I had a conversation with one of my oldest and dearest friends recently that at first struck me as odd. She asked, "Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind wanting to start again...?" I recognized that was the opening lyrics to Katy Perry’s song Firework. She was off. Not her present, fun, happy, and courageous self. It was strange, because she’s so accomplished. She had raised happy, productive, and conscientious kids. She worked doing what she loved. She had a few half-marathons under her belt, and she had a loving family and friends. After many conversations, I finally understood.
Her kids needed her less, and she felt like there was more of her to give to her career. More people to serve and a legacy to create. It was inaction that made her feel she was off-purpose... like a plastic bag drifting through the wind. She was being blown around by her days, by her old routine, by other people’s wants and needs, and by being "busy" without being clear about what she wanted. Without defining her next level of ambition and having a plan to make progress.
She knew there was more. More of a sense of contribution. More of a feeling of purpose. More joy.
If you are at an ambition checkpoint, here are a couple tips to help you develop the mindset to check in, and check out of being stuck there any longer:
1. Have Gratitude
Experience gratitude for what you have already accomplished, the lives you’ve touched and the progress you have already made. You’re a climber, and sometimes it’s easy to forget how far we’ve come. Trust me. I’m guilty too!
2. Create Space
Reflect about what is missing, what it important to you, and what would make you most happy and proud if it were a year from now. Go to your favorite coffee shop, take the day off, or go somewhere that inspires you. This is a priceless gift you can give yourself.
3. Develop Your Roadmap
Consider the steps needed to get to where you want to go. It’s common for world-class performers to start with the end in mind and work backwards. They envision the finish line, what they yearn for first and think about it often in visceral detail. Once you draw up the plans for your dream, it’s time to start building it. Once you do this, you are off to the races!
See, we have a human drive to feel like we are living as our best selves. When we aren’t, we get the tap on the shoulder to pay attention and next-level our efforts. Maybe you are crushing it at work, but your relationships are suffering. Maybe you are giving 100% to your family, but you’ve put aside your dreams and aspirations to serve others. Or possibly each bucket is half-full, but you’re too comfortable and are bored. We can ignore the tap on the shoulder, but it rarely retreats. There is usually a price to be paid for neglecting it for too long.
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"You are only limited by what you think is possible."
- Sheryl Kline, M.A. CHPC -
The Compound Effect (Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success), by Darren Hardy
Here’s to you being amazing!
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