What you want and what you need
As children we were often asked: what do you want to be when you grow up?
Kids are expected to say cute things as their imagination run wild with an uncensored wish list – fireman, pilot, astronaut, ballerina. But, we learn soon enough that these wants are to be replaced with the more pragmatic, and realistic goals that are truly expected of us. One by one we suppress our wants, and become a more ‘normal’ form of self.
Later in life, perhaps in our early thirties, and at times much later, we begin to sense that the desires we suppressed long ago keep wanting to lurk back to the surface. Ignoring these urges may become excruciatingly difficult, but so is acknowledging that the path we have been traveling is not the path that will take us where we truly like to go. What do we do?
Transitioning from living a life that is NORMAL to living a life that is NATURAL – in other words, letting go of what was expected of us and becoming re-acquainted with our truest longings and desires, is a process that brings with it a lot of joy but also a lot of fear, uncertainty and even emotions like guilt and regret.
Learning how to navigate this gap is something I became closely familiar, not only in my own life, but as I saw many close friends, family and clients go through themselves. Not everyone ‘gets there.’ Most people in fact, are poorly equipped to handle the transition, and the life they have known for years usually wins over the life they still have not experienced.
Why? Most of us will feel a much greater gravitational pull towards the known, the familiar and find that stepping into the unknown holds with it too much ‘risk,’ I place risk in brackets because life in reality presents equal risks no matter what way we go. But because we don’t know how it feels on the other side, we tell ourselves that the risks we do know, are at least more manageable.
If you want to step towards your true dreams, in the direction of your truest longings and desires, you must learn how to move steadily towards it. Here are my 6 steps to getting yourself moving, unstuck, towards the life you truly long to have:
1. clear up the field by creating a true opening for what is possible: like trying to build a new building atop an old foundation, when it comes to moving forward you have to learn to let go of, what I have termed, your personal shields. These shields keep you protected from showing your true self. Most of us have created personality traits, like being perfectionist, driven, sarcastic, as a way to protect something. That that we are trying to protect, by usually hiding deep inside ourselves, holds the key to our truest gifts. Letting go of the shield, gives you an opportunity to access your inner gifts.
2. let go, forgive – yes, the second step is to let go of any resentment we may hold towards things past and present, and that includes ourselves above anything else. If we made a choice that led us here, so be it. We are where we are supposed to be in our learning spiral and the only mistake we can make is to keep moving backwards trying to fix the past. Learning to apply a DAILY forgiveness practice is an essential step towards getting unstuck.
3. vision – learn to write a vision of your life. Vision writing is the step that takes us from condition based ideas towards future, generative ideas. You will not move past your current condition, the life you have known, unless you apply your imagination to help you see something you have not yet seen. Writing visions is the key to transitioning; make it a practice.
4. sacrifice is the first step in the transition phase – also known as death, or end, our transition begins when we accept that parts of ourselves cannot join us into this new vision we created. We let go of old habits, relationships and specially ways of being so that we can be ‘re-born’ into this new life.
5. we make a decision – and then we recommit to it over and over again. We learn the voice in our head that has kept us in the familiar so we can replace the tape, and we recommit to our new life by choosing to become and act in accordance with it. It takes time, and this is where mastery becomes essential. This is the place where most of us will fail because we will not bear witness to the thoughts that are driving our actions. Meditation, focus exercises, support groups, getting a coach are all helpful tools to get us moving through this step.
6. we turn fear into excitement – the most delicious step in our transition is not that we get some place. Getting to our vision is yummy, but the most wonderful aspect of this, is that we learn to turn feelings of fear and anxiety into feelings of excitement and grateful expectation. We, at this stage, feel ready for life’s many transitions, by understanding that there is a perfect blend of working towards the dream we want, and surrendering to life’s magic.
If you want to have a guided process to walk through these 6 steps, please sign-up to receive information about my Getting Unstuck in 6 Weeks online course. Sign up for my FREE Daily Steps to Staying Motivated at this page and you will be the first to know when it is released. Sign up here!