Today I was thinking about the times in my life when I resigned. Not from my job, but from life. I was thinking about the times when I just settled into a comfort zone and stayed there. It was OK. There was little pain or discomfort but there was also little joy and fulfillment. It just ‘was’. No great lows and no great highs either.
- Have you been there?
- Are you there now?
- If so, what can you do?
The easy answer is to “want more.” Just want more in your life and your career. But, how do you actually do that?
I mean, wanting more can sometimes hurt. It can leave you feeling as though you’re not ready or not yet good enough or deserving enough to have the things that you want. That yearning can be painful especially without the true belief and anticipation that you will actually get what you want. Besides, what’s wrong with just wanting to stay in a comfort zone?
So, rather than just allowing that last question to be rhetorical, let’s answer it. What IS wrong with just wanting to stay in a comfort zone?
Helen Keller is purported to have said…
That’s actually the nice version. I believe the more accurate quote is “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but has no vision.”
Ouch!! Helen, that’s kinda harsh and yet she would know. You see wanting is a form of vision. You are seeing what does not yet exist. You are setting your heart on something that is not yet created or achieved.
But… it doesn’t work!
If you’re like me, you have experienced times in your life where it seemed like life itself was overwhelming and frustrating. You have so many commitments… so many “have to’s,” “shoulds,” and “musts” to live up to. There seem to be so many expectations and so little time and resources. Wanting more would just lead to more disappointment, frustration, and pain. Right? So, we give up. We resign ourselves to “what is.” We stop believing that we have the power to change the world around us.
What if it could work? What if there was a better way to WANT? A way that would keep your wants in front of you without causing you to feel frustrated, overwhelmed, or less than?
Do this right now… I want you to take out a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. Yes, we’re going to do this the old school. (Please don’t use your phone, tablet or computer for this. ). I want you to experience pen to paper.
Now we’re going to start a list of all the things you want in your life but we’re going to do this differently than you have in the past.
You see, most of us, when we write down our wants (our dreams, goals, or vision), we write down all of the things we wish we had.
That’s only 1/2 of the picture!
When you only focus on what you want but don’t have, you’re looking at your world from a limited perspective. You’ve narrowed your vision to the “have not‘s.” Let’s open that up so you can see more broadly. As Denis Waitley says, “it is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of the pursuit.”
What does that even mean?
I believe that it means that we sometimes focus on the wrong thing. In this case, we just focus on the happiness. So many folks that I talk to believe that their goal in life is to “be happy.” Does that sound a bit nebulous and unmeasurable to you?
Do you expect to be happy all of the time?
If so, how then will you know that you’re happy? If you’re happy 100% of the time and are never unhappy. How will you even know that you’re happy? It sounds silly but think about it. You can’t appreciate the light without the darkness. You can’t appreciate the joy without the sadness. You don’t appreciate being healthy until you are sick. You can’t expect to experience 100% happiness in your life. What if you just shot for 50.1% happy, joyful and “positive” emotions? What if you accepted that pain, frustration, and discomfort as part of the pursuit? What if it was part of what makes happiness possible?
Let’s get back to your list of wants…
For each thing that you write on your list that you want and don’t have (yet),
write down something you do have and want.
Here are examples from my life:
- I want to own and operate a $10MM business.
- I want to be married to an amazing, thoughtful, caring person. (I am)
- I want to inspire over 1MM people.
- I want to have an adorable, lovable puppy. (We do)
- I want to spend time in Australia.
- I want to vacation with my parents in Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, and Italy. (We have)
- I want to go to the Super Bowl and hopefully, the Steelers win it.
- I want a comfortable home that we own outright. (We’ll have this in 5 months.)
- I want to run a 1/2 marathon.
You get the picture, right?
Now you try it. Write down the things that you have and want, and write down the things you want and don’t have.
Then, I want you to read this every day. Feel free to edit it as you see fit. Add more wants to it and add more accomplishments to it. Keep this running list in front of you. Let your brain know all that you have accomplished so it will see that wanting is the way.
If you admitted to feeling resigned now or in the past, give this a try! Let me know how it goes.
As you give yourself permission to want more in your life, you will be creating your way… your way to a life where you will fully live, deeply love, and leave your mark on the world.