At the moment I am living the dream of many.
I am in a foreign country, fortunate to have a totally blank canvas in front of me, with no commitments or dependants, no financial worries or time constraints, a truly supportive partner and friends that inspire me to do and be more. If I was a petri dish I would have the perfect conditions for bacteria to form and flourish.
I have nowhere I have to be or anything I have to do.
I have six months to use as I wish and to create any bloody thing I like. Anything.
Just a few weeks ago I couldn’t wait to just stop rushing around and being busy and doing stuff and ticking things off lists and worrying and re-checking that list again and seeing this person and making sure that action had been done. I couldn’t wait to be able to just sleep and read and RELAX.
Now here I am with absolutely nowhere I need to be, with very little actions that must be undertaken and all the time in the world to sleep and read and RELAX. And you know what? I am fidgety! I want something to focus on. Something to produce. Something to show at the end of a day. A way to show that my time has been of use.
And yet I don’t know where to start.
I am very well aware that all I need is to take some action and I am always talking about taking action! But sometimes it is hard to take action when you aren’t clear about where you are heading.
So through this process I am being kind to myself. I am allowing myself to sleep as much as I need, getting outside when I can to connect with the amazing scenery I am surrounded by, moving my body by joining a swim squad, and making time to chill and connect with my partner rather than being the ships in the night we can tend to be when living our busy London lives.
I am also making time to connect with my vision.
I am coming back to some key questions that help ground me and help focus my thoughts about what is important to me, and what I am wanting to cross that starting line for.
1. What is important to me right now?
Sometimes the needs and wants of the immediate are not the same as the dreams and desires of the future. Perhaps right now you need to just sleep as you are tired mentally and physically. Or right now you need to move your body as it needs energy. Or it is important for you to connect with family. Or get outdoors. Try to listen to your body and see what it is telling you is important for you to do now.
2. What is important to me in the long-term? What is my dream?
When looking to change or starting on new goals and actions it is important to keep the vision alive. Where am I heading? Why is this important to me? What difference do I want to make? What is it important that I do or see or deliver or feel or explore or accomplish in my life?
The clearer you can get about the vision for your future the easier it will be to see where to start.
Of course this is still your dream as of today. Just by stating it and starting on a journey doesn’t mean it is the only dream and it can’t change. Life is a journey and opportunities open up around us all the time. Where we are heading today may be different from where we want to head in two years time. But if we don’t start on a path we will just be in the same place forever. So to help with crossing the starting line, state a purpose and a vision. And state why it is important, as the why is less likely to change than the what.
3. What values are important for me to honour?
We all have values that help guide us through life. They are the backbone of who we are, the inner core that helps steer our course and they are the things that we stand for. Values are not something to be taught, learned or acquired. They are innate and personal to us and are there all along and are expressed so easily and readily when we are living a life that is true to us. Some examples of values are honesty, freedom, relaxation, simplicity, connection, beauty, efficiency, vitality and empathy. But they are not names to be taken from a list. They are individual to each of us and so they are something to be explored and named in a way that is meaningful to you.
So what do you value in your life? What are the non-negotiables for you? When you are living your happiest and proudest moment, what parts of you are you honouring?
4. If I’m not attached to the outcome, what am I willing to try?
Often we are so worried about what we are trying to achieve we get so attached to the outcome. What if it doesn’t help as many people as I want it to help? What if no-one cares about what I have produced? What if I make a fool of myself?
Sometimes the concerns about the outcome stop us from starting. So if we can be clear about what we really want to achieve, not matter what happens, we can get clearer about our real purpose and desire.
When we can let go of the outcome we often think bigger and bolder than we would otherwise. We create what we truly wish to create. If we are not defined by what we produce (and we aren’t!), we can take a step back and look at what we really want, no matter whether it succeeds or fails.
5. What is getting in my way of making a start?
If you haven’t started there is obviously something that is getting in your way because otherwise you would be over that line already and not looking back! So what is making the starting hard?
It will often be fear, but fear of what? The clearer we can get about the reasons and roadblocks and barriers we are putting in the way of starting, the more we can start to see that they don’t really hold any power. That they are not really enough to put a stop to what we want. They are often a crutch we use to hang our lack of action on, but often in the bright light of day they aren’t as big and bad and scary as we thought they were.
If you are having trouble making a start in an area of your life, try answering these five questions and get clearer about what you are aiming for.
Are there any other questions that help you get over the starting line? I would love to hear them in the comments below.