Reimagining is the ongoing and continuous activity of reflection and choice. Rearranging our priorities. Reframing our vision of the good life. And uncovering a new sense of being alive.
Reimagining is a lifelong process. We need to be continually engaged in it so as to stay vital, fully alive in the present, and hopeful for the future. I had originally thought of reimagining as something people do once (or at most a couple of times) in reaction to a sense of disillusionment or frustration in their lives. Now I understand it much more clearly as a proactive process. I’ve found that with each step along the way it remains necessary to re-examine what has brought us here, to continue asking ourselves if the choices that have sustained us so far are continuing to do so – or if they’re just weighing us down. Here are 6 tips for working the reimagining process:
1. REFLECT: Reflect once a day.
Are you “always going somewhere, never being anywhere?”
Have you succumbed to the “hurry sickness” so common in today’s society? If your brain is always filled with the noise and chatter of modern living, then you’re exhibiting the symptoms. If your heart and mind feel numb, then you know you’ve got it. The antidote: daily time-outs. Appointments with yourself. Even 5 minutes a day can work wonders. Have you found a regular time and place to be along, to put yourself on your own daily calendar? Everything starts with time. It’s one of the oldest and wisest truths of time management – you have to take time to make time. Carve out 5 minutes for a daily time-out, today. Take 3 deep breaths. Ask yourself, “Am I living my vision of the good life this day?”
2. CONNECT: Re-elect your Sounding Board.
Most of us can trace our successes to pivotal support from other people.
What are the important relationships that have sustained you along the way? Who are the people in your life that you’ve relied on for counsel and inspiration? Think of them as your own personal board of directors. Picture yourself at a board meeting with these people. You’re all around the table. As you sit there, what questions would you like to bring before the board? How would you like them to react and what kind of support are you looking for? They all have only one thing in common – your well-being!
Build a bias for action. To reimagine, you’ll need to outwit the forces of procrastination. Go with the action, not the analysis, or inertia will win. Elect a Sounding Board to hold you accountable for action, to overcome alibis and cold feet. Use your Sounding Board to bolster your bias for action.
3. EXPLORE: Re-sharpen your curiosity.
Curiosity brings aliveness.
If the rate at which you’re learning is not equal to or greater than the rate of change today, you’ll soon be obsolete. Just like a successful company, you need to engage in serious Research & Development activity. Research new opportunities. What are you curious about learning? How can you sharpen your growth edge?
Follow your curiosity. Locate your passions by boosting your curiosity skills. The key to curiosity is exploration. Identify an interest or an experience you’d like to know more about. What intrigues you? Why? Prepare a list of three questions that can satisfy your curiosity about that pursuit. Now research it. You can use the web and talk to your Sounding Board. What really grabs your interest? Choose one small step forward you will take within the next month to explore your curiosities.
4. CHOOSE: Rediscover your hidden gifts.
Life at its source is about creating.
Talents (gifts) are the creative core of life. What are your natural gifts? Are you expressing your gifts fully? If not, how can you? The peak of vitality, flow, is often found where gifts and passions meet. We use our gifts on things we deeply care about until we are fully absorbed, mentally and physically, which is one component of living the good life. Choose one activity in which you have felt flow – complete absorption that allowed you to lose yourself in the experience. Write down three words that describe the experience you got from it. Use the CALLING CARDSTM exercise at www.lifereimagined.org to rediscover your hidden gifts.
5. REPACK: Revision your vision of the good life.
Ask yourself, “Am I living in the place I love, with the people I love, doing the right work on purpose?”
The self-fulfilling prophecy is the surest of all – if you can dream it, you can do it. Beware of waking up sometime in the future and finding out that you’ve been living someone else’s vision of the good life. Look forward. Dream a little. How do you declare victory? What does success with fulfillment – the good life – really look like to you?
Most of us, in our lives, accumulate “stuff.” We keep adding things and responsibilities until we get to a point where we can’t (or don’t want to) carry it anymore. So, what’s the solution? There are two parts to it. First, decide how much you’re really willing to carry. And second, decide what goes and what stays.
Scores of people have told us how they immediately went to their closets and dressers and began digging through and separating out stuff they no longer felt they needed. We’ve heard stories from folks who have emptied out shelves – and even rooms – that they’d avoided dealing with for years. The literal lightening of the load is a kind of catharsis for many of us. Sorting through the stuff is a strategy for jump-starting the deeper process of unpacking and repacking our lives for the good life.
So, try it. Unpack just one closet or dresser before deciding to go on an unabashed unpacking binge. Where will you start? When?
6. ACT: Reframe Your Time Boundaries.
The good life comes from fulfilling time – not, filling time.
The first step to repacking is committing ourselves to a new relationship with time. Without a daily practice of time ownership, autopilot is in charge. The excuses – too much work, no money, parenting and/or caregiving responsibilities don’t fly when we own our own time. Don’t become a hostage to email and mobile phone checking. Take back more time for life priorities by cutting back social media time. Don’t fill free moments with rote busyness and mindless connectivity.
Unpack your calendar. Review how you’re spending your most valuable currency – your time. Are you satisfied with how you’re spending your time? When was the last time you went to sleep at night saying, “this was a well-spent day”? Are you consistently saying “no” to the less important things in your life and “yes” to your real priorities? Choose one priority and act on it, today.
Summary: Reclaim your purpose.
Gifts develop in the crucible of purpose.
When we’re giving our gifts in support of something we truly care about, we feel more energetic, more committed, and more enthusiastic about everything we do. Have you named your purpose? If not, what can you do to reclaim it?
We’re led to believe that the big choices we make will determine a purposeful life – the work we go into, the awards we win – but it’s actually the purpose moments, the small daily choices that add up to a sense of having fully lived. How we name and claim our purpose – our reason for getting up every single day – determines whether we look back later on the richness of our life – or with regret. Read the Life Reimagined book to help you name and reclaim your purpose. Form a study group to discuss purpose. There is a Reim