Let’s talk about the life you would really want to live
Let me get straight to the point, to – quite literally – the heart of the matter. My point is based on years of experience of working with people, based on endless interviews with a wide variety of people and also -sadly – on my own experiences. We all live two lives. Yes, two lives.
We live a life to the outside world, whilst harbouring an unlived life inside us. A life that adheres to the rules and ticks all the relevant boxes, whilst the unlived life is the itch that whispers, the hidden gem of the creative brain, which persistently says “wouldn’t it be great if…”. The outside life dominates like a structured army, whilst the unlived life bounces up and down like an excited child desperate for attention. They could be friends, but in the power battle the outside life tells the unlived life to not be so stupid.
The lived life
In our lived life, the success of your life can be measured by comparing your linear progress with that of other people.
We all know the lived life. It’s got straight edges, clear beginnings and definitive endings. The user manual supplies us with instructions in five languages which we follow step by step. We are told where to stand and what to do, with the odd personal interpretation of it. There are specific chronological timings and the unspoken expectations are met by walking along a well-trodden path. A path of results in the form of trophies, diplomas, salary, bonusses, titles… and rows of organisations, bodies and other gatekeepers ensure the plan is executed according to the letter.
The unlived life
The unlived life might be something that people are less familiar with. It might not have occurred to you that you could in fact be living two lives. In reality, you know the unlived life better than anything else. It was hidden inside you before you were born. You’ve played with it, laughed with it and it sat with you all the times in your life when you felt inspired, alive and determined to make something happen. When you were distracted, it most likely knocked on your door many, many times.
It’s the itch that tries to wake you up to the fact that you can be and do so much more. It was there every time you got excited, every time something spoke directly to your imagination, every time you thought “yes!”, “that would be amazing”, “I can do that” and “pick me”. The unlived life has been your heartbeat, your unique compass, the itch that prompts you to be completely in your element.
So as 2019 draws to a close don’t feel too disappointed in your evaluation that things were left undone.
As you turn on the Christmas lights get determined to go after the things that light you up. There’s nothing more important than finding out what your itch is, give your heart a voice and find ways to give it oxygen. People are so much more capable and talented than they think. Fear and imposter syndrome are the Scrooges of advancement, they destroy and hold you back at every opportunity. Don’t let them. As you are standing in your own shadow the world is missing out on some exceptional talent. Don’t deprive it from your unique contribution.
Have you ever felt like this?
Haunted by the fact that you can do more, mean more and develop more
Uncomfortable in your life/career because you really want to be somewhere else
Questioning where you are because there must be another way
Frustrated that you might be wasting your talents
Longing for more meaning, purpose, adventure, flexibility
Is this not the time to draw a line under this and tap into the large source of your potential? Or if you don’t know what your potential is, can 2020 be the year you put it on the map? Talent is latent, so it’s up to you to uncover it. Start the conversation, broaden your horizons and surround yourself with like-minded people who are also looking for ways of doing life differently.
Expect the lived life to take centre stage and fight for world domination as you do so. But why carry on walking in the hamster wheel each day until you’re exhausted of keeping up the pretense to the outside world? Only stress, burnout, feeling down and abandoning your dreams can be the inevitable result. To stray away from the pack is a tricky risk to take. Going off-piste means you will encounter cold conditions, untreated snow, low visibility and no ski slope. However, you regret much more the things you didn’t do.
What would you find if you took a chance, made a change and took the leap towards a new path and purpose? Can this Christmas signify your time to pivot? There is no need to make a big statement or throw the baby out with the bathwater. Say “yes!” to your itch and commit to engage with it, find a way for it, so that you’re powered and inspired by your skills and talents with the promise to thinking big and out of the box.
A year to remember
There is a need for innovation and creativity that is not suffocated by out of date structures and rules, but is powered by talent and technology. Finding ways of living and working differently with at the centre a human heart, sustainability and meaning.
Don’t just think about it, rethink it. Success is no more just about money, fame or power. It’s also about flexibility, richness of time, diversity and learning. Within it, the unlived life holds the key to that meaning. It’s the unique set of talent DNA you entered this world with, your blueprint for everything you put your mind to.
Ask yourself, if your unlived life had a voice, what would it be saying? If your unlived life had the opportunity to be expressed for a day without a cost, what would it be doing? And if the unlived life was given just one wish that could come true, what would it be? Action your itch and make the new year one to remember.