January 30, 2012
Liz published this at 7:21 am
Do You Have It Backwards
Every day we wake up to the time of our lives.
When life is going well, it’s easy to take the day with a flying start. But that second that the ground starts to freeze over. The bed starts to seem warmer and our feet can get a little cold. That’s when we need to be invested. We need a meaningful reason to get up and make progress.
It takes a strategy to live a life that isn’t just passing time.
- Don’t try to rule the climate, but use the opportunities it holds. Enjoy when the sun is warm. Fill your sails when the wind is going your way.
- Study the terrain to choose the most efficient, least dangerous roads. Highways weren’t made for bikes. Cars don’t belong on train tracks.
- Enlist help and advice from those who have gone before us. Ask the people who’ve been where you’re going.
- Employ systems that keep things going without reinventing what works. Maintain what supports you.
- Have a mission to reach a vision on the horizon. Decide where you’re going before you go.
The last one is critical to a life strategy.
We live as if at the end of our life, we’ll know …
who we are.
what we’ll do.
where we will end up.
Somehow we have it backwards. We’re supposed to decide those things first. Then we can start down our path.
What’s Most Critical to Living Life?
Strategy is a realistic plan to advance by leveraging opportunity over time. In order to advance you have to know who you are where you’re advancing to.
Like any business, a life with a strategy has a better chance to succeed.
What Other People Don’t Know
If you ask opinions about what you should do, other people will have plenty of them. Don’t wait for other people to tell you. They don’t have to live your life. They won’t lose if you waste time chasing down a future that isn’t yours, and they won’t mind if you give up your life living it for them. Even the most well-meaning people run the risk of giving you advice better suited to them than to you.
Who knows more about you than you? Who ever will? You know what you think, dream, desire, and need. You know what you fear. You know what it would take to move you from here to there. Listen to that inner guidance system that tells you when you’re doing well, you’re learning, you’re doing something well. The one person who has a vested interest in how your life turns out is you.
Vision and mission are critical to living life. They are identity, intention, and direction. Without them, how will you wisely invest your time? It’s a shame to waste a whole life.
How do you know? How do you decide?
Rarely is the problem not knowing where we want to be. It’s admitting that we’ll have to make a commitment to get there.
Decide and Commit
Decide. It matters less what you decide than that YOU decide and that you make a commitment to that decision. Listen to the truth you know about yourself, decide what the purpose of your life will be, and know why that’s meaningful to you. Pick a vision the future that would be the best use of what’s been given you — your talents, your skills, your personality. What should you be doing more of to use them well? What life that would use your skills, the problems you can solve, and the value you have always brought to the world? Decide on a future – a vision — and make it your qiest — your mission — to get there. In other words, choose to be your best self and make a commitment to that.
You can always decide to adjust your decision.
Vision is who we’ll be and where we want to go. Vision is the context that gives each life decision intention, direction, and identity. Mission is the compelling reason that will get us there. Mission makes every minute and every decision worth getting up and investing in. Vision and mission turn living into a meaningful cause worth a life’s campaign.
If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere you never intended to be.
If you don’t know why you’re going, you’ll give up when the smallest obstacle appears.
Set your intention on a vision that describes your best identity — down to your DNA.
Put your head, heart, and feet into your mission. Make it a quest. Nothing will stop you.
Every day, every hour, every minute will keep passing whether you know where you’re going or not. Wouldn’t you rather own the hourglass than sit on the sand as ir drops through? You have to live your life. Shouldn’t you be the one who decides what it will be about?
Have you got a strategy to live a life a that isn’t just passing time?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
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