Do you create your life, or does life happen to you? When my life was most chaotic, I would wake up with minimal time to get ready for work. I was working for a company that selected me from a pool of executive candidates and I felt privileged to work there – not because it was a great environment, but because I was the candidate whom they selected. I felt “lucky” to be there. As I learned about the job expectations of the new position and was “trained” into the role, and I would shoe-horn my talents, skills, and gifts to fit, instead of fitting the job around my abilities.
My family life was unintentional as well. We would schedule an annual vacation, but besides that single vacation, we would just make it through the weeks to get to the weekend, then drink and eat our way through the weekend, and dread the week ahead. My wife Angie and I basically lived day-to-day. Each day was about making it to the next day. We survived our days, weeks, and years. We thrived in no area except finances. For some reason, companies kept paying me more and more, and as our income and savings account increased, our lives fell apart more and more… until it all crashed down around us. That’s when we knew we had to rebuild everything, and that’s when we decided to shift from a life that we had to live to a life we get to live. We decided to create our new life – intentionally.
Living intentionally means creating a life that you desire to live instead of settling for whatever comes at you. Living intentionally means knowing what value you bring to the world, and making sure others feel honored that you are sharing that value with them. Living intentionally means only doing things and making choices that serve your best interests, and knowing you deserve the very best that life has to offer. Living intentionally means owning your life and your outcomes.
Start by creating a plan that you know will serve your long-term desires and begin shifting your existing life around that vision. When I began my shift, I was starting from a clean slate. I had no job, no income, and my family had fallen apart. I had nothing to lose. In some strange way, I felt like this gave me an advantage in that I wasn’t afraid to lose anything. I had no existing circumstances to lose except material possessions and bills that kept eating away at my savings account.
By creating a vision for your health, relationships, career, and wealth, you can begin creating daily and weekly actions which, when consistently accomplished, will help you build the life you want. When I began my journey, I got clear on how I wanted to feel in and about my body. At the time, I was a 300-pound alcoholic, and I hated myself. I wanted to feel fit, strong, and clean, so I created the intention to work out every day, eat only lean meats, veggies, and fruits, and to consume zero alcohol. Each day, I checked in with myself through an accountability phone application called Strides, and each day before bed, I made sure to give myself mental and emotional credit for a day well-lived.
I intended to build healthier relationships with my wife and children, so each day I intended to affirm each of them in some way that allowed them to feel appreciated, loved, and accepted. I intended to build a coaching business, so each day I required myself to reach out to two people to add value to their lives and request referrals, and I posted positive messages on Facebook and LinkedIn to help people see my messages. Occasionally, I would invite them to connect with me for support.
From intending to create health, relationships with my family, and a coaching business as I envisioned, something strange happened – they all began to build according to my vision. I was not allowing life to happen to me. I was creating and living a life on purpose and by design. For 43 years, I was a “victim” of what showed up, and now I was making things happen for me. I took control of each area of my life in an intentional way. I was the one who decided – not anyone else – what my days would look like. I began to own my decisions and choices, and my life honored my vision.
Creating the Life You Get To Live
Creating a vision for your life is not as difficult as it might sound. You just need to take some time and create some space in order to identify the life you will get to live, instead of taking the scraps that come at you. You’ll be surprised how much the universe meets you where you are when you get clear about what you want. Here are the categories to consider:
- Spiritual Life
- Hobbies and Recreation
- Financial Health
- Other Material Possessions
- Ongoing Education
To begin, pretend you can have anything you want and get clear in each of these areas of life. I’ve run hundreds of people through this exercise, and there are only two reasons that people struggle with creating a vision about what they really desire: they are afraid that they’ll be disappointed, so they dream small, and they don’t feel worthy of what they desire. Let’s be clear: you deserve everything you desire, and you can decide any time you are truly ready to begin creating the life you get to live instead of the life you feel you have to live.
A Single Decision
And it begins with a single decision to begin living an intentional life. I did it, and sometimes I struggle to believe I actually get to live the life that I live. My mother and father taught me that life needs to be hard, but it’s not. We might believe that it is and you’ll find difficulty everywhere. As soon as you are ready to accept that life can be easy – and you can create anything you desire – you’ll begin to step into an easy life, as well. But only you can decide for yourself.
What’s your get to?