“I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible; to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance, to live so that which came to me as seed goes to the next as blossom, and that which came to me as blossom goes on as fruit.” – Dawna Markova
Re-read the above quote, then close your eyes for a moment and imagine this is you. Imagine it’s the kind of life YOU chose.
What comes up for you? Do you feel inspired? Do you feel like it could never happen? In the years I’ve been coaching I’ve found there to be some essential qualities of people who live a complete and balanced life.
They firmly believe their success is more about who they are, rather than what they have or what they do. They are clear about their values and what’s truly is important to them. They’re willing to take clear and focused action steps to fulfill the vision for their life. And finally, they hold themselves responsible for the quality of their life.
Living a full and balanced life starts with knowing what a full and balanced life means to you. Each day, we are bombarded with images from the media that tell us who to be, what to do and how to act. We are saturated with “shoulds,” past experiences, family edicts and endlessly disempowering messages.
So the first step in claiming a complete life is to embrace the distinction that Oprah makes quite succinctly, “Don’t worry about living THE best life, just live YOUR best life.”
Here are some suggestions I give my clients to help them begin the journey toward living their best life.
1. Start a journal. One of the best ways I know to quiet the mind and access your deeper thoughts is to write. Let yourself write in an uncensored way. Let your thoughts flow without concern for grammar or impressing a reader. Be curious about what your inner self wants to tell you.
Here’s a series of provocative questions to help start the journey:
What will my life feel/be like when I’m living fully and in balance? Here’s where you imagine in detail the life you want. Let yourself dream about how you’ll feel. Will you feel peaceful? Energized? Both? Will you be fulfilling a dream or simply living fully in each moment? Paint a picture for yourself.
What’s most important to me? Begin to make a list of your values. Your values are your personal inventory of what you consider most important. We all have values, but unless you take the time to clarify them for yourself, you can inadvertently be living someone else’s values. Your values inform the choices you make.
2. Get to know yourself. Walk, meditate, exercise, or take yourself on a date. Getting to know yourself and what you like is an important piece of the puzzle. What movie would YOU chose? Is nature most enlivening or would you prefer a cultural romp in the city? Do something you’ve always wanted to try. Take a risk. To live a complete life you have to be in touch with what makes you happy.
3. Find support. It can be difficult to explore or make life changes without the benefit of a support system. Often, when people start to grow, others around them – friends and relatives – may feel threatened. They may not want you to “rock the boat.” Seek out at least one person you feel safe sharing your desires with. This will help you to stay motivated and provide some accountability.
4. Take action. Inspiration with out action is like being dressed up and having nowhere to go. Take some baby steps. Ask yourself: “what’s one thing I can do this week to feel great about my life?” Then do it.
What does a complete and balanced life mean to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts and what you discover. It’s truly possible. You can love your life and watch the seeds turn to blossoms and the blossoms turn to fruit. It’s up to you.
It’s YOUR life…live it completely!