How You Can Start Living Your Miracle Life

08/10/2011 09:57 am ET | Updated Oct 10, 2011

Last week I asked the miracle question from solution-focused therapy. The miracle question is simply: "If while you were sleeping and a miracle occurred that solved all of your problems, how would you know it when you woke up in the morning? What would be different?" The first step, of course, is answering the question, but if you just stopped there you might be left feeling a bit frustrated. There are generally two reactions to the miracle question. Some people are already living their "miracle life," and by answering the question, they simply reinforce how happy and content they are. Good for them, but what about everyone else?

What if your current reality is completely different from your miracle life? What if by answering the miracle question you discover that the life you are living is not at all the life you want? I call this divide, between what is and what is wanted, the gap. The gap can be painful. It can cause frustration and paralysis ... or it can spur excitement, fortitude and action.

So you have a choice to make. Continue living as you have been and hope a miracle occurs that fixes all of your problems and gives you the life you want, or decide that you will be your own miracle? The miracle question is just the first step. It's only designed to get you thinking about what you want to be different. The next step is a crucial one. It's discovering what you need to do to start living those differences.

Let's look at an example. Let's say your current reality is that you live alone, work at a job you don't like and feel disconnected from your friends and family. But upon waking after a miracle has occurred, you are lying next to the love of your life, driving into a job that you love and finishing preparations for a dinner party you are hosting at your house that evening.

In this example, the gap between what currently is and what is desired is wide, but is it impossible to bridge? I don't think so. Coert Visser, a psychologist and expert in solution-focused therapy, recommends asking what parts of the miracle you can already start doing. Could you host a dinner party for your friends and family? What about just calling a friend and taking them out to lunch? Could you start night classes in the other 8 hours to move closer to your dream job? Doing any of these things helps you start -- even in a small way -- living your miracle.

Maybe that example was too simple. Let's take this to the extreme. In the aftermath of losing a loved one, the survivor's miracle is usually that they wake up and their loved one is alive again. This would require a miracle indeed, but if you dig deeper, there might be some small way to start living this miracle. What is missing now that the loved one is gone? Maybe companionship, security, someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on, a comfortable routine or a travel partner? What small steps could this person take to start realizing this miracle? How about to spend more time with friends, join a meet-up group, start a book club, participate in a survivor's group, etc. No change is too small.

One of the founding beliefs in solution-focused therapy is that small changes can lead to big results. It's the butterfly effect for personal development. A small and seemingly insignificant change can create profound consequences that sometimes defy logical explanation. Jeffrey Guterman, Ph.D. and author of "Solution-Focused Counseling" writes: "A small change can result in a snowball effect that, in turn, leads to bigger changes and the resolution of bigger problems." No change is too small.

What is the smallest step you can take today to start living your miracle?

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