Category : Build The Life You Want

Who Am I?

If someone asked you to describe yourself, what would you say?  It isn’t easy to tell someone else who you are in a short and precise answer. You are much more than anyone can ever see. They see your mannerisms and expressions, hear your words and observe your actions. But your private thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, fears and doubts can’t be seen. This week, begin to create a picture that expresses all that you are. Let your imagine soar by imagining you’re interviewing a famous person — you.  You might ask:

  • What hobbies do you have? What do you enjoy doing when you’re at home? What do you do for fun?
  • Who are the important people who share your life?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What do you do really well in your work?
  • What are your greatest talents? Skills? Abilities?
  • What gives you the greatest joy and you love so much that you get lost in it and lose all track of time?
  • What key principles do you hold dear and how do they manifest in your everyday actions?
  • What values are important to you, in your life and at work? How do they inspire what you say and do?

What else would you ask?  You might surprise yourself whit all that you learn about yourself by doing this exercise. Better still; ask a friend to help you with this exercise. It will be more fun.

Finding Precious Time

The concept of time is somewhat of a double-edged sword. On one hand, time is simply a unit of measure. There are twenty-four hours in a day, no more, no less. And when we look at time in terms of meaningful moments it’s easy to focus on what’s most important and ensure that we live without regret. We all realize we only have a finite amount of time to achieve all that we dream about, yet we rarely take a moment to reflect on how to make the most use of this precious time. This week, take a few moments of reflection and ask yourself what you really want to accomplish that’s near and dear to your heart. Then commit to finding 1-2 hours each day to work on your dreams.

  1. Based on my age today, what can I accomplish if I spend 1-2 hours each day to work on what really matters?
  2. How can find 1-2 hours each day to work on dreams yet unfulfilled?

Once you start, you’ll find it’s amazingly easy to find the few hours every day.  Make a “Stop Doing…” list to make more time to focus on the right priorities. Then create a “Start Doing…” list that will inspire you to take action.  With a focused list you can look forward to doing the work you most need to do.  You may even decide that you want to spend more time each day working on what really matters.  That’s when you’ll know that you are focused on the right things.

Creating An Inspiring Bucket List

The exercises you’ve done until now have likely highlighted a few areas of your life that need attention. These areas can form part of the goals you add to your bucket list. This week I invite you to think about what you really want in different aspects of your life. Forget what you need. As Author Thomas Moore says: “Admit to what you desire and what you fear… It’s all right to have grand and eccentric longings. It’s all right to be afraid. Only by embracing these two emotional pillars will you glimpse the nature of your soul, which is the ground of your existence.” Suspend the notion that wanting is being greedy and don’t allow your censoring inner voice tell you it’s impossible. Think about your goals and dreams from a perspective of no limits and allow yourself to create an inspiring bucket list.  Ask yourself what you want that gives meaning to your life in each of these aspects and jot down a few notes as to why you want it.

  1. Life Partner
  2. Family, Friends and Community
  3. Health and Leisure
  4. Vocation
  5. Financials and Home
  6. Spirituality and Sense of Self

I’m sure you have a very good list to work with.  In the coming weeks we’ll work on identifying the priorities for your list of goals and begin to set achievable and sustainable goals to achieve the success you want.

A Vision of What’s Possible

Congratulations on all the hard work you’ve done so far. I’m honoured that you’ve stayed with me until now and I hope that the exercises you did over the last few weeks have helped you to understand yourself a bit better.  This week I’m going to ask you to really stretch your imagination and think about what’s next in your life.  And I want you think about it from a perspective of: “In my wildest dreams…” Answer the questions below with what comes to mind and without any limitations or censoring.

  1. If time was infinite…
  2. If money was plentiful…
  3. My burning desire is…
  4. I want to…

Wasn’t this fun?  It is so rare that we give ourselves permission to think completely out of the box. We’re often too busy with multiple priorities that demand our attention. It is only by setting time aside to allow ourselves to dream, without limits, that we can get at the core of what our soul wants us to know. This exercise is the beginning of what’s possible for the next part of your life’s journey.

Drawing On Inspiration

We are all inspired by many things, a gorgeous sunrise or sunset, stunning beaches, the beauty in others, a great movie, beautiful music, quotes and roles models. They are important in our lives because they inspire us to be more than we can ever imagine on our own. They give us clues on what we should be doing and give us the courage to believe that what we want is possible. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

  1. What are your favourite books and why?
  2. What are your favourite quotes?
  3. What music moves your soul?
  4. What movies stir your emotions?
  5. Who are your role models, your heroes and heroines?
  6. What places inspire you?

Knowing where you draw your inspiration from can give you the courage you need to take the next step in your life.  And the best part is that they are always there to draw upon when you need inspiration.

The Roles and Events That Shape Our Lives

On any given day we play several roles at once. We can learn a great deal about ourselves by looking at these roles. The typical roles include relationships with others such as your Mother, Father, Spouse, Daughter, Brother. Professional roles might be Leader, Coach, Technician, Administrator, Nurse, Volunteer or Student. When  the roles you fill fit well in your life, you experience a higher level of satisfaction and meaning.

  1. What roles do you currently play at home?
  2. What roles do you play at work today?
  3. Which ones are deeply satisfying?
  4. What roles would your like to stop playing?
  5. Given a choice and time permitting, what other roles would you like to play?

Your past is enriched by these roles and also by the life and work  experiences that have shaped you. These experiences have either shaped your life in positive ways or shaken you to the very core. Some events may have been thrust upon you and may have had a deep impact on your life.  An example of such an event may be divorce, the death of a loved one, serious illness or tragedy. They may have changed the course of your life in ways you never imagined. These events, however difficult, teach valuable lessons at the same time that they leave lasting impressions on your soul.

  1. Looking back at the top 3 positive events of your life, how did these events shape who you are today?
  2. How did the difficult events in your life impact and shape who you are?
  3. Which events provided fresh insights, new lessons and wisdom that you now draw upon as strengths?

Appreciating The Lessons In The Milestones Of Life

Taking a look at what you’ve accomplished in your entire lifetime may feel a bit daunting, but it’s amazing what you can learn by doing just that. These milestones are rites of passage that show how you’ve grown. They also show how much you’ve learned and how far you’ve come.  It’s not uncommon to remember very little about your childhood when you begin this exercise, but in fact, you remember more than you think when you start looking back. To make it more manageable, break the milestones into chunks of life.

  1. Start jotting down all that you remember about your childhood until the age of 18 – the Toddler years, Primary school, Junior High school, High school. Think about your friends, family traditions, religious milestones, first crush, sports, awards, etc.
  2. Now think about your early adulthood, from 19-35. Think about best friends, new friends, family events, college, your first apartment, your job, your first real love, marriage or children. There may even have been world events that impacted you profoundly as well.
  3. Now that you’ve done the hardest work by looking way back, think of all the significant milestones from your mid-thirties to today.

Seeing your own timeline unfold is a wonderful reminder of just where you’ve been, how far you’ve come and what you’ve accomplished, isn’t it?  You’ll continue to surprise yourself with how much you do remember. Don’t be surprised if new recollections pop up in your mind over the next several days or weeks. Keep adding to your timeline as you remember events.

Life is a Balancing Act

Balance might best be defined as an intangible feeling or intuition that all is right in our own piece of the world or as a barometer of happiness and contentment. It is elusive perhaps because perfect balance simply does not exist. What feels like a balanced life to one person may feel very chaotic for someone else. Feeling balanced means you feel renewed, centred and committed to what’s important in your life. You’re in a better position to face challenges head on and as a result you feel less stressed. Your self-esteem and confidence are high and you feel a sense of overall well-being. In essence, it’s you at peak performance.

  1. On a scale of 1-10 with ten being very high, what is your level of balance today?
  2. What are you doing when you feel most in balance?
  3. What makes you feel out of balance?

If you find that you’re feeling out of balance, try to identify the specific areas, pick one to work on and create 3-6 small steps that you can take to regain balance in that areas.  Then do the same for other areas.

The Many Layers of Self

The journey towards living a life on purpose begins by uncovering the many layers of your own life. One of these layers is your vocation – the work you do.  Other layers include your relationships, your well-being and your spiritual self. And since life is lived multi-dimensionally, there is an interdependency that connects all of these rich layers together.  These layers call on you to express all that you can become. This week, take a few moments to answer the following questions.

  1. How well does my work contribute to my sense of well-being and sustain what’s important in other areas of my life? How does it contribute to my personal growth?
  2. The relationships in your life include your life partner, immediate and extended family, friends, business associates and co-workers. What’s working really well in your relationships today?  What areas need attention?
  3. What are you doing to maintain your well-being, physically and psychologically? What needs attention? What leisure activities bring you the greatest joy and how do they contribute to your sense of well-being?
  4. How would you define your spirituality? How does it manifest in your life and in the life of those you love? How does it support you in your everyday life?

Understanding what’s working well in different aspects of your life will give you a good sense of what you need to keep doing and begin to highlight what needs attention.

The Heroine’s Journal

If you could take a peek at your heroine’s personal journal, what would you find? I bet you would find an inspiring journal and a package of colourful pens and pencils, tucked away in a special place.

It seems right that if we are to start our own heroine’s journey the first thing we need are the same tool as our heroine. Think of your journal as a blank canvas to create your future self. The action of putting pen to paper is powerful and brings clarity to the jumbled thoughts that occupy the mind, especially in this incessant, on-demand world we live in. It lets your creativity flow uncensored and acts as a form of feedback analysis from you to you, like a mirror reflecting back.

In this journal, you can pretend, without risks, try things on and dream big about what you picture yourself doing. You can dare yourself to admit, “Yes I can do this.” The act of making your ideas visible is the beginning of a promise to yourself to reach for your full potential. Select a journal that will inspire your best work. Make it elaborate or keep it simple. It’s yours to create, your own work of art.

Taking Your Very Own Heroine’s Journey

A wise professor once asked: “How can we know where we’re going if we don’t understand where we’ve been?” Taking a hero’s journey allows us to do just that – to consider where we’ve been and what we’ve accomplished so that we create goals that are inspiring and aligned with where we want to go.

Life is lived at warp speed today and it’s easy to spend all your energies in reaction mode, doing what needs to be done and forgetting about your most important goals.  But at what cost?  When you’re too busy living you lose yourself in the process.  You need time to step back, reflect and plan more intentionally for what’s next.  By taking stock you can:

  1. Look at what’s working well in your life and build on it.
  2. Identify what needs attention in different aspects of your life.
  3. Understand what values and principles guide your life and work.
  4. Understand the challenges that keep getting the way.
  5. Learn to draw on your inner strengths and wisdom.

Why don’t you give yourself the gift of time and take stock of your life to see what emerges. You’ll amaze yourself with all that you’ve accomplished and what’s working well.  You’ll gain clarity on what you need to pay more attention to.  You’ll embark on your very own journey. All aboard!

Yeah Baby! I’m Living The Dream!

If we’re all “living the dream”, why are we so miserable? We feel more disconnected from our dream life today than we ever did. You can hear it everywhere. “I feel stuck and my life is going nowhere.” “I hate my job.” “I’m overworked and stressed out.” “I’m bored.” “I’m frustrated, angry and scared.” “I’m depressed.” “I wish I could just run away from it all.” “I need to get a life.”

Living the dream! Yeah right! We’re too darn busy working, raising families and making ends meet to have time to think about anything else, much less chasing our dreams. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results then it makes sense to change what you’re doing. Hope will only take us so far. But still, we hope that we can get away from the everyday grind for a few moments to focus on the pursuit of unfulfilled dreams. Hope is what gets us out of bed in the morning.

To make meaningful changes in your life, the first step is to make a “stop doing” list. Then ask yourself what’s most important in your life right now. And finally, ask yourself how you achieve the one goal or dream that’s most important to you now. It’s much easier to take small steps that fit your already busy schedule. You’ll also have more energy as you build momentum and start seeing the progress you’re making.

What do I want?
1. What have I accomplished so far? You’ll amaze yourself with all you’ve done.
2. What unfinished business do I still have?
3. What do I really want out of my life and why it is important?
4. What dreams can I realistically pursue, given the current priorities in my life?

How can I make it happen?
5. How can I break these dreams down into manageable goals?
6. How can I break these goals into even smaller chunks so I don’t get overwhelmed?
7. What can I do to stay focused on my goals? Ex: Give up an hour of TV? Get up earlier?
8. Who can I ask for help as I work towards my goals?
9. What can I do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to stay focused?
10. What can I do to recognize the progress I’m making and celebrate my accomplishments?

Too often we give up on our dreams because life gets in the way or doesn’t unfold as planned. Priorities change and stuff happens. The truth is that life is rarely lived in a linear fashion; it is usually lived in a spiral, with many twists and turns. But it is precisely through these twists and turns that we force ourselves to make a choice to either keep pursuing our dreams or give up. Living the dream is about having the courage to keep moving and seeing possibilities in the obstacles we face.

When we make the decision to pursue the dreams that are important, we find a renewed sense of energy. It no longer feels like we have added more on our to-do list. Rather, it recharges the old batteries and breathes new energy into our life. Sometimes we have to dig deep and find the courage to bring about the change that is needed, but we owe it to ourselves and to our loved one to create the life of our dreams.