Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How to start

The person who this blog is for today knows who they are.
The story that can be applied to many, many others - is how to get to the start line.

If you have ever watched other people succeed and justified a lack of action on your part because of your perceived inability to do what they have done...

If you have ever withdrawn because your best effort 'wasn't good enough' for someone else...

If you are unhappy right this moment and don't know what or how to change...

this blog is for YOU.

There are some hard truths you are going to have to face, and some tough steps to take - but the good news is that we can take a seemingly overwhelming process, and break it down into bite-size steps.

1. Look around you and write down 2 lists. Be as honest as you can, and do this exercise by yourself. List 1 - what would you change about your life right now (your house, your friends, your weight, your energy levels, your bank account, your spouse or marital situation, your job, your daily routine, everything). List 2 - of the same things, what would you keep exactly as is? Take accountability for BOTH lists. One is what you need to change and the other is what you've done well, but both lists are within your control and speak to how you have exerted control over the direction of your life thus far.
2. From list 1 - write down exactly as you'd like those things to be... turn the biggest things you need to change into an initial set of goals for yourself.
3. Prioritize your goals. What do you feel is a bigger determinant of your overall happiness and well-being? This needs to be a higher priority goal. What are the obstacles to achieving these goals? Clearly identify where you think you'll struggle before the breakdowns occur.
4. Create your own scoreboard for success. Don't list your husband's goals or your bosses goals for you as your own. What is 100% within your own control that does not involve the approval of other people that is important to you? Whether you are a single young person, a leader of a family, or the Prime Minister, you need goals that are yours and yours alone. Without these, we compromise our very identity and we don't learn who we are or who we want to or could become.
5. Sticking with your prioritization, create a plan to achieve every goal you've set. It might be today, it might be next week, it might be in 35 years - but no plan = little or no chance of success.
6. As you look through your goals and your plan to achieve them, where is there alignment? Do you see a list of goals centered around one area of your life? When you look through what you hope to achieve in the next while (or the rest of your life), what sense of purpose comes to mind as a theme to all or most of these goals?
7. If you are able to gain better semblance of what you want to do (big picture = purpose or vision) and what you need to do to get there (steps; planning stages and mini-goals), you are almost there. The next step is to ask who is along for the ride? Who can help you get there? Who is holding you back? Who doesn't fit in with what you've laid out and who needs to fit in somehow or some way? Be realistic in your assessment because otherwise you compromise...
8. Spend more time with those who are like-minded, going somewhere, and can help you get where to need to go; and spend less with those who would rather see you unhappy, are holding you back, or who stifle your growth through coddling, lobster-friend behaviours, or one-up-manship. Be around who you want to be and remember right now you are around who you are right now... spend your time wisely, and let your relationships be a reflection of your growth and your potential.
9. Gauge your progress and re-evaluate the plan (steps 1 - 8) often. Don't run the marathon first and look to see if you stayed on course second. Stubbornness is rarely a virtue as I can attest firsthand.
10. Find a way to help others find their peace. Step 10 is quite simply - give back by paying it forward. One of my favorite quotes, "the purpose of life is a life of purpose" - Robin Sharma.

Step zero (the start line) is to get busy doing. Catch yourself if your mind wants to put this off until tomorrow. Today is the path to a new person and a better life. Tomorrow is the path to exactly where you have already been. The only way to be fulfilled long term, is to get a little uncomfortable right now.

Go start your lists.

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