in favor of yourself? Throughout my own life there have been instances where I made the distinction to use my weaknesses as an excuse, rather than using my attributes as a catalyst to further succeed. Everyone does this to some level, but what is your balance between using your weaknesses as an excuse, versus your attributes to succeed? Self-Discrimination that is negative impacts your level of self-respect, personal confidence, attitude, individual accountability and optimism for a bright future.

It is emotionally disheartening and physically draining to undermine your own potential and to predominately discriminate against what you perceive you are not, versus the positive characteristics of what you are. To treat yourself unfairly is a copout from taking personal accountability for your life and the challenges presented to be a better you. The color of your own skin, nationality, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, physical and mental limitations, and socioeconomic class are not excuses to discriminate against yourself, or negate a potentially successful future. A belief that you cannot achieve because you are this, or you do not have that, is classic destructive self-discrimination.

One characteristic of our Nation's history is that there is every resource available to improve your life if you take the initiative and apply effort to what you wish for. However, the less individual accountability is emphasized and the more a social entitlement and dependent mindset becomes the social norm, the more likely self-discrimination will occur. If you are constantly encouraged to believe you are a victim of your race, creed, color, religion, class, misfortunes and what isn't, why would you believe you have the ability to be more than you are? In addition, the less aware you are of the core values that structure your life the more vulnerable you are to a victim mentality, because you do not know what you stand for and believe in. Therefore, your life has little direction, focus, or sense of purpose making it difficult to not undermine yourself.

Do not beat yourself up for there is no positive result for you and those who love you. Discriminate, (make a distinction) in favor of what you do well, not dwell on what you do poorly. Discriminate in favor of a complete optimistic future, not focus on an incomplete pessimistic one. Discriminate in favor of the core values that provide meaning and purpose to your life, not the behaviors that have negatively impacted your life.

However, if you have behaviors that have contributed to your lack of achievement what steps are you taking to change those behaviors? For example, if you discriminate in regard to the foods you eat and select those that are unhealthy, expect to suffer the emotional and physical consequences that follow. To then self-discriminate because you believe your weight is preventing future personal and professional success is nothing more than an excuse. To discriminate in regard to how you spend your money and select to spend beyond your means expect the financial consequences. To then self-discriminate because you do not have the financial wherewithal to pursue a desire, or save for your future financial stability, is just an excuse. To discriminate in regard to how you develop your personal and professional growth and select to not bother because it takes effort, expect the personal, professional, career and relationship consequences. To then self-discriminate because you lack enough education, is just an excuse. Stop whining in regard to what you are not, and start shining in regard to demonstrating and building on all the wonderful things you are. To appreciate the potential of your own possibilities, and not use your perceived weaknesses as excuses is the key to personal and professional fulfillment.

Disappointed? - Always Carry On


Why is there disappointment? I am constantly baffled thinking I understand the reality in front of me only to have that understanding be completely incorrect, resulting in disappointment. To work hard with the belief you are doing the right thing, for the right reasons, to reach the right outcome only to have all that effort shattered by the unexpected is ultimate disappointment. Disappointment is defined as, “the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.” Disappointment is part of the life experience, but how you handle it is a test of your strength of character and the core values you believe in. As Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

It is also an expectation of what you believe should be, rather than an acceptance of what is, that prolongs the aftermath of being disappointed. I have learned over the years that not everyone is like me, as everyone is not like you. It is your expectations projected on others that enhance the level of disappointment when experienced.

The most challenging disappointments are those that involve family and friends. They are the closest relationships and therefore you take greater interest in your expectations of them. You believe you know what is in their best interest for future success and yet, it may not be reflective of who they are or their desires in life. The greater the vested interest, and the greater the expectation you have of others, the greater the disappointment when your expectations do not come to fruition. You are limited in what you can control both personally and professionally, and that understanding is critical to moving forward from disappointment. Disappointment should not lead to regret or self-doubt if your efforts relating to your expectations are honest, sincere and genuine.

To be disappointed is also an opportunity to become a stronger, more understanding and wiser person. As Henry David Thoreau said, “If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.” Every disappointment contributes to your character development each time you decide to persevere and carry on. Your level of resiliency to carry on stems from the belief and implementation of the core values that structure your character. If personal accountability is a core value of yours and you take ownership for how you react to a disappointing situation, the more likely you are to carry on. If forgiveness is a core value of yours, and you apply forgiveness to a situation or a person who has disappointed you, the more likely you are to carry on. What core values do you apply when you are disappointed? Honesty, humility, empathy, attitude, self-discipline, respect, thoughtfulness, compassion and fortitude are a sampling of core values that lessen the impact of disappointment. Life is not what you are given, but more importantly how you handle the experiences of your everyday life.

Seven steps to coping with disappointment include, * Take a deep breath and compose yourself emotionally, to better prepare yourself to examine the disappointment analytically. * Do not blame yourself or others before you do your due diligence to find the root cause of the disappointment. * Be objective in your analysis and avoid projecting your own potential self-centered expectations. * Incorporate a degree of empathy, forgiveness and compassion for your own disappointments, and those who have disappointed you. Life is too short to hang on to grudges and bitterness. * Be more accepting of what is in the present, rather than dwelling on how the disappointment will impact your future. * Be optimistic about tomorrow for your behaviors will follow your attitude. * Believe in yourself, your talents and your core values for those provide the confidence to carry on. Disappointments are unavoidable for they are part of life, and it is a personal decision to use them as excuses for misery, or to learn and grow from them for future happiness and a greater sense of purpose. As Thomas Jefferson said, “If I am to meet with a disappointment, the sooner I know it, the more of life I shall have to wear it off.”

Saturday, August 15, 2020

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