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Formal versus Functional by Jim Stovall

One of the most important elements for personal or professional success is congruence. In this context, congruence refers to consistency and a sincere, genuine understanding of ourselves both publicly and privately. I have the privilege of speaking to millions of people in corporate and arena events. I have written over 40 books with 10 million copies in print. Each book contains my contact information. Millions more people have seen one of the eight movies based on my novels, so you can imagine how many people around the world I hear from on a regular basis. Most of these people describe being committed to improvements in their lives. I believe the vast majority of these people are sincere in their intentions, but the critical question remains: Are they sincere in their actions? I realize while someone is listening to a speech, reading a book, or watching a movie, it is easy to become inspired and motivated; but the true test is how they are acting in 30 minutes, 30 days, or 30 years. True transformation comes when we couple our immediate intentions with our long-term actions. Many people have formal goals or objectives. They may have action plans involving getting from where they are to where they want to be, but unless or until that commitment becomes functional, it is all simply a matter of conversation. I often ask people to describe their most deeply-held, long-term goals and passions. Then I ask about whether or not their observable actions on a daily basis would reveal their goals or passions to a stranger. Setting a goal and failing to follow through can be counterproductive or even destructive. It is, in essence, telling a lie to yourself and accepting it. If you will lie to yourself, you will lie to everyone around you. Being congruent means we are who we say, and anyone can trust who we say we are. I remember a young man who lived in my dormitory during college. He told everyone who would listen that his goal was to go to a prestigious law school and then have a long judicial career culminating in him being appointed to the Supreme Court. This sounded very impressive to most people, but I lived down the hall from him and passed his room as I went to class each morning. More times than not, he chose to sleep through his classes and didn't even make it to the end of his first semester. If you have had challenges with congruency in your personal or professional life, you need to rebuild your own integrity by picking a relatively small short-term goal and making it happen. If you decide to get up 30 minutes earlier tomorrow and read, exercise, or meditate, you can build on that success and become congruent in your large objectives and in every area of your life. As you go through your day today, say what you're going to do, but do what you say.

Today's the day!

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