Every few years (in my case every 5-7 years), I stop and look at my life. I ask myself if I like myself? Do I like what I am doing? Is what I am doing a good match for what I want in my life at the time? It is a good match for my soul? Does it energize me or drain me?
Sometimes, I like the answers. Sometimes, this self-examination has led to massive changes, practically a re-invention of life. So I have a bit of first-hand experience in what it takes to recreate a life you love.
Eventually, my own experience and the experience I have had helping people who worked for me grow and change into what they wanted has led to the work I do today, helping people and organizations grow into what they want to be. It’s been a long journey of learning, and what I have learned is not what I thought when I began many years ago.
Basically, I have learned there are six things we need to re-create our lives.
First, we have to believe we can
I mean, we have to BELIEVE. Not just think maybe we can. Not just think it’s a possibility We have to believe that the change we want, the recreation we want, the life we want, no matter how big or how different than the life we have now is from the one we want – we have to believe it is possible.
We have to believe this, because re-creation, reclaiming, change takes work and it takes time. It’s not crazy hard (more on that later), but it does not just happen. It happens because we work to make it happen.
The life we have at the beginning of the process didn’t just happen. It took time. And it will take time to examine it honestly. It takes time to sort out what we really want. It takes time to see what our real roadblocks are. It takes time to recreate ourselves. Whether an individual or an organization, it will take time and discouragement will hit from time to time
If we don’t believe what we want is within our grasp, giving up becomes easy. And wewill have nay-sayers and people around you who think you are crazy.
I’ve been in the encouraging and growing of people business long enough to know that anyone can create the life they want. Anyone. IF, and only IF, they believe they can. Once we believe we can, we’re halfway there. Maybe more than half way there. But we do need a few more things to make it happen.
We need a process
Go over to the sself-helpsection of your favorite bookstore and look for books that promise to show the way to a new life. You’ll find oodles. Take a look at your social media feeds and your email junk mail and you will find even more organizations, companies, coaches and authors that promise to change your life and make you everything you ever wanted.
It’s easy to get cynical and think they are all just charlatans. And maybe a few of them are. But honestly, you could enlist in most of them, and if you did the work, you’d likely find your way to a better life.
That’s because the steps to getting the life we want are pretty well known. Enough teachers and writers have studied success and seen that basically, we know what we have to do to get to where we want. Look closely, read the books, listen to the talks (and I have done this for decades) and you learn quickly that despite the change in names and what they call the process, most of the processes are pretty similar.
Because they work.
I have processes that I have developed through experience and education. They work. Other people have similar processes to get there. Most of them work too.
We need process. Mine. Someone else’s. It can come from a book. It can come from classes. It can come from a coach. But pick one. And once you’ve picked one, you see it through.
Without a process, we flounder. We guess. We struggle. We flit. We are easily distracted. We often don’t know where to go next. Or what to do when there is a bump in the journey. A process, if it is legit and well tested, will help you get through all this and take you on a well-tested journey to the life we want.
We need a person.
Process is important, but we need a person involved in that process as well. This can be someone official like a life coach, or it can be another person, but you need this person for a number of reasons.
First of all, we need an encourager. Someone who will remind us that we are not crazy, not foolish, not selfish for wanting the life we want. Someone who will remind us of our virtues and good traits when we aren’t feeling it.
We need someone to call us on our self-lies, our evasions and our laziness. We need someone to prod us. We need someone to keep us on track with the process.
Most of all though, we need someone to hold us accountable.
That’s right, accountable. You see, when it is just us, we tend to let stuff go. We tend to lie to ourselves to get ourselves off the hook for not doing the work. It’s easy to get lazy. To skip steps.
But most of us, when we have someone to be accountable to, feel responsible. We stick to it. We lie to ourselves less. And having that person is a key. Very, very. very few people make major changes in their lives without someone holding their feet to the fire and encouraging them at the same time. It takes a person of character, who is willing to risk some anger and frustration in order to make us better.
Find or hire such a person, if moving to a place of true success is your goal.
We need a big dollop of self honesty
There is a reason we’ve gone so far in our lives and not gotten to where we want to. We can blame circumstances, but we all know stories of how circumstances have been overcome. We all know circumstances are a roadblock, but in time, that roadblock can be overcome, run over or an end run can get us past it.
At some point, we have to be able to look at ourselves and admit we haven’t done it. Something, or some things in ourselves is the roadblock. Generally this is due to false beliefs we have clung to, but there may be other things about ourselves that holds us back.
And until we can admit our part, we can’t move to where we want to be.
And that’s hard. We like our little (or sometimes big) delusions. They comfort us. But to move past them, we have to be honest with ourselves.
But so, so important.
We need to be able to change.
You laugh. You say to yourself “Silly Tom. Of course we have to change to get to something new.”
True. But a lot of times we don’t realze that sometimes that change means giving something up in our lives. Maybe that something is a false belief, long clung to. Sometimes it means a change in time for this or that or another. Sometimes it means extra work, or letting go of something or someone we value, but holds us back.
And none of those changes are easy. But the willingness to make them is often the difference between having the life we want and not having it.
This is another place where having a person involved in your process is important. They can remind us that your new life is not selfishness, is not abandonment, but instead a progress that will help you become all you can be – not just for yourself but for others.
We need Persistence
There is no miracle to changing our life or changing the trajectory of our lives or organizations. There are proven processes that get us there. And mostly, they are pretty similar to each other.
And none of them are instant.
They take time. They take consistency. And they take persistence. Over and over again I see people and companies get half way “there”, or most of the way “there”, only to abandon the process, leaving themselves right back where they started. They blame the system. They blame the process. They blame the person. But in the end, it is the lack of persistence that did them in.
Here’s what I know. Turning around a life or a company, creating the life and work and success we want generally takes a year to eighteen months of sustained work. Do the work in a regular, persistent way, and that is how long it will take. Do it in a half-hearted, start and stop way, it will take longer, but it can still happen.
But if we aren’t willing to invest that amount of time and work to it…. It won’t.
It’s that simple.
So…. You want change? That’s it. Pick a process. Find a coach (official or otherwise). Stick with it. Be honest with yourself. Be willing to change. And it’s yours, whatever your “it” is.
I wish sometimes there was more mystery to it. I wish I could claim great secrets to a better life. But I can’t. I have a process and I am trained person. But so are others. Find these six things, and you are on your way. The life or organization you want to be is yours.
It’s that simple. And that hard.
Be well. Travel wisely,