How to Design an Authentic Life (part 2 of 3)

How do you design and build a life that you will truly love?

This was a question I’ve always thought about, and I shared in Part 1 some recent reflections on the topic along with an excerpt of a piece I wrote for Bloom TV, a new website that I’m proud to be part of.

Here are more tips from that feature. I’d love to read and hear what YOU think about creating an authentic life for yourself.

“Give yourself room to bloom” | Artwork by Nina Terol

8 Steps for Designing an Authentic Life (An excerpt from Bloom TV)

4. Make space. Learn to say “no”. Since you can’t have it all, you must also resist the urge to do it all. I learned this the hard way when I developed the nasty habit of overbooking myself for projects and engagements—sometimes, even dinners out with friends—because I wanted to please others (and myself) I couldn’t say “no.” The painful lesson: you’re never really going to please everybody anyway, so you might as well focus on the things and people who truly matter to you. Remember: the more pockets of space you clear out for the little, unimportant things, the more space you’ll have for the bigger things.

 5.      Make time for what truly matters to you. Since we all have only 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week, how we spend our time defines our priorities. Again, I learned this the hard way when, one evening, I took a call at dinnertime and then jumped to edit a speech—because it was needed “ASAP.” My niece sighed as I left her on the dinner table, “That’s how it is with Nini. She needs to work 24/7.” It stung to realize that that action hurt someone I love like my own daughter. It hurt even more that she felt I “needed” to work “24/7” and that work was more of a priority than she was.

If you say that health is a priority, block time out for exercise. If you say that bonding with your family is a priority, block space in your calendar to be with them—without the gadgets. If you say that learning is important to you, invest in a class. Treat important elements in your life as appointments that you cannot miss. Even just 20 minutes a day doing something that matters to you can make a big difference.

6.      Be fearless. Oftentimes, the Universe will throw once-in-a-lifetime opportunities your way—just as you had asked for. Take them—and don’t look back. I did this at 23 when I took the leap from a job in the non-profit sector to start my own freelance writing and consulting practice. I did it again at 29 when I joined government in order to be part of the “reform movement.” I just recently did it again at 34 to go back to the corporate world and build a comfortable life for my family. Change is challenging; it’s also frightening and unnerving. But as the late great Eleanor Roosevelt had reportedly said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” It just might bring you closer to the life you’ve always envisioned for yourself.

There’s more where all this came from. Stay tuned for Part 3 and more reflections on this subject. 🙂

*Love and light*

~ N

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