About ten years ago I remember thinking if I died it would be okay because I had done the things I wanted to do in my life: gotten my master’s degree, married, had a child, owned a business, traveled overseas and had lots of fun and exciting experiences like skydiving and hang gliding. I remember I was driving my car in that moment, but I don’t quite remember the circumstances behind the thought. I’m sure it was a reflection of the sense of overwhelm and frustration that I had been experiencing at that time in my life.
The past few weeks I’ve noticed myself adding things to my dream list: learning to roller skate, play the African drums, belly dance and wear a sari properly are some of them. It’s as if someone lifted the roof on what I used to believe was possible. I know I can run the NYC marathon; I’ve run a marathon before, but could I roller skate for the first time? I’ve always adored the sound of African drums, but would I take the time to learn the techniques? This new openness in me is more than just me adding items to my to-do list, it’s an awakening to possibilities. The space between me and my dream job has become smaller and it’s affecting all the areas of my life where I dream.
I often coach women about limiting beliefs. World-renowned motivational speaker, Tony Robbins defines a belief as, “a feeling of certainty about what something means… most(ly) generalizations about our past, based on our interpretations of painful and pleasurable experiences.” They are rooted in the past and not necessarily true. I can’t count the number of times people have told me “running is bad for your knees” or “government jobs are safe” or “women can’t be firefighters,” etc. Beliefs are like supercharged opinions with the power to either push us forward or hold us back.
There’s a story I heard long ago about frogs in a bucket. If you put frogs in a bucket with a lid on it, the frogs will work hard to jump out of the bucket. Later, if you remove the lid, they won’t try to jump out anymore. The frogs believe it is impossible to get out of the bucket, so they give up.
Ten years ago, I hit my head on the top of the metaphorical bucket. I had accomplished the things that were expected of me and some more. I graduated college, found meaningful work, got married, started a family and even launched a business. I was satisfied and exhausted. I had done enough.
Now, the lid is blown off the top of my bucket and I have a laundry list of goals, dreams and experiences that I want to live and share.
How about you?
Are you living your life with the lid on your bucket?
Or have you blown it off?
Here are five tips to ignite your creativity and blow the lid off your personal bucket:
- Think back to your favorite childhood activities. What did you want to be when you “grew up?” What games did you enjoy most? Find ways to incorporate your treasured pastimes into your daily life now. If you loved to sing, try participating in karaoke or starting a glee club. If you loved to draw, consider enjoying an adult coloring book or art class. You got the idea, now come up with your own ideas to reignite the joy and wonder of childhood.
- Tap into your spirituality. – Although spirituality and religion can work together, they are not the same. Spirituality is a way of connecting with your Divine nature. When you know that you are more than just a biological creature on this earth, you are open to the limitless potential of the Universe. Spirituality allows you to dream bigger. Stillness will help you access the Divine within you. Try meditation, yoga, prayer circles, moon circles or whatever speaks to your heart. Just make sure any group you align yourself with practices from a place of love for all and doesn’t imagine themselves superior to other groups.
- Make a list of your 10 favorite icons, celebrities or historical figures. – What do they have in common with each other? What do you have in common with them? Think about how you can stand on their shoulders and be of more service to your family, community and the world. Dream big! Afterall, they did.
- Learn to manage F.E.A.R. – False Evidence Appearing Real can show up in a lot of ways. It can appear in your life as self-doubt, catastrophizing or analysis paralysis. Take note of what scares you. Much like the frogs in the bucket who worried they would hit their heads if they tried to escape, your fears may be based in limiting beliefs. Take time to assess the things that scare you and create a strategy to get past them.
- Align with friends who are going places. – Friends from school and work are fine, but make sure to keep growing your network of connections. Reach out to leaders in your work or community who are where you want to be. Congratulate them and ask for their opinions. Offer to support the work they’re doing. Join charitable and networking organizations that are doing work you’re excited about and give them a hand. In Thinking Outside the Chrysalis, I refer to this as “pollinating.” When you pollinate, you connect with the intention of giving, not taking. If someone doesn’t want all the brilliance you have to offer them, it’s their loss, not yours.
Time is a precious commodity. It’s even trickier because none of us know how much time we have. We should live every day as if it were our last. I encourage you to reduce the gap between you and your dreams beginning today. Afterall, you don’t want to spend your life in a bucket.
I wish you passion, purpose and the realization of your fullest potential!
P.S. The photo is from last week’s photoshoot in Florida with my amazing new image consultant and Perfectly Captured Photography. I had an absolute blast blowing the lid off my bucket! If you are looking to push past self-doubt and limiting beliefs, I encourage you to sign up for my Passion Quest 6-Week Coaching Series or consider 1-on-1 coaching. Click the link below for more info or email firstname.lastname@example.org