When we set out to build a life you love, start a business, find the love of your life or reach any other goal or dream, many of us overlook a very important first step...
Crafting a clear vision of what you want to create.
Many of my one-on-one coaching clients come to me overwhelmed and filled with doubt in themselves. They want to create a business, serve people and express their passions, but they have no idea where to start. There are so many ideas, options, books, programs, strategies and theories... they end up stuck and frustrated.
Many of my Foundations for Unshakable Joy members start out completely overwhelmed by and lost in their lives. They know they're not happy, they know they want and deserve better, they know they have something they must be passionate about, but they have no clue what any of it is or how to go about creating it.
I completely understand this... these were both me at one very painful point. I felt lost as to what I wanted to do with my business and my life. I had lost sight of who I was, built a "perfect" little life that wasn't for me, and allowed other people's expectations to shape my life and self for years. It's no wonder I was living a life that lacked passion and fulfillment, and that I had no idea where to begin creating change.
It took me about three years to even begin to realized what I really wanted and another three years to begin creating it. I had no idea what I was doing, didn't have a clue what questions I should be asking myself and was lacking the support I needed to work through this journey without hitting loads of bumps on the way.
Now that I'm on the other side, I realized something very important.
Here's a truth for you:
We already know what we want and who we're here to be. For some, it may be buried below years of expectations, venturing down the wrong path and losing sight of yourself, but it's there.
If you "don't know," get honest with yourself.
Is it that you're so deeply disconnected from your truth that you can't uncover it, or is it that you're afraid to admit what you truly want and who you truly are?
I struggled for years trying to "find myself" when really, I knew all along. I knew what I wanted and who I was meant to be. I was just afraid to admit it and even more afraid to really step into my truth and live it. Sure, I lacked clarity on the details like what I would be doing specifically as well as other things... but I already knew who I was and what path I felt called to take, I just wasn't listening or acting.
While for some it may very well be buried, for others it's a lack of faith in themselves or their dream. I can't count the number of time someone prefaced a beautiful, unique, inspired and totally possible dream with, "I know this isn't realistic, but... " The simple act of making your dreams "silly" in your own mind allows them to die.
Despite the reasons why we lose sight of ourselves and what we want, we all need to begin by getting clear on the vision of what we want to create. You have to give yourself a safe space to explore what exactly you want and need in your life to be happy and fulfilled. A space with no judgements or expectations, and most definitely away from anyone who makes you feel like you should be doing something specific.
Here are two questions to ask yourself right now:
1) If I could do absolutely anything I wanted, what would it be?
Don't think about the how, whether or not it's possible, what your friends, family or boyfriend would think, and don't tell yourself anything. Just listen to what your heart and soul have to say. If it's been a while since you've created a safe space for this kind of question to be asked, then it may take a few tries before you begin to hear anything. Take a deep breath, ask yourself the question and see what comes up.
What do you feel pulled or called to? What images surface in your mind? Is it a painter or writer? A scene from a movie? Music? Allow your spirit to begin speaking up and make note of what you uncover. No judgement or expectation, just openness, trust and allowing.
2) When was the last time I truly felt like me?
There's so much wisdom that can come from this question. It may be when you were 13 years old and you used to hole up in your room and paint the days away. Maybe you were 18 years old, working on a project in shop class. Or perhaps, it was that volunteer day where you got to work with children. There's no right age or event to look for... just be honest with yourself. When was the last time you really felt like YOU? What were you doing? Who were you with? Where were you? What about the experience brings up fond memories?
Allow your answers to begin building a foundation for a vision of your ideal life or business.
There's so much more that can be said on this topic, but begin with the questions above. Remember, depending on your situation, this could be an easy exercise or a more difficult and painful experience. Don't pass judgement or hold expectations. YOUR experience of this exercise is exactly as it should be. Whether it takes you one time sitting down with a journal and writing out your answers or 50 times, know that you're on the right track.
As you uncover more and more, begin to create that vision. You don't have to have every detail, but start. Are you writing or creating in some way? Are you outside more, and if so, what are you doing? Who are you with? What are you wearing? Dream and scheme until you've created something that excites you on a gut level.
Stephenie Zamora is the founder of www.stepheniezamora.com, a full-service, life-purpose development, design and branding boutique. Here she merges the worlds of personal development and branding to help young women build passion-based businesses. Click here to access her Foundations for Unshakable Joy free video training series now!