Creating the life you wish for, starts with the challenge of uncovering what you want. As children, we follow in the footsteps of parents and teachers. We accept their guidance and wisdom about what courses to take, what sports to play, and what hobbies to have. As we grow older, we often choose our careers and even our life partners based on ideals set by our role models.
Many of my clients have followed in the footsteps of their families in their professional choices, enduring the tradition of Law, engineering, or even medicine. It would be unthinkable to do it any other way!
At what point do we stop following other people’s thoughts or beliefs?
When do we decide that perhaps the path, we are on is not for us?
These are the questions we fear the most because they challenge what we have learnt. Especially when in the eyes of others, we have everything we need to be happy. But this is not how we feel! And we do not even dare to assume it for fear of being criticised by the people from whom we seek validation.
Questioning our most basic beliefs is fundamental to developing and finding ourselves. Otherwise, our lives will unfold within the lines set by others. We will never go beyond the boundaries imposed on us as children. We feel disconnected and with the same type of living. We ask ourselves if life is just this. It seems to have no meaning. A meaning.
Creating a meaningful life where you feel who you really are, requires entering unknown territory!
To be aware of your purpose is a current topic and a desire of people who feel unhappy in their ’empty’ working life.
Questioning whether you are on the right track is the easy part. Listening to your genuine answer is the difficult task. Your head will have one answer, but your heart, your intuition, will have another. Fear will arise to keep you going in the current direction, while your will challenges you into another. You need to quiet your mind so you can observe and identify what inspires you, your interests, and what comes naturally to you. Features that you have, give you clues to the right direction. Being able to develop a sense of self when going through several situations. To look for the mind-body or mind-heart alignment.
But we are afraid of being wrong.
We are afraid of failing.
Are your desires important enough to help you to deal with fears?
Do you really want to?
The choice is yours.
You can choose to change your attitude:
from resignation to commitment,
from a state of fear to a state of intention, self-respect, value.
The first step is to question yourself by changing your statements into questions.
Change from ‘I am a failure’ to ‘how can I achieve what I want?’ Change from ‘I am exhausted’ to ‘how can I make my life more interesting?’ Change from ‘my life doesn’t make a difference’ to ‘how can I make a difference?’
Our need to be certain, and to feel secure, creates obstacles to committing to the life we long for.
Let me challenge this perspective:
- Would you rather be right about being someone incapable and lacking capacity or be wrong about your ability to be capable of something important?
- Would you rather stay in a job you do not like for the rest of your life or take a chance on a project that excites you?
- If you knew you only had a year to live, would you do what you are doing now? Would you make the same life choices?
If you are reading this text, we both know the answers to these questions.
A key factor for a meaningful life is commitment.
Most of us do not commit to what we want. We wish for a better life, a better job, and a fit body. But nothing happens. We are lying to ourselves. We want a healthy lifestyle, but we remain the same. We desire a relationship, but we do not go out. We feel comfortable with the status quo. But when we realise that no one will come to save us or do it for us, and our frailties remain whether we like it or not, then we realise that we are the ones responsible for reaching our potential.
I will share a practical example that explains what I want to tell you. In the early years of the Career Redesignâ project, hardly anyone knew about it. I was supporting people as I continued working on change management projects in companies. I kept saying I wanted to bring the project to more people. I also knew that writing a book would contribute to this. I could help others through it. But that meant more exposure.
Something I feared. Yes, that’s right! I was afraid of exposure. I was afraid of what people would think of me if they knew my story. I was afraid of the reaction of my family. I fought this idea as much as I could.
Once, in an interview I did to the journalist Pedro Rolo Duarte on Antena 1, about stories of change, something unexpected happened. I received messages from people who felt inspired and because of that, they made new decisions in their lives. That’s when I broke the deadlock and finally went ahead with writing a book. That’s when I got a motive – to pass on the message that it is possible and that we all go through ups and downs. It was the most important to me to please the readers and not those who did not always believe in me!
And here I am today. Increasingly committed and increasingly living the life I set out to live, which has nothing to do with the life of any other family member!
Keeping the commitment and honouring it is very difficult. How many times have I thought of giving up? After having come so far. But if I feel that what I do makes me grow and contributes to improving the lives of others, I can’t give up. It’s already 9 years and hundreds of people have succeeded based on their commitment to change their lives and today live in a more aligned way. When I question my commitment, I remember these people, their stories, and the extraordinary difference they are making in the World. So, it is time to move on and honour my commitment.
Don’t be afraid if you don’t know what you want yet. Practically all of us go through this stage when we realise that the life, we lead is not ours! Simply fulfil the commitment to live to your potential. In the present. The commitment to your decision to discover and create a more meaningful life will lead you to places you have never been, to books you have never read, and to people who will support you.
There is a Buddhist saying, ‘when the student is ready, the teacher appears’. The teacher can be a colleague, an entrepreneur, a friend, and a mentor, but also a toxic boss, a partner with whom the relationship did not work out. They all mirror something about you that you need to pay attention to.
I often come across people, in sessions, who have left their professional paths due to their relationship with their bosses. There is a pattern that repeats itself. They choose challenges led by a certain type of people, never having stopped to notice that, and learn from it. To know how to read the signs, to be different in relationships, and to influence the dynamics of the relationship.
Be a warrior if you want to express your dreams. How many people want their dreams to come true but are held back by their fears and resignation?
Do you know who succeeds? Those who map out a plan of action. Who commit themselves and act. This is the road to a life with more light, to live in truth.
Of course, internal assumptions or repetitive thoughts block us from that commitment. For example:
- I have no skills or experience,
- It is not what was supposed to happen at this stage of my life,
- I’ve already spent a lot of money on training this year. I’m not going to do the programme that puts me on the path to transformation,
- I don’t have the resources to do it,
- I should get a proper job.
Those pseudo-conscious internal statements guide our decision-making processes, and guess what? They block us, keeping us safe and secure, giving us time not to honour the decision to create the life we say we want for ourselves.
Challenge these statements (the ones I listed above), turn them into questions, and you’ll see how your decision process changes: For example:
- What skills do I already have? Which ones should I acquire?
- That’s my reality now. What adjustments should I make to feel complete?
- How can I organise myself to do this programme quicker and be closer to clarity?
- I have already tried this path. It’s the one that got me here, so now it’s time to define the work I want to do that fulfils me.
The decision to change your life, it’s a serious one. Many people like to talk about it, but do not want to give up behaviours that trap them. Changing your life means searching for meaning and peace. Only you have the answers and the ability to change your life.
You will need commitment.
You will need a plan.
You will need to act.
You need to observe yourself and learn what your blocking statements are, and turn them into questions.
Walking the path is what will bring clarity and fulfilment. So, start….
Article based on chapter 10 ‘A life worth living’ from the book ‘The dark side of the light chasers’ by Debbie Ford.