I think the two most important keywords are already in the title – magic and fear. And they don’t go hand in hand, to say the least…
I started to read the book Big Magic from Elizabeth Gilbert recently (author or Eat Pray and Love). Big Magic for her is the result of an internal treasure hunt and she’s totally right!
When you start uncovering all those treasures hidden inside of you and you start living your dreams, extraordinary things will happen.
Now, don’t get me wrong! You don’t need to quit your family, sell your home and move to a Buddhist monastery or sail around the world (unless that’s what extraordinary life means for you!).
There are little tweaks you can do to get there. But surely, some courage is absolutely needed (see Step #4).
Ready to go?
Step #1: Change your perspective
First, you might want to establish, what a Magical Life is for you. How does it look like? What does it entail?
Especially women have a great talent to reducing themselves to just the “sum of their duties and obligations”, as Elizabeth Gilbert puts it in her book.
You know, preparing kid for school, going to work, cooking for the family, doing all the household works. Who has time and energy for something else after 14 hours of work for the sake of family?
Yepp, it’s difficult. Especially if you see it like this.
What if you would adopt a more empowering perspective and took time for some self-care (along the motto of airlines asking to put on your own oxygen mask, before helping your kid do the same)?
And self-care is not zapping on the TV to watch some reality shows or reading your Facebook friends’ comments.
Self-care is doing something meaningful to you. You don’t have to know yet at this stage what exactly you would like to replace your internet surfing hours with. Just knowing that you’re willing to explore this possibility is enough.
That’s the first step on the road.
Step #2: Reconnect to your child self
Ready to live a Magical Life? Great! We’re at step #2 already and this is where it’s time to discover, what meaningful activity you’d like to add.
In my 28-day Happiness Challenge I call this Passion Hour.
The idea is, find an activity that you’re passionate about and the best way to start is by reconnecting to your child self.
Have you noticed how kids play – so immersed and without worry? When it’s time to come to the dinner table and they shout “Pleaaaaaase Mom, I just started this game!”.
It’s amazing how at such a young age, people are able to uncover their hidden treasures… and it’s equally sad how they are able to lose it all, getting into teenage and then adult life.
So go back and find those treasures!
Recall what you loved doing as a child and ask yourself – why? What made you feel so awesome when doing that particulat activity? And finally what could give you that same result now?
At the age of 9, I was teaching German to smaller kids in the neighborhood. In fact, I was only at Lesson #2. But I loved absorbing that knowledge and passing on to others. The same thing when I was 14. All younger kids from the street gathered in our garden where with blackboard and a piece of chalk I taught them whatever I learned on Maths.
Teaching is not a well-paid job, I was told, when growing up. So I went into a different direction. And guess what?
Fast forward to now, I’m blogging and spreading the word about Happiness, I’m teaching and mentoring small biz owners about online marketing, and I’m teaching Greek dances in my own dance group (only the blackboard and the chalk is gone by now).
So be mindful and never stop searching.
Step #3: Embrace your truth
Once you found your hidden treasure, commit to it!
Just dreaming about ‘one day’ being able to do it all, will not lead you to a Magical Life.
Doing will get you there.
So at this stage, commit to being true to yourself and being ready to live that Magical Life. Don’t ask yet why and how, just commit that you will, no matter what.
Step #4: Break down your fear
One of the biggest reasons why ‘one day’ will always remain one day, is… fear!
Yepp, living a Magical Life requires courage. Loads of them!
You can’t possibly take a next step, until you’re freaked out what others will say about you or until you keep looking for flaws.
So this stage is about identifying your fears. Here are some of the things you might be saying to yoursef:
- “What will my family / husband / coworkers / boss say if I will start…-ing?
- “My Mom will disapprove it.”
- “All my neighbors will laugh at me.”
- “I don’t have time / money / energy for such things.”
- “I won’t be a good mother / wife etc. if I do this.”
- “I’m not good / talented in this anyway.”
- “I’m too old / fat / stupid / … to do this.”
Now ditch them!
Afraid of others’ rejection? Are they really more important than you?
Don’t have the time? Really? How can you create some?
You’re not talented? And so what? You’re not going for the Olympic gold!
You’re too …? Are you? Really? Or is it just a smoke screen? (Let me answer – most probably it is.)
Challenge your fears and remind yourself why you’re doing this after all.
Still a dose of fear left? Adopt the Nike slogan and just do it. Really!
Fear is a sign that you’re growing, nothing else. You’re doing something out of your comfort zone and as every change, it takes courage to step up and change your beliefs and habits.
So what do courageous people do? Just do it anyway. Despite fear… Try that out!
Step #5: Create resources
Congratulations, you’re almost there! You uncovered what your hidden treasures are and you’re ready to living them. You broke down some of your biggest fears, so it’s time to implement. But how, I hear you ask.
That’s where you’ll start creating resources.
What achievements and successes did you have in the past that can be transfered to this field?
What kind of support (people, time, energy) would you need to make this happen?
What’s your action plan?
When will you start?
How will you create empowering, new habits around this?
One of my favorites is the 20-second trick that I’m also sharing in the Happiness Challenge. I heard this from Positive Psychology expert Shawn Achor who applied this to start playing the guitar. He realized that having to go to the other room and taking out the guitar from the closet, even if it’s just a few seconds, created a barrier to start practicing. So he bought a guitar stand and kept his guitar in the middle of his living room, so it was easier to get started (after a few weeks you get used to the new habit, so you probably won’t need it that much any more).
The same if you want to start dancing. Find out when dance classes are. If it’s after work hours, take your dance clothes with you to work, so you’ll be more likely to go to the class. If it’s early morning on a weekend, place your dance clothes next to your bed, so you’ll wear them as soon as you wake up.
It all just takes no longer thank 20 seconds, but will substantially help a new habit going.
And now over to you! What is Magical Life for you? What new habit did you create and how? What was your biggest obstacle you had to dismantle on the way? I’d love to hear about them. Will you share in the comments below?