Not more than three short years ago, my story was no different to many others.
After years in the PR industry, working long hours and bringing home the stress of the job, my old life no longer reflected my values and desires for my new life as a Mum and Partner because I was missing out on precious family time.
At home I would constantly check my phone, jump on the computer at night to get work done and generally be very distant from my family life because my mind was always at work. Sound familiar?
My path to Woman Rising wasn’t a straight one and I’d started a few other websites in the years before I landed here, but when I finally decided to make real change and step away from my successful career to create a life I loved, I had no idea where to start.
In those early days the questions were endless.
Where do I start? What do I want to do? Am I doing the right thing for my family? Will it work?
Let’s face it, leaving a cosy corporate gig with excellent salary was a huge risk, but somehow I instinctively knew that if I listened to my heart and went about achieving my goal one day at a time, the transition to a new way of life could become reality. Surely I deserved to give it a go and see what happened?
Looking back I realise I was petrified. The Inner-Critic taking up residence in my head would harass me every single day.
‘Who do you think you are?’
‘It won’t work. You can’t afford to leave your job.’
‘You’re not a Life Coach, you can’t manage your own life!’
And on and on She went like a broken record, until I finally pulled up my big-girl bloomers and chose to listen to my intuition patiently reminding me in the background that, ‘it will be ok’.
Where did I start and how did I make it happen?
Creating change in your life, starting something new or rising up to achieve a dream you’ve always longed for can be a simple process if you know the five steps to shift seamlessly from where you are to where you want to be.
Each step is effective in its simplicity, and you can take as long as you need to complete each one (don’t believe it all has to be done yesterday), but once you understand the formula – well, watch out world this girl is coming through!
In other words, once you decide to create change, nothing and no-one can stop you. Even the mean girl in your head.
Based on the actions I took to change my life, here are the 5 steps you need to know to achieve your own dreams and crack open the life you’ve always wanted:
1. Set A Clear Inspiring Goal
You may have set yourself a goal before such as, lose 5 kilos, travel the world or run a half-marathon. These are brilliant goals and you should be very proud of yourself for both setting them and achieving them. But what happens after the goal is accomplished? You turn to the next goal and get trapped on an endless cycle of always wanting something else?
Alternatively, how would you feel if you don’t achieve your goal? Assume you’re a failure and put on another 3 kilos because you’re angry with yourself for not keeping your word to lose weight?
Setting goals can be dangerous territory.
Instead, I recommend unearthing a goal that sets up a new way of life, inspires action and leaves you feeling motivated to genuinely achieve your desires.
For example, when I decided to start my own business my goal wasn’t simply to ‘Change Careers’ or ‘Work For Myself’. While that was the underlying motivation, it was not inspiring enough to make me want to go out and get it.
Instead, over several days, I played around with words that had meaning to me and finally landed on my clear, inspiring goal: to establish a passionate, service-orientated organisation for women.
Yes! It felt right. I knew what I wanted to do, what I wanted it to be and I was willing to take steps towards achieving that goal.
It was positive, challenging, exciting, measurable, heart-felt and unique to me.
Perhaps you’re goal is to be more fit and healthy. That’s a great start. How could you dive in a little deeper and make it your own life changing goal?
Such as: ‘Live my healthiest, most vibrant life.’
You can live this goal every single day and always feel inspired by it.
Can you see the difference?
2. Know Your Starting Point
Now you have a clear, inspiring goal you need to take an audit of where you’re starting so you can look back and see how far you’ve come. Let’s face it, if you don’t know where you’re starting how will you know when you’ve achieved your goal?
This is your chance to set the foundation. Make a list of everything you already have and what you think you might need to achieve your goal. Trust me, you already have skills, abilities and intelligence on your side but there might be a few extra resources or contacts you need up your sleeve to acquire your goal.
Let’s continue with ‘Live my healthiest, most vibrant life’ as our example.
If this was my goal I would want to know what condition my health and wellbeing is in at the moment. I would organise a check up with my GP and start finding websites, books and blogs to provide inspiration, recipes and perhaps a forum to chat with others going through the same thing for ongoing support. I’d also create a checklist of everything I like and don’t like doing for exercise, because there is no point beating myself for not running if I hate the very idea of it.
3. Visualise Your Future
When you were younger did you hang posters of Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt or Christian Slater on your walls and daydream they were your high school sweethearts and live together happily ever after?
The first time I saved for a trip to Paris I stuck a picture of the Eiffel Tower on my fridge to remind me everyday of what I was saving for and saw myself standing on the observation deck.
Visualising your future is the same concept instead I want you to create a vision of your future when your goal is reached.
Ask yourself, what will my perfect day look like?
How will I treat myself differently when I achieve my goal?
How will living this life make me feel?
Take it one step further and create a new Pinterest board with your goal as the title (keep it private if you wish) and start pinning images of your dream life and inspiring quotes on it to keep you focused and gung-ho.
Painting a picture of your future when the goal is achieved allows you to connect with your goal on a deeper level and brings you one step close to making it happen.
4. Take Action
You’ve set your goal. You know where you’re starting and you’ve outlined a stunning picture of your future life.
Now it’s time to get to work. Taking all elements of your life in to consideration; work, family, relationships, hobbies etc… what could you reasonably do today, tomorrow or this week to help you take action towards achieving your goal?
When I started Woman Rising, I went about it the whole wrong way and made myself panic. I was looking at the big picture final product and made myself sick with stress. Not only that, but I compared my just-starting-a-business to everyone else who was two or five years ahead of me. Intimidating is an understatement.
Yes, achieving your goal is a huge undertaking, I won’t lie to you, but I realise now in hindsight what I should’ve done is write down everything I needed/wanted to do then split the list between tasks I could manage in 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and 1 year instead of doing it all now.
I highly recommend you follow a similar pattern to avoid overwhelming yourself and help you see that in small steps you can achieve big things.
Trust me when I say your list of tasks will change, but as you chip away at it one activity at a time, you will see that some things you scheduled to achieve in 3 months can actually be moved to 6 months or even 1 year. Your tasks are flexible and the action plan takes on a life of its own that seamlessly blends in to your current life, thus the reality of actually experiencing your dream is not as intimidating and more tangible.
Just don’t give up. Imagine how much closer you will be in achieving your dream in 2 months time if you don’t stop now.
My favourite step, of course.
For every action you complete on the path of achieving your goal, I give you permission to celebrate.
It could be as simple as purchasing a new luxury journal you’ve been lusting after; splashing out on that industry networking event ticket or perhaps an intimate lunch with your girlfriends to share your inspirational journey.
Whatever it is, celebration is a key step in achieving your goal because it makes the outcome real, keeps you accountable and helps you stay motivated to continue to take action as the goal comes to a close.
Celebrating doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. It just needs to signify a special treat for yourself that is meaningful and brings you joy to mark the occasion.
Just imagine the celebration once your dream is reality?
Now I’d love to hear from you.
What is one thing you would love to make happen this year? Have a go at writing your inspirational goal in the comments below and I’ll take a look.