I am more and more present to the fact that people have a really hard time being objective in their life and realizing what they need to do in order to help them get to a place where they feel fulfilled. I am not saying this like I have it all figured out, but I often see people stuck and making the same mistakes over and over and not getting any closer to the things they claim they want for their life and that makes me feel like something might be missing for them. Maybe they don’t see how they are caught up in a cycle or know how to get out.
I suppose I have been as guilty as most people in this and I have also found ways to get me back on track. I thought I would share a generalized version for the benefit of all:
- Pay Attention to How You Feel. If you feel any negative emotion (sad, angry, frustrated), then you are probably off track with your purpose in life. Nothing wrong with that. You just have to get to a point where you are present enough to acknowledge that you are off track. Realize it so that you can do something about it. If you are feeling great and/or better and better every day, you are probably moving in the right direction. However, if you are off track, you are going to want to get back on track as soon as possible. How do you do that?
- Establish a Life Vision. You need some idea of what you want your life to look like. You need a destination. This destination or goal may be obvious to you or it may not. It took me a while to figure out what my ideal life would be and it is actually a pretty simple one. You can also use how you feel to hone in on this. If the vision excites you or makes you feel peaceful and content, you are probably in alignment with the direction you need to be heading. Once you have this vision or goal in mind, you have a guide for your life. You can make decisions based on if it gets you closer to your goal or helps you learn something that will get you closer. Once you have this vision, if you can hold onto it and the feeling you get from thinking about it, you will undoubtedly want to take actions that move you towards it.
Whenever I am feeling off track – sad, angry, frustrated – I re-orient myself towards my goal. I don’t beat myself up for being off track. I don’t blame others for getting me off track. I just try to figure out what happened so that I can avoid that in the future. Then, I figure out what I need to do to get myself back on track, even if it is the teeniest, tiniest step.
- Think and Plan. If you have a vision of what you want your life to be, you are going to have think about how to achieve it. You will likely have to sacrifice some things in your life to get there –whether that being setting aside extra time to learn things, spending money on classes or to purchase materials, or whatever else it might be. It is good to find someone who has achieved what you want and see what they did. It doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing, but if they got the result you want then they have blazed a path that you can follow. You have to keep thinking, though, and be adaptive when things do not work as planned.
- Take Action. Do what you can and the more you do, the more you will find that you can do.
- Act from a Place of Love. This is important to me and I think it is an important thing to implement in order to reduce drama in your life so that you can focus on your life vision.
For me, I realize that I have no control over how people react to anything I do, but I know that if I am acting from a place of love in my actions, then whatever someone else’s reaction is, it came from something in them – that they are projecting something onto me. That doesn’t mean I ignore it or tell them they are wrong. Most times I just hear what they say and try to get why they interpreted it that way. Usually, there is nothing to do but tell them that I am sorry that what I said or did made them feel that way and mean it. As an introvert, I have often felt alienated and outside the norm and I would not want to do something that would make someone feel less than the awesome that they are. Sometimes that is enough, sometimes not. This is not always easy and the places and people where it is most difficult are likely the places where you can learn and grow.
I suppose there is a lot more that I can say about all this, but the intention here was to keep it basic and, hopefully, still useful. I would love to see what the world would look like if people were all spiraling upward towards the life they want to live. I don’t think it would be perfect all the time. We would all still cycle through ups and downs. It is the contrast of things, after all, that help us distinguish the good from the not so good. I do think we would be more productive, though, and efficient. Not that I think we would be working all the time either, or, if we were, it wouldn’t feel like work. We would all be creating and adding to the world and enjoying the game, the challenge, and the beauty of becoming something more than what we were the day before.
My friend Dave Baldwin and I created the 30 Day Experiment: The Life Quest Playbook as a way for folks to work through some of the things we have encountered over our years of self help exploration. You can find it on Amazon.
Note from Sheila Lee Brown: I feel that the best way people connect and learn are through each other’s stories. I share what I share because this is part of my story and I hope it contains some usefulness for others. I would love to see your comments on this topic – your successes or failures – so that I can learn from you as well.