The Ultimate Formula to Show Up to Life Everyday
Start living your passion and essence in four radically fun steps.
Posted Jan 26, 2021
"Laura, we survived the jungle for a year. We've got this!" At least, I think that is what Glen said. I was too busy staring in bewilderment at the barren grocery store shelves.
"Hey! I found something!" he said with more glee than a kid on a treasure hunt.
"You found beans?" I bounced over to him.
"Better! Canned sausage from Vienna." I smiled at Glen, took the can from his hands, and said, "Forward progress only?" He laughed, "Forward progress only."
In the 11 months since that fateful PriceSmart trip, we have embraced our go-to mantra. "Forward progress only" was born out of a desire not to kill one another on our sabbatical. Those three little words not only succeeded in maintaining our pulses but also transformed our mindset around obstacles. Soon we began to thrive in the face of them! And with those words, we navigate the pandemic—ensuring we live our days one day at a time and have pretty consistent success in making progress during each one of them.
Do you want to push forward and never look back? Harness this simple and transformative four-step process to ride the waves of uncertainty and step into your power.
Ask yourself, "Who am I — mentally, spiritually, and physically — when I am proudest of myself?" Write down six to eight pure and straightforward bullets. Then, attach "I am..." to the beginning of each word and post your results somewhere visible.
Every morning, say them to yourself in the mirror (e.g., "I am courageous, I am resilient, I am kind..."). Focus on feeling each statement as if you are already there. Channel your inner Meryl or Denzel, and you will be surprised at how convinced you will be.
This activity was the secret to embracing Costa Rica's obstacles. I learned to tackle terrifying events by imagining myself on the other side.
Remember, words are worlds. What we say builds us up or break us down. Choose the former, however uncomfortable it may feel at first. Over time, the affirmations lead you to do hard things without a thought through your newfound ingrained assumption that you have already arrived.
From your list, choose a mantra that will define you—something so aligned and organic that it will keep you moving forward through thick and thin. How do you want to show up in this world? Again, ours is, "I am forward progress only."
Create a personal vision statement in alignment with your list of self-concepts. Doing so will ensure that you stay true to yourself and grounded in fulfillment, as opposed to material. There are no strict parameters around creating your vision statement — it is your life. They can be as specific or vague as you wish — just make sure it is you!
Here are examples from two people who appear to be doing well:
Richard Branson: "To have fun in [my] journey through life and learn from [my] mistakes."
Oprah Winfrey: "To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be."
Now a break from our regularly scheduled program to answer a question you are undoubtedly asking. Your list in Step 1 creates unconscious reminders of the ingredients that will embody your persona. Your mantra is the one top motif to navigate every moment of every day. Your vision is a reminder of what you want out of life. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Being intentional with your time is key to achieving your vision while also enjoying the journey. Creating a visual ensures focus on the areas that truly matter to you. Enter the Wheel of Life, a favorite tool among our high-achieving clients who want more balance.
Take a moment to write down eight priorities in your job or life. Examples include career, work, recreation, leisure, fun, family, spirituality, personal development, friends, money, finances, spouse, relationships and physical environment, health, and physical wellbeing.
When you complete the labeling, score your sense of satisfaction for each priority on a scale of 0 to 10. Identify one or two priorities that you want to affect immediately. What actions will you take? When will you take these actions? What support do you require to ensure that the actions occur? To the left is an example Wheel of Life.
You have charted your path to self-fulfillment. Congratulations! Now, it's about putting buffers in place to maintain the momentum, adapt to change, and most importantly, protect your peace.
I have good news for you. Subscribing to hustle culture is not required for success. In fact, your mind and body will thank you for avoiding this glorified fad, which promises your dream life in exchange for your time, energy, health, self-worth, and relationships!
Fortunately, researchers have propelled the antidote of self-compassion into the mainstream. It not only preserves your mental and physical wellbeing — it catalyzes it. Despite traditional beliefs, showing yourself compassion is not self-indulgence, self-pious, or a sign of weakness. I can say from personal experience, when I turned my inner dialogue from faux to friend, adapting to the jungle life became an exciting adventure, not an impossible challenge. It allowed me to celebrate the small wins (avoiding a mudslide) and forgive myself for mistakes (walking into a mudslide).
Self-compassion indeed produces greater resilience, happiness, fulfillment and motivation, better relationships, wellbeing, and lowered depression. If you want to focus on what truly matters this year — and every year — engage in self-compassion.
Walk on the wild side.
There is a reason Mark Zuckerberg conducts business meetings over an invigorating rooftop garden stroll — being in nature is optimal for performance. And science backs it up. For increased productivity, happiness, health, and kindness, go outside! And to find a deeper connection to those core self-concepts you identified, spend some time in nature.
Studies show that a 15-minute walk in nature is all you need to cash in on these benefits. If you're in a big city, stroll down tree-lined streets on your commute. To enhance these benefits, find ways to engage in physical and mental outdoor challenges like hiking, skiing, swimming, or rock climbing. The further outside your comfort zone you stretch, the more rewards you will reap. Even the most inflexible among us will find joy in it, as nature has the unique quality of pushing us to our limits while also promoting inner peace.
And you can still reconnect with the world while staying safe during COVID-19. Consider going on a road trip to a National Park or a secluded place in nature. The experience will re-center and re-motivate you without any risk. Going on a solo trip to North Carolina recently was the best thing I could have done for myself, even if I broke my ankle!
In your day-to-day, take daily mindfulness walks: Hands are phone-free, ears are headphone-free. Studies show just 15-minutes will increase your productivity and critical thinking. To the big city folks, find yourself a tree-lined street on your commute and stroll. If you want to find a deeper connection to your core values, I suggest spending some time in nature.
Of course, there is a lot to digest here. But if you will take the time to define the statements in the steps above and nurture yourself to maintain stability on the course, you will realize something you never imagined. Conquering the challenge to live your passion and essence might be the most fun you ever had.