Jay Rifenbary

Jay Rifenbary's Blog

How's Your Vision?

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With the advent of a new year where do you see yourself a year, or two or five years from now? Where would you like to be? What would you like to do? What would you like to have? What positive difference would you like to make? Do you have any idea what your future may bring? Do you have clarity for your future, or is it just a blur? Are you nearsighted or farsighted? How myopic have you become? Instead of hindsight being 20/20 for your life, make it the foresight for your future. As Mark Twain so simply stated, “You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”

To celebrate a new year is easy, to have a vision and plan for what you would like to accomplish in the months and years ahead is more challenging. It takes thought, effort, discipline, implementation and perseverance to have a fulfilling future come to fruition. Don't sit on the sidelines expecting a bright tomorrow, get on the field, call some plays, and make it happen. Resolutions are only a temporary desire for what you wish to achieve now. A vision provides a more enduring meaning behind those resolutions and adds a long-term return on your investment, rather than just a short-term gain. There is little incentive to continue a resolution if you do not keep your eyes on the prize of your long-term collective efforts.

Vision in the context of achievement is defined as, "the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom, a mental image of what the future will or could be like". Is your image positive or negative, anticipated or doubtful, embraced or rejected? It is essential for your vision to align with your core values, for a lack of alignment will only bring internal frustration, heartache and despair. Your vision must complement your values in order for it to be truly fulfilling. The more honest your journey toward your vision, the more rewarding that journey will be. The character of the journey should always reflect the character of the person. As Carl Jung stated, "Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside awakens."

Throughout history is has been those who see what might be that achieve greatness, not those who focus only on what is. True leaders take their followers out of the boundaries of the present, and inspire them to strive for a brighter future. Author and renown leadership consultant Warren Bennis stated, "Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality." First, do you have a vision, and second are you willing to put the effort in to that vision to make it a reality? You will quickly discover that if you languish in the present without an optimistic outlook, plan, and vision for your future you are more prone to blame others for your lack of drive, direction and accomplishments. Why? For many, blaming and whining is easier then making a concerted effort to better your life both personally and professionally.

Taking ownership for where you have been, where you are now and where you want to be in the future is key to being self-reliant, personally accountable, and having a clear outlook on what your tomorrow may bring. To have a vision also generates greater life purpose since you are striving for something larger than just living day to day. Five vision statements to ponder and answer for 2014 may include, * I will make this life changing strategic decision: * I will develop this skill or study and learn this: * I will adopt this positive habit: * I will improve my relationship with this person: * I will prioritize and apply these core values in how I conduct my life:

As Buddha said, “The master of the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which; he simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.” Happy New Year!



Tis The Season Not To Judge

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Over this holiday season it is my hope that all of you who genuinely believe in the true spirit of why we celebrate this time of year will embrace and exemplify an attitude of selflessness and thoughtfulness to those around you. Self-centeredness, self-righteousness, materialism, and judgmental behaviors are the antithesis to Christ's spirit of peace, love and compassion. It is a time to reflect on the joys and disappointments over the past year, and be thankful for the good times and not dwell on the bad times. To learn from your failures, take humble pride in your successes, and forgive those who have hurt you is key to providing you the emotional energy, freedom and strength to tackle the challenges of an approaching new year.

It is also a time to assess your own sense of self. Are you practicing what you preach? Are you honest with yourself? Are you living what you project? Are your values defined? Are you dealing with your insecurities with unhealthy addictions, or healthy choices? Are you accountable for your own behaviors before passing judgment on the behaviors of others? These are questions that may be uncomfortable to address, but are essential for you to answer to be an emotionally and physically healthier you.

It is only when you are genuinely true to yourself can you be genuinely true to others. Why? You have nothing to hide. To live your life based on the core values you believe in, and to honestly project to the outside how you live on the inside, exemplifies a genuinely true person. To be a fully honest person you most come full circle by taking personal accountability for who you are, what you have been, and what you wish to be. Finding inner peace is difficult when you are dishonest with yourself. It is also hypocritical to judge another when the jury may still be out on who you truly are. It is only when you live the values you believe in that gives you a platform to pass judgment on the behaviors of another. As Dr. Wayne Dyer stated, “Judgment prevents us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances.”

Is there a distinction between judging a behavior, versus the judgment of the person associated with that behavior? We all make mistakes, but does each mistake we make, or have made, constitute a complete reflection of who we are? Of course not, for if that were true there would be little goodness in the world, and there is goodness around us each and every day. You just need to see it. As Mother Theresa said, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” To judge is to, “form an opinion or conclusion about”. I believe it is completely appropriate to form an opinion or conclusion about a person’s behavior, a social issue, a political policy, an economic inequality, an educational disparity, etc. for to have the freedom to express an opinion or conclusion about anything is the foundation for our free society. However, to allow judgment by one ideology to dominate over the freedom of others to judge differently is a catalyst for the destruction of that free society.

To righteously judge is not to preclude the true character of another, but to attempt to make right a behavior that may be harmful to a socially healthy society. It is important to base judging others on logic, rather than emotion, and to focus on the consequences of another’s behavior rather than a self-righteous opinion of another’s character. Who are any of us to fully understand another when we have not walked in their shoes? For example, how can one of privilege judge another who is destitute? How can one judge what is moral if they themselves are immoral? To disparage and paint a broad brush over a group of people based on class, race, religion, gender, origin, culture, sexual orientation and political opinion undermines the value of each of us. Throughout my life I have discovered we as a people have more in common than we do different. This holiday season make an effort to celebrate the goodness in all of us, rather than judge what we perceive the evil in others may be. It is how Jesus would want us to celebrate his birthday. Merry Christmas!



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