What Successful Life Leaders Do to Build a Deeply Fulfilling Life
Picture this: Two dudes, each on a horse, in a huge field. At the same time, each horse starts moving. That’s where the similarities end.
Dude #1 is holding on for dear life. He looks terrified and is bouncing around like he’s on a pogo stick instead of a horse. Basically, he happens to be there while the horse is doing whatever it darn well pleases. It prances, bucks, gallops, walks, spins around, runs in wide arcs. Through it all, the feller is off-balance, barely breathing, occasionally uttering a yell or expletive, and hoping for it all to calm down so he can catch his breath before the next rampage.
Dude #2, however, is a whole different story. His horse is moving under its own significant power, of course, but our guy is guiding it, encouraging it first one way, then another. He’s slowing it down when it wants to bolt ahead, and communicating firmly what he wants. Through it all, he sits tall in the saddle, holds the reins in a way that allows him the clearest communication with his ride.
Got the metaphor?
Your life is like the horses. It moves of its own volition, under its own steam. There are external factors and lots of unknowns that create circumstances beyond your total control. But the way you show up to your experience of life will make all the difference in your “ride.” You can feel like a victim of life’s twists, turns, and bucks, or you can learn how to ride and respond. Doesn’t mean you (I, we) won’t occasionally fall off or lose control, but it does ensure your ride will be a much, much more fulfilling experience.
Following are some of the most fundamental mindsets and practices successful life leaders put into place as they take the reins, improve their skills, and learn how to ride this thing called life!
1. Know They are ALWAYS at Choice
What’s that? You’re a human being in the world? Welcome to the club! Membership means you will, for sure, be judged, impacted by circumstances, and swept off your feet with awe. You’ll be loved, dumped, and loved again. You’ll have to hear (and say), “No.” You’ll hear (and say), “YES!” You’ll suffer disappointment, staggering grief, and moments of complete clarity…possibly followed by totally engulfing confusion. The world will surprise, delight, and throw you. And through it all, you are at choice.
2. Take RESPONSIBILITY for their Lives
It follows from the above that if we are fully at choice in our lives, we then hang out and take responsibility for what our choices create. The alternative? Being at choice (yay!), not liking or feeling good about the outcome (boo!), and sliding into “victim” mode, pointing the finger of blame at someone or something (mega BOO). The biggest problem with that (aside from the guarantee it’s going to create some seriously negative juju in relationships and the ethers of the world, and the world has plenty, right?!) is in how completely disempowering it is.
When we shirk responsibility for what we’re creating through our choices, it’s like we’re standing tall and then with one exceedingly long and muscular arm, we pull the rug out from under ourselves, then yell at someone else (or the breeze) about it.
3. Believe Their INNER FOUNDATION is Everything, and Act Like It
If you’ve got no roots, your tree’s gonna fall when the first wind blows. What grows deep, strong, far-reaching roots? Daily doses of sunlight, nutrients, water. And yeah, yeah…I know that you can see by the rings that trees go through stressed, lean years and healthy, full years, and they survive. But if trees had a choice (ahem, see #1 above), you can bet they’d keep up a steady dose of what’s going to help them thrive continuously.
The most sustainably successful life leaders I know are people who fully and consistently exercise their power of choice when it comes to creating a strong, deep foundation of self-care they can rely on…and in so doing, they learn they can rely on themselves. The thing is, this one isn’t rocket science. By now, *we know* the value of even short bits of meditation, prayer, or whatever stillness practice jives with each individual. We know that tending our most important relationships can make, well, just about every single thing better.
4. Get a Handle on Their FEAR
Fear gets a bad rap. Seems like everywhere we turn, we’re being called to “be fearless!” and kick our fear to the curb. Thing is, fear is one of THE core emotions we’re hardwired for, and we need it. Though we might not be running from actual tigers, our fear plays an incredibly key role in keeping us from entering unsafe situations and in helping us know when it’s time to vamoose when a situation becomes unsafe, emotionally or physically.
Enter life leadership, where we practice and practice and practice creating a conscious relationship with our fear, managing it down to size, seating our most empowered selves behind the wheel of our lives, and gleaning the wisdom this primal part of us has to offer…while moving forward.
5. Know That IF NOTHING CHANGES, NOTHING CHANGES
Does all this make sense in yer noggin, yah? And…when it comes down to it, ya gotta do the work.Life leaders zero in on what’s most important, they figure out why it’s worth it, and they take responsibility (cough-cough…#2 above) for getting the support and accountability they need to start making shifts in a more empowered.
HERE’S PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF ALL OF THIS: If what you just read *doesn’t* describe you, but you *want* it to, take heart! Any of us out here doing this life leadership work started right where you are. We’re no different, we’re not special (though, c’mon, we’re all pretty damn fabulous in our own ways), and it’s totally doable. You’ve got this, and you’re so worth it!
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