Healthy humans are both blessed and challenged by a drive to be all that we can be. We’re too often tortured, though, by internal and external signals that tell us we have to be more, better and different than who we really are.

All great traditions teach about a noble seed that is unique in each of us but common to all of us - the proverbial jewel in the lotus. How do we develop the “royal soil” to bring our noble seeds to their juiciest, fullest fruition? How can we stop questioning whether or not we’re growing the wrong plants? Seeds have innate intelligence and, when nurtured, they naturally take just the right actions and they enjoy just the right relationship with their surroundings and they manifest magnificently. Just like a seed is programmed to fruit when conditions are right, our unique noble seeds can manifest our full potential when we create the “soil” in our lives for authentic expression. And, when full potential is manifested, the whole planet benefits.

So how do we create the “royal soil” in our lives? In other words, how do we build the personal and cultural foundations that will support our fruition? A personal inventory is a good starting place: What shows up when you do? Even on your worst days, what assets are just inherent in who you are? Are you patient, can you whistle or sing or dance? Do you listen or speak well? Are you smart…? You’ve easily got a hundred assets but a list of twenty is a good beginning. Your gifts contribute to the collective riches of your family, your community and the world. In that sense, your personal assets are our cultural treasury; they’re part of our currency. Are they being squandered, hoarded, or prudently invested? Are you and those around you getting a full return on investment of your material and non-material assets?

Is your time and talent investment strategy serving you and paying enough dividends to serve others? It’s critical to actually schedule activities that require you to express your essential self. Be courageous, be outrageous, or be simple and playful with what you schedule, but make dates on your calendar for self-expression. Don’t judge productivity; just make time for what jazzes you. The important thing is that it sends you into the time warp of creativity and that it makes you feel charged and joyful.

Do whatever it takes to make joyful, fulfilling activities actually work in your life because the data’s in: the biological changes that result from time spent creating and recharging absolutely serve individuals and the organizations they work for in terms of productivity, judgment, focus, dedication and vitality. Although we rarely feel that we have the time, the truth is that we get more from out of life when we invest in recharging our essential sparks.

Keep in mind that it’s prudent to do some risk taking when investing assets and that sometimes payoffs come indirectly. If the seed didn’t risk breaking out of its shell and falling apart, it would never bear fruit.

Mistakes, problems, upsets and challenges, by their very nature, create fertile ground for rejuvenation. Just like in the flower garden, personal “weeds” compete for resources. What needs weeding out in your life? What 20 things don’t you want in your life and work? Being clear on what’s not working is like putting compost into the “royal soil” needed for the noble seed to flourish. Although it seems like a contradiction, the “don’t want” list often morphs into the “do want” list.

One of the most powerful pests in the garden of life is “shoulding.” Divesting of all the “shoulds” in your life frees up valuable reserve. Make a list of everything you and others think you should do. Got a messy closet, a resume that needs updating, an apology that never got delivered, a bill that needs to be paid? Put it all down - the silly stuff and the big stuff. Almost everyone has hundreds of “shoulds” but twenty to fifty is a good start. Then, handle the list so that you stop “shoulding” on yourself and stop allowing others’ “shoulds” to spoil your fruit. And, it’s critical to take inventory of how you’re shoulding on anybody else, because that not only poisons their soil, but it also takes valuable resources from your own. Take time to reflect on shoulds that feel especially charged.

Note the difference between to do’s, ethical action, and shoulds. Cross off what you don’t really care about or are best let go of. Either delegate or book specific slots on your calendar to handle the musts. For the “personal homework” items, take some time to journal, think it out, talk it out, write a letter and send it or burn it, or light a candle and say a prayer as a mini-ritual for resolution. Chip away at your should list until it’s gone. Living the royal life means not shoulding on yourself, not shoulding on anybody else, and not living at the mercy of external shoulds.

To create the most fertile personal ground, we need to account for the ecosystem. While the importance of tending to body, mind and spirit can’t be emphasized enough, royal soil can’t be defined too narrowly. When the fruits of our labor lead to right livelihood and right action, we’re happy and so are the people around us. Nobility expresses most when we dare to dream big - when we focus on how our unique fruit will contribute to a divine global banquet. Which of your deepest truths and richest riches will you grow today? Because blossoming at your full potential means the whole culture profits from the jewel that you are.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Joni Carley: international coaching, seminars/workshops/keynotes unique in depth and breadth

With a doctorate in “The Reinvention of Work,” completion of CoachU, and experience with thousands of clients, Dr. Joni has incomparable expertise in facilitating transformation from the inside out.

Her background includes:
- 25+ years of coaching successful leaders, professionals and entrepreneurs
- Speaking and teaching including seminars for United Nations departmental leaders; adjunct professor at Drexel U., guest lecturer at George Washington U
- Former director of 2 philanthropic organizations, member of boards of directors for nongovernmental organizations including International Vision Collective
- Studied professional and personal development throughout the world.