“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
You have one shot at the current moment, and one shot at the next; so why not make each count? Why not choose to show up in a way that expresses who you are at your core? Why not make the contributions that only you can make?
Here’s the thing: no one else can do you.
Imagine for a moment that we're all cells in the same body. For the body to function properly, we must each do our unique work. Picture a single cell looking over at another cell and thinking, "Ah, what they're doing looks interesting, maybe I should give that a try", or spotting a cell who’s speeding along and thinking, "She’s really got it made so I might as well just give up." This would basically be like a cell for the eye wanting to be a cell of the brain, or deciding to just sit this one out. Yikes!
When you think your contribution doesn’t really matter or have a positive impact on the whole, you’re lost. When you ignore the impulses and intuitive nudges to move in your own way, looking instead to others for answers, you're also lost. This is why choosing what you do each day should be exciting and mean something to you — the positive sentiments will spill over into every facet of your life.
Today, decide that your piece of the puzzle does matter and intentionally choose to pursue what excites you and lights you up. Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas for you to consider as you begin to serve yourself and the world.
Take baby steps
There’s this great scene in the movie What About Bob?, when the obsessive-compulsive Bob (played by Bill Murray) discovers baby steps. “Baby steps to the elevator....Baby steps onto the elevator...". It might sound silly, but you should take the same approach to creating a path that keeps you feeling inspired and fulfilled. Once you pinpoint what excites you, find a way to give it more space so it can take shape.
What you can do with a 20 extra minutes each morning is astounding. Can you wake up earlier to accomplish something you'd like to eventually turn into your career? For example, if you want to become a content creator or writer, can you carve out a mini-session each day before or after you finish work? With baby steps, there’s really no need to fearfully leap and hope for a net. What a relief!
Say goodbye to your distractions
In a keynote speech about the third metric, Arianna Huffington discusses the dangers of multi-tasking: “You think you’re being efficient, but actually, you’re being stupid.” As Huffington wisely points out, we now have scientific evidence that actually proves we can't successfully multi-task. Can you eliminate distractions during the time you've set aside in order to show up for what you're most excited to create?
When I tell people that I habitually turn data off on my phone while I’m focusing on a project, they think I’m crazy. However, I'm convinced that it’s one of the smartest things I do! The other option — the constant interruption of e-mail/Facebook/[insert your favorite distraction here] — just doesn’t support my growth and happiness.
Unfortunately, it can be nearly impossible to avoid the lure of those pings. Protect yourself and your time by consciously deciding when you want to let your attention wander, instead of letting those distractions decide for you.
Let your feelings lead you
As you continue to move in the direction of work that excites you, remember to check in with yourself and your gut reactions; they'll tell you that you're on the right track. My clients describe their positive feelings in different ways, such as a floating, expansive feeling, a sense of effortless ease, and even something inside that says "YES!".
All of these are your brain sending feel-good chemicals to your body, like messages to go for it. A friend of mine recently decided to take what she’s calling her 'leap-of-faith tour.”' She left behind a life and choices that were making her unhappy to follow her lifelong dream of being a dancer. She’s choosing to follow the fuzzy, bubbling, warm feelings this choice gives her, and loving every minute of it.
To paraphrase from motivational author Napoleon Hill’s work: "Knowledge is not power. It’s potential power."
Knowledge without action is completely useless. Taking action is the only way to test drive the feelings you’re after in your work. It’s also the single greatest differentiating factor between getting where you’re meant to be or not.
Action has magic in it. Begin today by choosing a path that excites you.
About the Author
Cortney McDermott is an award-winning writer, speaker, and strategist to Fortune 500 executives, entrepreneurial leaders, and think tanks around the world. She writes for a number of international publications, including She Owns It and The Huffington Post. Her debut book, Change Starts Within You is “soulful, sassy, and full of practical insights,” as best-selling author and Harvard Valedictorian Monika Lutz puts it. “If Eat, Pray, Love married The 4-Hour Workweek, Cortney’s book would be their firstborn child.”