5 Powerful Lessons to Live the Life You Want

Living your best life.

You’ve probably heard the phrase thrown around before.

You may have even used it yourself.

But have you ever stopped to think about what it means for you?

And moreover, have you considered how you can start living the life you want today?

While each person’s “best life” is a subjective concept, I do think there are things we can do to open ourselves up to the possibilities around us.

I think there are lessons we can practice to help us recognize the opportunities waiting right around the corner. 

And today I’m excited to share with you five powerful lessons to do just that.

This week marks one year of the I’m Busy Being Awesome podcast; 52 episodes packed with ideas, strategies, and motivation, to help you reach your biggest goals. 

And today I am sharing the top five lessons I’ve both learned and internalized over the past 12 months as I continued to step outside of my comfort zone, set big, impossible goals, learn new things, make mistakes, and grow.

Give this episode a listen, begin practicing these five lessons for yourself, and discover what “living your best life” means for you.

Check out episode 52 below, or stream it from your favorite podcasting app:

Prefer to read? Keep scrolling for the entire podcast transcript.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE!

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL DISCOVER…

  • The power of reflection
  • My top 5 lessons for living your best life
  • How to uncover insights from both your past and future self to live the life you want

LINKS FROM THE PODCAST

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5 Powerful Lessons To Live The Life You Want (Transcript) 

Hey everybody! Welcome to episode 52 of I’m busy being awesome. I am so stinking excited about this episode today. We’ve reached one year of podcasting. How fun is that?

And before we dive into the podcast topic today, I first want to give a big thank you to all of you amazing listeners who have been tuning in week after week. And for not only taking time out of your busy weeks to listen but also for taking these tools and applying them to your life and seeing incredible growth. That’s the whole reason I do this podcast. And it absolutely warms my heart and fuels my motivation to know that this podcast is connecting with so many of you.

And I want to thank you for sharing the podcast with your friends, posting about it on social media, leaving ratings and reviews, and for all of the notes that I get from you in my inbox or my DMs sharing your stories of how you’re busy being awesome. Honestly, it doesn’t get much better than that. Each one of you is truly a rock star.

Don’t Miss The Giveaway!

And in fact, as a thank you, I decided to create a fun giveaway that starts today – July 20th and goes through Monday, August 3rd. So it’s going on for two weeks. And two lucky winners will get access to my six weeks to success course, which is my complete goal-setting framework from start to finish. It is an awesome 6-week course, and if your name is chosen, you will get access to all of it. So make sure that you stay until the end of the episode and I will give all the details on how to enter this giveaway.

Life Lessons to Move Forward and Grow

Now, this past week I have been reflecting a lot on the last 12 months. I’m almost treating it like a new year in the way that I’ve been considering everything that’s unfolded over the past year, lessons I’ve learned, experiences I’ve had, etc.

And as I was doing my self-coaching this morning, I did a thought download using the prompt “lessons I’ve learned over the past year.” And I’m not going to lie, it’s turned into a pretty lengthy list. And as I looked over this list, I realized there were some lessons that I think you might find helpful as well.

So that’s what we’re going to talk about today. The five powerful lessons that I’ve learned over the past year. And I hope that you will find them as useful as I have in order to keep moving forward and growing and creating the results we want in our lives.

The Worst Thing That Can Happen Is An Emotion

So the first – and arguably one of the most – powerful lessons that I have really practiced and internalized over the past year is that the worst thing that can happen to us is an emotion. And what’s more, is that I am willing to feel any emotion.

So here’s the deal, the entire reason why we don’t put ourselves out there, and why we hold ourselves back and don’t go after the goal, is because of how it might make us feel. The reason we don’t speak up or share our message or try something new is because of how we might feel.

I know this might sound a little crazy, but I’m telling you. It’s true. Just think about actually taking a chance on the big scary goal that you have in the back of your mind. Maybe it is launching your business, maybe it is applying for a new job, maybe it is taking on a new project at work. What is it that’s holding you back?

Peel Back The Layers

For most of us, when we keep peeling back the layers of the onion, it’s that we don’t want to fail. We don’t want to mess up, drop the ball, take the risk. We don’t want to risk wasting our time or our money. Or we don’t want to face the judgment of others.

And the reason why we don’t want to do these things is that we would feel some sort of negative emotion in response. So maybe we’d feel disappointed. Maybe we’d feel embarrassed or heartbroken. Perhaps we feel shame or frustration. When you keep digging deeper, it all comes down to an emotion.

So let me give you an example. 

Playing It Safe

I had been wanting to start this podcast for a very long time prior to the launch date a year ago. But despite wanting to record it, I kept holding back. I was worried that no one would listen. I was worried that I’d sound stupid. And I dreaded the thought of having to listen to my voice over and over – and assumed no one else would want to listen to my voice each week. I was worried that I wouldn’t have anything useful to say. I thought I’d run out of things to say. I’d faced a ridiculous amount of imposter syndrome as I told myself that I would do it wrong. I’d say the things wrong, I’d record the things wrong, my sound quality would be bad, all of this worst-case scenario stuff. And frankly, just tons of excuses to keep me playing small and staying safe.

But when I go to the root of all of those different concerns, and I ask myself why I cared about any of them, it all came down to a feeling. If I was worried that I’d sound stupid, and somebody literally sent me a message that said, “you sound stupid,” the worst thing that would happen is that I’d feel shame or embarrassed. If I ran out of things to say, or if my content wasn’t useful, the worst thing that I feel is some form of disappointment or discouragement. 

I’m Willing to Feel Any Emotion

And here’s what else I’ve discovered; I’m willing to feel that. I know that I can feel any emotion. I know that an emotion is not going to kill me – even though sometimes it feels like it might. And what’s more, playing small feels terrible, too. The difference is that when I play small, and I’m staying safe, I’m not growing. And continued growth is something that I value a lot.

Okay, let’s say you’re on board with the idea that the worst thing that can happen is a feeling – and if not, just play around with it for a bit. Think of any of your worst-case scenarios and play them all the way out. So what if it happens? I promise you, it will always come back to a feeling.

Now here’s something else to make this lesson even more powerful. And if you’ve been listening to this podcast, you know that your feelings are caused by your thoughts. So that means, the worst thing that can happen is created by what you decide to think. It’s created by what you decide to make that circumstance mean.

Let me give you an example of this, too. 

It All Comes Back to a Feeling

Let’s say that you want to host a live webinar, but you’re really scared that nobody will show up. Again, the key question here is, “so what?” What would you make that mean? If nobody showed up to your webinar, so what? 

Because the truth is, there are so many different ways you can think about it. There are so many different ways that you can feel. There are so many different things you can make this information mean. You could beat yourself up about it. You could make yourself feel stupid or embarrassed because you tell yourself, “See? I told you nobody wanted to know this information. I told you this information was not useful. And I told you you would fail.” 

Or, you could think to yourself, “Interesting. I bet I can learn something here. I wonder where the problem is. Maybe this isn’t the right subject matter for my audience. Or maybe I didn’t advertise with enough notice. Or maybe I didn’t advertise to the right people. And when you think that way, you’re not feeling shame or embarrassment, because you’re not making the circumstance – that nobody showed up to your webinar – about you as a person. Instead, you’re feeling curious and you’re treating it as an opportunity to learn and grow and improve on your skills.

So again, one of the most valuable lessons that I learned this year, and that I want to share with you, is this: the worst thing that can possibly happen is a feeling. You can handle any feeling. And what’s more, you create your own feelings depending on how you decide to think about the circumstance.

You Are In Complete Control Of Your Experience

And that actually leads me to the second lesson that I’ve really internalized over the past year, which – let’s face it – has been one truly bizarre year. And this lesson is that even when things seem totally crazy and out of your control, you still have complete control over you. You have complete control over what you think about the circumstance, how you feel about the circumstance, and how you decide to show up in each and every moment.

So even when things are completely unpredictable. Even when you are faced with a lot of new and changing situations. Even when another person does or says something that contradicts your own beliefs. You have complete control over how you respond. You get to decide what you make a situation mean. And you get to decide how you feel. You get to decide how you show up, respond, don’t respond, and move forward from the experience. 

2020 Is The Perfect Example

And this year is such a perfect example of this. Because everybody is working through all of the unpredictability differently. We each have our own thoughts about every single circumstance happening on a personal level, a national level, and a global level. And each person is creating their own experience of this based on what they’re choosing to think. That’s why you can have 5 friends or family members or neighbors all experiencing the same circumstance, yet everyone has very different experiences in terms of what they think, how they feel, and what they do. 

So again, we can’t control our circumstances, but we can control how we experience them based on what we choose to think. And once again, this is one of the most empowering pieces of information I can ever share with you. 

You are in control of your experience.

Consistency And Commitment Are The Secret To Success

The next lesson that I’ve internalized over the past year and especially while working on this podcast is the value of consistency and commitment. I’m telling you, these two things are the secret to success. When you learn how to make a plan and follow through on that plan no matter what, even when you don’t want to, even when you’re not interested, and even when you’re feeling unmotivated or stuck, you’ve discovered the secret to the universe. 

In fact, this is one of the biggest things that I work on with my clients, and my ADHD clients especially — the importance of following through on your plan and learning to trust yourself to do what you say you’ll do. Even when the shiniest of shiny distractions presents itself, even when you’re feeling wholly unmotivated, and even when things are super hard. Because when you know you can do that, you know that you will follow through on the commitments that you make to yourself, you become unstoppable.

Impossible Goals Are Simply Fun – You Can’t Fail

And this brings me to my fourth lesson, which is the power of setting huge, impossible goals for yourself. I talked about setting impossible goals back in December when we were looking at the new year, and I’ve had so much fun continuing to set these big impossible goals for myself since then. 

Because as I’ve mentioned, when you know that the worst thing that could possibly happen is an emotion, and you’re willing to feel any emotion. And when you combine that with the knowledge that you get to decide how you think and feel and act toward these goals both when things go right and when you face a challenge. And then you keep showing up with consistency and commitment as you work toward those goals no matter what, then going after the impossible is just fun. 

You see, when you work toward impossible goals, you just keep going. You keep trying one thing after another, taking two steps forward, one step back, three to the side, two more steps forward, and you make your way on the journey. And you learn along the way. 

As we talked about back in episode 31, the purpose of setting a goal is not to reach the goal. The main reason for setting the goal is who you become along the way. So when you set giant impossible goals for yourself, you experience giant, incredible growth with each step. And seriously, how awesome is that?

You Only Fail If You Quit

And what’s more, you can’t fail. Truly. The only way that you can fail when you work toward these impossible goals – or any goal, frankly – is if you quit. And that’s completely in your power. Otherwise, you just keep trying and failing and moving forward until you figure out what works. Until you figure out the right thoughts that generate the right feeling that inspires the correct action to figure out the result you want. That’s it. And throughout the entire process, you are learning and growing and stepping into the next amazing version of yourself. And I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty awesome to me.

You Must Have Your Own Back

And that brings me to my fifth and final lesson, which is about the importance of having your own back. And here’s what I mean. When you have your own back, this means that you believe in yourself. It means that you believe your “enough-ness” and your worthiness is 100% no matter what. 

It means that you know and recognize what you bring to the table. You know your strengths. And you also know your weaknesses. And you love yourself fiercely because of both. 

You Are 100% Worthy

Because here’s the truth. You are 100% worthy no matter what. There is nothing you can do that will make you less worthy than you are now. And that also means there’s nothing you can do that will make you more worthy than you are right now. Because you are 100% worthy and whole and enough right now. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

And when you really start to practice and believe this concept – this truth – this is when you can fully have your own back. You’ll be willing to go after the goal or try the thing or step outside of your comfort zone because if it doesn’t go well for some reason, you know you won’t beat yourself up. You won’t make it mean anything negative about you. Instead, you see it’s just data. It’s just information you can learn from and grow. 

Now, this is a big lesson for me. And I’m still very much working through it. In fact, one of the areas that I often work on with my coach, and during my self-coaching, is wanting to base my worthiness on my accomplishments. In my head, it often sounds something like, “once I get this goal, or once I accomplish this thing, or once I reach this level, then I’ll be successful. Then I will be worthy.” And I have a feeling that some of you listeners can maybe relate to this. Perhaps some of you out there also keep chasing the next achievement while telling yourself, “once I reach this, then I’ll be enough.” 

Chasing Accolades And Success

Now if you can hear yourself in this thought process, you know – when you stop to think about it – that it isn’t true. Because that benchmark constantly moves. And this is because “enough” is decided in our brains. It’s a practiced thought. And if you keep believing that your worthiness is based on what you get done or how many things you check off your to-do list, it’s never going to be enough. Because once you reach it, your brain will move that benchmark again. It was absolutely like this for me. Once I get into grad school, once I pass my general exams, once I finish my dissertation, once I get the postdoc, once I get a tenure track job… And the list never ends because we keep moving the bar. 

You Are Enough Right Now

But the reality is, you are enough right now. You always have been. And you always will be. And I’m telling you, this concept is – quite possibly – one of the most important lessons that I could ever share with you. I know it has been for me over the past year. And if you can relate to the moving benchmark, then I hope you really take some time to reflect on this last lesson, too. 

Recap

So those are the top five lessons that I have learned over the past year:

  • The worst that can happen is a feeling
  • You have complete control over how you show up and experience your life
  • Consistency and commitment are the secrets to success
  • Huge impossible goals are incredibly empowering, and the only time you fail is if you quit.
  • Having your own back and loving yourself fiercely is some of the hardest and most rewarding work you could ever do.

And I’ve got to tell you, it was so fun taking time to really think about these lessons that I’ve learned, and I encourage you to do the same! And I’ll explain how I approached it in case you want to give it a try.

So the way that I really tapped into identifying these lessons was by looking back to myself from one year ago. I thought back to Paula of 2019, and I thought about all of her concerns and worries at that time. And I thought about what I would tell her and the advice that I would give her from this future place of July 2020. And it was during that reflection that I came up with all of these valuable lessons.

A Letter From My Future Self

And then from there, it made me start thinking about my future self. I started thinking about future Paula one year from now in July of 2021. I started thinking about where she will be, what she will be doing, how she’ll be spending her time, who she is spending it with, who she’s coaching, etc. And as I thought about my future self, and I imagined what she knows and the wisdom that she’s gained over the year ahead, I started considering what advice she would give me today. What would future Paula tell me now?

And in fact, I decided to write a letter from my future self – who has all of that wisdom and experience – to current Paula of today. In other words, I put myself in future Paula’s shoes, and I wrote a letter from that place to me today. And I know that might sound a little wacky and meta. But stick with me. Because this is an incredibly powerful exercise to do. 

She Knows A Lot!

Here’s the deal; your future self knows a lot. And when you check in with her or him, I know there are some guys listening to this podcast too – when you check in with your future self, and you ask them for advice, and you listen to it, you’re going to find that they are pretty darn wise. It turns out, they know some stuff. And they are willing to share it if you are willing to get quiet and listen.

So what I did was take about 10 or 15 minutes to write this letter from my future self to me today. And I actually did it right before I wrote the outline for this podcast. And I invite you to do the same thing. I’m going to share with you the questions that I asked my future self so that you can ask these questions too.

Try This Exercise

So here’s the process. I started by asking my current self, “Wouldn’t it be great if…” So I just let my brain go free, and I answered the question, “Wouldn’t it be great if…”

So for example, your answers might sound like, “Wouldn’t it be great if I went on a vacation every quarter? Wouldn’t it be great if I got a promotion?” Or “wouldn’t it be great if I bought a new house or I finished my book or I produced my screenplay or I launched my Etsy business or I built an incredibly successful YouTube channel…”

In other words, let your brain go and fully answer that question. What are all of the “wouldn’t it be great if” ideas that your brain offers you?

After you do that, I want you to think about your future self after having achieved all of those things that you just listed. Think about where you’re at after you’ve gotten the promotion or produced the screenplay or launched your business. Where do you live? What are you doing? Where do you work? Who do you spend your time with? 

Picture your future-self having achieved all of these different things that you just dreamt up, and get her in your mind’s eye. After you’ve done that, then open your mind up to some advice from her. Remember, she is right where you want to be. So what advice does she give you? Where does she tell you to put your focus? 

And as a word of warning, don’t let your brain tell you “I don’t know.” If your brain thinks that, throw it right back and say, “but what if I did know?” And answer from there. Because frankly, “I don’t know” is not allowed. So what advice does your future-self have to give you? 

What would she tell you to stop doing? Would she tell you to stop working on a certain project or spending time doing a certain activity? Would she tell you to stop beating yourself up? Or would you tell you to stop staying up so late? What would she tell you to stop doing?

And then what would she tell you to start doing? Would she tell you to begin that business? Would she tell you to make the offer or apply for that job? Maybe she’d advise you to start making more connections or reaching out to more people. What would she tell you to do?

Additionally, what would she tell you to keep doing? Where are you right on track? What are you doing right?

Freebie

As I said, this was a really powerful exercise for me to sit down and write this letter. Not only did I get these pearls of wisdom from my future-self both in terms of what I need to do more of and what I need to do less of. But I also had some more for surprising feedback as well that I wasn’t expecting to hear. I got feedback like, “I’m so proud of you for getting where you are right now. Keep up your hard work. I also heard words of compassion and reminders to rest a bit more often. And I got reminders to embrace the 80% rule a little bit more while reminding my perfectionist brain to take the backseat. I often call myself a recovering perfectionist, but sometimes it sneaks back up. 

I’m telling you, friends, writing this letter from your future-self is incredibly powerful. And I encourage you to give it a try. In fact, I created a PDF download that has all of these prompts in it to help you write this letter from your future self. And you can either grab it in today’s show notes at imbusybeingawesome.com/episode52.

Enter The Giveaway

And also, as I mentioned at the beginning of this episode, I am doing a big giveaway to celebrate one year of the I’m Busy Being Awesome podcast. And I am so excited about it. 

Like I said, two lucky winners are going to get access to my 6 Weeks to Success course, which is my complete 6-week goal-setting framework, which literally walks you step-by-step through all of my goal-setting tools in order to help you set and reach a goal in six weeks. 

And entering the giveaway super easy. All you need to do is go to your podcast app and rate and review the I’m Busy Being Awesome podcast. It doesn’t have to be super long, just a couple of sentences. And then take a screenshot and email it to me at paula @ imbusybeingawesome. That’s it. So easy. Once you do that, you’ll be entered to win, and two lucky people will get access to 6 Weeks to Success. And if you are a rockstar who has already left a review, you can just go take a screenshot of that and email it to me as well.

As you know, ratings and reviews help me to get this work out to more people, which is – always – my ultimate end goal. I want to get these tools and resources out to everyone who needs them. I truly appreciate your help in making that happen by leaving a review and letting iTunes – or whatever podcast app you are using – know that this content is valuable. Because doing so encourages them to start recommending the podcast to other listeners.

So again, all you need to do is go to your podcast app, search for I’m Busy Being Awesome, scroll down and click on the stars, leave a quick review, and then take a screenshot. Email it to me, paula @ imbusybeingawesome, and entries close on August 3rd. 

So thank you again, you busy awesome listeners, for listening to the podcast. I so appreciate you. And here’s to another year of epic, life-changing lessons. Let’s do it.

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