This is a guest post by Joanne Miller. She is my wife and affectionately known as Queen Mother in the 48Days community. She writes, serves the needs of others and spends time with her grandchildren.
“In a recent podcast Dan read a question from a listener who said she had been reading all the right books, going to seminars and doing many of the typical steps to elevating herself to a better, more exciting life but nothing had changed. In eight years. She is still where she was eight years ago. Dan told her what she needed to do is take action. It didn’t seem too complicated to me and certainly seemed obvious. However, in this lady’s defense, I wonder if she really understood what taking action entails? I know for many people stuck in the resistance of change, looking for ways out of the maze of sameness is very difficult. This poor lady is one in a vast sea of people who struggle with defining and attaining a more passionate life. I have not been able to get her out of my head because I have felt the need to reach out to her. Perhaps these words of encouragement will prompt her, and many others like her, to take action:
Define what you want. You can’t take action when you don’t know what you are striving for. Take time to write a list of what you want to be, do, accomplish, build, etc. Make that list as grandiose as you want but really search your heart about what would make you feel more alive. More vibrant. What do you have on your “Bucket List”? If you want a better job, what does that mean? Better in what way? If you want to travel more, where do you want to go and why? Write down your dreams, your fantasies, your desires no matter how silly or far-fetched you think they might be.
Do something that “stretches” you. Take an art class. Yes, I am serious. Don’t argue that you “don’t have a creative bone in my body”! That’s hogwash. Everyone has it in them and yet many never explore their inner Creative. Take lessons from someone who knows how to help you see differently. I recommend Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain classes (or at the very least, get the book by that name by Betty Edwards and devour it) In learning something totally different from your norm and outside your typical comfort zone you will learn several very important things about yourself:
You will no doubt discover you have more ability than you think you do.
You will look at problem solving differently because you will sharpen your confidence in your gut instinct.
You will learn to look at the world very differently, with new eyes. That may sound hokey but I can pretty much guarantee it is true. Developing your right brain opens up a whole new world of high definition and surround sound.
You will become braver and more confident in your abilities. That new confidence helps propel you to explore new things. Have new adventures.
You will find a joy you have forgotten because you will rediscover the importance of PLAY and PLAY is in integral part of a well-balanced life.
Find new friends. I know that sounds harsh. But “water seeks its own level”. If you are still hanging out with the same group of friends with whom you have continually expressed your disappointments in life, chances are you are all just rehashing the same monotonous dialog and going nowhere with it. Seek new friendships with people you see are happy and excited about life. Those people will fan the spark in you to step out of your daily comfort zone. You don’t have to dump your old friends but you can limit your time spent with them.
Look at what you have done the last five years. Have you changed ANYTHING? Your hair style? Your daily routine? Your friendships? Your mode of transportation? If you are truly serious about attaining greater success and happiness, start with easy changes to make. Keep looking for ways to shake up your sameness and you will discover the confidence to take the harder steps to greater adventures.
STOP telling yourself you are miserable. STOP telling yourself you can’t do it. STOP filling your head with negatives. Start putting a dollar in a jar for every time you tell yourself you CAN do it; for every time you tell yourself you ARE awesome, you ARE brilliant, you ARE amazing. There is a lot to be said for “self-fulfilled prophecy” and the more you label yourself in negative terms the more you insure those labels are truth. Strive to fill that dollar jar with money to buy yourself some “Positive” experiences as a reward for your change of attitude.
Be on continual lookout for helping hands. I promise you they are out there. Be aware. There are people who want to help you. There are events and circumstances that are happening around you almost daily that will be positive steps to achieving your goals. You have to expect them. Anticipate them. You have to get up every morning and tell yourself you are an open vessel to recognize and receive whomever and whatever God has put in your path that is a helping hand to reaching your greatest desires. If you approach your life in this way I truly believe you will see incremental increases in your happiness and contentment levels.
You can read all the books in the world on positive thinking, how to achieve success and how to be a more fulfilled person. But unless you take action and DO things to make the necessary changes in your life you will spend the rest of your days in Groundhog Day. And, the truth is, it’s no one’s fault but your own.”