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Starting Today You Can Live A Unique Life If You Take These 10 Steps

Starting Today You Can Live A Unique Life If You Take These 10 Steps

You’ve dreamed about it. You want it. You wonder if it’s really possible. You worry about being realistic. You worry about failing miserably. You worry about missing out. In your heart, you know you’re ready to live a different life. It doesn’t matter that it might seem odd to everyone around you to want something out of the norm. Your heart is calling you to reach for a life that is unique. Well, it’s possible. You can do it.

Here are 10 steps to help you start living a unique life – right here, right now, starting today!

1. Define Unique

Most people have never thought about what a unique life would look like for them. Think about it. If you designed a unique life for yourself, what would that life be? Define how unique would look like is the first step to living it. Your unique life is like your fingerprint. It was not meant to be exactly like anyone else’s life. It’s yours and yours alone. Describe it in detail. Write it down right now. Who knows, you might already be living your unique life and didn’t even realize it.

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2. Decide To Make It Happen

Ok, so maybe your current circumstances don’t exactly measure up to your unique life. That’s okay. Today is the day you begin to live a unique life if you decide to make today the day you begin to live a unique life. It may sound like an oversimplification but it is not. You have more control over the life you live than you may realize. Right now, today, make the decision to live a unique life. Now, don’t get ahead of yourself with the excuses and challenges. Just say ‘Yes’ to doing everything within your power to live your unique life.

3. Stop Making Excuses

If you’re going to live a unique life, you must stop making excuses. Yes, even the really good reasons and real problems. Excuses, all of them. Each reason you have not to live the unique life you were meant to live is a terrible excuse born out of your doubt, fear and uncertainty. Think about it again, YOUR unique life. Custom-made, designed especially with you in mind. Those reasons to delay beyond today are just excuses. Don’t settle for anything less. Stop justifying and rationalizing your fears. You don’t even need to fight them. Just set them down right over there. We’ll come back to them in a moment.

4. Allow Your Heart To Guide You

Part of living your unique life is understanding your true heart’s calling. Shhh. Listen. Tune into your inner wisdom. The more clarity you have about your heart’s calling the easier it is to find the focus, courage and consistency to pursue it. If you are going to start living your unique life, you’re going to need to hear what your heart is telling you. Rational has it place. Right now, let’s work with the emotional. Visualize your unique life. Notice how it’s making you feel. Focus on the courage, joy, the peace, the excitement. Turn up the volume on the love and peace that swells in your heart. Pull out the courage and wisdom that is growing there. Let it spread. Love is stronger than fear. Focus on your heart guidance and the joyful feelings grow until they overshadow your fears.

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5. Feed Your Curiosity

Did you realize you are built to follow your heart? Even without knowing or fully understanding your purpose, you have had moments when you were living your unique life. When you feed your curiosity, you allow your authentic self to gravitate to the things that give you life and happiness. Feed your curiosity. Follow that rabbit down that hole and see where it takes you. Your most powerful purposeful self is guiding you to stumble upon that unique life. How can you build space in your day to pursue something you are curious about? The more you feed your curiosity, the more you can see the trends and patterns in what interests you. Passions and purpose are tied to your curiosity. Explore what interests you.

6. Keep Learning

Don’t just feed your curiosity, go deeper. Explore nuances. Pursue theories. Sit and think. Google it. Become an expert on whatever it is that makes your unique life unique. Learn everything and anything you can about it. Find your community. You might not know anyone else in the world who shares your interest but they are out there. Learning is a life long pursuit. Allow your most powerful purposeful self to encourage you to keep learning more about the things that are interesting about the unique life you have decided to live.

7. Do More Of What You Love

Where your attention goes, energy flows. Spend time doing more of what your most powerful purposeful self loves to do. Build your life around it. It’s not enough to talk about living this life, get up, get out and start living. Take a step in the right direction. Even if it isn’t a perfect step, you are moving in the right direction. Each day you take a step toward your unique life, the closer you get to it being your consistent reality. Life is too short to spend time doing things you don’t love.

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8. Stop Doing What You Don’t Love

This is simple. If you don’t love it, if it is not purposeful and pulling you toward your unique life, stop doing it. Now sometimes we do things we would rather not do because it facilitates something we love. That’s maturity. Don’t discard necessary steps on your long range path to design your unique life. This is why clarity about your unique purpose is so important. If you are clear on your direction, you can make better decisions about what you love and why you love it.

9. Be Courageous

When you make a decision to go against the grain or do something purposeful, life will test you to see how serious you are. Challenges will pop up to test your resolve. Obstacles and risks will block your path. Living a unique life calls for the courage to enforce your personal boundaries and set priorities. You cannot live your unique life if you are busy living a life someone else decided they wanted you to live. It’s said if you don’t take risks, you’ll live your life working for someone who will. Be bold, be courageous with your priorities. Say yes to things that challenge you. Say no to things that distract from your unique life.

10. Check Back In To See How You’re Doing

If you decide today is the day you are going to start living your unique life, don’t forget to check back in later today and again tomorrow to see how you’re doing. What’s the difference between the life you wanted to live and the life you are living? Are you getting closer? Did you get distracted? Be accountable to your bold courageous declaration and stick to it! When you check your progress, each day becomes another chance to get closer to your unique life or to jump up out of bed to live it all over again!

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Featured photo credit: mgf26.jpg/GaborfromHungary via mrg.bz

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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