Everyday, I get more and more amazed at how powerful the mind is. It is crazy but yet so fun how when you start to believe, magic does happen. You simply have to make yourself available to notice it. However, a little help is always welcome to open your eyes to the wonderful things that are part of your life.
This help came to me in an unexpected form. Though my experience at Lululemon was very short, it completely changed the way I see life. I always have been of an optimistic nature, but my mood fluctuates often, and I can find myself easily caught in a big dark gray cloud, having trouble getting out of it. In these moments, I feel lost, out of my mind and body, as if I was in a dense, dark fog-cloud, and I have trouble gathering motivation to find my way back to happiness. What I learned through my training at Lululemon helps me now everyday to stay focus on what I value, work hard towards my goals and feel great about who I am no matter what happens. Because in the end, feeling good is not so much (if not at all) about what you have or what you do, but about how you be.
Going through life on autopilot mode
As shocking as it is, I had never aloud myself to dream before 25. Sure, there were things I wanted, or more things I thought I needed to do, in order to succeed in life. Getting a Bachelor’s degree, finding (and keeping!) a boyfriend/best friend/true love, finding a job I would enjoy, buying a house, and eventually having kids were all things I wanted, or thought I wanted, but I had never pictured them as part of my dream life, because well, I had never really asked myself what my dream life would be. I was simply going from one milestone to the other, not even seeing these things as goals, simply as things I needed to get.
So I got them. I wanted a job, I had it. I was ready to get into a relationship, I found the man of my life. And when it was time to buy our house, I bought it.
The fact that I hadn’t envision these things as objectives in my life took away from me the satisfaction I could’ve had reaching my goals, after working hard towards them. I wasn’t proud of myself, although I had a lot to be proud of. That’s sad, isn’t?
Therefore, I found myself having a quite amazing life at only 25, but being from time to time a bit depressed. I had no goals, nothing to work towards. The goals I was fixing myself, I felt, were only things I thought I needed to do, and I didn’t even saw them as goals I was working towards. It was simply what I was doing. When I was getting to a milestone, like finishing my undergrad, buying my house, getting a job, it only felt like it was meant to be. I didn’t even congratulate myself for all the hard work I had put in to get those things. All because I didn’t purposefully choose them to be goals.
I was missing the important piece behind all those actions. I was missing the big thing that holds all that together, the dream vision of my life. I was working towards nothing, as if I was climbing a hill, reaching a new plateau sometimes, but never seeing the top of the mountain. I was missing a purpose to my actions. I needed the Why.
Envision your dream life
What I wasn’t allowing myself then was to dream big. My mind was stuck in a glass box, I did see people around me accomplishing amazing things, but I never thought beyond what I had learned through my childhood and teenage years. I was following the path my grandparents and parents had mapped out for me. It’s not that this path isn’t great, it’s simply that I didn’t even knew at that point if it was the path I wanted to follow, the trail I wanted to use to climb the mountain.
I needed to get back to the foundations of my life, and ask myself where I wanted to go. I needed to clear my mind from all the stories I had told myself, all the stories I was stuck in, to open myself to new possibilities. I had to start believing I could do anything, be anything. I only had to choose who I wanted to be, what I wanted to do, and work hard towards it, knowing that it wasn’t even about the objective itself, but much more about the practice.
Dreaming can be scary. Once I started envisioning your dream life, and understood that I could make it happen, I also started feeling that pressure to be that super/uberwoman living her dream life. I also got scared of failing to accomplish my dream vision. As soon as I was starting to get anxious, I got back to my Practice of Breathing, and realized that I was missing the point here.
This clear vision of my dream life is there to motivate me, to help me take the right decisions based on my core values, because my dream life is directly linked to having the time and freedom to fully act upon my core values, creating projects around them. It is not about performance, as nobody is waiting for me at the end of the day to decide if I passed or failed the “life test”. It is not about reaching a perfect result either, as there is no perfect result to reach. It is all about the path. The pride of having worked hard to live a life of integrity, in agreement with my personal values, to be the person I want to be everyday. There is so much to learn along the way, it would be very sad to simply focus on the end result. I prefer to focus on learning, practicing, playing.
My dream vision is there to inspire me, light me up when I’m down, help me refocused when I’m lost. It’s about who I am, without the everyday pressure, without today’s constraints, as you can envision yourself in a far future, a future you have plenty of time to create.
Define your goals
It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined. – Henry James
Once the vision of your life is clearly define, then the fun part starts. #goalcrushingbaby You get to define the steps that will take you to actually live your dream vision. You can first break your dream vision into goals related to different areas of your life, like Lululemon suggests. What aspects of your dream vision are related to your health? To your family and friends? To your career? To yourself? Write down those goals, being specific, making sure they are measurable, and giving yourself a by-when. You want to be sure you know where you have accomplished your goal, and that’s why you want to make it as precise as you can. It is also recommanded to write it in the present tense. I find this helps me believing it can happen.
Why is it so important to believe it? Because if you don’t, it simply won’t happen. To get into action and to work towards reaching your goals, you have to believe they can be reached.
“Believing in yourself is everything. If you don’t believe in what you can do, it’s almost impossible to achieve it.” – Sylvie Bernier, Canadian Olympic Gold Medalist
Let’s say you want to go vegan and you are a meatlover. In order to believe you can do it, it’s always easier to start from your actual diet and make small changes to adapt, and build confidence in yourself, than to go cold-turkey (couldn’t resist the pun!) and cut every animal product out of your diet. If you eat meat everyday for example, you might try to eat it only 4 days a week, giving yourself enough time to find alternatives, starting to see yourself as a part-time vegan, starting to believe you can do it. Then cutting out meat for 5, then 6, then 7 days. Maybe even replacing it with fish at the beginning. Then as you move on, you find new recipes, you develop new habits, meat isn’t such an important part of your life anymore. And you are ready for another step, taking the fish out of your diet let’s say. Then eventually the cheese, then the eggs, and then all of a sudden you realise you are practically vegan.
Now say I want to make a million dollar/year. I won’t get from my actual salary to a million dollar in the blink of an eye. It will take steps to get there. It’s all about tiny steps, tiny gains, like everything else in life. I’ll have to go through the same process. I’ll have to get my mind ready for all that money.
What is your number? We all have a salary amount we think we will eventually reach in our career, we believe we can make in 5-10 years from now if we keep on working. I’ll have to surrender that number, and get my mind used to a new number if I want to be a millionnaire. The toughest part is often breaking that story in our head that we are worth only a certain amount of money. So again, using the strategy of tiny steps, we will make it happen. Let’s break it down with an example.
My dream vision: I’m living on a boat, not working, travelling the world with my boyfriend. (This is not my dream vision for now, but maybe it’ll be one day? Looks like a pretty great life right?)
My goal in 10 years: I make a million dollar/year.
How can I make myself believe I can accomplish that? You can to see at that point what seems realistic/reachable for you. Let’s say I make $40 000/year. I believe I could make 150% of my salary in 2 years from now, so $60 000. So I’ll start with that.
My goal in 2 years: I make $60 000/year.
Then in 3 years, do I believe I can make even more? If I was able to get to $60 000, I could get to $75 000 in 3 years. Then keep it up, investing more and more, until I get to my million.
The important thing here is not the number, and it’s not about reaching that number. It’s about getting your mind used to that number, building the confidence in yourself that you can reach it, believing in yourself.
A person can grow only as much as his horizon allows. – John Powell
So let’s pretend you have envisioned your dream life, then defined your goals, starting from your dream vision, then breaking it down into specific and measurable goals taking you there. You have the big picture, your dream vision, then the goals in 10 years, 5 years, 3 years, and 1 year for example.
You have your plan. Amazing. Now you can get going, and start working towards your dream vision. Exciting isn’t?
You can even break down into tinier steps your 1 year goals to make sure you accomplish them. The tinier the step, the more chance you’ll get to do it, as it will take less activation energy to get you into action, which will help you build confidence in yourself, in your capacity to crush that goal. Again, it’s all about believing you can do it, and then working hard to get there.
As I told you, it’s all about the path. For me, the rewards come sooner than later, as I find myself more motivated than ever, and really proud of myself for showing up and working hard towards reaching my goals. Again, it is not about what you have or what you do, it’s about who you be. Working towards my goals demands courage, so everyday when I put effort into it, I am being courageous, and that makes me feel amazing. Isn’t feeling amazing EVERYDAY the best reward?
Staying focus towards your goals and dream vision can also simplify your life. Every time I struggle with a decision, I only have to ask myself this one question: «Which choice will get me closer to accomplishing my vision?» Coming back to that clear vision every time is my way of making sure I stay true to myself.
Want to give it a try? Do the exercice right away.
I am curious to know what’s your dream vision. Where you would like to be in 10 years? And what are your shorter-term goals to get there? Please comment below.