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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).

 

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

Feel more alive with these 8 top tips!

“Fatigue is one of the fastest-growing issues in the U.S. Not too surprising. In a culture that fetishises working as hard as possible, it’s easy to trade good sleep and home-cooked meals for 10-hour days fuelled by on-the-go, prepackaged junk.1 Almost 15 million Americans work full-time on evening shift, night shift, rotating shifts, or other irregular schedules, and about 19% of working adults clock in 48-hour or longer weeks; 7% work 60 hours or more.”*

Let’s face it, it’s impossible to feel alive when living like this – and this way of life is not unique to the US. As the article says, modern society has made a fetish of working as hard as possible and sleeping as little as possible. You may think that you’re super productive and that this level of stress benefits you in some way, but you’re wrong. You’re not and it doesn’t. In fact, the truth is quite the opposite. Your ability to think clearly and effectively is severely compromised by continuous stress, and far from energising you, a stressed lifestyle depletes you.

If you’re honest with yourself, you actually know this. That’s why you feel so much better after a couple of weeks of holiday – after you’ve recovered from the cold or ‘flu you got at the beginning, that is. And don’t your sleep issues miraculously disappear when you’re away from work for a few days?

So how do you go from existing on stress to living fully? Here’s how.

My eight pillars of a life worth living

  1. A clearly defined life vision. Without knowing where you’re going and why, it’s hard to start living the kind of life that makes you feel alive. To create your life vision, you need to go back to the basics of who you really are and why you’re here, removing all of your family and societal conditioning (it’s there, even if you can’t see it yet). Find out what your true beliefs, values, rules, personality and worldview are, and craft these, along with your dreams, into your life vision.
  2. A positive mindset. With this mindset, you are happy and in control of your life. You prioritize meaningful relationships, cope well with the challenges life throws at you, enjoy what you’re doing (because you know why you’re doing it), and spend your time in ways that are consistent with your life vision and goals.
  3. Regular exercise. There’s no denying the fact that regular exercise is good for you. It increases happiness and improves productivity. Try this as an aliveness booster: 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day, ideally in nature, and 20 minutes of more vigorous exercise three times a week.
  4. Quality nutrition. You are what you eat – you really are. You can’t expect high quality performance from poor quality fuel. Quality nutrition is the best investment you can make in yourself and your family. For starters: eat chemical-free, unprocessed food; cut out all sugar and artificial sweeteners; watch your consumption of grains – many grains contain mould and other toxins that deplete your energy and promote brain fog; cut out ALL soft drinks, including diet ones; stay away from GMO products / products made with GMO ingredients – “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified (GM) food (American Association of Emergency Medicine 2009),” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM has asked physicians to advise all patients to avoid GM foods.[1]; drink lots of water. I’m a big fan of the Bulletproof Diet – the science behind it makes a lot of sense to me.
  5. Resilience. It’s important to be able to weather life’s storms when they arrive – and arrive they will. Greater resilience is a by-product of a positive mindset and a daily meditation practice is a key way to develop both. Find a type of meditation that works for you and start small – even two minutes a day makes a difference, so start there and gradually build up!
  6. Continuous learning. A bored mind leads to an unhappy person. Develop a lifelong passion for learning about things that interest you! Learn something new every day – it’s empowering and invigorating, because you’re doing something for yourself that truly engages you.
  7. Good sleep hygiene. You can’t expect to wake up feeling refreshed and raring to go if your sleep hygiene is poor. A good night’s sleep is essential, so you need to prime yourself for it. Start preparing for sleep a few hours ahead of time: turn off all LED lights – they reduce melatonin production and the regenerative and restoring capacities of your eyes; turn off all computers and smartphones (more blue lighting); relax; meditate; make sure your bedroom is cool and completely dark.
  8. A toxic-free lifestyle. Just as you are what you eat, you are also what you absorb via your other senses. Mainstream personal care products, make-up and household cleaning products contain many toxins, so do yourself a favour and buy the least toxic variants (i.e. those without ingredients you can’t pronounce). Better still, make your own, as I do. You also need to stay away from toxic people – those who are negative and bring everyone around them down – as their energy affects yours negatively.

There is nothing like waking up every day looking forward to the day ahead, and going to sleep at night grateful for the day you had. You can be this person – it just takes a 100% commitment to yourself to do whatever it takes. And now you know how to start.

* https://blog.bulletproof.com/fight-fatigue-with-these/

 

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).

 

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

Why you find it so hard to make decisions – and how to change that

You know things aren’t right, that something has to give. You’re just not sure what. You’ve got that feeling you know so well, the one that raises an alarm in you, without telling you why. You don’t know what to do. So you push the feeling aside and carry on as you were.

Pretty soon, it’s back. That feeling. You think and think and think about it, but you still can’t figure out what it’s about. So you push it aside again. This goes on for weeks, sometimes months. Then, one morning you wake up and know. You know exactly what’s wrong. But instead of feeling relief, you feel anxiety, which paralyses you. It paralyses you, because now you have to make a decision. And you suck at decisions.

You don’t suck at decisions. You’re afraid of making a wrong decision, a mistake.

In fact, you’re so afraid of making wrong decisions – especially the important ones, the ones that will have a meaningful impact on your life – that you do nothing. But doing nothing is actually a decision – you decide to do nothing.

If you do nothing when faced with an important decision, you’re really making THIS decision: to stay stuck with something that’s wrong for you.

The decisions you make in your life define you. The decisions to do something AND the decisions to do nothing. For some reason, you’re more afraid of making what you IMAGINE to be a wrong decision than you are of staying stuck in something you KNOW to be wrong.

You’re choosing the POSSIBILITY of something being wrong over the KNOWLEDGE that something is wrong.

Let’s face it, no one intends to make a decision like that. The way to stop being afraid of making wrong decisions and start choosing to move away from something that’s not working for you is this. You take a deep breath and say out loud as many times as you need until you believe it: “Just because I’m making this decision today, it doesn’t mean that I can’t make a completely different one down the road.” 

Imagine that. Decisions aren’t actually cast in stone! But if you think about it, how can they be? The situation you were in when you made a decision – the way you felt, what was going on in your life, what was going on around you – was unique to that moment.

How can a decision made a week or a month or a year ago possibly be as right for you now as it was then, when how you feel, what’s going on in your life and what’s going on around you have inevitably changed?

The only decision that’s always wrong is the one to do nothing when you know that you need to change something in your life. All other decisions are right – right for you in the moment you took them. Let’s say you decide to move to another country one day, and then decide to move back some time later. That’s great! Your situation (legal, personal, financial, etc.) changed. Let’s say you decide to try your hand at being an entrepreneur and change the type of business you have a few times before you find the right one. That’s great! Your situation (knowledge, market conditions, awareness, etc.) changed.

The other reason you’re afraid of making wrong decisions is that you’re afraid of appearing stupid / incompetent / indecisive / unstable to those around you. You’re worried that they’ll judge you in some way over your change of plans. The first thing to understand is that if people do judge you, their judgement just reflects their OWN fear of making wrong decisions and their misunderstanding of the true nature of decisions. The second thing is that you are the ONLY person who can make decisions for yourself – no one else knows you as well as you do. So if you allow what others think about your decisions to derail you, you’re saying that other people know you better than you do. By all means seek feedback from those close to you, but the final decision lies with YOU.

Your life is the sum of your decisions. Make them count.

 

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).

 

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

What would it look like if it were easy?

You listen to – and believe – all of the lies about yourself, especially the ones you hear on repeat in your head. The lies that tell you you’re not [______________] enough or not as [______________] as her/him; that you have to be perfect; that people will only like you if you do what they ask you to do and behave like they want you to behave; that you have to over-achieve in order to be accepted.

You’re afraid to try or start something, because you’re sure you’ll fail at it. You lack the self-confidence to go for it, so you play it safe. You get overwhelmed and stuck, unable to move forward even if it’s something you want to complete.

You feel useless, empty and scared – and then numb your feelings so you can make it through every day. You judge your every action – and those of others – harshly, constantly using “I/you should…”, “I/you must…”, “I/you always…” and “if only..”. You take things personally and hold onto grudges. You are competitive off the sports field, needing to be the best or always right.

You say one thing, and do another, and worry about the past AND the future. You feel the need to be the centre of attention, thriving on drama to such an extent that you unintentionally create it. You spend time around toxic people and in toxic places.

You live hard and fast, sacrificing your own health and well-being to get ahead. You make assumptions about everything around you, preferring this to looking stupid by asking questions for clarification.

You believe that you aren’t enough. You aren’t compassionate with yourself, so you can’t be with others, and don’t live in a way that nourishes you. You prioritize success over happiness, thinking that success leads to happiness, which it obviously doesn’t, because you start chasing a new success the minute you’ve achieved the last one.

You fight situations and people if they’re not how you want them to be, and cling onto everything, even if it no longer serves you. You NEVER forgive – your indignation at how you were treated feels much more satisfying. You say what others want you to say, believe what they want you to believe, follow their rules and have no idea how you spend your time.

You’re terrified of failure so keep on doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result – which never comes. You don’t bother having life dreams any more, because you know they’ll never come true. You never ask for help as you think it makes you look weak. You try to control everything, because you secretly believe that you can’t control anything.

You beat yourself up so badly that it makes you want to beat up others, too – to deflect the attention of your inner critics away from you for a few minutes. You bottle up everything you feel until it erupts uncontrollably when you least want it to.  You  feel hard done by, as if life has dealt you a bad hand.

You don’t want to stand out from the crowd, you want to fit in and do things the way others do them. Fitting in is so important, you’ve become a people-pleaser, doing whatever is asked of you. This makes you feel used – but you feel even worse when they don’t ask you for help. You spend more time trying to fit in than you do with the people who truly value and love you.

 

What would it look like if it were easy?

It would look nothing like this. 

 

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).

 

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

How to feel the connection you crave

You turn around, waving at your family for the last time. You’re on your way, living your dream.

You’re ready for a big adventure, To live life courageously, pushing past your comfort zone and living every day to the max. You’re ready to meet new people, to experience new cultures. You think about the people you’re leaving behind – your people – but know they won’t be far away. You’ll be sharing every moment of your adventure with them.

You’ve got an action-packed trip. You’ll be constantly moving from place to place, witnessing the most extraordinary things – exquisite sunsets, mind-blowing architecture, the bluest of seas – and the most humbling of things – grinding poverty, extreme violence. You just know you’ll have sensory overload from the newness and wonder of it all.

Six months and thousands of miles later, you pause for breath. Your adventure has been bigger and better than you ever imagined. You’ve seen and experienced so much. You’ve made so many new connections. You’ve grown so much as a result of your experiences and from being on your own. And you’ve given so much pleasure to your people back home, who are living their own adventures vicariously through your blog and Instagram.

You feel alive.

Your aliveness comes from your knowing that you’ve made a deep and meaningful connection on this adventure, With yourself. You’ve always been so distracted at home that you never really spent any quality time alone. Now that you have, you plan to stay connected. Knowing who you truly are feels so good.

It also comes from your having made so many other connections on your adventure. Whilst they’ve not been as deep, they’ve shown you an important life truth – that all beings on this planet are connected. You now understand that you share the same emotions with people everywhere – joy, sadness, happiness, despair, love, fear – and that you are as one with them. Your connection with the natural world has also changed – the wildness you experienced touched the wildness in you – and you understand that you are as one with this world, too.

You feel alive. And yet you feel something else, too. As though something’s missing from your life. This troubles you – how can you be anything but 100% grateful for the life you’re living? You push it aside and carry on, focussing on all the good in your life, and on enjoying your adventure. But, try as you might, you can’t shake the feeling that’s something’s missing. Then, after connecting virtually with your family one morning, you get it.

You’re missing your people. You’re missing the physical connection with your loved ones. You thought that keeping in touch virtually would be enough, but it’s not. You realise that this physical connection with your people is an important to you as your deep connection with yourself.

It’s time to head home, for now. Safe in the knowledge that your expanded horizons will never leave you. Safe in the knowledge that your understanding of connection – to yourself, to your people, to everyone and everything in the world – is now deep.

Safe in the knowledge that you need all three types of connection in your life to feel whole.

Baggage in hand, you rush through the sliding doors. You look quickly to the left, then to the right, your homing beacon flashing bright. You see them. Your people.

You’re home.

 

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).

 

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

How to turn struggling to your advantage

You’re so strong and competent. You take change in your stride. You know that change is good for you – after all, change is growth.

Struggle isn’t a word you use. Competent people like you don’t struggle. They succeed. There may be bumps, even hurdles along the way. But no struggle. Struggling is for people who aren’t strong.

On the outside, everything looks fine, even though people ask you repeatedly if you’re OK, if you need help. They know you’re going through a lot right now, hence their questions. You say you’re good, even though things don’t feel quite so good on the inside.

You may not realise it, but you’re pretending to be fine. You don’t want to admit that you’re struggling, because, if you do, you’re afraid that you’ll collapse.

You’re right to be afraid of collapsing, but not for the reason you think.

You won’t collapse because you’re struggling. You’ll collapse because you’re DENYING that you’re struggling.

Change IS hard. Change IS painful. When you don’t acknowledge and accept this, your feelings of pain and fear go deep inside you. Just because you don’t appear to be struggling with change, it doesn’t mean that you’re omnipotent. It just means that you’re in denial.

There’s only so long you can remain in denial about how hard something you’re doing is. Eventually, your pain and fear will find a way of expressing themselves – how and when THEY want, not how and when you choose to let them. Your pain and fear may express themselves as tears, as anger, or by making you sick. Tears and getting sick are how mine usually come out – whenever the auto-immune disease I have gets active, I know I’m denying something.

When you’re struggling with changes you’re making in your life, you have a choice.

You can allow yourself to express your feelings of pain, as and when they arise. You can admit to your friends when they ask how you’re doing that you’re struggling. If you do this, your feelings will pass and you can continue to move forward with your changes.

Or you can save face and continue to deny them, pretending to your friends that all well. You can get well and truly stuck, unable to move forward with your life changes. And become more sick.

Feeling and expressing the pain and fear behind your struggle is good. It allows you to keep moving forward, to keep growing, to become even stronger. This is how you turn struggling to your advantage.

Everyone feels pain and fear when they’re making changes – even I do, and I’ve changed enough in my life for three lifetimes. But not everyone admits it. If you weren’t allowed to make mistakes or to show your emotions in the past, you’ll find it hard to acknowledge your fear and pain. That’s because they feel like failure to you. Admitting that you’re struggling with change feels like you’re admitting that you’re weak. My way of denying that I’m struggling is to focus on all the good that’s coming from the change, and to ignore the rest. Sure, there IS good coming from the change. But there IS also pain.

Struggle is strength. It’s a sign of growth, that you’re making some important changes to your life.

Accept and embrace ALL of the feelings that come with this – the joy, the gratitude, the fear, the pain. And you’ll come to love how struggling makes you stronger.

 

 

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).

 

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

Learn how you can stop playing it small – and become limitless

I know you. You play it small. You limit yourself in some way.

You limit how high you climb at work. You limit your personality. You limit the kind of work you do. You limit your love life. You limit your influence. You limit your visibility.

You don’t do it consciously – it’s the result of something else. Of not wanting to be different. You limit yourself because you don’t want to be different.

In other words, you play it small because you want to fit in.

This behaviour often started as a child, because being different wasn’t encouraged or even welcome. If being yourself – i.e. different – wasn’t welcome, how did you feel? You felt afraid and ashamed of who you were. So what did you do? You decided to be the person you needed to be to fit in. And this meant you stopped being yourself.

When you stopped being yourself, you felt good… at first. What a relief it was to fit in! You quickly learned who you needed to be in all sorts of different situations – as if you were an actor in a play. Which is exactly what you were. Except that you were never off-stage. You could never be yourself. You became absorbed with playing your roles – often The Perfectionist and The Good Person – and became so adept at them that you forgot your main role. Being you.

You were so busy playing roles for other people that you lost yourself completely.

You cannot be self-confident or have self-worth when you’re not being yourself. Which is why you play it small. You don’t have the courage of your convictions – they’re probably not YOUR convictions, anyway. So you stay under the radar and play it small.

I know you. Because that was me, too.

It’s scary when you stop playing it small. You feel exposed, naked even, and ungrounded. The foundations on which you built your life – being afraid and ashamed of who you were – have crumbled, and it takes a little while to rebuild your new ones. Your new foundations are very different. They’re based on your full ownership of and pride in who you truly are. Not that ego-based pride of being better than others. That real pride of being happy and satisfied with who YOU are. Your new foundations make you glow from the inside out, they make you feel safe, secure, limitless. And enough.

When you stop playing it small, you are enough.

Here’s how I stopped playing it small.

  • Acknowledge that you have a void inside. Notice and accept your void. If you don’t, you’ll continue to feed it until it gets so huge you can’t ignore it any longer. It’s much harder to fill a huge void than a regular one (I know, I had to).
  • Decide to stop pretending to be someone else. Take a stand to be yourself. It won’t happen all at once, but you’ll start to notice when you’re really not being yourself – this will help you catch it sooner the next time.
  • Start getting back in touch with your feelings. The only way to be someone else successfully is to squelch your own feelings. A good way to reacquaint yourself with them is to write a feelings journal every day. Don’t censor or edit, just let out whatever wants to come out.
  • Understand who you really are. Dig deep into what’s important to you (things like values, causes), what you love doing (go back to before you were 8, when you were still you) and what you’re truly good at (your natural skills and abilities).
  • Stop beating yourself up. Learn to manage your inner critics – those voices in your head that tell you you’re not enough.
  • Find your voice. Describe yourself – the REAL you – in a few sentences. Who are you? What do you do?
  • Learn how to manage whatever life throws at you (even rejection). Turn the key life truths (acceptance, letting go, forgiveness, gratitude, compassion) into daily habits.
  • Learn how to save yourself (because no one else is going to). Understand what it takes to put your own health and well-being first, and do it. You cannot help others if you don’t help yourself first.
  • Create your own roadmap for your life. If you’re not following your own roadmap, you’re following someone else’s. Make sure it takes the WHOLE you into account – who you are, your dreams, your desires.
  • Take action. Dreams are great, but they remain just dreams until you take action. How you spend every minute of your time should reflect what’s on your personal roadmap.

What’s the opposite of playing it small? Living large.

I’m living large. Will you join me?

 

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).

 

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

Why being yourself and having boundaries go together

For most of my life, I’ve had trouble with personal boundaries. Both with stepping over other people’s boundaries, and with allowing others to step over mine.

In my particular family dynamics, there was no such thing as personal boundaries. Walls, yes, but not boundaries. I had to do what I was told and wasn’t allowed to question anything people in positions of authority said or did. This led to my boundaries being crashed endlessly.

Back then, I didn’t have the awareness to know what was going on, just that it didn’t feel good. That having no voice and being made to go along with things I didn’t agree with sucked.

Boundaries are lines that define you. What you’re willing to do, and not do. What belongs to you, and what belongs to others.

Part of being yourself fully is deciding where your boundaries are. That’s why it feels so bad when someone else decides this for you.

Boundaries are crucial in all your interactions – with other people, with animals, with organisations. They’re a matter of respect. They’re being violated every time someone invades your privacy, or tells you what to do or how to behave. If someone’s presence or input is uninvited, it’s disrespectful.

Boundary setting comes from deep within. It’s based on your beliefs about what’s right for you in your life. You get to define how you behave, how you respond to someone else’s behaviour, what’s your to do. You also get to maintain your boundaries. And that means learning to say NO.

Whenever I’m feeling frustrated or angry, it’s because I’ve not maintained my boundaries. I’ve not said NO when I should have. This tends to happen when I rush into something, or when I feel sorry for someone. I’m suffering the consequences of my failure to say NO right now. I’m looking after someone’s dog, an incredibly needy, inactive dog, whose presence in my home prevents me from living my life. I love dogs, but don’t have the bandwidth right now to deal with a dog whose modus operandi is so different from mine.

You can learn to say NO in response to someone asking you to do something that’s not right for you. And you can learn to say NO in anticipation of someone offering you unsolicited advice. e.g. “I’d love to share something with you and just want you to listen – I’m NOT looking for any input about it.”

If you don’t maintain your boundaries, you cannot fully be yourself. Your ‘you-ness’ is compromised by every failure to say NO. If being yourself is important to you, then boundary setting and maintaining must also be important to you.

It takes courage to say NO. It also takes strong guiding principles. The reward is your freedom and a more joyful life.

 

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).

 

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

How to live with greater ease

I live about 500 metres up a VERY steep hill, at the start of which is a sharp bend in the single-track road. This morning, as I was driving home, I started up the hill and thought to myself: “Ah, here’s that bend I hate! I’d better turn the steering wheel the right amount or I’ll hit the wall!!!”. The minute that thought came to me, I had to act quickly so I didn’t hit the wall.

You see, that thought itself almost caused me to hit the wall.

Over-thinking almost caused me to hit the wall.

Usually, I drive up the road with no problem. I don’t love that bend, but my instincts make sure I take it correctly. My instincts know exactly how much I have to turn the steering wheel to make that bend.

As it is in this story, so it is in life.

Over-thinking is a curse that plagues many of us.

Until recently, I was a habitual over-thinker. If there was a way I could over-think and over-complicate things, I would. It wasn’t intentional. It was a habit I learned very young from my father, who was a life-long over-thinker.

Most people believe all thinking is good and that there’s no such thing as over-thinking.

I hold a very different opinion. I believe that there’s a time and a place for thinking, that only certain, very specific tasks are suited to thinking. And I believe that the rest are suited to instinct.

Take driving. When I was learning to drive, I used my mind – thinking – to learn how a car works and the rules of the road. Now that I know these things, it’s my instincts that keep me safe. By staying fully present when I drive, I’m alert to everything that arises. If, however, I fail to stay present whilst I’m driving and start thinking – about how to stay safe or anything else at all – I put myself and others at risk. Driving is not a task for which our minds are suited.

Our minds are amazing at analysing, storing and retrieving information.

Our instincts are amazing at reading, seeing, hearing, sensing and feeling information.

When I was an over-thinker, my mind was mostly in control. It would do all my work and make all my decisions for me. It NEVER assigned any tasks to my instincts, because the mind ALWAYS thinks it knows best. So, I ended up doing a lot of bad work and making a lot of bad decisions.

These days, my instincts are mostly in control. They are very generous and share out tasks according to competence. My instincts give my mind ALL tasks that involve information analysis, storage and retrieval. And keep the rest for themselves. Since I’ve been operating this way, my life has been going much more smoothly. I still do make mistakes, of course, but less often, and I recover from them more quickly.

I made the change from mind to instincts by learning to stay present. The present is the place from which all correct actions and thoughts take place. Here’s how I learned to stay present and stop over-thinking:

  • Meditation. I’ve been meditating for at least 30-60 minutes a day for some years, and on-and-off before then. It’s my best tool for learning presence… and for staying present. I highly recommend you look into it for yourself.
  • Acceptance. Accepting things EXACTLY as they are is perhaps the most powerful thing you can do for yourself. Acceptance means not fighting or denying the existence of a reality we don’t like. For example, I don’t like that I have ulcerative colitis, but I accept that I do. Acceptance allows me to take action around it, it allows me to be highly functional with what is for many a debilitating disease.
  • Letting go. Of the past. Of decisions taken. Of actions taken. Of your baggage. Of your views on how your life is supposed to have been. Of your Inner Critics’ views on all of this. Letting go doesn’t mean that you agree with or approve of difficult situations or people. It just means that you are letting go of the control ALL of this has over you. It is not an angry notion. I like to think of letting go as releasing something / someone into a flow of love, and respectfully keeping your distance.
  • Deep focus on the matter at hand. I devote myself fully to whatever it is I’m doing. I remove all distractions and make sure I give myself regular breaks to refresh myself. For me, this means moving around – I love the Move app, which gives me exercises to do!

Take action to end your curse of over-thinking today. You won’t regret 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).