What do I mean by reclaiming your life? Many High Achieving Women give to other people, causes, and their work BEFORE they give to themselves. They put themselves at the “bottom of the list”. If they do take some time out for themselves, they often feel guilty that they are not working, or selfish that they are not giving to others. Sound familiar?
Reclaiming your life means consciously examining your activities (giving to others and to yourself), making a decision as to what changes you want to make, committing to them and then making those changes. Here’s a short exercise.
In what areas of my life am I giving to others, how often and how does it make me feel? Here are a couple of examples. I invite you to create your own table and fill it in.
||Environment or Individual/Community
||# of hours/wk/month
|1) Volunteer Board member
|2) Driving my 2 kids to their sports activities
||Local hockey arena(s) & soccer fields
|3) Always being a sounding board for my girlfriend
||On the phone or at her house or mine
* ++ (extremely positive; energized & excited) , + (positive) , N (neutral) – (slightly tired, frustrated &/or resentful) or – – (exhausted, extremely frustrated &/or extremely resentful)
Add up the number of hours per week and per month you are giving to others and also notice which activities drain you and which ones really “juice” you.
Next, answer the question: In what areas of my life am I giving to myself, how often and how does it make me feel?
||Environment or Individual/Community
||# of hours/wk/month
|1) Yoga classes
|2) Having a massage
||Therapist comes to my home with her table
|3) Having lunch with a friend
||Once/wk x 1.5 hrs.
* ++ (extremely energized &/or supported), + (energized &/or supported) N (neutral)
Add up the number of hours per week and per month you are giving to yourself and note which activities really “juice” and/or support you and any that don’t.
Compare the difference between the two tables. Do have any insights?
I invite you to make a conscious decision to let go of one or several GIVING behaviours that are draining you. Decide on the best strategy for letting go of, or delegating those activities, and set a date to do so.
Now review your second chart. Note the activities that are really energizing and/or supporting you. Do you want to increase the number of hours per week you do those OR are there some other things you’d love to try (e.g. taking piano lessons). Add those to the list and set a date to begin them.
Notice how you feel when you “let go” of some of the GIVING activities that have been draining you and when you add more activities where you give to yourself. I invite you to journal about your experience.
Sometimes we go through life and think that we don’t have choices. In fact, we always DO.
When you reclaim your life, you serve as a role model for other women in your family, community, workplace…; so while doing something for yourself, you are also making a positive difference in the lives of other women.
Did you have any new insights from the exercise? Have you committed to making any changes? I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share the post with others.
Creative Living is the conscious cultivation of improved health, happiness, fulfillment, and inner peace in your life.
Based on my own journey and work with clients around the world, I have distilled 7 keys to what I call Creative Living. By integrating the 7 keys and their associated proven practices and powerful strategies into your life, you will learn to thrive in life and in business/work. In other words, you will learn to dance with life.
The 7 keys are:
- Listen to and trust in your body’s wisdom
- Tap into and express your creative side
- Consciously create right and left brain/body balance
- Live life in alignment with your core values
- Believe that you are here to make a difference
- Learn from and embrace life transitions
- Find inner peace, and build peace in your family, friends, community, workplace… the world.
A chapter is devoted to each one of the 7 keys in my book Learning to Dance with Life: A Guide for High Achieving Women.
The value of growing your practice of the seven keys is supported by evidence from neuroscience, the arts, and Eastern psychology. I’ve learned from personal experience and from working with clients that integrating the seven keys to Creative Living into your life will support you as you learn to dance with life.
Are you interested in learning to dance with life or are you currently dancing with life? I’d love to hear your comments. Feel free to post them below and to share this with others.
What is the one thing that makes you leap out of bed in the morning?
What is your reason for being?
What is that dream or vision that serves as a guidepost for you to focus on when there is chaos and life gets rough?
That’s your BIG WHY! Some people call it your life purpose. Your life purpose “touches your heart” and “gets you excited.” As Marcia Weider, author of Making Your Dreams Come True says: “The broader you state your purpose the better, because the broader your purpose the more room there is for passion and possibility. “
Here are a few examples of life purposes:
- To live life as an adventure and make a positive difference in the world
- To inspire and support others to live their best lives ever
- To learn and contribute to making the world a better place.
Mine, is to build peace in the world one woman at a time; because when I help a woman find inner peace, she can then build it in her family, community, workplace and… the world. It’s a huge life purpose and a bit scary, yet it inspires me every day and helps me focus when I feel I’m going into overwhelm.
How do you find your BIG WHY? A good place to start is to identify your passions. These are the things that light you up, make your soul sing and when you do them you lose track of time. It could be film editing, teaching and/or mentoring others; it could be painting or dancing to name a few. In a previous post, I shared some proven practices for identifying your top 3 to 5 passions – http://creativelivingcommunity.com/are-you-passionate-about-your-work/. I encourage you do the exercises in that post if you haven’t already.
After doing those exercises or if you know your top 3 to 5 passions, take a few minutes to draft a life purpose statement using the stem: My life purpose is to: …
Realize this is just the beginning and you will likely need to return to and reflect on what you’ve written and decide if it really truly is YOUR life purpose. A couple of helpful questions to ask related to your life purpose are: How do I want to be remembered? What am I most passionate about?
Getting in touch with your life’s purpose and drafting one that “feels good to you” will inspire you to move forward and make the changes necessary to create the life and work of your dreams. Have fun!
I’d love to hear from you. Share your comments and insights below. Feel free to share the post with others.
 Weider, M. Making Your Dreams Come True. New York: Harmony Books, 1999.