Life, by Default or Design

“I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, I’m saying it’s going to be worth it”

I’ll always remember the first time someone asked me what my dream was. I met this amazing and nurturing woman at a coaching course on fulfillment; and after a few emails she asked to meet for coffee. It was then she planted the seed, “Come prepared to talk about a dream you have”.

Prior to this, I never put much time into dreaming. It seemed impractical given my situation. I lived in a reality of bills, rent, and working 50 hours a week. Why would I spend valuable spare time doing something silly like dreaming? But for some reason this idea intrigued me. I had no idea what to do or where to start, but I went with it.

The more effort I put into dreaming, the more excited I got. Could I really be my own boss with money and flexibility to travel? She assured me this all was possible. She said, “Kim, you can live your life by default or design, it’s your choice”.

At the time I thought, isn’t that what I’ve been doing all along? The answer, of course, was no. If it was, I would be working out of my beach house office in Costa Rica, not stuck in a rut like I was.

Life by design sounds great, but how?

The first part is allowing yourself the freedom to dream, without judgement. Imagination is an incredibly powerful tool. We constantly use it when we’re little, but seem to lose it somewhere along the road to adulthood. I’ll be honest, using your imagination when you haven’t in a while is tough. Your mind immediately begins to think chores, kids, spouse, work, basically anything and everything else. Be patient. Think of your imagination like a muscle that hasn’t been worked out in a long time. The more you exercise it, the stronger it will become.

What is your dream? What would you do and be if money/age/religion/time/education/responsibilities were not factors?

I promise you, anything you can dream, you can be. It all comes down to choices.

Making the choice to follow your dream is up there as one of the biggest. And, as I can personally attest to, it’s just the first in a very long line of others you’ll have to make along the way. But like my dad always reminds me after a particularly emotional conversation, (read-ugly cry) “If it were easy, everyone would be there”.

If you’re dream is to take a year off work and travel, you can do that. If you want to open a yoga retreat in Hawaii, you can do that. If your dream is to someday meet the Dali Llama, guess what, you can do that too. You see, the universe works in very mysterious ways. Once you decide on a dream you start to use the power of attraction to pull the energy you’re putting out there towards you. Like attracts like. What you put out there, you receive.

The law of attraction is a whole separate blog post for the future; but let me give you one example I can personally account for, for all you skeptics out there. Last year I realized my dream of becoming a coach and speaker. Since that time I have attracted many people into my life that I never would have dreamed meeting before. One is a keynote speaker that travels all over the world speaking. Another is the Canadian ambassador for World Youth Leadership  Day. Just last weekend I started a conversation with a man out of the blue and, surprise, he has been a speaker and coach for over 30 years. These “coincidences”  are just the law of attraction working for me.

Think back at some of the “coincidences” in your life. What thoughts were you putting out there?

The last piece I want to add on life by design, is there are tools and people to help you along the way. Figuring out what you want is not easy. Coming up with a plan and goals to get you there is not easy. Doing the work and holding yourself accountable, again, is not easy. But guess what, it’s worth it. And no one says you have to do it alone.

And so it begins…

It all started with a feeling of being ‘stuck’ in October 2011. My job as a restaurant manager was paying the bills but was giving me little fulfillment. I was working nights and barely saw my friends. I was three years into a relationship with a man I loved, but knew in my soul he wasn’t the one. One day I noticed my usual positive personality hit the gutter, along with my sense of humor and ability to have fun. Something had to change, but what? And how?

As anyone who has found themselves in this position can probably identify with, the question, “What do I want?” is the hardest part. We live in an age and society with so many options. For some of us, we were lucky to figure out our talents at a young age. But for most of us, myself included, we wind up in our mid twenties  having little insight into this question and even less about who we are and what our strengths are.

Thankfully, we also live in an age with many resources. I decided to do a little research and hire myself a coach to help me with this question.

I learned through my journey that the answer isn’t external, or out in the universe somewhere. Yes, there is definitely a trial and error method, try door number one, doesn’t work, on to door number two and so on. And speaking from personal experience, this method does work… eventually. But what if I told you there was a better way?

The answer to this question is always inside ourselves, which is actually kind of funny, because it’s usually the last place we look. It involves getting to know yourself at a very deep level, exposing the blind spots and challenging limiting beliefs (yup, we all have them!). It’s like peeling back the layers on an onion. Finally you expose the core (heart) and from this place we can define our purpose and create a mission statement.

My purpose and my dream is to help others live the life they were meant to live. It was only a year and a half ago I was stuck. Now I am living my life on purpose and starting my coaching and consulting business. This blog is designed to inspire and encourage those on their own journey. If I can go from being stuck to my own business in less than two years, there’s no limits to what you are capable of.