Welcome friends to Episode #53 of the Own Your Best Life Podcast. Let me ask you: Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought, “Wow, I thought things would be different, I thought things would be better by now?” If you have, you’re not alone. But what if I told you there’s one thing — just ONE THING — that can make a shift so you can realize that this is the greatest time in history and in your life to live abundantly. Today, we’ll dive into that one thing. Are you ready? Let’s get started.
I know what it’s like to want more, dream of more and to think, “maybe it’s just not meant for me…” I went down the career path I thought I “should” go down. The one that I thought would bring me the most options, satisfy those around me, and create stability. Sure, I would make small tweaks here and there to make the career my own, but I never felt like I was living my calling. I didn’t even know what my calling was.
If I didn’t know what I even wanted to do with my career, how was I going to get all the “connections,” go to my dream graduate schools, and get my dream jobs? And then it hit me. The only thing that separated people who landed their dream jobs, dream schools and dream careers from those who hadn’t was one thing: the decisions they made.
Now just to be clear, I’m not talking about a “quit my job and chase my dreams” kind of decision. I’m talking about TINY little decisions about what their strengths were and the kinds of lives they wanted to live.
When I started modeling these decisions in my life:
– I was accepted into multiple top MBA programs
– I received an offer at McKinsey
– I became a certified yoga instructor, energy healer
– I got an offer to work at a mission-driven company
– I started my own company
– I became a coach
– I spent more time with my family
I know what it’s like to feel financially stable and travel the world. But I also know the definition of what TRUE success is for me… And that’s the ability to work from home when I need to, feel that my work has an impact on the world, take my kids to school, to be incredibly healthy, to do great work in the world, and be the best mom and partner I can be.
Now I don’t know what your definition of success is, but I want to tell you here and now that the only thing standing between the life you have and the one you deserve is the decisions you make in your life.
I made the decisions that allowed me to go from following the path of what I thought people wanted me to do to delivering impact to top companies in the world and changing people’s lives for the better. Many people ask me what my story is and how I decided to make the switch to coaching or how I came to coaching in the first place.
I was living a really good on-the-surface life. I really couldn’t complain about anything that I had in my life because I had more money than I needed, a loving partner and people who supported me. Yet, there was this undercurrent of knowing that I wasn’t fully stepping into living a life that was my own.
It’s this feeling of living life on the surface – one where problems would keep coming – and I would switch jobs, roles or get more education and hope that it was better somewhere else. I didn’t know what I didn’t know about relationships, money, business and spirituality.. It wasn’t until the 3rd death in a span of a few years, when I began to really look at my life with a sense of urgency. It just started to hit home. The fact that life was temporary. Was I really loving those around me as much as I could? Was I really loving the work I put all my time and energy into? Was I truly owning my life?
The title of the podcast is “own your best life” because owning is about decisions. When I was so burnt out from my job that I began to have thoughts of self harm, what turned it around was realizing that I had a choice. That this life, this job, this everything – was a decision that I made every single day. I wasn’t a passive participant in this exchange, and what I’ll ask you is the same question. Are you owning that even though you may not be responsible for what has happened in your life, you are responsible for how you choose to experience life from here on out?
No matter what situation I tried to blame – over the years I’ve realized that life doesn’t change when I blame. It changes when I take ownership. When I said I need to make more money and have more impact, it only happened because I took action. No one came and said, “here you go!” I had to claim it as mine. When I wanted a deeper spiritual practice, I had to commit to it. Same goes with my health, my relationships, and the list goes on.
If you think you should be further along by now, there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s just a signal of contrast – every time you compare – you are saying, “why not me?” The one thing you can do, however, is to spend the time properly answering that question. When you answer that question, it’s not about the other person – it’s about sparking a thought to ask yourself, “what do I need to do?” If we make that question about something else, it becomes the comparison trap.
Comparison, when misused, is a form of violence. It becomes jealousy. It harms yourself and others when you begin to think negatively about yourself and about others. Can we instead, let it inspire us? To have us realize that if we are truly here to learn to love, we can love someone else as we would want to be loved? Even that person who has the life you want, or parts of the life you want? People are mirrors to that which we want most or what we most fear. REalizing that can help decrease its power and allow yourself to just see it as it is – a story you are telling yourself.
If you can stop comparison from rearing its ugly head and becoming a tool for self-loathing or hatred, you can leverage it to give you fuel. Yes, others may have more opportunities than you do. They may also have more resources, whether it’s time or money or anything else. Yet, there was never a way that this was all supposed to work. You can either realize that it serves no purpose to use your energy pointing out reasons why it can’t work and how it will never be you, or you can use that energy towards creating the life you desire. One that was uniquely yours.
What if life isn’t supposed to be miserable? What if life is supposed to be a journey of growth and learning? If it is about growth and learning then this may be the best ride of your life! Look at all that room to grow. Look at how unknown all that future is in front of you. Yet, we fear the unknown possibilities more than we fear the known misery, so we stay right where we are while others move along.
While I can appreciate all the reasons why you are where you are, can I ask you a question? What does it take for you to finally make a decision that this is time? What does it take for you to finally get into action? Think about something that you decided that changed your life for the better. It likely came from something that inspired you (a positive experience), or it was something that was really painful (a more negative experience).
If you want to finally be motivated to change, you have to associate so much pain with where you are now, or so much pleasure and beauty with where you want to be. I committed deeply to my spiritual practice again because I was in such grief over the loss of my father and my grandmother. I decided I need to change my lifestyle because I was working myself to the point of sickness. I saw myself missing my girl’s childhood and I decided to change jobs. Pain was a great motivator for me.
And so was beauty – but pain came before beauty. Pain taught me that if I didn’t seek to uplevel and decide my own definition of success, that I was going to live someone else’s. What I realized most was that in any place where I thought I should be further along, or that things would be better – I had to make a decision about what I wanted to have in my life and why. It didn’t matter if it seemed unrealistic or unreasonable. What mattered was that it aligned with my own version of success.
I created a life that I don’t want to escape from, one where I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be even if it’s not like anyone else’s.
NowI know what it feels like to really be successful–according to my own definition– and I want to show you how too.
This month, in Intuitive Leadership Coaching, we’ll be covering how to create a compelling vision for your next 5 years. Each month we break down topics such as these to answer the big questions, help you take action and move forward with clarity and peace. Go to www.mayempson.com/contact to learn more.