I was my first client. Without any shadow of a doubt. I’ve always known that I was in pursuit of my own best life. Of being clear about my sense of purpose. How I would lead my own life. And I’ve done A LOT of work to turn that sense of knowing into reality.
My own coach helped me to see how my life experience was an asset in my work. Helping women to develop clarity in what you want for your life and how to lead your life where you want it to go.
There are a lot of coaches out there who share their story and say ‘here’s how bad my life/relationship/business used to be…and then I did this and this and this…and now look how awesome my life/relationship/business is.’ As though somehow you can fix that one bad thing and then everything will be perfect for ever and ever.
That’s not the story I want to share today. Because I don’t think it’s helpful…or very truthful. The reality is that living my best life takes daily intentional effort. And, no matter how much intentional effort I put in every day, living my best life also means being prepared for when life gets messy.
Being Prepared for Mess
Being prepared for mess in my life, or perhaps more accurately not being prepared for the mess, is what made me my first client.
In my lifetime, I’ve made some really smart choices and taken some really brilliant action. I’ve also made choices that put me into situations that were just plain messy. I believe that we each do, and as we make these choices and face our accountability for our actions, that’s where we get to learn and grow the most.
There have been several times in my life where I’ve come to the realization that I was sitting in the middle of a big mess. Like realizing that my dream job out of college had turned into a nightmare because of my emotionally abusing boss. Or coming to terms with the understanding that I was married to an alcoholic and had spent considerable time and energy shouldering the burden of making our life perfect so he would somehow choose to be different.
Each time, part of taking action to get out of the mess was recovering mentally and emotionally from the ordeal. And once I felt recovered enough, the process began of figuring out my life now that *that* was over.
I’ve realized that even if you make the best decision possible, the outcomes are sometimes more mentally and emotionally challenging than you ever thought possible. That life is always going to have messy moments, stressful situations, and curve balls you never saw coming.
I’ve also realized as I’ve faced these messy parts of my life is that I was missing a vital ingredient for coping with the stress. In keeping myself OK despite everything that was going on around me. That it is possible to go through the mess without having to spend time and energy in recovering your mental and emotional self when it’s done.
That realization is what made me my first client. Figuring out how I could not just survive stress and change, but be able to thrive in it somehow. And that brings me to my other point.
Daily Intentional Effort
Hopefully, the messes in your life are few and far between. And that gives lots of time for focusing on living your best life. The way in which you respond to stress and your ability to make good decisions that either avoid the mess or help you to navigate through it in the best way possible, are both end results of your daily practices and how you live your life everyday.
Some of those daily practices are the ones that you’ll hear in every self-help book or blog (including this one) like taking care of your body with exercise and good food, meditating, and other self-care. But that’s not what I’m talking about today.
What I am talking about is the other parts of daily intentional effort. The ways in which you show up in your life every single day. The way you live that either leads you closer to the life you want to be living…or leads you further away from it.
Clarify Your Values
Values are loosely defined as your principles or standards of behavior. Most of us haven’t ever taken the time to really consider what our values are or how those values impact the way you live and the way you expect the world to operate.
But being clear about your values and making life choices that are aligned with those values is critical. When you live your life in alignment with your core values, you make choices and take action that are true to who you are and what you want for your life. When you are out of alignment with your core values, you can end up making choices that lead you in the opposite direction.
Be Impeccable With Your Word
I cannot stress how important this practice is. Choosing your words carefully, meaning the words you say, and always opting for the kindest choice of words to use (and by kind, I mean to be generous and considerate). And that includes the little voice inside your head. In fact, it’s important to start with the little voice inside your head.
When you are impeccable with your word with yourself, your self-confidence grows because you are kinder to yourself and build self- trust. You know that when you make a commitment to yourself you will honor it.
When you are impeccable with your word with others, you strengthen relationships, build trust and commitment, and open up new opportunity for yourself.
Give Your Best To Everything You Do
At my daughter’s school, they say affirmations together every morning. One of the affirmations is “I give my best to the work I do.”
It’s not “I’m perfect in everything I do.” No one expects you to be perfect. It’s “I give my best to the work I do.”
I choose to give my best to the work I do. I choose to give my best to everything I do. At the end of every day, I want to be able to say that I gave my best to every moment of the day. That I showed up fully. That I did what my heart had passion for. What brought me joy and pleasure.
When you give your best to everything you do, it means showing up and being fully present. In every moment. It means acting from your fullest self. It means giving your full effort to everything you do. In short, it means living every moment of your life to the fullest.
That’s the Secret Formula
Clarify your values, be impeccable with your word, give your best to everything you do. Making daily intentional effort in these 3 ways gives you a strong and solid foundation to come back to. No matter what life throws at you, you always have a strong core inside of you that you can stay connected with in the midst of chaos. And that you can come back to when you find yourself off course.
That’s what I learned for myself, back when I was my first client.