I was frustrated with my life. On the outside it looked like I was doing pretty well for myself. I was engaged, I had a well-paying job as a manager in a high-end restaurant and I had friends and family who loved me. But I wasn’t happy. My health had taken a backseat to my career and the weight was piling on. I didn’t know what self-care was, instead relying on wine and copious amounts of food to dull the storm of emotions that I was feeling underneath my smile. Even the day to day demands of life were getting me down and I would use my work to distract me from the dreams I had of travelling, experiencing the world and other cultures and discovering more of life.
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I began to feel stuck in the life I’d created for myself and I just couldn’t stand the thought of living in this pattern for the rest of my life, or until I retired. And then what? I was engaged to a very nice man, but we were hardly in love. It was more like we both shared the same pattern of avoiding emotions and doing what we thought we ought to. Sure, we got along with each other and felt a certain level of comfort in being together. But I longed for a deeper relationship, a deeper meaning in my life, a deeper sense of self. I realised that I didn’t really know who I was, or what I wanted in life. I just knew that I didn’t like where I was. The good news is, if you’re feeling the same way, knowing where you’re at is a really great start to getting you to where you want to be, even if you’re not sure where that is yet.
So there I was, stepping through life like a zombie and feeling more and more miserable by the day, when I got a call from a friend to tell me that someone very close to me had passed away. As I put down the phone and began to process this information, I began reminiscing on their life and I realised that they had never done the things they said they wanted to do, like the big trip to Italy they constantly spoke about, and starting their small business, taking care of their health and even learning to speak another language. They would always say, “Well, once the kids are all grown up, then I’ll go and do that.” But the kids had grown up twenty years ago, and still this person found reason after reason to not do the things they really wanted in life. As I thought of this, it occurred to me that if I didn’t do something about my own life now, then I might very well end up looking back with regrets
I didn’t want regrets
I wanted adventure, happiness, connection, love, meaning and purpose and to simply be able to look back and feel proud that I gave my dreams a chance to grow. The only thing is, I still wasn’t sure what those dreams were, so I decided to just get out there and try something different. I found my way to a workshop where I got to hear from a world class athlete, on the steps that he used to achieve his success. I walked away feeling so inspired that I went back to his next talk and took an entire book full of notes home with me. Then I studied them and highlighted all the bits I found super interesting or helpful and even wrote down any questions that I had about what he had said. Then I went to his next talk, and his next one and the one after that.
Eventually I worked up enough courage to speak to him and ask him all the burning questions that I had. Apparently, he’d noticed that I’d been showing up to every one of his talks and was more than happy to let me pick his brain over lunch. We forged a strong friendship and over the years I’ve implemented everything that he taught me and I was able to change the direction of my entire life. The first thing I learned from my friend was that us humans are continuously updating how we see ourselves and always becoming a new version of our self. We are forever in motion, moving forward.
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“So then why do I feel stuck?” I asked him. He told me that sometimes we feel stuck because we notice that our lives are moving in a different direction than what we pictured for ourselves. Without a bigger picture for our future or long term goals, sometimes people can end up getting so caught up doing little things each day like cleaning the house, checking emails and facebook, watching TV or procrastinating about other work, that they don’t spend time contributing towards their future, or even thinking about what their future could look like. That’s where most people end up feeling unfulfilled and frustrated. So, I asked myself, Who would you like to become?
Who would you like to become?
The first step to creating a picture of my future, was to imagine myself as an old woman looking back on her life. I asked myself, “If I keep doing what I’ve always done, what will my life look like? Is there anything I will regret not having done?”
What people are saying about Emotion Academy:
"After many years of training, courses, and counselling in various forms I thought I had certain aspects of my life sorted. Yet completing Emotion Academy showed me that I had been running away from my emotions and not facing them. After Emotion Academy, now I have the tools to engage with myself and win the internal battles once and for all - Neil Welsh, Victoria
The more that I thought about this question and imagined what my life would look like, the more I learned about myself and what I wanted my life to look like instead. I thought about what kind of person I was, and what kind of person I wanted to be. Then I began to create a vision by writing down all of these aspects and breaking them into chunks of where I wanted to be within 6 months, 1 year, 3 years and so on. How much does your current life, environment, and your actions, match the future that you see?
Remember that when you’re doing this, it’s important to focus on what your ideal picture will look like. Don’t get caught up in the details of how you will get there. The most important thing is that you get very clear on your vision. The more vivid it is, the more easily the steps that you need to take to get there, will be made clear to you as you begin moving towards your bigger picture. Some questions that you could ask yourself to help build an even more clear picture are:
*What does your life look and feel like?
*Who is with you or around you? Your friends, family, your team, children, partner?
*Is there a person that you haven’t met yet, but in your ideal picture, they are there? Imagine what they look like, sound like, feel like.
*What does your typical day look like? Run yourself through the steps from waking up and getting out of bed, all the way through to falling asleep that night.
*How much money are you making?
*What is important to you?
Create a personal vision for your future
The more you can feel emotionally engaged in the picture you create, the easier it will be. The more often you can picture this, the easier it will be. I like to recreate my picture every morning as part of my routine, so that each day I know that it will guide my focus and my tasks for the day to be more aligned with my bigger picture.
Melisa Grigg - Head Coach & Trainer
Melisa was stuck in sadness for 15 years, hated her job, was overweight and her relationship had just ended. Melisa inspires people with her story and now teaches how she sorted her life out. She worked out how to be happy and how to lose over 30kg of body weight. In simple steps she teaches how you can stop procrastinating, find confidence, stop being so sad and finally start to find true meaning and purpose in your life.
Now that you’ve created a personal vision for your future, your brain will want to start looking for evidence that you’re serious about this. To really bring your visualisation into real life, you need to start taking action and show your brain that you’re committed. The best part about this, is that any action is better than none at all. In fact, it’s even recommended to start by committing to just one small step a day in the direction of your vision. For some people that might look like investing time, money and energy towards training, mentoring and putting themselves in an environment that supports their goals. For others, that might look like setting up a simple daily habit of waking up earlier or walking around the block for example. For me, I did a little bit of both.
I sat down and looked at the goals I wanted to achieve within the next 6 months, and then asked myself what is the smallest, most effective action that I can take towards this daily? I brainstormed ideas and came up with pages of tiny habits that I could start immediately! It felt great to know that I could start moving towards my vision straight away. The key to remember when you’re doing this, is to pick just one action to start. It can be tempting to try and do many at once, but having a laser focus on just one thing, will help you to see results faster than if you were to spread your focus thin between many little habits. Give your all for that one habit and commit to seeing it through for a certain period of time, whether that is one or two months or more.
Tracking your progress keeps you motivated
So you’ve got your vision and you’re taking steps towards it daily, the next thing is to make sure you’re tracking your progress. Your brain loves to see that you’re committed over time and so it’s important to have something you can use to show yourself how far you’ve come. Sometimes, even though you’re working towards your goals, it might feel as if you’re not getting anywhere and sometimes people even give up because they weren’t able to look at the bigger picture and see all the progress they had actually made. Knowing that you are moving forward, is one of the best ways to keep up your momentum to keep moving forward.
Some of the goals that you want to achieve in life, might only be realised after months and months or even years of consistent effort. That’s why it’s super important to have a way of tracking your progress so you can see that you are getting closer and closer to those goals every day. I do this by using a simple habit tracking template where I just write down the one thing I’m working on, and tick it off daily. Some people like to use stickers and apps that make cool sounds. Use whatever works for you! You can also check in with your progress and look at the overall picture for the past month or 3 months. Personally I check in with myself every 3-4 months and I always ask myself these three questions:
*What can I do differently next time?
Remember to celebrate!
Celebrating along the way is SO IMPORTANT. When you’ve been putting in the time and energy to really work towards your future visualisation, and you’re taking action daily and tracking your progress, that means it’s time to celebrate. Every single time you tick off some daily progress, that’s a celebration. Every week you’ve consistently ticked off, that calls for celebrating. Set yourself specific progress goals so that when you reach a certain point along your journey to the bigger picture, you get to celebrate and really enjoy the results you’ve gotten so far. This might sound like it’s all just fun and games (and it is!) but it’s also really beneficial for your brain to do this. Every time you celebrate, your brain lights up and begins to crave more and more of what you’re doing to feel so good. Over time, this helps you rely less and less on willpower or motivation, because you’ll be naturally more and more drawn towards doing positive things that push you towards your goals. It’s a win win, and then celebrate the win!
Making major life changes at any age can feel like a real challenge, but when you learn to apply these steps and focus on your future with purpose, you might be surprised by what you’re capable of achieving. My life looks very different than before, but now I get to run a business that I love and where I get to connect with people from all over the world. I get to travel and explore so many aspects of life that I wouldn’t have even thought of before. These days I feel confident in who I am, and what I want out of life and I get to live out each day feeling fulfilled and excited that I’m working towards those dreams in every moment. To this day, the athlete and I, remain close friends and I still use the steps I learned from him back then. I’ve adapted them using what I’ve learned through the years, but the basic formula is still the same. The best part is, anyone can do this, and you can start right now.
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