Think for one minute, right now, about where you were one year ago.
Close your eyes, visualize. It’s September. What were you doing? Where were you? What were you doing at work? Who were you with? How were you feeling?
Now, open your eyes, and think about where you are today. Answer all the same questions. Does it look any different?
I can remember a lot about where I was a year ago. Specifically, I was mourning the fact that we would be moving back to Saint Louis soon. I was balancing that with soaking up every second in Colorado and having fun doing it – in fact, I think Marty and I were having a blast on a road trip. But, the biggest thing I remember, is that I was also feeling extremely lost and conflicted in my business, so I wasn’t doing much of anything with it.
Oh, how things can change and shift in only 365 days.
But, uh, they don’t really do that on their own. I’ve mentioned this several times lately, but I spent a lot of the last year doing a lot of reflection and personal and professional development work. No, not reading a bunch of books. But journaling, writing, talking with friends and advisors, taking notes, meeting people, asking more questions. I tried some new stuff, figured out what worked, what didn’t. I paid for coaching sessions with several different people, taking some great advice, totally ignoring a lot of shitty advice.
And in the end, I got really real with what I wanted to be visualizing a year from today. That became the driver. Then, I started doing things.
Because knowing what I know about how much can change in a year, why would I not take action? Why would I not start to ask myself, what do I want? How can I get it? What’s one thing I can do? It’s always possible that I won’t get there in a year, but hell, why not try?
And here I am, somewhere in the middle of that year, and things are moving. Things are different. Things feel good. They’re taking shape. I’m still taking action and doing things.
I know way too many people who lament the exact same things every single time we meet. They tell me the exact same stories when I ask how they are, or how things are going. Depending on the person, sometimes I politely nod and say, “Oh.” If it’s someone who means something to me, I don’t do that. I say what I’m thinking, which is something along the lines of, “Oh. OK. So…last time we got together you were saying the same thing. Do you want to do something about it, or are you just going to keep complaining to me forever?”
I have many versions of this prompt, depending on how frank I can be, or how sensitive the receiving party might be to hearing this. But the message is the same:
Do you want anything to change, or are you perfectly happy with your status quo?
Because if you’re happy with it, more power to you, but I am not here to listen to the same grumbling every time we chat. And if you’re truly not happy? I’m also not interested in the grumbling.
If you want something to change, you are going to have to do something about it.
I think there’s a bit of a fallacy out there that change can just happen. Or, your situation will naturally change over time. Things just fall into place. Luck is real. Some people get everything they want and don’t have to try.
To all of that I say, HA. No. Or rather, no for actual real human beings who aren’t Instagram robots.
Even the “lucky” people are actually working. In fact, they’re probably the people who are working the most, taking the most action, doing the least amount of grumbling and the most amount of whatever it is that will move them toward their vision. It’s just that, often, we don’t choose to look for that work, that action. We only choose to see the result of what these people have accomplished.
The truth of the matter is that, as with most things in life, we want to believe that it’s easy. We want an overnight success. A quick solution. The magic pill.
And that’s why the world is filled with so much “MY SYSTEM FOR SIX-FIGURE INCOME WITHOUT LIFTING A FINGER” bullshit. When I put it like that, it seems pretty silly, right?
Because it is. It’s silly to think that you can change your life in the ways that you want to, the ways that would be meaningful for you, your people, your world, using someone else’s system and not putting in your work for your system.
Just like it’s silly to think that you can change your life…without changing your life.
The other side of the fallacy is that you can never change a thing. This is just the way it is, this is my life. Oh well, I have no choice. Also seems a little silly when you see it spelled out, yes?
Because it, too, is not necessarily, or always, true.
In either case, the three most common areas I see this are in career, relationships (romantic partners, family, and friendships), and health. Coincidentally, those are all areas of our lives that are heavily influenced by societal and cultural conditioning, and tradition.
As in, get a job when you graduate, work there for a really freaking long time, even if you’re miserable, so you can have a steady income, buy a house, and support a family. Your passion or meaningful fulfillment in your work aren’t important, or, that’s unattainable.
As in, you’re in this relationship, so now you’re stuck, there’s no way out. Or, they’re blood, so it’s normal to put up with this abuse, disrespect, or bad treatment. Or, they’ve been your friend forever, and just because they’ve used you since middle school, doesn’t mean they’re not a good friend!
As in, beat yourself up about not being skinny/fit/strong, and lemme try a new diet/gym/trainer and this time I’ll lose the weight/feel better/stick with it.
All of these areas can be influenced, shifted, changed, either drastically, or just a little, in a year. There are options. But (OMG!) what are they?!? Well, that’s up to you.
I touched on this in a similar vein a couple of weeks ago when I talked about avoidance – awareness starts the process. It’s the first step in choice discovery, and without it? You’re flying blind, or rather – you’re complaining to me every time we talk. You don’t have a good pulse (yet) of what your real and specific challenges are, and you won’t feel like you have any control over tackling them. It’ll just be this vague feeling of disarray or discomfort.
You have to name it.
You have to listen, watch, observe, with your eyes and ears and heart open. Believe me, if you do this actively thinking about it, you’ll be surprised by how much you may have been sleepwalking past or totally not seeing. Once you have a better picture of what’s going on, the source of what’s causing you anxiety or upset, you can start to see all the available choices to make changes.
And that’s how you can start to make your year look different. That’s how you can determine next steps, take action toward making your vision for one year from now a reality. But you have to do it. You have to do the thing. And you have to keep working at it.
Something as seemingly mundane as, “I will update my resume this week,” or, “I’m going to spend two hours per week researching starting my own consultancy,” can go a long way toward making things happen.
Something like not answering that text or phone call can change so much.
Something as simple as adding a vegetable to every meal can be a game-changer.
I did not say any part of this process was particularly easy. Full disclosure: I went through a bout of functional depression over the winter as I worked my way through my stuff. But I did work through it, gaining awareness, determining action steps and choices. And I keep acting, doing things, staying conscious, because I do not want to close my eyes a year from now and see the same things. I’m creating change for myself, and I’m making my visualization a reality, one day at a time.
And a year from now? Things will look different again. Because I’ll make damn sure of it.
So, what will it look like for you in one year?
Don’t miss out on a year of doing the thing.
Feel like it’s overwhelming to even think about? Let’s talk. I promise, I can help. Grab some time with me, no strings attached. And sign up for all the extra ideas and tips to make your year look the way you want it here.