Sometimes, designing our life and work to be more fulfilling and fun is a challenge. Often, though, the biggest challenge we face is ourselves.
First off, we (all of us!) talk a lot about “getting what we want” and “having it all.” Think about that language for a second.
(Hint: It’s passive.)
Designing is an active process. And it requires us to show up.
I experienced this recently while taking on a search for a new home. We wanted it to happen in a short timeframe. It’s not exactly a “buyer’s market” in Portland. We wanted seemingly opposing features. Inventory is low.
The first step in “getting what you want” is a willingness to step up and create it.
I was optimistic. I know from experience that there is a lot we can do to influence the experience we’re having — and the results we’re getting.
I like these four strategies for a start (and put them all to work):
The clarity factor. Far and away the most difficult part of creating more of what you want is to be really clear on what this is. It sounds like a no-brainer. And yet, it’s not. I find that few people are all that clear on what they want – and more importantly, why they want it. “I don’t know” is not an acceptable answer here. Neither is “it doesn’t matter” or any other avoidant answer.
The truth is that there is a part of you that does know, and making friends with that part of you and really listening to what it has to say — that’s the work that will pay off big.
The flexible big picture. One of the biggest stumbling blocks in actively creating what you want is not noticing when it’s right in front of you, knocking on your door. It’s easy to become so narrow-focused and attached to details working out in a specific way that we lose sight of the bigger picture. Sometimes, it’s the very attachment to those details that prevents us from seeing that what we are trying to create is unfolding right in front of us.
The tsunami of positivity. Recently, I mentioned “the tsunami of positivity” as one of my strategies for finding our new home, and was asked to elaborate. Positive thinking and optimism may get cross-eyed looks from some quarters, but there is plenty of research to support its effectiveness.
Really, though, it boils down to something much simpler than all the research: you can choose a thought that will empower you to move forward, or choose one that feels defeating and will hold you back. Fine-tuning (and bringing others on board) may take practice, but it’s your choice (and mine).
The five-minute momentum. While it might feel good to blow off steam, complaining doesn’t actually accomplish anything productive. From a philosophical perspective, one of the quickest antidotes to anxiety and stress is to take positive action. From a purely practical perspective, five minutes is plenty of time to take a step forward. And steps add up.
Which strategy will you put to work?
Photo Credit: Create With Us via photopin
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