Oftentimes, I get asked the following question: What's one thing someone can do right now to change their dating and love life? A simple question for what is often thought of as a complicated subject. But the truth is, moving your love life forward doesn't have to be as difficult and daunting as people make it out to be.
In this article, I'm going to offer you three things you can do to create change in your dating and love life immediately. And don't worry: None of it is complicated and none of it is about relying on annoying tactics or cryptic techniques. (I recently saw an ad telling women that the key to catching a man is to unearth "three psychological loopholes men don't want you to know." Ugh.)
When it comes to moving your love life forward, I believe in entrepreneurial change, an approach that relies on action and thought working together to create opportunities. It is through this trial and error process that people gain the type of self and social awareness that prepares them for and builds the foundation for creating lasting love in their lives. I derive tremendous inspiration from the world of entrepreneurs and apply many of these lessons to the world of dating.
Without further ado, here are the three ways to start changing your dating and love life today.
1. Take one small, smart step. Breathe. And then take another.
When both entrepreneurs and daters ask, "What do I do when I don't know what to do?" the answer is quite simply to take action in the form of a small, smart step. Instead of thinking your way into new ways of acting, the approach of most daters ("Should I do this?" "Will this get me the results I want?" "What if I go to this event and it's a waste of time?"), start acting your way into new ways of thinking ("I can't predict the future, so I'll take action and see what happens"). In this way, you open up new ideas and possibilities instead of letting analysis paralysis set in.
There will never be the perfect moment to get started in your dating and love life, so sometimes you just need to remind yourself to take action and go from there. When it comes to your life, take a step that makes sense for you, pause to look at the results, and then take another step. You will start to see that you have the power to move your love life forward and that is an incredibly empowering and motivating feeling.
A small, smart step for you might look different than it does for someone else. Here are a couple of suggestions:
- Book an appointment with a therapist. A therapist can help you bring your unconscious motives and patterns to a place of conscious awareness, so that you are consciously making better, smarter choices for your love life.
- Go up to a man you think is cute and say hello or throw him a compliment. If you're at a bar or event or party, take action and stop waiting for things to happen. Men love when women approach and flirt with them, and they certainly love being complimented.
So, what's your small, smart step? Experiment out there, like a true dating entrepreneur!
2. Stop the blame game
If entrepreneurs sat around blaming others or playing victim, they'd never be able to move their ventures forward. Instead, they take the reins, solve problems, and create the future, innovating and seizing on opportunities, rather than waiting for the future to come to them.
When it comes to your dating and love life, I like to call this blame-game mindset "dating victimology," as in, everyone else is to blame for your lot in love. But if you're going to make any changes when it comes to matters of the heart, the first step is to stop blaming society, the opposite gender, your parents, your job, and whatever else makes it easier for you to hide behind excuses.
Ask any good dating coach (or any coach for that matter -- athletic, life, business, etc.) what the first step to moving your life forward is and they will tell you to stop blaming others and start taking personal responsibility. So, take responsibility for where you are in your dating journey and for perpetuating the beliefs that have held you back from creating love in your life. And then start challenging those beliefs and living by new, empowering ones.
3. Start with the means at hand
Moving forward with your business idea and your dating life is a lot simpler than you think. You don't need to wait for the perfect moment in your life to begin an entrepreneurial venture, be it in business or love.
All you need to get started is to access the means you have at hand by asking yourself three simple questions:
- Who am I?
- What do I know?
- Who do I know?
That's it. Three simple questions to bring together to make an entrepreneurial opportunity happen.
When you ask yourself, "who am I?", start thinking about the following: What makes you tick? What makes you special and unique? What do you value in life? What motivates you in life? Use this knowledge purposefully as you take action in the dating world; it will help inform your choices with regard to the types of men you put time and energy into getting to know.
When you ask yourself, "what do I know?", you are trying to understand what you know about your past dating and relationship experiences. What dating patterns do you engage in? What do men you've dated have in common? What are you scared of? What are some of your deeper fears? Mentally cataloguing as much as you can up front even if you don't think it matters is important. You never know where an a-ha moment will come from. This is all self-knowledge that you can use moving forward to help you make smarter, more empowered dating decisions.
When you ask yourself, "who do I know?", you are trying to take stock of your networks so that you can start enrolling people to help you in your entrepreneurial venture to find love. The people in your networks are excellent connectors through whom you can meet potential dates and get invited to parties and events. Be sure to nurture and build your relationships. Your attitude toward those in your networks shouldn't be "What's in it for me?" but more like, "How can I help others first so that they might consider helping me?" In a sense, these people will become co-creators in your dating life.
So... what are you waiting for? Create your future. Make your own rules. Build and shape your love story -- get started today!
Parts of this text have been adapted from Neely's forthcoming book "Skin In the Game: Unleashing Your Inner Entrepreneur to Find Love", due out in November.