The last several months have been some of the happiest of my life! I’m living in a gorgeous rural area near the oldest mountain range in the world, I’m starting a new business that is deeply aligned with my passions, I’m stretching myself personally and professionally, I’ve simplified and streamlined my material possessions and every morning when I wake up I ask: what would make me come alive today? And I follow this creative impulse.
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive. – Howard Thurman.
What makes you come alive? is the question I ask my family/friends/clients every time we meet for a walk or a front porch tea or glass of wine. It gets us right to the good stuff. I love watching their faces light up when they hear this question and ponder what is setting their hearts and bodies on fire right now.
COVID has everyone re-assessing where to live and how they want to work, what values they want to embrace, what is truly important to their families, how they want to educate their kids and what relationships and activities fuel them and drain them (comparing their lives pre-COVID to their lives now).
We’ll never forget 2020 (read a news story I just contributed to on lessons learned from the pandemic thus far). This past year has been the great disruptor, a huge catalyst and a lightning bolt. We’re still in the thick of it AND we’re starting to see some the gifts from this time of great darkness.
For years I assisted countless career coaching clients in integrating who they are with what they do in the world. The ones who were most happy, engaged, energized and creatively fulfilled were those who had said, “YES!” to that which makes them come alive. They didn’t play it safe, worry about their 401k or take the well-trodden path. They followed their hearts and paid attention to that inner spark that was begging to alight. In his wonderful book Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life my colleague Gregg Levoy said, “Generally, people won’t pursue their callings until the fear of doing so is finally exceeded by the pain of not doing so. But it’s amazing how high their tolerance is for this type of pain.”
In my last book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Find Peace in Everyday Life, Chapter 9 challenges us to examine how we’ve set up our lives and asks if we’re ready to make hard choices to create more inner and outer alignment. Part of coming into alignment has to do with simplifying, living from the inside out and embracing ways to do it differently (read more). I believe simplifying and doing it differently helps us create the inner space to connect with what makes us come alive.
Are you contemplating this question and having all kinds of excuses pop up for why this won’t work for you? Many of us tend to complicate things. I know I do. Yesterday I was talking to my husband and reflecting on the level of activity we used to manage a couple of years ago; we got exhausted just thinking about it! Now, I’m learning that living in a more rural area where there are fewer choices, things are less complex and I’m more connected to the earth—has an enormous impact on my mood, outlook and overall well-being.
This new year, get curious, stay open and play, “What if…?” I challenge you every day to keep asking and answering: What makes me come alive? And then go do that.
Perhaps, this week when you circle up at the dinner table (or for a socially distanced walk) ask your friends and family what makes them come alive. And prepare to see fireworks. I share the poem below from Dawna Markova. It was a favorite of my career strategy clients. Perhaps it may spark something in you that is just waiting to be born. (Photo: Me goofing off with my family on Christmas Day in the TX Hill Country; I’m excited to celebrate my 55th birthday on Thursday-woohoo!)
I Will Not Die an Unlived Life
I will not die an unlived life
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.
HOW CAN I SUPPORT YOU? HERE ARE TWO OPPORTUNITIES:
- I’m booking 2021-2022 workshops and presentations now: Consider hiring me to create an online balanced living experience to help your team, organization or employees feel less stressed and more resilient, creative and focused. For 20+ years I’ve been working with companies/organizations like Merrill Lynch, the Center for Women in Law, the Hewlett Foundation and more. Whether it’s a workshop, keynote or custom retreat via Zoom, I’d love to discuss how I can support your team or organization. 2021 is almost full. Learn more here.
- From stillness comes discernment. Sad you missed STILLNESS: A Winter Solstice Women’s Retreat? It’s not too late! January 1-31st is an ideal time to enjoy this retreat. You can purchase the download for only $59 (includes a bedtime Deep Relaxation session) A great gift to give or receive. Purchase it here.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by transformational coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 400 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups for women based on her work. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life. She lives in Brevard, NC and Austin, TX with her husband and is loving life as a new empty-nester! More on Renee here.