I sat at the top of Mount Sonder last week, witnessing the birth of a day over the desert. Colour seeped through the dark until the golden orb blazed awake. Another day a gift to enjoy! So many possibilities, so much delight. A true sense of being boundless.
Life continues with or without our approval: the sun rises, the wind trails its fingers along the earth’s surface. Birds do their thing, as do the trees, grass, rivers and oceans. It is all such a miracle and a gift to savour.
And yet we become oblivious to the sheer gorgeousness of it all.
We get wrapped in routine, cocooned in comfortable, and immersed in our own niggling and persistent woes.
The stories we tell about our lives affects the quality of our experience. How we create ourselves in the narrative of our life matters. Do we see ourselves as hapless victims, at the mercy of dispassionate Fate?
Or do we see ourselves as captains of our own ship, setting course for unknown and distant shores?
When we put ourselves front and centre in the starring role of the movie of our life, which has a one hundred year running time, it sharpens our focus.
The human experience is a mere blink in the experience of the universe! Let’s have some fun while we’re here!
And so we come to the present moment. It’s an opportunity to set a new quest. To claim a new sense of authorship over our experience. To determine a new goal, a new result we want to achieve, a new sense of who we are and who we might become.
So let’s set a quest from now through to the end of the year.
Here are some Quest Guidelines:
Determine who you want to be.
All results come from conceiving a future state, and requires us to the that person now. Identity drives actions, and actions determine results. What values does your future self hold? What do they believe about themselves? The world? Others? What routines and habits do they have? Create a clear picture of this person, future you, so it can become NOW You.
If you don’t do this work first, you’ll never get the results you want.
Choose the results you wish to experience.
Future you has some pretty cool experiences and results to enjoy. What are they? Get clear on the end game. What’s good about it? Why is it meaningful? What does it look like? Sound like? Feel like? Taste like?
When you bring the end game to life in vivid detail it becomes more real and attainable for you.
Things will happen that will want to derail you. Things like other people. Other people can be threatened by your change. If you are undertaking a significant quest, it can push their jealousy buttons. People want to keep you in a box that is familiar because familiar is safe. Be prepared for this resistance. Know what to say when naysayers cut you down.
Prepare for your own self-sabotage. Your inner gremlin doesn’t like change anymore than the naysayers! Know that the gremlin will want to get in the driver’s seat and steer you off course. Be ready for this. When they start their negative self-talk and seductive chat of ‘just give up’, be ready to acknowledge them and invite them in to the passenger seat to enjoy the ride. New You is in charge.
Undertaking a quest means gaining something incredible! Whatever the results you choose, be they business goals, or person fitness goals, this gain will also mean a loss.
What are you prepared to lose in order to gain the results of the quest? You might give up negative self-talk, self-sabotage, worry, doubt, fear. You might give up excess weight, fatigue, and disappointment.
You might also have to give up chocolate, butter, alcohol. Or sleeping in. Or watching two hours of Netflix every night.
A quest means leaving familiar shores so one of the most important things you are going to have give up is being comfortable. Be prepared to be uncomfortable! Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. As the storm winds come up, lean into them.
Just get started. No one needs to know what you’re doing. Don’t let the naysayers chip away at you before you even get going.
Set up the habits and routines of the Future You and take some baby steps to test it out. Want to run a marathon? Get your running gear and head out for a few mornings each week, walking or shuffling, getting used to what Marathon You does on a daily basis. The habit matters first. Amp it up later. Under promise and over deliver. This is the best way not to freak out the gremlin.
Don’t go hard ass on yourself. A quest is about getting us to explore who we might be, to play with the edge of possibility, to remind us that we are boundless creatures, that we can experience and create a multiplicity of future selves. You can’t stuff it up! Being alive is already the greatest achievement! So enjoy it.