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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 May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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