“If you don’t have a plan for your life; someone else does.” – Tony Robbins
I’ve always been that “go with the flow” person. That type who looks at people with five year plans and declares, that’s simply not how I roll! When I reflected on my current situation, I realized, I was living in a constant state of inertia. Always plunging ahead, with little clarity on where I was headed. Unless, of course, it was that trip I was going to take, or that hike I had planned six months out. Then, I had everything planned to a tee.
It was a glorious early spring day. The sun was shining in Vancouver, and everyone was enjoying an afternoon walk on the sea wall. But, amidst all this beauty, a funny thing was happening all around me. As groups passed by, many discussed the same topic:
“Where are you going next?” “Hey! What’s your next travel destination?” “What trips do you have planned for this summer?”
These days, the majority of 20 somethings to 30 somethings suffer from the same ailment – an insatiable travel bug that makes you live in the FUTURE and not in the moment you are in RIGHT NOW. But…
When you spend more time planning your upcoming vacation, versus your every day life, regrets, problems, and disappointment, are coming for you friends.
The disappointments start small. First, it’s that nagging whisper in the back of your mind: “I should have did that today.” But, before you know, these whispers become a yell, and they start piling up like bags of garbage. This goes on for months, then years, and then, all those whispers morph into one thought that haunts in you in the middle of the night “what have I accomplished in my life?” Sometimes this comes as a midlife crisis when you have some time to pull yourself together. Many times, it comes at the end of your life, when there’s no time left. Here’s the shocker:
98% of people die feeling unfulfilled.
I know this seems dramatic, but, this is IMPORTANT!! And I’m TRYING TO SCARE YOU. Because, before you see the light, you need to feel the pain. I felt like I was going down that path. The thought of getting to the end of my life and not accomplishing what I wanted, woke me the hell up.
So, how can you wake yourself up? I’m hoping that little 98% fact up there did something, but if you’re anything like me, you’re going to need something bigger. My wake up call happened in January. Another year had passed, I had written down a few goals in the beginning of 2018, and achieved maybe one or two. I was so disappointed in myself, the whispers taunting me.
But, that feeling of disappointment is not going to get you moving. Because disappointment generally works in the opposite way, it demotivates. You start saying things to yourself like “well, maybe I’m not that type of person.” “Maybe I was born to be mediocre?” “I just wasn’t born with drive, grit, motivation, those OTHER people have.” I know, I’ve been there, and I’ve said ALL of these things to myself.
So these are a few exercises that helped me get out of my head, and into my life:
- I want you to visualize your life in the future. I want you to see yourself continuing on the path that you’re on. I want the visualization to be detailed, I want you to write it down. I not only want you to write it down, I want you to feel the emotions that you will experience if you get 10, 20, 50 years down the road and you’re still in this state of inertia. I want you to do this day after day, until that pain overcomes any excuses that are holding you back from living the life you want.
2. Now that the pain is real, I want you to do something fun. I want you to visualize the person you want to be. What does that person do on a daily basis, how do they act, how do they dress, how do they treat other people? I want you to let your mind run wild! No dream is too big! This is your visualization, you can make it whatever you want! Again, I want you to write this down in GREAT detail, the details are important! I want you to either write, or read this to yourself EVERY day until you believe it.
3. According to Brendan Burchard, when people near the end of their lives, no matter what, they ask three key questions to themselves, they are:“Did I live? Did I love? Did I Matter?” If you’re having trouble with perspective, I would try to keep these questions in your head, or even better, write these questions down and put them on a post it on your bathroom mirror.
Visualization is powerful. Did you know? That the brain encodes an imagined experience just the same as a real one? I’m not going to take credit for this exercise. I believe I might have gotten the first part about “feeling the pain” from Tony Robbins, and the second part about “dreaming big” from Rachel Hollis. And, I’m sure, they got this exercise from someone else. In the end, it doesn’t really matter, because this visualization has made a huge difference in my life, and I believe it can do the same for you.
I won’t share everything I visualized for myself, I’m not sure I’m ready to put that out into the world yet. But a few things I’m willing to share are: I visualized being a person who works out six days a week, no excuses. And you know what? I’ve showed up for myself every week.
I also imagined a person who’s not afraid to share and connect with people. Who has a large community around them. Well, I have been pushing myself to connect more, and this blog is part of that bigger picture.
I also visualized taking out my kayak every day from my condo on False Creek in Vancouver. That one hasn’t come true yet, but if we don’t dream BIG then there is no way it’s going to happen.
Thanks for reading friends. I hope that you take the time to visualize the life that you want. It’s the first step in making it happen. Don’t be part of that 98%.
Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins
High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard
The Rise Pod Cast By Rachel Hollis #72: This Daily Practice Changed My Life and My Business