Have you ever sat down to take stock of the life you think is going “fine” but could use a little tweaking? Sleep, Work, Eat, Repeat can get too comfortable. Or, maybe your life is a flaming, hot, mess and you have to start over from the ashes. Whatever the starting point is to your inner rock star, there are a few painless steps to tailor your journey to your success. We can’t plug the destination into GPS if we don’t know where we’re shooting for.
…In the name of love – or for yourself – just stop. Any of the crazy reasons in life to make your change are your own. Reasons can be white noise or a German death-metal opera of fury and doom. They are distracting and spike adrenaline. This is not a position of thoughtful clarity from which to start plans. Just stop. Take a walk around the block or unplug from technology for a short time or switch to an unrelated task to fire up different neurons in your brain. I’d suggest a yoga class but that can be counterproductive if it’s 11 pm or you need to find a studio, an open class, etc. Each small roadblock delays your simple objective. Stop. Stop now.
Quick, What do you want? If you can’t rattle off the bullet points at a moment’s notice the assessment step is overdue. Don’t be a beauty queen and default to “world peace” (or, happiness, family, money). What will world peace do to your life path? Great, you’ll be alive but will you thrive? After you get back from your walk around the block, find a piece of paper and a pen. We’re going analog. A journal is an even better space for this exercise (more on this later) but you can go digital if you absolutely must. That blank page might be daunting. It can hypnotize with its vast blankness. Suddenly the thoughts in your head become blank as well. Let’s take the blank space to advantage. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths in through your nose and exhale from the diaphragm. Corny? Maybe, but do it anyway. Ask yourself “What do I want?” Set a timer to go off in 10 minutes.
My blank space was stubborn so I started by backing into it. What don’t I want? I knew “no work/life balance” was a “NO” for me. I knew I didn’t want to struggle to get by. This exercise is supposed to be quick and the opposite of overwhelming so once I had a couple of don’ts I told myself I wanted to flip the script. Make these positive, not negative thoughts. I took this material and came up with a few bullet points.
Authenticity. Eesh, hate that buzzword. In my quiet, safe thought-space I didn’t want to feel like I was constantly chasing a carrot and stick laid out by a company or boss or peer pressure. Doing your own thing is powerful. This kicked off another goal to own my own destiny. That type of goal could range from being a powerful CEO or moving to a desert island but it felt important. This is a quick exercise so just write down the next inkling you have. Own your truth and move along. It doesn’t have to be perfect or pretty. Quality of life was my next tangent. I thought about how to live this fancy, authentic destiny. It’s like envisioning what you’d do if you won the lottery. We are designing our lottery winnings. A dream of owning a castle in the Scottish Highlands is in my brain but I realized my true desire was to have a “local footprint & be invested in my community”. Living in a vital, walk-able neighborhood but being disconnected from it was a glaring mismatch. If you keep up with news, St Louis needs investment and it felt like a major bullet point. Now the thoughts are starting to pick up steam. Let them flow but don’t force anything. The timer will tick down.
I had a very messy piece of paper but I put my pen down and gave myself 1-2 minutes to clean it up. Want to see my final? My aspirations felt different than other people’s but it felt right for me. Your mileage will vary.
- Own my own destiny
- Local footprint invested in community
- Shared goals in true team environment
- Unlimited growth in brand you can trust
Congratulations! We have a list. Getting this done now is better than spinning your wheels thinking about it. This will be vital for planning but that is a step for another day. We’re not filling in all the blanks yet, like the how or the when. My suggestion is to celebrate yourself and the steps you took to kick off your transformation. Marinate in that sense of accomplishment and clarity. You deserve it. Start re-framing your thinking to support your dreams. If you already had a list of goals it’s a good idea to reassess periodically. Life will always throw surprises at you but it’s good to check in.
Sleep on this list and pull it out tomorrow as more planning and road mapping come into play. You’ve got this!
Map out how you want to live your life.
- Stop – Clear your head
- Assess – Give yourself 10 minutes. Envision your personal priorities. Write these ideas down.
- Celebrate your success – Getting it done now is better than thinking about it indefinitely.
- Sleep on it.