Lifestyle Design? Part 2
I had a life coach about 20 years ago challenge me to pick a job that matched the lifestyle I was looking for. At the time, in my early 20s, I wanted to double my income, travel nonstop, and work for a company with a lot of brand cache and strong leadership. That exercise led me to HBO for more than a decade.
Now, years later, I’m a life coach, and one of my specialties is lifestyle design. I like helping others figure out what they want and how to get it without struggling to make it happen.
Ok, in the first post of this series, we started with Step 3. I know! How could I? Life is about following the exact steps on a prescribed path to guaranteed success and happiness, right? Wrong.
Lifestyle design is not about lining up your ducks, or taking the right steps in the correct order, or following someone else’s blueprint. Lifestyle design is choosing what makes YOU happy, visualizing YOUR ideal day, week, month, year, life, and living it in the moment, NOW. It’s both enjoying the ride at every stage, and not struggling with uncertainty or fear as you build something on faith.
Designing your life is authentic, intentional real life, mixed with a side of deep, delicious contentment, sprinkled with anticipation.
Last week we left off with starting where you are and choosing what you want to create momentum. By outlining what looks better in one key area, and identifying three criteria to improve, then stretching toward something amazing that would fundamentally improve your life, you build traction quickly. If you’ve done your homework, let’s move on.
This week, we will skip ahead to Step 5, because it’s another momentum-builder. The trick about momentum is the faster you see traction, the more likely you are to stay invested, and the more real it becomes. That’s why so many experts use compounding or snowball effects in their methodology.
This week, we are going to seek out examples and study what works. The world is full of inspiration. You agree, right? That wasn’t a rhetorical question. In this case, doing the work means getting to a place where it feels like inspiration abounds. What belief could you confront, or what behavior could you change to get there? Once you’ve shifted or reframed, proceed.
You don’t have to know all the paths to happiness and success.
Once you discover what you want, find people who live as you wish. For example, if you want to move to Greece, start with someone who lives there or has lived there. Obviously, right? Follow the footprints and clues, maintain the courage to keep going, and adjust along the way. Keep in mind that inevitably your journey will be different, more you.
When we keep consuming what others are doing, imagining it, or planning instead of doing, we lose our way. Our instincts falter, and it all becomes a little too much. So, be on the lookout and take notes (anything from a screenshot to a voice memo to a journal will work) and start curating your feed and inbox.
Take Tim Ferriss as an example. An author of five bestsellers, he has a podcast on deconstructing world-class performance with more than 500 million downloads. When Ferriss is trying to understand how to create maximum traction quickly, he studies either one of the top-ranked (but not the best) in the world or learns who came on the scene later but exploded more quickly. His idea is that either of those two people can tell you how to get to where you want to go faster, with fewer missteps. And he’s right.
I like Tim’s vibe, how his mind works, and the conversations he has. I also find him unrelatable. He’s a Princeton grad, super techy, the definition of well-connected, and unmarried, no kids. If that’s you, you should be following him, for sure. If your idea of lifestyle design involves parenting and way less adrenaline and risk, I’ll break it down for you another way.
Finding the people you want to follow seems easy. There are a gazillion profiles and accounts across all the platforms, offering a glimpse into all the ways to do life. You like who and what you like for your reasons. NBD.
However, if you think you are going to end up where you want to go because you fill your feed without intentionally choosing who influences your life, you’d be mistaken.
Intentionally curate your influences, friends.
Find the people who light you up, make the world better, know how to get where you are going, and cut out the distractions, judgment, hype, and yuck. You know when you are walking your dog, and she pulls you toward something dead, like roadkill or rabbit parts, and she can’t resist smelling it even though it’s bad for her? That’s what I mean by yucky. Don’t go there.
You can start with the best of the best like Tim recommends, but sometimes the gurus or pros are a little out of reach. Maybe you are just dabbling to start; perhaps it’s an idea that you aren’t 100% confident about yet. In that case, choose someone more accessible, someone just a few steps ahead.
Those who are at the top of their game have so much wisdom to share, but they may be too far ahead to make it relevant. You wouldn’t call Alex Rodriguez to teach your 5-yo how to throw and hit; you’d probably teach your son yourself because you want to feel it out a bit. If he demonstrates ridiculous talent or is obsessed, you might be more conscientious about who teaches him.
Do the same for yourself. Ask, is this something I truly want, or is this going to be a significant component of my best life? If the answer is yes, invest accordingly.
Know where you are going and what it’s leading to.
In the same way that you don’t have to monetize everything you know, you don’t have to invest in every curiosity. That said, consistently dabbling, or inexplicably committing isn’t a strategy; it’s procrastination or sabotage.
Designing your best life means holding your highest vision: doubling-down on an outcome that seems incredible and like a major upgrade. It doesn’t have to be your ultimate destination, but it should be an inspired step and totally worth it. Reach, commit, create momentum, and seek out examples.
By the way, just the act of deciding will make life better. It will lighten your load, freeing you up to think and act in new ways. Seeing yourself (and others!) take action will accelerate your future because now, you aren’t just moving toward what you want, what you want is moving towards you too.
What you seek is seeking you.
And there you go. Two steps down. You’re on your way.
I’ll be back with Steps 1, 2, and 4, or, if you can’t wait, download the Best Life Blueprint right here.