Finding and Living Your Ten

Finding and Living Your Ten

What is the one thing that you can do every day that you cannot imagine living the rest of your life without? That is your ten.
As I grew up in Miami, Florida.  I knew from a very early age that I wanted to love people, but it took me until I was over the age of 40 to make the connection on how to love people and make an honest living 😊. 

I see life on a scale of one to ten.  One is getting up every day, existing, going back to sleep and repeating it the next day.  Ten is living a mindful life, enjoying and paying attention to the times you are in the presence of others.  Getting up every day with purpose and excitement, looking forward to doing that one thing that brings you joy and purpose.  That thing, is defined for the purpose of this topic as, if there was a way that your physical needs were met, a way where you could live the life that you dreamed with the resources necessary to live ideally.  If there was a way that all of those things were done and you could do your ten daily without pay, would you do it?

The ideal thing is to find a way to do your ten, and it be something that you could make the living that you actually desired, but many times what is ideal is not realistic.  But, let me tell you a way to close that gap. And I will do that by asking this question.  What if you were good at the thing that brings you the life that you desired but it was not something that you were passionate about? I will answer that by telling you this story of a conversation that I had with my daughter.

I currently live in Columbia, SC, and she has said on many occasions that she was looking forward to getting away from Columbia because she did not like it here.  Initially, I was heartbroken; I interpreted that statement as her wanting to leave me and never see me again.  I chuckle now at how I came to that conclusion because the words said, (and those were the words she used), and the words I concluded were nothing remotely similar.  After the confusion was addressed and we laughed, I told her, babe because this is where you live does not mean that you cannot travel anywhere else.  Traveling and escaping gives you a different perspective and outlook.  It allows you to see and experience other things.  Being in Columbia is where you reside, but it does not have to be the only space that you occupy. 

So now, if what you are doing does not give you the motivation to wake up every day with excitement and feelings of being accomplished, you must find it.  Question, what is your passion that you could do while you are doing your job?  So, say you find solace in encouraging others, and your job title is a cashier at the local mart; I would say that you are in the ideal position to come in contact with people daily that you can encourage.  Why discount what you are doing because you seek a prestige title.  How many people have the title but are miserable?  Very few people have the ability to quit their jobs to search for their passion.  If you aren't one of the few, embrace where you are and find a way to enjoy it until you are in a better position to operate in your ten, and live comfortable. 

Whatever you are doing find a way to incorporate your passion into it.  Find a way to give yourself the life that you desire.  Nothing is absolute.  Nothing is binding. Another example, if by chance your job is being a corrections officer and your passion is cooking,  but you find that you are required to work 12 hours a day, you may now say, how can I possibly do my passion in this environment. For that I will say this, begin by ensuring that your family has balanced meals, and if you do not have an immediate family, reach out to your neighbors or close friends.  Place yourself in a position to not allow your environment dictate your ability to find your ten, and perform it daily. 

A note of advice, your ten cannot be a person, and if it is, bear in mind that it can change with no fault of your own.  That person can change their position in your life and you not be able to do anything about it.  Now your life has taken an unexpected dip.  You now have to find a way to replace that ten while maintaining your sanity.  How do you recover from that? Or better, how do you process and not internalize that as some deficiency of your own?  For this reason, I say, ensure that your ten is something other than a person.  As I write, I hear questions such as, What if I am fired from my ten, and I can not seem to recover.  Then could it be said that your ten was not the actual thing that you were doing but the prestige or recognition that the job provided, which is two different things. 

12 Questions to ask yourself and answer in order to find you tenAsk yourself these questions, and be completely honest.
1. What could I do every single day?  I stated earlier that I wanted to love people, initially I could not find a profession that I could do, that I was interested in, but Counseling answered that for me. It allows me to love people (professionally), and to help by asking questions that allow my clients to find answers for themselves

2. What is the first thing that you think about in the morning after you perform your morning ritual? After you wake up, after you pray (if that is your routine) after you brush your teeth, what is the next thing that you think about, what is the thing that creates joy in your mind in knowing that you will do it sometime during the day?

3. If your life was perfect (however you define perfection) what would you do every day and not have to be paid for, (keep in mind all of your needs would be met and exceeded)?     Perfection is defined as you see it.  Again, all of your needs would be met, and you would not have to worry about money.  What could you do every day and not become bored or tired? If the answer is nothing; I will now say, if your ideal life involves doing nothing, you may soon grow tired.  It can get boring, and you will eventually find something to do with your time, why not find that now so that if by chance your life becomes ideal, you already know what you will be doing daily. 

4. What are you angry about that you have not processed or let go? Anger has a way of driving you to a grinding halt.  And processing anger can be as simple as telling whomever that you are angry with that you are upset.  Telling them why and then moving on.  You telling them that you are angry is for you, not them.  It is what I call, giving-the-energy-back to the source. If someone does something that displeases you, and you decide to keep it to yourself.  Many times, you now become angry, not because of what happened but because you did not speak up for yourself.  Let me share with you the anger cycle, that we use in one of our programs:
It goes like this:
a. there is a period of calm 
b. a trigger happens 
c. a cognitive distortion takes place 
d. anger builds up 
e. the angry event takes place, which can lead to a physical altercation, throwing things, hitting, or even detrimental/harm to someone either defending themselves or someone harming them self. 
The angry event can take place due to the drama cycle that we willingly and unwillingly take part in; the components of the drama cycle are a hero, victim, and preptrator and it goes like this:

a.       There is a period of calm; this is when we feel that life is going well and there is no major stress. 
b. “when we assume the hero role, we need the other two to exist for our position to feel relevant.  If they do not, exist, or if other don't play their role appropriately, we may create or mold them through our actions to fall into those roles.  The hero is the savior, the one that makes everything okay.

c. The hero can quickly become the victim in defending their position.  I got angry because you…,” “I am not usually this angry but you….” This behavior justifies their position, it says that they would not normally behave in such a way, but someone else made them do it. 

d. The victim is whom everything is happening too.  Their position is they did nothing wrong; they do not understand why everyone is so upset or angry with them, they are the victim but they have the power to change it.  

e. The Perpetrator is the person that causes the cycle, but this person will not stay in this position long.  No one likes the person in this position, and once his or her identity is made known, he or she will usually slip into the hero or the victim role. This angry cycle repeatedly continues until someone jumps off wheel by ending the relationship, or by refusing to play.  Keep in mind that if you've been on the cycle for awhile, it is difficult to get off, but not impossible.   

Being angry prevents you from identifying the best version of you and  anger perpetuates the cycle of someone doing something to you.  You can stop this cycle by, embracing your period of calm.  Re-learning that life can be good without drama.  Identifying your triggers by knowing what makes you angry; but most importantly knowing why that thing makes you angry.  If there is no proof for what you are thinking then think something else. You can have an entire conversation in your head with detailing events on what happened, who did what and why they did it.  Those thoughts refuse to listen to any account of what happened outside of what has been put together. It is also using terms such as always and never.  Anger can at times be a good thing.  And by good I mean it can help you in identifying what bothers you to the point that it produces somatic symptoms, headaches, stomachaches, heart palpation's, etc..

  • Lexington Richland Center for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Intervention Group Curriculum, Motley, B., Hendel, T. 
 5. What relationship are you waiting on to flourish so that you could become the best version of yourself, be it with another person or with an organization?  Waiting consciously or subconsciously takes courage, and so does moving on.  Many times being in a relationship can create a dependency that isn’t recognized until the relationship is ending or has ended.  The void that it creates can be paralyzing.  I do not have a ten-step method on how to get over this. It can take time.  However, I will say that knowing that that is the problem can be beneficial in helping you move on.

6.       How has depression affected you in finding your ten? Depression can be tricky, quiet and deadly.  Know if this is your problem.  If you do not know, get help in finding out if this is a problem.  You can start by going to your primary physician. 

7.       How has anxiety affected you in finding your ten?  With anxiety,  this is the thing that stresses you when you lay eyes or thoughts on it.  It can completely change your energy in a moment.  You can go from being happy to seething in seconds.  For anyone or anything to have that kind of control over you, it can prevent you from finding your ten. 

8.       What are you ruminating on that is preventing you from becoming the best version of you? Ruminating are those thoughts that you can not seem to shake.  They can have no significant meaning; you just cannot seem to let them go.  You will not allow them to leave and though they stress you out they bring comfort. When they are gone, and you begin enjoying the moment, you quickly go and retrieve them so that you can place them back in your head so that they can be consumed and regurgitated mentally.

9.       How has failing to process a loss (grief) prevented you from finding your ten? This is that part of life where you have not grieved the loss of a loved one, a job, a relationship or a significant thing.  The stages are grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Many people do not experience them in order, and many times they are repeated many times before acceptance is embraced

10.   Is denying who you really are keeping you from becoming the best a version of yourself? Who are you really?  Can those around you accept the truest version of you? Are you okay with staying in the dark? Are you all right with keeping them in the dark? Be true to you.  

11.   How has your daily life and your core-values differentiated?  And has it prevented you from finding your ten? I conduct monthly workshops where I rotate five specific topics.  One exercise that I have found most valuable is all five workshops is what I call the Core Values exercise, which I modified from an exercise that I learned in CBT.  It goes like this, write down your top five core values.  What do you believe in?  What five things that you would say that keeps you focused, that keeps you waking up every day.  Now after you write down those core values, write down your average daily duties, tasks, routines.  Now compare the two.  How do your core values compare to your day-to-day activitiesCan we conclude that if you have core values, and you do not do one thing throughout your day that supports your core values, this can bring about anxiety and stress? It can leave you feeling that you have not done anything productive with your day, week, month, or year.  Align your core values with your daily activities, or at minimum do something throughout your day that supports your core value(s). 

12.   Now that you have answered those questions what will you do now?

I won't end this by telling you “only you are responsible for your life,” I am sure you already know that; I will say, if you know that, what is stopping you from living your ten?  From you moving into your desired position in life? Shake your fears, knock off your anxiety, disregard your anger, process your grief, and move, walk into your ten.  Live everyday to its capacity.  

The time has passed.  The gun has been fired for you to take off.  No one is at the start line but you, when will you take that first step to go? When? When will you find and live your ten


  1. I want to thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge with Me! As I read your blog it encouraged me, it humbled me, it challenged me. I know that I have a purpose, and now I have a better idea of how to go about achieving my TEN! I purpose to make Better Decisions and to live better and have Better Health. I am Grateful for your love and for your compassion for all of mankind! Please do not let anyone deter you from your Destiny! God Bless


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