The forcing takes so much energy that I stop exercising and eating well. I hide from networking opportunities and growth experiences. They feel too challenging. There is nothing worse than the dreaded question, “What do you do?” and the cringing response of “_______ (fill in: something I’m not proud of or completely authentic).”
Way more difficult than passing the bar, getting over a break-up, or starting a business is the effort it takes to live a life that you’re not proud of living. The big question: when you look at your career, actions, and partnerships, do they speak the message you want to be sending to the world?
As The Glow Exchange team prepares for the first glow-effect-style leadership forum in Uganda next week, I’ve been reflecting on the life I have designed. There’s nothing like watching your dream (once too big to believe) become a reality and using it to reflect on what this living thing is all about.
With the assistance of some rockstar #glowgetters, here are a few observations on how to design a life you love:
1. Realize that a life you love does NOT occur from one epic breakthrough.
There isn’t job, man, or epiphany that’s going to create a life you love. It’s the small breakthroughs, the harmony of the job, man, and moment-to-moment epiphanies that reveal your light.
First things first: your constant commitment to creating (and re-creating) harmony. You’ll come off of center whenever faced with a new challenge. This is to be expected and embraced. The journey is about coming back to center over and over again.
2. We’re all inherently special.
I’ve worked with hundreds of women. Each one of us has potential. We’ve all had a vision or dream that’s shown us what we’re capable of. Some of us are building said vision. Some of us buried it awhile back.
Designing a life you love isn’t about being more special than anyone, it’s about figuring out how to see everyone’s potential while bringing yours to the forefront. What actually makes you special is when you treat others as if their potential is all you see.
3. No one knows what you want more than you do.
Others may see a different perspective that provides massive insight, but ultimately, only you know how to proceed. Society doesn’t speak the answers that your soul speaks. Take and make quiet moments to listen.
4. The life you love will be chock full of things you don’t love too.
There will be challenges and obstacles galore. It’s part of refining what and how you love.
In July 2014, the IndieGoGo campaign that started The Glow Exchange raised $1200. Not nothing, but hardly a win.
Skip forward to January 2015 as I prepared to go to Uganda for the first time and rethink the creation… Two of my biggest loves and supporters (mom and boyfriend, two people with my best interest at heart) suggested that going wasn’t a great idea. I went anyway.
Then when I returned in March, I committed to recruiting ten women for The Glow Exchange and together raising $50,000. Again, my people suggested that I pull back from such a giant goal. I proceeded anyway. Today, we have a team of ten women from the UK, US, and Australia that raised over $30,000 and we’re about to lead a 30-women leadership forum and 300+ women culmination event in Uganda to launch The Glow Effect Center for Women and Girls.
Failures and naysayers (still love them!) are part of the journey.
5. Surround yourself with an uber-supportive tribe.
A life you love requires being part of a community that encourages you to be your best self and is committed to their own growth. They need not agree with you.
6. It’s not about what. It’s about why.
A new car, purse, or whatever things make up your vision are nice. A job to pay for those things is nice too. Those are the what’s that make up your life.
In reality, that car is a heap of metal. The purse is material sewn together. The job is just a title. There is nothing inherently valuable in these things. We seek the experience that comes through them. How do you feel in the car? What does having the house make you believe about yourself? What do you want the purse to signify? The answers to these questions are the why’s.
I have created a life a love not with the title of “Founder and CEO of The Glow Effect/The Glow Exchange.” My life manifests through why this has significance: I’m part of a global movement. We’re creating something for women to feel unstoppable, lovable, and hopeful – not just through what we do, rather by “what we be” in every interaction.
That’s why the car and the purse matter – why I matter. They allow me to feel fulfilled in order to manifest the why. Aligning with the why is what allows me to love my life.