The longing for more
So I was saying, I was not particularly happy. My predominant feelings at that time were emptiness and dullness. My days kind of just passed by, I ran errands and did what I had to do. It bothered me that there was not more excitement, rarely did I get truly enthusiastic about anything. I longed for more intensity, abundance and happiness. I painfully missed inspiration and freedom, and the feeling to contribute to something really meaningful.
Deep inside I also had this vague sense that it can’t be true. That cannot have been all there is to life. There must be more. At the same time I felt guilty for feeling this way. After all, I had a loving family. Lots of good things were present in my life. I was grateful for my healthy son, who had enough excitement, zest and energy for both of us.
Long story short: I felt genuinely stuck.
And that was the point where I made a decision. I needed to get something new started in my life, and the decision was an investment. An investment in something that I had dreamed of for a while: to take a coaching training. This has been a turning point for me
Here is the story of what changed and how I discovered the Life I Love.
1) Infuse your Life with Happiness
Happiness. What makes you happy? Now, we could get really philosophical about that one. But let’s keep it simple. What makes you happy, is what matters to you.
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“Once I am done with my studies, everything will be better.”
“Once I have this job, I will be super happy.”
“Once I own this car, my life will be pure bliss.”
My sarcasm here probably hasn’t slipped your attention, but you know what I mean, right? I am sure you know at least one person who makes their happiness dependent on things happening around and to them. Or maybe you are even guilty of it yourself?
What’s the problem with that? True happiness doesn’t come from all those things, it comes from within. From what really matters to you. You will find happiness in things that honour your values. And clarity around your values makes it so much easier to achieve anything.
What I realised about fulfillment and happiness
You see, in 2015 I was quite overweight. I hadn’t managed to get rid of the extra kilos after having my son. (To be completely honest, I also did try to find some happiness and fulfillment in cake & co, but that is a different story.) And yes, I really wanted to be a bit leaner, feel more comfortable in my skin.
AND – and now this story gets more interesting than the typical cliché goal of wanting to lose weight – through my coaching training, I reframed my goal. In all the mini coaching sessions throughout the training, I explored my true intentions and needs. Why did I want to lose weight? And the main motivation was actually not to just be leaner. That would be the extra perk.
What really mattered to me was to be healthy and fit. To be able to climb 2 flights of stairs without being out of breath. To have more energy to have fun with my son. To have more drive to do what I really loved to do. THAT was what mattered most to me. Rephrasing that goal of losing weight and infusing it with more meaning, made a world of a difference.
So let me ask you:
What is one goal that you have tried to achieve without success? What would be a different way of looking at it?
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2) Paint a clear picture of the future
A clear picture of your compelling future functions as your North Star. It allows you to stay motivated, to push through when the going gets tough and to get back on track after deviations. Stephen Covey made this wonderful analogy with airplanes that are off course at least 90% of the time. And usually they arrive at their final destination.
Even though your life does not have one final destination in the same way like a flight, the benefit of having a direction, of having an inspiring and compelling vision is invaluable. Without that, it is just so easy to get caught up in day-to-day tasks, in obligations, in helping out others, just going with the flow. And all of a sudden, another year has passed and you can’t even recall what you have accomplished that really delights and fulfills you.
My compelling vision
Having a compelling vision in mind enables you to make decisions aligned with that bigger picture in mind. In my case, my mission is to have an impact by supporting others to discover, design, live and lead the life they love. Thinking back to 2015, I remember when we formulated our Life Purpose statements during the coaching training. Mine had to do with “making a difference in other people’s lives”, that was my wording back then. And even in this vague wording, it felt way too big for me. How could I ever have an impact on others’ lives in any big way? At the same time I knew that this was what I wanted.
Three years forward, I have a clear idea in mind what I want to create. WHAT the difference is that I want to make. HOW I can make this difference. WHY I want this to be my legacy.
And this allows me to make my decisions in line with my vision – and my values too. I know what to engage in and what to say no to. I know where and when to set my boundaries. And this is an unlimited source of Joy, Abundance and Freedom.
Over to you again:
What could be your vision for life? Maybe you have a secret dream? Or a deep desire of “one day I will…” What is it? And what would your future look like if you went for it?
3) discover more ease
Weaknesses, areas of improvement, learnings,… many words for the same thing. How to improve on the things we are not good at. There is a lot of focus on that, right from the beginning of our lives. When actually it would be much more beneficial to focus on what we are already good at and become excellent at it. Because honestly, what you are not good at, you can maybe become mediocre or average at. While you can excel and become one of the best at things that you have a talent for. So do yourself a favor and focus on your strengths.
The question to ask
Don’t get me wrong. I am all about reflecting and learning from mistakes. Especially since I started on my entrepreneur journey, this has become crucial. Daring to “fail” and seeing that failure as an opportunity to learn. The question I ask myself to reflect is: “How can I approach this task more from a perspective of my strengths in order to succeed?” It has nothing to do with becoming better at something that I am not good at. Because honestly, sticking 100% to plans and forcing myself to do something that I despise will never be one of my strengths.
How strengths bring more ease
One example how I use this awareness in smaller activities in my life: one of my character strengths, as defined by the VIA Institute on Character, is the Love of Learning. So whenever I have a hard time getting myself to go for a run, an additional motivation for me is to listen to an audiobook or Podcast while at it. Also, I started listening to audiobooks and Podcasts when doing household chores. And voilà, those things become much more light, energizing and joyful.
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Conclusion: The winning Combination
So you have made that important decision. You decided that you have had enough of the status quo, empowered yourself to make the decision to put yourself first and go for the Life you Love. The winning mix when it comes to intentional life changes is a combination of a compelling vision, awareness around your values and strengths – and the ability to use the new insights to create results.