One year ago I picked up a book at the library by Allisom Rimm titled The Joy of Strategy: A Business Plan for Life” The introduction begins with: “The joy of a life well lived – our work well done, our cherished ones well loved, our potential realized. Isn’t that what we’re all after? You don’t need to leave your dreams to chance. However achieving this most fundamental and often elusive goal doesn’t just happen. It requires a strategy. To create a meaningful plan, you need a structured approach that guides your through the process of defining what is most important to you and what you must do to get it. The world’s most successful businesses do this as a matter of course, and there is no more essential business than the business of your life”.
I read those words and got excited. I had already been doing a lot of soul searching and had a pretty good idea of what was important to me and the type of life I wanted to live. I had already gotten a taste of freedom by moving the lake and I wanted more! At that time, the life I so desperately wanted looked like this:
- I want my home to be relaxing, simple, joyful and low maintenance
- I want to earn my living doing work that I find meaningful and that brings others to a better place/space
- I want to be debt free leaving my options for semi-retirement wide open
- I want to share my life with a partner that enjoys the simple things in life that I have to offer
- I want to spend my time doing things I enjoy with people I care about
- I want to do my part to leave this earth a better place then I found it
- I want to live below my means with a focus on people, relationships, the environment – not stuff
Flash forward a few years and I have made some significant progress on living my life strategically on the path to the destination I outlined years ago.
When I read Allison Rimms book, I decided to do every single exercise it contained. The first few exercises were easy.
Describe a Proud Accomplishment and what made you successful. I was proud of helping my former agency improve its training of staff. What made me successful was, my organizational skills, my personality (being tenacious without being intimidating), my writing and meeting skills, my flexibility, empathy, and my sense of humor.
The exercises got harder but I stuck with them! I wrote my personal mission statement!. Mission Statement: I am learning to pay attention to my AHA moments. Those moments of insight that gently guide me in my Little Blue Kayak in the direction of abundant health, wealth and happiness. I share them with you in the hopes that they nudge you to pay attention to your own AHA moments. Or at least give you a laugh…
I wrote my chief initiative! Chief Initiative: To make 1 good decision after another that allows me to be flexible with my time and that adds to the overall health, wealth and happiness of myself, my loved ones and my community. AHA!
I started a blog!!! Yup, I wrote that mission statement before I launched my blog! Living a life of intention is what this book helped me learn!
If you read this blog with any regularity then you know I believe that you have to choose health, wealth and happiness. You have to choose these things every day by making good decisions, listening to your inner positive voice, paying attention to your AHA moments of insight. Staying on track takes focus, resilience, and tenacity. When I don’t purposefully and consistently choose health, wealth, and happiness I get pulled off course and My Little Blue Kayak loses direction. Writing this blog helps me to stay focused! If reading it helps you, all the better!
This week, I finished a series of exercises in another book titled Planning for Success: Living Your Dream by Dr. Mark Chironna. I thought I would share the first series of questions the book asks and my answers. It is good to reflect on the progress you make in the pursuit of your dream! The questions from the book are in bold.
Document specific ways your dream is driving your lifestyle. How is it improving outcomes? I no longer engage in retail therapy and I am debt free! I am learning to be a better partner. I became a blogger which has helped me to discover my voice and improved my ability to express my opinion. I have improved my health by engaging in physical work that I enjoy. My weight is finally stable and I am (slowly) increasing my flexibility. My per-diem work not only keeps me sane (compared to my old full-time schedule) it also gives me more time to do activities that I enjoy including biking, hiking and kayaking!
Recognize/applaud activities and practices that most clearly reflect priorities. How has your focus benefited other areas of your life? Daily quiet time keeps me focused as does sculpting my day. Google Keep helps me to keep up with my daily chores as well as staying on top of my short-term and long-term goals. Drinking smoothies for my health has dramatically increased my fruit and veggie consumption. Eating at least 1 meal/day with my honey helps us to stay connected. My vegetarian diet makes it easier for me to make healthy decisions regarding what I eat.
List the ways you have cultivated the willpower to pursue your dream. How has this impacted your self-confidence? I use spreadsheets to track my goals. I track income and expenses, savings as well as net worth. I read numerous finance blogs of people who retired early and quit the rat race to keep me motivated. I set a non-negotiable goal to become debt free and a strategy to reach that goal. When I met it, my confidence soared in terms of being able to live life on my terms.
I keep a journal of my AHA moments and positive outcomes to reinforce myself for staying on track. These AHA moments have led me to take quick action on decisions that I would have grappled with for a long time in the past. I took a chance by quitting my job, leaving my Massachusetts safety net in order to reconnect with my family and life at the lake. I use this blog as a way to process what is working for me and to put it out there for all to see as a means to hold myself accountable.
Consider how your dream has redirected emotions. How has improved self control contributed to the development of your character? Daily quiet time and sculpting my day keep me on track to not lose sight of my priorities. They also put me in a good frame of mind to deal with whatever life throws at me. I am learning when to keep quiet and to listen vs giving direction or advice to others. I am beginning to understand that my destiny is in my hands. I am responsible for my success and for my failure. I no longer feel stuck in my life because I got myself unstuck! When money is tight I have to hustle to increase income to stay on track. I have built a vehicle for doing this by having several income streams. I am comfortable with less stuff, less money, less security – and less has made me a better, stronger and happier person. Less is More!
Examine the ways your dream has generated your increased creativity. How are you and others benefitting from your ideas? 1 year ago I started My Little Blue Kayak. I have become fairly disciplined in terms of writing weekly posts. This helps me figure out what is working for me in terms of staying on track for living an intentional life. When I decided to create a blog, I knew nothing about how to go about it. I did some research and dove in. Coming up with something to write about each week has cultivated my creativity and discipline. I have gotten better at recognizing opportunities to increase my income by offering a service to others. I have let go of old belief systems including: Needing 1 million dollars to retire, having to work until aged 65. Needing insurance thru a job.
Consider how your dream has transformed your cognition. How have new ways of thinking helped you rise above old obstacles and exceed previous standards? I have learned to use mantras to decrease negative self talk so I don’t get caught up in bad cycles. Not getting stuck in negative thinking gives me more energy and enthusiasm for interacting with my loved ones. I have essentially stopped shopping for the sake of therapy and now buy most clothing used and inexpensively. Daily decisions are so much easier when old habits are easily avoided. For me, when getting out of debt became a non-negotiable area – I simply stopped going to stores that were triggers to spend for me. I taught myself to develop a webpage and to write interesting content.
Completing these exercises is hard work. But worth every second. In an upcoming post I will share the second set of exercises from this book.
Are you living the life you truly want to be living or are you just going through the motions?
Do you live your life with a purpose or are you just putting out the daily fires?
Stuck in a rut? Do something about it!
I challenge you to read a book on personal development and to complete every exercise in the book.
YES, I challenge YOU.
You can CHOOSE to accept my challenge or to make an excuse for why you can’t/won’t do it. But if you are stuck in a rut – what do you have to lose? Trust me, you are worth it!
Let me know in the comment section if you accept this challenge so I can follow up with you!
In this post I have shared 2 books that I have read and done the work outlined. These exercises can help you figure not only what is important to you but how to live your life intentionally, with meaning and with purpose.
I have been stuck in a rut before and I have vowed NEVER to allow that to happen again.
Life is short. Live it well!