A few days ago, one of my favorite life coaches, Jen Louden, asked a question on Facebook that inspired today’s blog.
What three words guide us in living our best, most true life? She had a great response that you can find on her Facebook page, which I suggest that you follow.
As I thought about the answer to this question, I came up with three verbs that don’t sound all that enchanting, but have helped me, and countless people that I’ve coached in the last several years.
Today, I want to share briefly how those three actions help to create the type of life that we want to live.
Perhaps, they will inspire you to look at your process of how you lead your best life in a slightly different way, with less emphasis on results and outcomes, and more on the priorities and values which you choose every day.
We are always practicing, whether we see it or not. Every day, whatever we practice becomes who we are. If you practice writing, you are a writer. If you practice lying, you become a liar. If you practice love, you become a lover. You get the point.
The more we want to be something, the more we have to practice it. This is the way we develop our talents. Unfortunately, it is also the way we develop bad habits and flaws — by practicing them.
To shift our life significantly, we have to shift our practices.
To live well and to create enchanting adventures with our short time on earth, we have to develop steady practices.
Have you decided what practices will you continue or increase in 2016? This is different than resolutions, although resolutions can become practices.
In 2016, I intend to keep practicing writing, piano lessons every week, go an adventure vacation in the summer, work on sustainability projects, and meditation. I also intend to increase my practice of yoga and walking, and decrease my practice of unhealthy patterns.
Note: Some while some practices are the end goal, in reality, I would add a 4th word for some of our practices, and that action is performance. We practice sports to play a game; we practice writing to maybe publish a short story, poem or novel, we practice singing for a concert, we practice business to impact the world and create income and profit. Most business and life coaches ultimately focus on performance, because this is a prime motivator for a lot of people.
We are always surrendering. No matter who we are, every day, something doesn’t happen the way we expect or might want it to go. We have no choice at times, and must surrender our idea about the way things should be.
Every day we surrender to the ways life is different than we would like it to be. Sometimes surrender is fairly easy, and other times we to surrender something so important to us, it brings us to our knees.
Surrender is most difficult when we have to let go of something or someone that brought great enchantment to our lives. When we have lost something deeply enchanting, sometimes we wonder if there is a point to being alive.
The only thing that I’ve found helpful for myself and in coaching others after suffering a great loss is to lean on the practices that we have – creative, spiritual, and physical. There is no escaping loss in life, but there are ways to heal our hearts and experience the beauty of life. We write, we paint, we pray, we run with a broken and bruised heart. Unfortunately, we can also resort to unhealthy practices that destroy ourselves. Choosing the right kind of life practices is an important aspect to living the most enchanting adventure possible.
The only way to evolve our talents and ways of being in the world is to continuously refine our practices. Maybe it’s a piece of writing, maybe it’s the way we relate to our family, or manage our business.
Sometimes, we have to refine what we are choosing to practice.
Our needs in life change. When we’re young children, practicing the alphabet is a good practice. As we get older, our practice builds upon what we’ve learned before.
My teenagers both think they are much wiser and smarter than I am. I am waiting for the day that they realize that I know something about life. As I watch them in this critical stage of their life, that they are now beginning to choose what to practice. I can offer suggestions, but I can’t make the choices for them, because what we practice also depends on our interests and the conditions of the world that affect us.
When I was young, climate change was not on the radar. Reduce, reuse, recycle was mostly related to eliminating pollution and toxic waste, but not with the global implications that are becoming much more clear. So, the practices my children and grandchildren will have to incorporate into their lives will be different.
The Role of Coaches and Teachers
Coaches and teachers help us to practice, perform, and then refine our practice and performance. The also helps us to learn how to surrender to loss, or a less than perfect performance.
In my opinion, too many people live in performance mode every day. Part of our problem with society is that we place more value on performance than practice, which is why I focus more on practice than performance when I work with my clients.
I share this to remind you and myself, that every day, we need to practice, surrender and refine our choices and actions. Sometimes, we are preparing for a certain kind of performance. All of these actions, are what allow us to create the type of enchanting adventures we want to live and experience.
Today’s thought for contemplation: How do you keep living your most authentic and creative life?