By Selma Lalji, guest contributor – Delight Leadership Inc. @selmalalji
This post was first published here.
Allow yourself to imagine the possibilities
The need to change is usually met with great resistance. It is so easy to continue with the ‘daily grind’ of life, following the same pattern, the same template day in and day out. We complain to our friends and family that life is difficult and stressful. We feel tired and worn out with the aspects of our lives that drain our energy. And somehow, we are led to accept that this is how life is. Somehow, we become complacent in the idea that life is a struggle.
We each have so much brilliance within us; it often just doesn’t shine through.
It’s not true. Life isn’t a struggle. In my view, life is a blank canvas and we’re the paint. We colour our world with our thoughts, experiences and expressions. We’re in so much control of the end result, we just don’t realize it. We each have so much brilliance within us; it often just doesn’t shine through. We’re hiding our true selves or we just need to polish away layers of hurt, anger, resistance and fear to become who we really are.
Do you tell yourself that you aren’t good enough or that you don’t deserve goodness?
I often ask my clients to start with a simple exercise to monitor their thoughts. What shade or colour do you paint your life canvas with? Do you have dark, negative thoughts that secretly demoralize you? Do you tell yourself that you aren’t good enough or that you don’t deserve goodness? It’s easy to say on the surface ‘no, of course I would never tell myself those things’, but dig deep and start to understand your view of yourself.
In my two year journey to change my life around, that included going from working as a management consultant for a Big 4 accounting firm in the United Kingdom to starting my own business and moving back to Canada, I realized that I was the biggest road block to my own happiness and well-being. But, I am here to share my secrets so that perhaps I can make your personal journey to live the life you desire a bit easier. Your journey to lead the life you love doesn’t have to be so difficult, but it does involve self-discovery and inner work to create real change. Finding a supportive coach or confidant who can guide you through these changes can help you immensely.
Here are 3 tips that will help you to start to see and act on change:
1. We can change if we are given a clear reason to change. So find your reason and assess if you’re ready.
We can talk about wanting to change until the cows come home. It takes a personal commitment and an understanding of why change is needed in the first place. I wanted to change my life completely around – from my place of residence, to my career, my relationships, my health and even my outlook on life because I wasn’t happy. I wanted better for myself and my future. I dared to paint the life I wanted in my head and slowly, I took the steps to make it happen. So, my advice is to find your reason and make it a good one. Listen to the quiet voice that tells you that things can be different. Listen to your heart and find out what it aches for. Go back to your childhood dreams where the world was one big possibility and see if you can find your reason for change there. Once you have your reason – be it more money, a happier marriage, or because you want to leave your career and travel the world, keepthis reason close to you. You’re going to need it when your fear, hesitance and shadows try to derail you from creating the necessary changes to change your life around.
- 2. Daring to describe and paint out what could be different in your life, will begin to highlight the steps you need to take to make changes. Another exercise that I take my clients through involves a blank canvas, literally. Take some colourful sharpies, pencils or crayons and get a piece of A4 or letter sized paper. You get bonus points for finding paper that is larger than this to work with (I personally found poster paper from my local art store back in 2011 and a very large sketch book and got to work). This may feel like a ridiculous exercise given that none of us are in kindergarten anymore, but believe me, it’s useful (and fun – when else can you act like a school child and draw with colours). Allow yourself to let go of your inhibitions, pick up some coloured markers and write, draw and express yourself. On this piece of paper, write out what you want. Is it a big house? Write out or draw a big house. Put lots of green dollar signs or pound signs. In a different colour, describe your dream job. Are you the CEO of your own company? Do you want to be married and live on a gorgeous Caribbean island for half of the year? Nothing is too big or farfetched for this exercise, the more you give to it, the more imagination and heart you put into this, the more you will get out of it. Dare to dream. And if you’re going to dare yourself to dream, dream BIG. If you lack inspiration, at the very least, scribble, draw daisies in orange and purple and play tic-tac-toe on your own. At least you took the time for yourself with colours and a blank canvas at your disposal. The underlying theme here is that you gave yourself the space to think and imagine the possibilities of what your life could be.
- Think about it and ask yourself some questions that will inspire action. So, you’ve been monitoring your thoughts and understanding more about what is holding you back from creating change. You now have your reason to change – a very powerful potion to create true change. You have even written or drawn up what your dream life looks like. Now, think about it and read between the lines. What has to be different in your current life? What steps can you take in order to start to see small differences? What barriers do you face to change?
These questions and many more are all a part of your journey to change and part of your overall self-discovery. Aspects that you choose to change in your life can happen very fast – from your overall outlook, motivation and investment in yourself to create change. The big steps, the ones that seem too scary right now to take may seem easier to take once you address your fears and the barriers in your way. You can do it.
And if you need some help along the way, tune into my blog posts, get in touch with me, and come to my events such as Women at the Ritz (a feminine leadership event I co-founded to inspire women to change the world) held at Ritz-Carlton locations worldwide.
As we say at Women at the Ritz, “anything is possible, because you desire it”.
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