Life is neither 100% linear nor 100% unpredictable. There is a beginning and an end, at least to this life on earth. What happens in the middle can be filled with uncertainty, and even seemingly chaos. But alas, is that not what makes life such a wonderful journey? It is within this framework that when we set our intention to living a life well lived, we experience life differently. Very differently.
My ‘best’ times have never been during the stagnant periods of life. Those periods of normalcy where one day is merely an extension of the next, or perhaps more accurately, a replication with a few minor variances. Get up, catch the bus to town, work out, go to work, work all day, catch a bus home, take care of household chores, prepare for the next day. Rinse and repeat. These were simply normal times. No amount of pay, accolades or performance awards fulfilled my heart within the normalcy of day-to-day life.
When have some of my ‘best’ times appeared? There are two main scenarios. One is after periods of great challenge, or even alongside the challenge itself. Those times, when if we garner the courage to go deep, to be present and lean into the situation, we are gifted in ways we could not possibly have prepared for or expected. The other is when I am able to serve others in a way that brings them joy, peace, or personal growth. Sometimes, the two go together. In either case, there are no awards, no achievements, no first-place trophies. There is simply the unmistakable experience of living life fully.
Just as life is not linear, neither are the lessons. Therefore, the lessons I am sharing represent the multifaceted, complex nature of life, which paradoxically, can best be represented through simplicity.
7 Lessons on Achieving a Well Lived Life
1. Be Present through Challenging Times.
Allow yourself the time, space and energy to be present with challenging times. Lean into the experience, don’t rush it. In caregiving for my father and in selling my mother’s house, our family home, by making time to enjoy the memories, giving space to the multitude of emotions, and expressing gratitude, these life stages were peaceful, meaningful and filled with great personal growth.
2. Learn to Trust Yourself.
You know yourself better than anyone. Therefore, when it comes to any aspect of your life, from your relationships to your work to your health, learn to trust your intuitive self. Slow down, listen to the messages of your mind and body; work to increase your self-awareness through journaling, meditation or simply walking in nature without distractions. The greater your awareness of your beliefs, values, and truths, the more you will trust yourself. The benefit of which is great inner peace.
3. Find and Enjoy Your Space.
Do you have one or more special places you really enjoy and that are easily accessible? If not, consider a place in your home to spend a few minutes relaxing and rejuvenating. A common area in a coffee shop that invigorates your mind and lets your creativity flow. A place in nature to simply be. Having these ‘little’ spaces often lead to ‘big’ results. Shifting your environment can serve you to make space to support your well-being through relaxation, expand your self-awareness and/or to increase creativity for personal or business work.
4. Give and Love Above All Else.
To share your love, you must first fully love yourself. Therefore, I am all about putting yourself first. It is in fact a key component in my messaging, my work and my life. However, it is wise to be wary. Putting you first is not an excuse to always do what you want, with disregard to others. The true meaning of putting yourself first in context of a life well lived is to do so with the intention of sharing your gifts and sharing your love. It is the opportunity to take care of yourself, rejuvenate and grow personally so that you can share your gifts and your love in a meaningful way. It is in this manner that you can make a positive impact in the world around you and with the people you care about.
5. Everything in due time.
The road you travel might have a lot more bends and curves than expected. In fact, it almost certainly will! Stay the course, reroute as you grow, and keep going. You are learning valuable lessons long the way.
6. Embrace your imperfections.
This is one of my favorites! In world where perfection is too often modeled, encouraged and sold, I guarantee you NO ONE is perfect. It’s our imperfections that make us unique. I cannot overstate the value of acknowledging, accepting and yes, EMBRACING your imperfections. When you do this, you bring peace to your life through that acceptance and those imperfections become part of your roadmap, your guide, to living a better life.
For example, I’ve had periods in my life where I could only work two hours a day. Those imperfections that resulted in that limitation became my guide. I changed my business model to support my needs. I made space, invoked curiosity and ultimately found ways to work beyond the challenge. Fighting your imperfections will not get you far in a sustainable way. My success began by embracing my imperfections. They truly were my guide.
7. Make New Friends and Reestablish Old Friends.
Through our journey, we meet so many people. I personally like to consider just about everyone I meet a friend. I guess it’s just my nature. A friend is someone to whom I send well wishes, someone I wish to see succeed, to be happy.
Perhaps our definition (read expectations!) of friendship is sometimes too defined, too demanding. By living life from the perspective of sharing love, these expectations can be relaxed. You can enjoy your friendships more. What if the next person you meet in a coffee shop is about to become one of your best friends, or perhaps a friend you need for 10 minutes that day? There is great beauty in short ‘friendships’ with individuals whose lives cross ours for mere minutes as well as those that last a lifetime. Both can create a truly lasting impact. By expanding your definition of friendships, you can greatly impact the amount of joy you give and receive.
This article contains but 7 short lessons. If you have enjoyed these insights, please stay tuned for more life lessons on living life well. And beyond all, remember, life is a two-way street. We share and we receive in all things. When we accept our imperfections with self-compassion, we are better equipped to share compassion with others. Friendships offer opportunities to give and receive support, joy and love. And by living true to who we are, we can share our best with others. Live this way, and you will live a life well lived.
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