Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time writing and sharing about my personal journey, whether it’s in individual conversations (friends, family, and clients) or through the stories that I’ve been sharing in some co-authored books I’ve been proud to birth with other amazing women.
And one of the #1 things that I talk about is the moment when I chose to take my life back as my own, after realizing that I was living a mediocre existence and that I was allowing my joy to be stolen by a “good job” and the good money that came along with that job.
In 2007, when I began exploring the next part of my path, I spent a lot of time examining my stories and beliefs (relating to money and beyond money, too) that had kept me in a job that I’d known for quite some time was not the best fit for me. I realized by spending time in thought about all of this that I’d accepted the traditional stories about success and achievement and that “more” was better.
As I looked at all of what I believed and the impact it was having on my future (let’s just say as a workaholic there wasn’t much other than work on my mind or long workweeks ahead of me), I decided I didn’t like what I saw. I had dreams of being a wife, a mother, and of fully allowing myself to make a major contribution in this world. And let me tell you, as great of a profession as accounting is, living in a world with lots of black and white and very little gray wasn’t supporting me in allowing my unique self to flourish that’s for sure.
The stories and beliefs were strong about the traditional path, and yet I didn’t want to be traditional and simply accept what others told me – I wanted to color outside the lines and create a life where I could thrive and use my uniquely-given gifts. Only one problem – I had no idea how to get to that place and I felt stuck and trapped in the world that I knew (even if I knew I was accepting what others told me by default).
So I set about creating my life by design. Which meant going backward before I could move forward.
Going backward meant examining my stories and beliefs (about everything, including money) so that I could heal them, and then deciding that I wasn’t going to allow my past to cause me to react unconsciously to things in my life (which had the result of me creating my future based on my past). Reacting might be the comfortable thing to do because it was based on what I knew, however in a way I found it predictable and frustrating…I had a brain of my own, so why wasn’t I using it to decide whether what I’d learn really aligned with the life I was really wanting?
And as I examined my stories and beliefs, something became very clear to me – that I was no longer willing to blindly accept what others had told me and what was traditional. Instead, I wanted to break the patterns of moving through life without deciding in the present moment who I wanted to be and what I wanted to have happen in my life. I didn’t necessarily know all of the answers right away (and I still don’t!), and at least I was starting to “be in the question” as one of my favorite mentors would say.
When I made this shift to be in the question rather than pretend to have all of the answers, this is when I was able to truly begin creating my life by design. Because I was able to declare what I wanted, take steps toward my future based on what showed up in my life, and course correct along the way.
The best result from this way of thinking was that I was no longer bound to only one way of doing things – and this meant I was FREE!
In my experience, when we can break free from the patterns of our past and instead consciously create relationships with ourselves and with our money to design our lives in an intentional way, this is where the magic happens.
So, is it time for you to create your life by design instead of accepting it by default? If yes, what is the next step you can take (and keep in mind, it may be a step back to look at how your past is influencing your future!)?