Those committed to “lifestyle design” surely understand that the journey is not well documented. Most of us know the: “go to school”, “get a degree”, “get a job”, “get married”, “get a house”, “retire”, and then “live life” journey. Who are our examples of those ordinary folks (not the gurus) who have designed their lives, careers and families around a value-centric life design model? Well, I do not profess to be a guru, but I do admit to being someone who is willing to stay the course on this (for me) uncharted path. I share this journey with others as part of my own completion process, trusting that it will make a difference for someone besides little ole me. Here goes:
I have been reflecting a lot about my last 13 years of life in terms of Seasons.
v 1999 was winter
v Early 2000 was spring (I knew I was leaving Corp America at the end of 1999 and was preparing for a new future)
v Mid 2000-2001 was summer (4/1/2000 is the anniversary of leaving corporate America, finding my life purpose, freedom, becoming an entrepreneur, and walking in faith, 7/1/2000 I formed my first company, Inspire Learning, designing financial literacy curriculum for kids in schools)
v 2002 was fall (I reaped the harvest – my learning curve as an entrepreneur was a vertical climb, Inspire Learning made huge inroads in connecting with people of influence, but no monetary harvest that year)
v 2003 was winter (hard year financially as I ran out money and lacked mentoring and understanding of the basic business success model, which I eventually learned through the program Money & You in 2007. In 2003-2005, I had an opportunity to deal with a “failure” conversation that took me 3 years to overcome. I ultimately transformed my context of failure into a process of testing business assumptions to be true or false. Just because my assumption proved false does not mean that I failed. That simple shift changed my experience as a business owner forever.)
v 2004 was spring (lots of personal development through Landmark Education, which created a new future for me including reconnecting with my dad after I had written him off 15 years prior. That is a whole other story.)
v 2005-2006 was summer (I was building my 2nd business Club Freedom. Before Club Freedom was a blog, it was a coaching community for people committed to create a life they love, using money as a way to keep score.)
v 2007 was fall (reap harvest – I met my husband and was engaged that same year. My life began a new chapter with my life partner, and become enriched beyond measure.)
v 2008-2010 was a 3 yr winter (This was a long cold, harsh winter of financial stress. In that time, my husband and I sustained HUGE financial losses including: 4 properties, business loans, credit cards, 2 businesses, and our beloved pet who died unexpectedly. My husband had an emergency appendectomy. I had major medical issues including cancer scares inflicted by stress. We crawled through the war that was our life, inch by inch, day by day until the clouds just seemed to part after a crazy thunder/lightning storm. The sun came out on 12/31/10 when that last settlement was paid in full.)
v 2011 was spring (We started attending a spiritual community called The Unity Center. At New Years 1/1/11, I wrote the word: HOPE as a symbol of the insight I was to gain in 2011. I resisted that word, knowing that hope is usually a word that usually is a nice way of saying – “I don’t have any intention of doing that”. I learned one of my most powerful insights, that hope was all that was available to me at that moment in time. I was merely a shell of emptiness and exhaustion. I realized that HOPE is the access to BELIEF which is the access to FAITH. I could not have gotten to faith from where I started the year, but by holding HOPE as my intention for 2011, it lead me straight back into the arms of a life of renewed FAITH. What a beautiful miracle.)
v 2012 is the start of another season of summer. At The Unity Center, I set my intention for the year as STILL. I believe Deepak Chopra said, “Be Still, and know that I am God.” It is time for me to still my mind again through meditation, mindfulness, being present, staying focused, simplifying, eliminating the practice of multi-tasking, applying 80/20 principles to my life and reconnecting to my Spirit.
To look at my life like the cycles of nature gives me peace and acceptance. It has been such a challenge accepting the difficult circumstances especially in the winter months, exactly as they are and have been. However, as I look at this recapitulation, I see the beauty and the reason of these seasons of change in my life. There is a great personal development leader, Jim Rohn. If you haven’t read any of his work or listened to any of his CDs, I highly recommend him. He is truly powerful. In one book, he talks about life seasons. He says that in summer we must prepare for winter (work to build our financial savings to sustain us during the winter season). In winter, we must prepare for summer (work to build our personal bank account through spiritual, emotional, mental development.)
Looking back at the past 13 years I see why the winters were so extremely harsh and painful and why they were such a struggle. I know now that I did it backwards. I worked my very hardest in the winter and rested during the summer. I never planned my financial world for the upcoming winter months being so caught up in my quest for “freedom” that I forgot that accumulating some savings does align with this life of freedom.
Now, I see the simplicity and ease in “doing” life this way. Though it took 3 winter seasons to get the lesson, I am grateful to have it now. May this short summary of 13 years and 3 seasons of life inspire you to consider your life experiences and lessons in a positive light no matter the season you are in now. This is all merely part of the journey that is designed to bring all of us to this moment, right here, right now. Though the purpose may not always reveal itself right away, if we continue to look for it, it will usually make itself known eventually. As long we continue to move in the direction of our life vision and divine purpose, we will experience the ups and downs, but we will always move forward.
One of my all-time favorite quotes is from Napoleon Hill, “The mere presence of desire is evidence of your capacity to fulfill on it.” We are already equipped to have all that we desire in this world. So the HAVING part is handled. What is ours to do, is manage who we are BEing about the circumstances that reveal themselves. Who we are being will lead us to what there is to DO.
May summer come soon and last long in your life. May the other seasons be abundant and peaceful.