HJ: Sometimes we get stuck. That’s when you need to think outside the box and look at your life and your situation differently. You must change your thinking, your assumptions and your perceptions if you want to get different results. Susan Biali, in this down to earth, practical and illuminating article gives seven great tools to help you get unstuck and figure out what you should be doing with your life, even if you have no clue what that is.
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I know what it’s like to feel stuck, and each of these tips helped me to create and live the journey that’s been my life for the last ten years. I still pinch myself some days!
1) Detach from or break your daily routine
Often you don’t realize just how deeply you’ve gotten into a rut until you step outside of it, even for just a day. I very rarely am able to get perspective on my life while inside my everyday life. My greatest moments of insight have come when I’ve been traveling or even have just done something as simple as taking a journal to a gorgeous Italian cafe, ordering a pastry and a brilliantly painted ceramic cup of coffee and writing, writing, writing about my life and how I feel about it and what I might dream of doing next.
What could you do to interrupt your routine and give you perspective? Could you take a quick solo daytrip or escape, even within your own town? I have a whole section on detaching from your life (and how you can do it on the cheap) in my book, Live a Life You Love.
2) Remember what you loved to do as a child
Looking to wake up your creativity? Would you like to ignite your sense of fun, possibilities, hope and adventure? Try to remember what you were obsessed with when you were little.
I practiced every night in the basement to my pile of ABBA records, preparing for my big break as a Solid Gold dancer. Sure enough, when I finally decided to pursue my dance obsession as an adult, every aspect of my life became infused with passion and my whole existence shifted dramatically.
Reconnecting with that authentic hyper-passionate little kid inside kick-started this whole delicious journey – today, ten years since the class I signed up for at age 28, I have performed for thousands of people from Canada all the way down to Mexico. That little girl knew all along what she was meant to do, and what would make her happiest.
What did you love to do? Could you reintroduce some element of it now? Could you finally give yourself that pottery class? After all, your mom can’t hide the PlayDoh from you anymore!
3) Think of when you were happiest
This one can be very revealing. We often might think of “the good times”, but might not think we have a right to continue enjoying similar or even better times here and now. When I think of the most joyous days in my life, one trip always stands out: the time I went with a bunch of my med school friends to Club Med in Mexico (courtesy of the bank’s student loan program!).
I must have danced 7 hours a day or more. After dinner, I’d learn all the silly Club Med dances, and then would groove non-stop in the disco till the sun came up. Every night. I’d sleep in the day, because the dancing was all that mattered. My friends who didn’t want to stay up all night dancing were a little annoyed. I wasn’t, I was in heaven.
Are you seeing a trend here? Perhaps if you start thinking of when you were happiest, you’ll start to see a trend, too. Pay close attention to where your greatest joy comes from, and aggressively build those elements into your life. It’s your greatest joy for a reason and you must honor that – you will see why, when you do!
4) Write out a day in your ideal, no-holds-barred fantasy life
This always gets those possibility juices flowing. Write out a day, from morning to night, of the absolutely best day you could imagine in the context of a day to day existence. Who are you with? Where are you? What are you doing? What elements can you start to incorporate into your life TODAY?
5) Take a course in something you’ve always wanted to do or learn
When those first dance classes woke my soul at age 28, I learned that indulging my creative leanings with courses was one of the most generous ways to give to myself. I took writing courses (and subsequently became a professional freelance writer and now author), took different dance courses (I eventually became a professional flamenco dancer), and even studied photography (my photographs ended up published in various magazines along with the stories I wrote for them).
Of course you don’t have to turn your hobbies into professions as I seem to love to do, but it was a joyous revelation to me that I could actually make a significant chunk of my living doing what to me felt like play. I also met new friends that I’ll have for life (an added bonus: a brilliant, hilarious lawyer who I met in a novel-writing course ended up helping me negotiate my first book contract many years later!) .
Grab a course guide from your local community center or college – and treat yourself to something delicious!
6) Ask yourself: “What would I do if I could not fail?”
The answer to this one can be sobering. In fact, the answer that comes to mind for me I need to start paying some serious attention to (sorry, not going to tell!). Do you want to admit to yourself on your deathbed that you really should have given (your dream, your passion, your idea, etc. – fill in the blank) your all and taken the chance, knowing what you do now? Save yourself that experience. I may have to make some fresh radical changes in my life, soon…
7) Read every book you can written by people whose lives inspire you
Back when the real-life human beings in my life were telling me I was crazy and would be sure to fail, I nourished myself by devouring book after book by people who were living the life I wanted. I particularly loved the work of spiritually oriented authors who told me that anything really was possible, that my authentic dreams and desires were filled with power and meaning, and who proved by their own life circumstances and success that this could be true.
Not surprising then, that I wrote my book Live a Life You Love as a similar kind of handbook for people – a blueprint designed to give you hope and inspiration, showing you the way, step by simple step (no matter what others may be saying in your life!). I hope you feel a little freer and more hopeful after reading this – try at least one of these tips, and then watch a delightful path start to unfold in front of you.
Visit my website: www.SusanBiali.com