I am currently reading “Simplicity and Success: Creating the Life You Long For” by Bruce Elkin. In his book, Bruce talks about how while most people say they want spend their life creating, they confess that they spend most of their time reacting or responding to problems. What do you do first thing in the morning? Do you start your day by creating, or do you begin by checking your emails, taking care of your kids or others, or working on a deliverable that is due?
The downside of living our lives reacting to problems is that we focus on what we don’t want. It’s something that has been ingrained in us, because that’s the way we have been conditioned. Our society values problem solving. Also, we may have used negative visions to scare ourselves into action, as a way to motivate ourselves. But when we focus on what we don’t want, chances are we attract more of it.
So that leaves us with focusing on what we DO want. Unfortunately, we may not know what it is that we truly want, since we have been so busy making others happy and catering to their needs, that we haven’t taken the time to figure out and pursue our own needs, wants, passions and dreams. Or we may have simply dismissed what we truly want as unrealistic and never took action on it.
What can you do to start actively creating your life? First, you can start by exploring what you want. Write down answers to questions like:
- What kind of work do I love doing?
- What kind of people do I enjoy working with?
- What location do I like to work in?
- What makes work satisfying and fulfilling?
- What makes it meaningful?
- What would success look like for me?
- What kind of relationships do I want to have with friends and family?
- How do I want to spend my leisure time?
Do not worry about what is possible. That is the biggest obstacle that I see that stops people in their track. Come up with a vision that inspires you and moves you into action. You don’t know what is possible, until you create it.
The second thing you can do is start practicing not to lead your life focusing on solving problems, but on creating. A simple way to do that is to start your day by consciously choosing what you will focus on. When I first sit down at my desk in the morning, I have a notebook where I look at my priorities and action items and then plan and write down what I will focus on for the day. Choose a daily ritual that works for you – you may do this on the train while commuting or after dropping off your kids. What matters is doing it daily, so it becomes a habit. Of course, things may come up throughout the day, but that way, you can get started on high priority items first and make sure that you make time for things that are important to you.