A Great Life Starts in Your Imagination
by Christen Murphy Resmo
Are you living a life that is meaningful to you and beneficial to others?
If you answered, “Yes!” fabulous, now raise the bar. What’s next for you? What would be even more exciting? To love what you do and feel that it matters is a wonderful way to live your life.
Writing from the perspective of a former cardiac nurse, I can certainly say that no one at the end of their life ever said to me, “I wish I would have stayed working in that job I was unhappy with, or that I had spent less time with the people I care about.” I’m sure you can imagine that quite often I was told the very opposite. As a young nurse just out of college, still in braces and a ponytail, I got a lot of advice even when I didn’t really ask for it. But I did love to listen! And what I heard was:
“Do what you love.”
“Don’t worry so much.”
“Go out and make some mistakes; it is okay.”
And most importantly, “Live your life to the fullest and don’t give up on your dreams.”
I’m grateful for the many gifts of perspective those years have given me as I helped people through some of their most telling moments. Live as though today is a gift – the gift of Time to get started.
Here are two important questions that I ask my coaching clients and that I’m now asking you because I think they’re so valuable:
Do you love what you do?
If you had plenty of money and there were no signs of it running out,
would you still be doing what you’re doing?
Those two questions are easy for me to ask but the long-term solution could still be eluding you, especially if your answer is ‘No’. It can be more complicated than simply saying, “No, I don’t really love what I do and I’m quitting soon,” unless you’re absolutely sure about where you’re going next.
Years ago, when I realized it was time for me to examine those questions, I felt pretty sure that I didn’t want to be an ICU nurse forever, but I had no idea about what was next for me. I had no clue, actually, and I sat in the middle of that dilemma for several years before a new direction crystallized in my mind. And while I was waiting for lightening to strike and illuminate my next move, genuine clarity snuck up on me gradually. I slowly gained insight into a new career path as I allowed myself to play with new ideas again. Once I began to envision what I really wanted and gave myself permission to consider different alternatives, I also began to see that it was possible to make a big change. In other words, once I started to see what my life could be, I also understood that I could get there.
Before then, I didn’t know with absolute certainty that a total career change was truly possible for me. You see, I had worked very hard to get to where I was, and even though I was growing dissatisfied, I wasn’t entirely convinced that I should give it up so easily. I used to tell myself, “Try to be happier Christen. You’ve paid for the schooling to earn your degree, so maybe this job is all there is for you.” Part of me believed that my path was already chosen and another part rebelled, believing I could do something else, something that would better fit the person I was becoming.
And this is what I want for you too: That you either love and embrace what you do or become clear about what you’d rather be doing instead. Even if it feels too late for you, you can still change if you want to. If I can do it, you can do it too!
If you’re ready to transform your life in either small ways or into something entirely different, I encourage you to start with the first step of visualization. You too will experience a powerful shift once you envision yourself in that new, exciting place. And as you begin to create a clear, descriptive vision of what you really want, you can then begin to build it.
Success Begins Within You
You are the only one who has your best answers. This has always been the case and it means you must trust your own judgment and good sense as to what’s right for you. If you’re not living the life you truly want, don’t worrying about how far you’ve gone down a previously chosen path. You can turn around or change direction once you construct a more fitting picture for where you want to go from here instead. You say things are pretty good already? I say they can get even better!
Success begins within you, first as an idea in your mind that meets with a good feeling in your heart. Some of your greatest future accomplishments might start out as a note on a napkin that originated from an inspired thought. I’ve heard it said that if you can dream it, you can have it; and you would not be given a dream without also having the means to make it come true.
If you’re finding it hard to determine what you want to do next in your life, my advice is to start listening to your heart more closely. This doesn’t need to be difficult, but it can be, especially if you’re not in the habit of tuning in.
Step One: Follow Your Heart
It was Carl Jung who said:
“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. He who looks outside, dreams. He, who looks inside, awakens.”
My interpretation of what Dr. Jung meant is that I don’t have to go very far to find my best answers and neither do you. A genius lives inside of me. And in you too, to be quite clear! We all have our own inner compass calibrated in perfect alignment with our highest good. Your inner compass is meant to guide only you.
How often do you take the time you need to reflect on what matters most? Do you slow down and ask the important questions, and then remain silent long enough to hear the message?
Another big question that I ask every client is this:
“What do you really want?”
This is where we begin. This is the only question that needs answering right now because everything else stems from here. What’s happening in the best possible picture of your life? Imagine and describe the scenario in specific detail. Once you start to get a handle on your answer, then explore why you want it. When you connect with the reason you really want something, you ignite an inner flame that becomes nearly impossible to snuff out. Choose a dream or goal that you have a burning desire for and settle for nothing less. You’ll then experience plenty of enjoyment while you’re creating it, and you’ll persist through challenges because you’ve chosen something that matters. So again, what do you really want? If you find it difficult to answer this question because you don’t know or you’re unclear, take heart. Simply trust that as you keep asking this question, you’ll gain more clarity each time you return to it. When you say, “I don’t know,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t know. It could mean that you haven’t given yourself permission to look in a while and you’re simply out of practice.
Step Two: Don’t Let Fear Cloud Your Vision
You might be thinking, “If I have my own best answers, why is it so hard to follow this guidance? Sometimes it’s hard enough to know which voice is my heart’s true voice, let alone know what it’s guiding me to do!” That’s a legitimate thought. Your answer is in there but your fear could be interfering with the message. Maybe you fear making a fool of yourself because you must be wrong somehow. Maybe you know your own creative ideas are considered non-conformist or out of the normal paradigms of society. Maybe you fear criticism from others. These are the kinds of conversations that cause us to stop looking inside or to stuff the message; and these are the normal and typical fears that cause us to abandon our ideas altogether. You wouldn’t be the first person who was afraid of being singled out or worried about what other people might think if you failed. So, what would happen if you did fail? Yes, going after your big dreams will present some challenges, but if you don’t try or don’t rock the boat, you might give up way too soon and rob yourself of invaluable life experiences.
I encourage you to dream up the full idea first, before you give a lot of energy to your perceived barriers and road-blocks! Have you ever initiated a new idea but then stopped because you didn’t know how to make everything happen? My advice is that you first figure out WHAT you want before you worry about HOW you’re going to get there. You see, you’re not privy to all of where your life is going. Sometimes you’ll have just a little bit of information to go on. This means it’s okay to start moving on your goals even if the full ‘how-to’ picture is not yet complete. As you continually hold a clear vision of your desired end result, you’ll figure out the details along the way. In other words, you don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the first step.
Step Three: Ignite Your Inner Vision and Go Big
Put the principle of Vision to work by seeing yourself doing or having something that you would greatly look forward to achieving. You deserve a great life so dream big! Choose at least one big accomplishment because the bigger the gap between where you are right now and where you want to be, the greater the pulling power. And the more personal energy you put into it, the more quickly life will respond in kind. When you can see what you want in your mind, you’ll attract the energy, passion, people, events, and circumstances that will help you manifest this desire.
You are on your way to success when you first connect with your biggest and brightest dreams and then begin deliberately moving toward them. By envisioning your desired outcome, the perfect action is always inspired.
Howard Thurman, Philosopher and Theologian said,
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs – ask yourself what makes
you come alive, and then go do it. Because what the world needs is
people who have come alive.”
Coaching Tip: Get Clear on What You Really Want
Find something that will give you energy and make you feel alive. Do what you really want versus worry about what everybody else thinks you should do! Let yourself dream bigger than you’ve ever allowed yourself to dream before. Once you identify your goals and fill in the details, you’ll marvel at how things fall into place and how new, creative ideas continually come to you.
Coaching Questions for Vision
• What do I really want?
• Do my current goals energize and excite me? If not, what would?
• This is what is happening in the best possible picture of my life …
• What are my top five priorities this year?
• What significant objective, when accomplished, would feel really good to me?
• Where do I want to be three, six or nine months from now?
Coaching Action Challenge
Take the time you need to write down the specific things you desire in your ideal life. Include everything you can think of and let your imagination play. What kind of career, home, friends, and relationships do you have? Who are you surrounded by? Who are you being? It doesn’t matter what has happened in the past. Your answers to these questions set the course for where you’re heading, starting now! Trust that your inner wisdom will guide you to the right place and help you construct a vision that’s right for you.
Then, spend 5 minutes a day this week relaxing in a quiet place with your eyes closed. Envision yourself living in the scenario you’ve created on paper; see yourself as if you’re already living this life and enjoying everything in it. Imagine what every detail looks and feels like as though you’re experiencing them now. This will help you come up with the right action steps as well as draw to you those perfect opportunities needed to achieve these desires.
• It’s never to late to reinvent your life
• Connect with your burning desire and choose a goal that is worthy of you
• Your best answers are not outside of you, but within
• You are only limited by the limits you place on yourself
• When you picture yourself doing and having what you really want, you begin the process of actually being there
Vision Success Formula:
I can see it = I can have it
Vision Bottom Line: You can do, be and have anything you set your mind to.