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life-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

How to Live Life on Your Terms

And stop living it on someone else’s

If I asked you whether you live life on your terms, you’d probably say yes.

But do you? Are they YOUR terms? Or are they your family’s, and/or society’s terms?

As an independent soul and a bit of a rebel, I used to think that I lived on my own terms. I was wrong. I did a lot of things that were expected of me, things that weren’t me at all. As a child, I’d tried so hard to fit in that I’d started doing what others wanted me to do. Even if it wasn’t what I’d have done myself.

At first, it wasn’t a big deal. Giving in a little here, a little there. But after years of this behaviour going unchecked, my own terms for living had been eroded away. Not that I was aware they had. The terms on which I was living had become so familiar, they felt like mine.

The fit became less comfortable as the years went by. I still wasn’t aware that this was behind the unsettled feeling I had. But I couldn’t escape the fact that I did feel unsettled. Something didn’t feel right inside. The best way to describe what I felt is that there was a void inside. A certain emptiness.

It was decades later that I finally understood why I felt that void. I was missing from my own life. Through not living life on my terms, I had lost myself, bit by bit, along the way.

30 years spent rediscovering myself taught me much. About me. About others. About what it means to be fully alive. Today, I live life on my terms. How do I know? Because I dance to the beat of a very different drum. Different from the beat I used to dance to. And different from the beat I see everyone around me dancing to. I’m told I’m an outlier with such frequency that I know people experience me as different. People I know very well, and people I’ve just met.

I love being an outlier, being different. You know why? Because I AM different. I’m unique, the only me in town. You’re unique, too.

How to rediscover yourself

Rediscovering yourself requires you to answer two simple questions. “Who are you?” and “Why are you here?”. The questions may be simple. But answering them isn’t.

Who are you? Who is beneath all those layers of conditioning?

And if you think you have no layers of conditioning, think again. We ALL emerge from our families and school with conditioning. Remember those rules you had to follow? Do you still follow them, even though you don’t have to? That’s conditioning. Don’t get me wrong, not all conditioning is bad for you. It’s only bad for you if it goes against your own conditioning.

Your own conditioning is your belief system.

Your belief system is one part of what you have to figure out to rediscover yourself. The other part is to understand what lights you up. What lights you up is a combination of what you love doing and what you’re naturally good at.

One way to get at all this information is to answer these three questions.

  • What’s important to you?
  • What do you love doing?
  • What are you truly good at?

What’s important to you? is all about the principles upon which you wish to build your life. Which personal qualities do you want to be known for? You know, things like honesty, kindness, resilience, openness, respect. If you find this hard to answer, think about the qualities you see in people you admire. Which types of behaviour are you not prepared to engage in? Are you prepared to use fear to get what you want? Are you prepared to be dishonest? Are you prepared to harm others through what you’re doing/buying? Which causes or issues are closest to your heart? Do you care about the environment? Human rights? Child labour? Income inequality?

To answer What do you love doing? properly, you’re going to need to go back in time to when you were a young child. From your earliest memories till when you were about eight years old. It’s best to stop at eight, because that’s when you started being moulded by others. With the best will in the world, your parents and those close to you started to direct you. To be a certain way. To go down a certain path. The trouble with this is that you are not them. Either as an individual. Or as part of your generation. So, the life for which you were groomed may not fit the real you. Mine didn’t at all. To answer this question, close your eyes and think about the young child version of you. What did you spend your time doing, when it was up to you? Think about this in detail. Note how you liked to play — alone or with others. Whether you were more introverted or extraverted. Whether you tended to lead, or follow. That kind of detail.

What are you truly good at? If you’re like me, you may not have a great sense of this any more. You may be accomplished at a lot of things, which is great. Some, you’ve learned to do well, and some, you’re naturally good at. All these things will serve you well, but you’ll get more joy from what comes naturally. Get a little outside help with this one, from people who know you well. Make sure you choose people who are impartial. This may rule out your immediate family as there can often be a lot of baggage in those relationships! Sift through their responses and note down those that resonate most with you.

Putting yourself back in your life

You now have the raw material you need to get clear on who you are, and why you’re here. The next step is to start to make sense of it.

From your answers, craft a short paragraph that captures your essence. It should talk about your values, your beliefs, and your skills. It’s your personal statement. Think about it as an elegant paragraph containing your personal keywords. Anyone reading it should be clear about who you are as a person.

Next comes what you plan to do with your life. I call this your Life Vision. Take your essence — the real you. Add what you love doing, and then the unique contribution you want to make in the world. This combination forms your Life Vision.

Living on your terms

You know who you are. You know why you’re here. Now it’s time to start living it. To start living on your terms.

Dreaming about your personal statement and Life Vision won’t make them come to life. It takes planning and action to move you from where you are to where you want to be. First, you need to break your journey down into steps. Make sure the steps are large enough to be interesting, and small enough to be achievable. Then, you need to plan how you’re going to take action. Plan no more than 90 days out, and then get more granular. Into months, weeks, and days. Don’t get into the daily detail too far ahead, or it won’t be relevant. I lay out next week’s daily plan at the end of the previous week.

Every action in your plans should take you one step closer to your Life Vision. It’s that simple. This level of focus is what it takes to live on your own terms. You may think it’s a lot of effort, that your current life is easier on you. You’re right about the first part, but wrong about the second.

Living on your terms feels better than any other way of living, and is worth every scrap of effort it takes to get there. You feel more alive than ever before. You feel more clarity than ever before. You feel more fulfilled than ever before. You feel happier than ever before.

And you’re worth every scrap of effort it takes to get there.

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).

 

say-n.o.-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

Learning how to say N.O.

Just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should

When you’re a kid, saying N.O. comes easy. So easy, that there are times when all kids seem to say is N.O.. Kids do this to test their boundaries. To see what they can – and can’t – get away with.

As you get older, boundary testing loses some of its lustre. Not because of the testing per se, which can still be a lot of fun. But because of the response you get to it, which isn’t much fun at all.

You see, by the time you’re an adult, you’re expected to know the rules. The rules of what you can and can’t do, of the behaviour expected of you. The boundaries are set. So when you’re asked to do something – even something you might not want to do – saying N.O. becomes harder. That’s the start of the slippery slope towards saying Y.E.S. to everything.

Saying Y.E.S. to everything seems pretty awesome. It makes you appear very accommodating, very obliging. Kind even. But appearances can be deceptive.

Saying Y.E.S. to everything is anything but awesome. It’s disrespectful. To you. To others.

Why saying Y.E.S. to everything is disrespectful

The boundaries that are set in stone by the time you’re an adult are the problem. Because they’re not your boundaries. They’re society’s boundaries, an attempt at one-size-fits-all rules for behaviour. But the notion of one-size-fits-all is fallacious. It fails to take into account that you’re unique. As am I. 

How can one size fit a collection of unique beings?

Before we touch on the complex world of personalities, let’s look at a simpler example. How one-size-fits-all works in the fashion world. One-size-fits-all is typically a medium size. There’s the rub. Medium isn’t the average size of all women. The average size is larger than a medium. So one size fits few. I’ve always known this. As a 6ft tall, slender woman, I’ve long been a vital statistics outlier.

So, if one-size-fits-all fails to work for clothing, you can imagine how big a fail it is for boundaries.

When you say Y.E.S. to everything, you’re saying Y.E.S. to things that aren’t yours to do. Just because someone asks you to do something, it doesn’t mean you have to. Or should.

Your own behaviour rules should be your guide. Not society’s or someone else’s. That’s where the disrespect comes in. By not following your own rules, you’re disrespecting them. In favour of someone else’s rules.

What does this look like in practice?

Imagine you’re at home on the weekend, working through your never-ending To Do list. A friend calls. She needs some help with something on her To Do list. Do you say Y.E.S. or N.O.?

If you say N.O., you’ll feel guilty for letting her down. But are you letting her down? No! If you backed out after she’d booked your time days ahead, that’s one thing. But when she asks last minute, and you have things of your own planned? No!

But if you say Y.E.S., you’ll be letting yourself down. You’re saying that your To Do list is less important than your friend’s. That you are less important than she is.

That’s how you’re being disrespectful to yourself.

Then there’s being disrespectful to others by saying Y.E.S.. If you say Y.E.S. to helping someone with something very specific, and that’s all you do, no problem. But if you go beyond that, doing extra things that are easy for you to do at the same time, then that’s not OK. It’s not OK, because your actions are implying: “I can do this better/faster than you.”

And that’s how you’re being disrespectful to others.

Learning how to say N.O.

Unlearning long-practiced behaviour – habits – can be hard. Especially if you try to go cold turkey.

It’s much easier if you replace one habit with another. Replace saying Y.E.S. with saying N.O. But, before you can do that, you need to get clear on what your own boundaries are.

Your boundaries are the lines that define you. What you will, and won’t do. What’s for you to do, and what’s for others to do. They’re your personal rules for living.

You determine your boundaries from the keystones of your life. So, if you don’t know what your keystones are, you’ll have to start there. My keystones are those things in my life that are non-negotiable. Like not doing anything that goes against my values. Like spending my time in pursuit of my own goals, ones that come from my life vision. Like not eating anything I know is harmful to my health. Like getting enough sleep. Like not helping others to fill a need in myself. Like using love to guide my interactions with others. Like daily physical activity. Like living in the moment. Like learning new things every day. Things like that.

Knowing what my boundaries are has made it much easier to say N.O. Anything that sits outside my boundaries gets a N.O. Deciding whether to say Y.E.S. or N.O. has become a no-brainer.

The other thing I had to learn about saying N.O. was to do with its delivery. How to make sure my N.O. didn’t sound like a F*** You. This, too, was helped by my having boundaries. Boundaries mean the N.O. never comes with baggage attached to it. Today’s N.O.s come from a place of peace – of knowing what’s for me, and not. Before I got clear on my boundaries, my N.O.s were always triggered by something. That could be stress, an old memory, unfairness – there were a lot of potential triggers. And that made N.O.s tumble out of my mouth like F*** Yous.

Know thyself, and life gets much easier

Learning how to say N.O. is all about knowing yourself. Who you are. What you stand for. When you’re clear on this, everything else falls into place. Decisions get easier to make. Life feels more comfortable. Because you’re living it on your terms, not someone else’s.

Remember, you are unique… wonderfully so. And that’s why it’s OK to say N.O. 

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).

 

death-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

Life, death… and life

The life cycle we struggle with so much

Life. This we understand.

Or not.

We’re born, we grow up, we do things, we own things, we get old, we die. That’s pretty much it. To make matters worse, we’re participants in this thing we call life. We take part in a game designed for us by others. Our parents, mentors, society.

Before you object to what I’ve said, answer me this.

Is your life meaningful? Do you know who you are and what you’re here to do?

I thought not.

My life wasn’t meaningful, either. Until I dug deep to discover why my little voice kept on asking me “Is this it?” for much of my adult life. That’s where I found the meaning.

Making my life meaningful changed everything. For me. For those I serve.

I didn’t understand death any better. And I’m guessing that you don’t, either.

When beings I loved died, I saw it as an ending. A final act. I couldn’t imagine finding that love again elsewhere. At least, not for a long time.

A lot of this stemmed from my belief system at the time. I told myself I couldn’t bear this type of heartbreak again. I also told myself that ‘replacing’ this being in my life would be disloyal to the one who had died.

I felt guilty. About a lot of things.

  • Whether she knew I loved her.
  • Whether I’d done right by him.
  • Having feelings of happiness or love ‘too soon’ after the death.
  • Not having enough love in me. So, I’d have to love him less to have enough love for someone new.

Turns out, I was as wrong about death as I was about life.

If life is meant to be meaningful, then death is meant to be enriching.

This is how nature works. A Western red-cedar tree knows exactly what it’s here to do. To be the best possible Western red-cedar tree. It spend its whole life doing this. And then it dies.

When a Western red-cedar tree dies and falls to the forest floor, it leaves its richness behind. Its wealth of nutrients are there to give life to all that inhabit the forest. Insects, animals, other trees.

In death, the Western red-cedar tree leaves its world richer, primed for new life.

And in death, we humans also leave our world richer, primed for new life. If those left behind could only see it.

When beings we love die, the pain we feel breaks open our hearts. This can prime us for even deeper love, for even deeper connections.

Or it can prime us to close down.

If we are to honour those who die, then we, too, must use the richness they leave behind. The lifetime of happy memories. The heartbreak from their death.

We must use this to give ourselves more life. To become more human. To love and connect with others more deeply. To be more compassionate. Not to waste a scrap of what these beings gave us through their lives.

Life, death, and life. Meaning, enrichment, deeper meaning.

Nature’s cycle is ours, too. Believe it.

 

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).

 

older-women-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

In Praise of Older Women

Why it’s time to stop concealing your age and start embracing it.

I’m 55. My hair is grey. My skin shows my hard-earned miles on the clock.

And I love it.

I didn’t always feel like this. I’m a reformed age concealer.

Grey hairs made their first appearance in my late 20s. I didn’t think anything of them at first. But when there were so many that removing them by hand would have left a bald patch, I decided to do something about it.

My first foray into the world of hair dyeing involved henna. I mixed up what looked and smelled like a cow pat, and spooned it all over my head. Some time later, when the henna had worked its magic, I surveyed my handiwork and was happy with what I saw. A mop of shiny hair with no grey ones jumping out at me. Result!

It’s fair to say that henna was a gateway product for me. I used it until I stopped getting what I wanted from it. I then turned to the hard stuff. Chemical hair dye. Every four weeks for the next 15 years.

Once you start dyeing your hair — especially if it’s dark — it’s hard to stop. You become a grey-root-a-phobe. All you notice about yourself when your hair needs dyeing are your roots. And everyone else is staring at them, too… you believe. You get used to seeing yourself with hair the same colour as it was when you were in your early 20s. You get used to other people seeing you that way, too.

You get used to looking younger than you are.

You also get used to shelling out a lot of money to keep your habit going. And you get used to chemical warfare being waged on your scalp every month.

One day, after allowing the fountain of eternal youth to seduce me for 23 years, I stopped. I stopped concealing the truth — that I was grey-haired and older than I looked.

It had been brewing for a while. Not on its own, but as part of a much larger issue I’d been encountering.

Ageism.

Ageism entered my life when I was about 45. And has never left. Ageism has many faces. Medical conditions being attributed to age instead of being investigated. Not getting interviews for jobs you’re 100% qualified for. (And finding out later they hired someone with half your experience.) Being given no voice in workplaces espousing equality.

A couple of incidents stand out for me.

When I was in my late 40s, a recruitment consultant told me to “dumb down” my résumé to take 10 years off my age. “Marketing is a young person’s game. Besides, you look much younger than you are so it’ll work”, he told me.

A few years later, I read an article by a millennial career and workplace expert. An advocate for authenticity at work, he discusses how important it is for his generation. Yet, when asked to provide advice for people in their 40s/50s looking for work, he said something like this. Older workers need to cut jobs and accomplishments from their résumés so they appear younger. And must never put their photos on anything! So, authenticity is important for millennials, but not for 50-somethings?

Then there was the sexism that accompanied this. From other women.

When I stopped dyeing my hair, the only negative feedback I got was from women. “Oh my god, why are you doing that! You look so young for your age right now!” “You won’t be hired looking like that!” This ageism/sexism mix shocked me. Let’s be honest, no man would ever get comments like this. Especially not from his own gender.

Even worse was the sense I got from other women that I was ‘letting the side down’. As in letting other women down. It’s so hard to put my finger on why I sensed this, but I did. As did a friend of mine when she stopped dyeing her hair after 30 years. Women would stare at my hair, talk amongst themselves, then stare again.

How dare I do this? How dare I suggest, via my grey hair, that other women my age might also be… my age?

I was gobsmacked, to say the least.

Today, my grey hair is still an issue. I continue to get feedback that more employment doors would open for me if I went back to being a brunette. But I also get comments from young women about how much they love my hair colour. It’s the colour many of them are dyeing their hair to be ‘on trend’. So what’s fashionable for younger women isn’t acceptable for older women?

The lack of acceptance of natural grey hair speaks to a much deeper, more significant issue.

That older people have little value in modern society.

Only women can change this. Not because we’re better than men. But because we’re contributing to this perception more than men. We’re doing so by agreeing to do what society demands of us. By dyeing our hair to conceal the grey. By spending a fortune on anti-aging products. By having cosmetic surgery to tighten up our skin. By not supporting women who stop playing this damaging game.

We have to change this. Fast. Because ever-increasing numbers of older women and men feel like they don’t matter. They worry about their future — their social and financial future. They feel like they’re on the scrap-heap — with nothing of value to contribute.

And they’re wrong.

The wisdom that comes with age is of immense value. The younger generations need this wisdom to help them recalibrate society’s values. They need this life experience to help them navigate the hard times that lie ahead. They need to learn from this expertise gained over decades.

Fellow older women: It’s time to accept your age. It’s time to let go of society’s false notions of age. It’s time to stop devaluing yourself by pretending to be someone you’re not.

It’s time to embrace yourself. As you are.

You are perfect, as you are. Your grey hair is perfect. Your loosening skin is perfect. Your wrinkles are perfect. How you look today is a reflection of everything you’ve accomplished in your life.

You’ve accomplished so much already. And have so much more left to offer.

Be bold. Be an older woman.

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).

 

amazingness-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

How to let your amazingness shine through

During some recent work with a client, one thing became crystal clear. She’d been dumbing herself down for most of her life.

This behaviour started during her childhood. A few separate incidents made her fear failure. She also felt very different from her family and friends. Her fear of failure and dislike of not fitting in turned her into a people pleaser. Before long, she was shape-shifting to become whatever was demanded of her. This behaviour was completely sub-conscious, and the changes she made soon became her persona.

Her true amazingness – the kind, creative, courageous, resilient and fun leader she really is – remained, for the most part, buried in her. Flashes of this person were occasionally visible to those closest to her, but the person she saw herself was the hyper organised, efficient, productive people-pleaser.

I found it so easy to recognize this in my client. Because it was true for me, too.

I’ve spent much of my life dumbing myself down so I could:

  • fit in
  • be understood
  • be liked
  • be seen
  • be loved
  • feel safe and secure
  • feel stable

I even dumbed down my successful 28-year marketing career, where I was a serious game-changer. I’ve hardly referred to it at all in my last four years of doing life purpose coaching.

Why?

I was afraid it would cause people not to like me, because they’d view me as unethical. I consider much of what goes on in the marketing world as unethical, therefore I must be, too, if I’ve worked there.

Wow. That’s quite the admission. But I was completely unaware I was doing it. I’d just gloss over those 28 years and hope that no one asked me about the work I did then. That they’d focus instead on the ethical work I was doing now.

You know what?

The SAME person worked in marketing and in life purpose coaching. I did.

I, who:

  • has the same values now as when working in marketing
  • has spent the last 30 years learning how to live a purposeful life
  • left organizations routinely as a result of being asked to do something unethical

You know what else?

My 28 years of game-changing in marketing taught me a lot. They made a huge contribution to the person I am today. They helped give me my voice.

My business career has given me some incredible skills that I now use to help my clients. My journey through that part of my life is now helping me let my amazingness shine.

If you want to let your amazingness shine, try this!

  • Understand who you REALLY are. The whole you – don’t leave parts of yourself out, as I did for years.
  • Learn to manage your inner critics – the voices in your head that want you to be liked, to fit in, to be understood, to be loved, to be seen, to feel safe and secure, to feel stable.
  • Create daily practices that reinforce the key life truths of presence, acceptance, forgiveness, letting go, non-judgement, maintaining your boundaries.
  • Understand that it’s YOUR life and that no one is coming to save you. You can choose what your life looks like.
  • Have personal goals that reflect the whole you – your emotional, spiritual, mental, physical and financial health, what gives you self-esteem, what makes you self-fulfilled.
  • Take action. Dreams without action remain dreams.

Whenever you feel less than whole inside or are struggling to imagine what a dream life might look like, pay attention.

That’s a sign your amazingness is trying to shine through.

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).

 

inspiration-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

Do your heroes inspire you or dumb you down?

It’s human nature to look for inspiration all around us. Our inspiration comes from many sources – from people we know; people we don’t know, some of whom are famous; nature.

Inspiration is one of our main fuel sources. We can be inspired to follow a calling – to become a doctor, a musician, an artist. We can be inspired to up our game at something – to become a better chess player, better entrepreneur, better writer, better footballer. And we can be inspired simply to be a better person – the best possible version of ourselves.

Being inspired means being moved so much by the actions or expertise of another that we change something meaningful about our own lives.

You see, inspiration ALWAYS has meaningful consequences. It helps us define who we truly are in some way. It helps make us more ourselves – the unique beings we are.

Now, there’s another force out there that masquerades as inspiration. Hero-worship.

The cult of celebrity is all about hero-worship. We are not inspired by these celebrities, we are not changed by them in a meaningful way.

We imitate them.

When we hero-worship, we want to be just like our ‘heroes’. To dress like they do. To take the same selfies as they do. To wear the same make-up as they do. To talk like they do.

And this has dangerous consequences.

Hero-worship causes us to lose ourselves completely. By dressing or acting or sounding JUST like these celebrities, we become clones. We are no longer unique individuals.

Hero-worship has the opposite effect on us to inspiration. Inspiration elevates us, helps make us even more amazing and unique. Hero-worship dumbs us down, helps make us like mindless sheep – we become all the same, no longer unique.

As such, hero-worship can only be viewed as a destructive force in society today. We may say that we don’t really admire the object of our hero-worship, that we just find him/her amusing/stylish/glamorous. Even if this is true, by imitating or putting our attention on people who don’t inspire us, we end up being dumbed down by them.

We are not dumbed-down clones. Each and every one of us is an amazing individual. An amazing individual who is surrounded by endless, life-transforming inspiration.

Inspiration is present in the individual acts of love, kindness, tolerance and courage we see every day. Inspiration is present in the expertise of those at the top of their games.

Let’s be inspired. Let’s be inspiring. Let’s be amazing. Because that’s who we truly are.

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).

 

Photo credit: Sarah Blick

personal-goals-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

Why having personal goals sets you free

If I’d been shown this headline 25 years ago, I’d have laughed and made some sarcastic remark. You see, back then, I thought that the route to creativity and personal freedom was paved with blank sheets of paper. They had to be blank to leave room for anything that showed up.

I was wrong.

The route to creativity and personal freedom is paved with goals. Personal goals.

Not society’s goals. Not your parents’ goals. Not your partner’s goals.

YOUR goals.

It took me years to learn these two simple truths:

=> If you’re not consciously living your own goals, you’re unconsciously living someone else’s.

=> If how you spend your time isn’t fully aligned with your own goals, then you won’t ever feel self-fulfilled.

The way I thought about goals was also all wrong. It was very narrow, because I had my blinkers on, seeing only society’s view of goals. Society’s goals are all about its interpretation of success – your financial health, your career trajectory, home ownership, car ownership, that sort of thing. And those things never felt like motivating goals to me. I’ve just never been able to get excited about money, per se.

I now know what the problem was. The goals were about the basic me, and not about the whole me.

As Maslow described in his Hierarchy of Needs, our needs change according to our personal situation. Our basic selves have some basic needs. To survive (enough shelter, clothing, food, air, water), and to feel safe and secure (enough money, health, security). Once these are met, other needs kick in. From a place of safety, we seek relationships and feelings of accomplishment. And finally, from a place of love and self-respect, we seek self-fulfilment. We need to achieve our full potential.

Those of you reading this blog post are likely to have your basic needs met. You have somewhere safe to live, enough food on your table, and access to clean water and air. You have enough money to pay for this, and more, and have access to healthcare.

It’s at this point that things start to get less clear. Are your other needs being met?

To find out, ask yourself these questions and be as honest as you can with your answers.

  • Do you have deep, loving relationships in your life? Are you spending enough time with these people?
  • Do you feel connected to a community? Are you spending enough time with your community?
  • Are you learning new skills?
  • Are you deepening your existing knowledge?
  • Are you attending to your spiritual needs, whatever they may be?
  • Are you doing everything you can to keep yourself healthy?
  • Are you accomplishing things that make you feel good about yourself? Via your work? Via your personal life? Via volunteer work?
  • Are you having fun?
  • Are you giving your creative self a voice? What creative projects are you doing?

If you find yourself answering ‘NO’ to any of these questions, then you might want to spend some time digesting this, asking yourself why you have no answer, and pondering how to turn your ‘NOs’ into ‘YESes’.

And then, I strongly recommend that your create some personal goals, based on the whole you. Start with year-end goals, then break them down into quarterly, monthly and weekly goals.

Remember, the richer your personal goals, the more self-fulfilled you will be.

Finally, make sure you spend your time doing things that move you closer to achieving your personal goals. Commit to yourself to live consciously, to know that you’re focussing on what’s important to you.

Your whole self will thank you.

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).