Recently a 36-yr-old MBA in exec position in an exciting industry shared this concern in her coaching profile: “I have a vague sense that my life is too small.”
Living large does not necessarily mean a bigger salary, house, cars or retirement fund. It has nothing to do with fancy vacations or the latest fashions. Rather, it means having a life that is full of meaning and purpose. And that can occur – or be absent – at any place on the continuum of the traditional parameters of “success.” I’ve seen millionaires who are living life “small” and those with scarce financial resources who are living “large.”
Let me ask you this:
What is your life saying to the world? Are you living your life too small? Is it so full of meaningless tasks that there’s no room left for the things that make your heart sing? Are you pushing so hard in doing more that you’ve lost the sense of being more? Does more activity really equal greater accomplishment, or does it at some point tip the scale and begin to diminish the meaning of your life? Are you creating the legacy you want to leave for your loved ones?
Reflect back on the last three months – yes, just back to the first of this year. What have you done to keep your life from being too small?
Can you identify:
- 4-5 ideas you had for a better job or starting your own business?
- 3 things that you did just to help someone out with no expectation of payback?
- Books you read or listened to that enlightened your spirit, confidence, knowledge and wisdom?
- Hours spent in quiet contemplation?
- 2 or 3 things you did that you had never done before?
- Concerts, art shows, seminars, workshops or other enriching experiences you attended?
- 2 or 3 specific things you did to strengthen the relationships that mean the most to you?
If you have no responses to these seven questions, chances are strong that you are living your life too small.
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Replace “but” with “and” – you’ll be amazed at the new opportunities.
Make it a regular practice to embrace the living large times in your life. Wisdom, peace, contentment, and insight about investing your life in fulfilling work will grow in those times. Take a walk, give thanks for simple things, take a bath with music playing and candles burning, turn off the telephones, TV, and computer. Carve out those times for restoration and spiritual breathing. Don’t confuse activity with accomplishment. Don’t let your life be too small.