Why does it often take some sort of tragedy for us to stop and reflect on how we’re living our lives? It’s so easy to go about our routine, practically sleepwalking through life, and before you know it, 10 years have passed.
Melissa and I just received some heartbreaking news about her uncle — a man who has spent the vast majority of his life working incredibly long days in a physically demanding job to provide for his family and set himself up for a comfortable retirement. And now his prognosis affords him very little time.
Think about what usually happens when we learn of such situations: We briefly consider the fragility of life, feel for those who are directly affected, then slip back into our hamster-wheel lives, soon forgetting about the fleeting interruption.
What if, instead, you use that universal nudge to take some serious action? Even if it’s a super small step toward something you’ve been eager to try, test out, do, or accomplish, at the very least, it can scratch that itch and possibly make you motivated to do more, and at best, it can create incredible momentum, speeding you along the path to Living Out Loud.
If you’re blessed to not be dealing with any tragedy currently, let the reading of this note be your prompting. Start with these five steps:
- Find someplace quiet where you can have 15 minutes alone and uninterrupted, even if it’s in your car. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Breathe in for a count of five, hold for a count of two, and breathe out for a count of seven. Do this three times.
- Ask yourself, “If I was told I had only five years to live, what would I make a priority that I’m not currently?”
- Now ask yourself, “If I was told I have only one year to live, what now becomes the priority?”
- Next, “If I was told I only had three months to live, how would I want to spend that time?”
- Make a note of the top 1-3 items or areas that came to mind, and identify one very small step you can take on each of those items.
Melissa and I have been tossing around all sorts of ideas for our lives’ next chapter, and while we’ve made some progress by ruling out options and beginning to investigate others, we still haven’t committed the time to it that it deserves.In honor of Uncle Sid, however, we have a breakfast date tomorrow where we’ll brainstorm tasks that need our attention to move things forward, and we’ll be scheduling regular time in our calendar to make those moves and check in with each other about our progress.
So are you willing to commit to those five steps above to see if you’re on track for your most fulfilled life? Watch for the common excuses that pop up: “I can’t afford to _________,” “But I have kids,” “Maybe in a few years….”, “I wouldn’t know where to begin,” etc. All it takes is one step to get started. And If the step you come up with feels to big, just break it down.
You deserve to live your very best life RIGHT NOW. Do it for yourself, for your marriage, for your kids, for your community, for the planet. The more fulfilled each of us is, the more peaceful and loving our world will be. It starts with you. You and one small step.
This is an important conversation to have, and one that needn’t wait until tragedy strikes. Please come join the chat on my blog. I’m eager to hear from you.
Photo by Redvrs