+ a Visioning Worksheet for you at the end--the most worthwhile 30 minutes you’ll ever spend!
Something I feel all too often... and hear oh-so frequently from the people I work with is that “Life is too busy,” or “I can’t find the time.”
And mind you, generally, what we can’t find time for, are important things--things we really want to do, things that make our lives easier in the long run, things that enable us to connect with the people we love, things that are really important.
This can leave you feeling like life is a rat-race where you move from one distraction to the next. Like you have no control over the course your life takes.
And so recently, rather than succumb to this notion that life is way too busy and that I don’t have time for all the things I want to accomplish, I implemented a time-management system that had been recommended to me by many-a mentor. I won’t bore you with the details (it’s called the 12-Week Year, for those of you who are interested in reading more) but I do want to share with you one incredibly powerful exercise--the first step towards accomplishing your ideal lifestyle (whether or not you are implementing the entire system).
At the end of this post, you can download my Visioning Worksheet that walks you step by step through this process so you can focus on what is truly important to you. It’s the most worthwhile 30 minutes you’ll ever spend.
In order to change the way your life is unfolding--be that to make life less crazy, to create more space and time around the important things or to accomplish more--you have to have a strong emotional stake in the outcome. Most of us mere mortals will take comfortable actions over discomfort--duh. Unfortunately, important actions are often uncomfortable. In order to change your current situation, you have to sacrifice your own short-term comfort.
In other words, the secret to living your life to its full potential, is valuing the important stuff above your own comfort.
You may ask how all of that is related to decluttering, living intentionally in your own home or creating positive Feng Shui to better support your life? Well, I’ll tell you. The work I do with people, enabling them to live in inspired homes, surrounding themselves with space (and eventually time) to focus on what is important… is not always comfortable in the beginning.
The good news is that the first step in compelling yourself to take action, to do the important things--rather than remaining in your comfort zone--is simply put: dream big.
You have to create a vision of the future that is compelling enough that you want it even more than you desire your own short term comfort.
What do you want to achieve? What do you need to do to feel fulfilled in this lifetime? What do you want for yourself, for your family: spiritually, professionally, personally. What do you really want to do with the time you’ve been given?
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life” --Mary Oliver
Your vision must be larger than the present and you must be emotionally attached to it. Without that, there is no reason to go through the pain of change. This is a vision you will create twice: first mentally and then physically. Despite popular belief, the mental creation is the biggest barrier to success. It is important to be clear about what you want to create. Don’t focus simply on one aspect of your life--like your career. When your vision is one that encompasses your life in its entirety, that vision gives traction and relevance to the work you do. First, you create a whole life vision, then you align your work in a way that enables that personal vision.
To create that shift in your life, to live that life you dream of: one that is not cluttered with unimportant things, one that allows you to focus on what is in front of you, where what is in front of you is there because it is important to you… doing that work fully involves going through the pain of change--a shift in both your physical space and in your mindset or emotional space.
In order to create shifts, breakthroughs for yourself in your life, you will have to move through fear, uncertainty and discomfort. Your personal vision is what will keep you moving along when the going gets tough. A compelling vision is something you are passionate about, that clearly articulates the life you want to live.
When you are emotionally connected to your vision, it becomes easy to take the next step toward realizing it.
“All my life I wanted to be somebody, now I see I should have been more specific.”--Lily Thomlin
Here’s where things get really interesting: The 12-week Year cites ground breaking research that gives us incredible insights into how to use your brain in order to more easily live the life you dream of.
There is a part of your brain called the Amygdala. It’s job is to react negatively when you face uncertainty or risk. Turns out, when you imagine a future that is vastly different from the present, you experience uncertainty because you don’t know how to create said future. That is the Amygdala kicking in. The part of the brain that avoids risk not only gets in the way of, but actively seeks to prevent you from those unknown circumstances.
When you imagine a big, bold future that stretches you out of your comfort zone, the Amygdala shuts down the process before you are able to do anything reckless.
The good news is that the Pre-Frontal Cortex (or PFC) is another part of your brain that counter-balances the Amygdala. The PFC lights up when you see a beautiful sunset or imagine your future greatness. Your brain has incredible capacity for change and growth--the areas you use most frequently grow in terms of size and neuro-connections. (The field of neuro-plasticity is fascinating.) “The bad news is that unless you intentionally engage the PFC, you are strengthening the portion of your brain that resists change and keeps you stuck. The good news, is that you can change your brain simply by what you think about.” (12-Week Year) When you frequently and regularly thinking about your compelling future, the neurons that fire are the same ones that will fire when you act on your vision.
You can train you brain to act on your vision simply by thinking about it.
That is WILD stuff right there. For those of you who skimmed all the brain-talk, it all boils down to this: The first, vital, step to creating the life you dream of is to envision your future greatness and be sure to remain emotionally connected to that future. When you think of a change, and fear is the first response, backtrack and envision your greatest desires.
Allow yourself to be in awe of your dreams.
The next thing you need, is the plan to get there. I know, that’s kinda daunting. But remember the mental creation is the biggest barrier to your own success. So let’s first focus on that. One thing at a time.
So let’s do that. Right now... this evening when things have quieted down... or first thing tomorrow morning, find 30 minutes to yourself, print out your Visioning Worksheet, fix yourself your favorite cup-of-something-warm and cozy up in a good dreaming spot.
Remember, a compelling vision is the first step towards realizing your own potential. So stop putting off your own greatness. Take this one step, right now, towards realizing your biggest desires.
And then the plan part…
Well, if your vision is one that requires you to shift your time-management around your business or personal pursuits, you can learn more about the 12-Week Year (Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months). Subscribe on their website to receive the free Getting Started course.
If your vision is one that requires you to have less stuff weighing you down, requiring your time, filling your space and cluttering your mind… if your vision is one that allows you more breathing room, more spaciousness, more flow... then you’re in the right place.
You can take that first step towards your new spacious self by signing up for the Free 5-Day Closet Challenge, June 3-7.
This quarterly challenge is so freakin’ awesome and packs in so much value, that is is not going to be free forever.
If you are looking for a grander plan, that involves tackling your space as a whole so that it is clutter free forever (gasp… is that possible?!) and easy to maintain then take a look at my: Clear Your Space, Clear Your Mind Course and schedule a time to talk with me so we can determine if the course is a good fit for you.
But first things first: Print out your Visioning Worksheet.
Get clear on what you want out of this one precious life of yours.
Then see where it takes you.