Toie Martin’s Living Your Life With Possibilities begins with Toie recalling how a friend once rocked her world by asking her, “What would your perfect life look like?” She had been so busy running on auto-pilot and just doing and surviving that she’d never taken the time to consider that many possibilities existed for her life and what she really wanted her life to be. It’s a situation too many of us fall into as life keeps happening and we find ourselves responding rather than planning. Fortunately, Toie took the time to think through and answer that question, and in these pages, she shows us how we all can do the same.
Early on, Toie answers the question for us by saying, “To me, living your life with possibilities means feeling confident about who you are and what’s important to you; having the courage to push yourself out of your comfort zone to learn, grow, and experience new things; and leading yourself and others with grace to promote an environment where creativity, innovation, and growth can thrive. Achieving all of these goals requires some kind of change, yet most of us never get any formal or informal education on change. Our schools and jobs are measuring how well we add, subtract, read, and work, but not how well we are thriving.”
From here, Toie discusses what change is and how we can learn not only to cope with changes in our lives but how we can actively create the kind of change that will get us to the kind of life we want. Those five steps are: 1) Define the problem/see the possibility, 2) Where am I now?, 3) Where do I want to be?, 4) How do I get there?, and 5) How do I stay there? Toie walks readers through multiple processes and tools to help them answer these questions and take these steps.
One of the most important points Toie makes, in my opinion, is about the difference between happiness and success. Drawing upon Shawn Achor’s book The Happiness Advantage, she points out that success does not lead to happiness. Instead, happiness leads to success. Achor defines happiness as, “The joy you feel when working toward a goal.” Building from this statement, Toie points out how much we always love to measure things, but then she asks, “Are we measuring the things that really matter to us? Are we measuring the right things?” If something is not bringing us happiness, perhaps it isn’t the right thing. Maybe we should measure things by how much happiness they bring us. She adds, “When we can enjoy the process, we can let go of the results.”
Toie discusses many other aspects of how to lead a fulfilling life throughout Living Your Life With Possibilities. She gives insight into how our EQ (Emotional Quotient) is the most important determinant for life success. She explores stress and how having friends and meaningful relationships is the number one way to relieve it. She especially emphasizes the importance of self-awareness so we can keep better tabs on our happiness and what items, such as false beliefs, are holding us back from being happy. Coupled with self-awareness skills are self-management skills, such as having emotional self-control (not overreacting) and being transparent (not pretending to be someone you’re not).
One of my favorite quotes from the book is “Are you leading your life like a lemonade stand or a Fortune 500 company?” This question leads to a discussion of the need to have purpose in our lives and how to create a purpose statement.
Toie also acknowledges that finding your purpose and creating the life you want is not always easy. Many of us will procrastinate. She notes that writers have writer’s block, but writer’s block is just a form of resistance, and we all have that feeling of resistance when we want to move to a new level. Here she quotes Stephen Pressfield, who says: “The more important an activity is to your soul’s evolution, the more resistance you will have to it.”
Living Your Life With Possibilities is about how to overcome that resistance so you can evolve, so you can be the person you want to be, and once you become that person, then decide what’s next. There is so much more in this book I could mention, including great quotes from Will Smith and Elizabeth Gilbert, and stories about how even famous people like Michael Jackson are critical of themselves.
But beyond the inspirational stories and quotes, Toie includes exercises throughout to walk us through the five steps to living a life of possibilities. This is not just a book to read; it’s an inspirational call to action. It’s a chance to change yourself and then change the world. As Toie states near the end, “Lead yourself and others with confidence, courage, and grace. You are the most important organization you will ever work for. You are an authentic leader.”
It’s time to become the leader of your own life. It’s time to experience all the possibilities that life has to offer. Let this book be your springboard into your wonderful, ever-evolving future.