The best way to predict your future is to create it. – Abraham Lincoln
December is a freaky month, am I right?
It’s a wonderful time, and can also be incredibly chaotic.
In the past, I used to experience a combined sense of dread and excitement for December. I loved the parties and traditions, the excuses to dress up and get my hair done. But I also dreaded figuring out what to wear, making appointments, closing out the current fiscal year, making sure I was already ahead for the next one, looking for gifts, buying gifts, delivering gifts, etc.
It was exhausting.
I actually used to look forward to my hangovers on the weekends, because it meant I could sit on the couch and ignore the world.
But there was another reason I dreaded the holidays. Underneath the flurry of activity was a lurking sense of sadness, fear and regret. It was easy to ignore when drinks were flowing and busyness reigned, but not at Christmas when everything came to a screeching halt.
When my inbox went quiet and guests had gone home, I’d realize that yet another year had gone by without much changing – and that I wasn’t any closer to the life I really wanted.
I was living my life on a slow cycle of repeat.
One day I was on the phone with my coach complaining about how how busy I was when she asked me to describe my ideal day. Caught off guard, I fumbled around and began to describe a typical day off. She stopped me and said:
“No, Karen, what is your ideal day if you could live any way you wanted?”
Suddenly, I was embarrassed. I thought I knew what I wanted, but beyond quitting my job and living somewhere sunny, I realized I had nothing else to say.
It turns out I only had a vague idea of what I wanted at best.
For the next hour my coach helped me slow WAY down and create my ideal day with a level of detail I had never imagined. We covered everything, from what I would feel right before opening my eyes in the morning to the type of flooring I’d have in different rooms of my house. We talked about all of it as though it were happening right now.
Some of what I said surprised me. Some of it felt embarrassing. Some of it I said because I thought I should. Regardless, somewhere along the way I stopped resenting the exercise and started to have fun. It was liberating to dream in this way, and my life didn’t feel so impossible from this point of view. It felt accessible.
It also showed me how far I was from what I really wanted.
A little over a year later I was living in Arizona. I had started my coaching practice a few months earlier. One day I was looking out at the mountains from the windows of my spacious, sun-filled home I shared with my boyfriend (now husband) when my ideal scene popped into my head. I went to find it, and read what I had written.
I realized almost every single thing I had described that day had come true.
Every. Single. Thing.
All I had to do was imagine it.
As it turns out, there is a reason for this.
Neurologically, your brain doesn’t know the difference between reality and a well-imagined one. This is why Olympic athletes use visualization to aid their physical performance. The same area of the brain is activated by both. As a result, athletes who visualize what they want (in addition to taking action to train) are more likely to cross the finish line than those who don’t.
The Universe responds in the same way.
If you’ve read The Secret or The Alchemist, for example, you’re familiar with the idea that the Universe wants you to be right – and that it’s always conspiring in your favor.
You are hardwired to manifest.
And it starts with your vision. Your vision doesn’t need to be grandiose either. It can be as simple as your ideal day. The main things that serve you are to be clear and specific. It’s like the difference between asking for something to eat, or asking for a banana.
In addition, knowing what you want is far more important than knowing how it will happen. When I created my ideal day, I had no idea I would end up in Arizona. In fact, I described what I wanted with California in mind. I didn’t know it at the time, but Arizona was a better fit with my ideal scene – and ultimately that’s where I was led.
When you choose your vision, you choose your reality.
So choose what you really want.
And slow down to do so. If not, you’re likely to fall into someone else’s vision – and society’s version is not always ideal.
Today, having more and doing more has become a key measure of success. As a result, busyness is now worn like a badge of honor. The busier you are, perceivably the more important and valuable you feel – and yet people are burning out at unprecedented rates. The average “mid-life” crisis has moved up by twenty years, and suicide rates are 30% higher than two decades ago.
It is imperative to ask yourself what you want from life, because one size does not fit all.
In fact, every client I work with has a vision for their life that is as unique as they are. No two are the same, which is further proof that your life is meant to be created. Creation is your birthright. It is your purpose.
I want to leave you with a metaphor about the grocery store, naturally.
You know how when you’re too busy to make a list – or worse, you go when you’re hungry for something more and end up with a basket full of things that are nice to have that you didn’t really need? But when you make a list, you focus on getting what you want?
Your life is like that.
Intention is everything.