While we are out hiking the 300 mile (509km) Lycian Way we are pleased to introduce you to dreamers and writers willing to share their experiences. Today we’re pleased to welcome Linda R. to share her experience and recommendation to add more freedom to your life. Take it away Linda.
Three years ago around now, the boss of my boss informed me that if I was unable to work in the office five days a week, starting two weeks from the moment she told me, I would have to, as she said, “Quit.”
The problems with this were:
I lived 100 miles from work.
I absolutely loved where I lived.
The decision seemed obvious.
The decision to not give in to Corporate America’s bullying tactics was the catalyst to my freedom, but I couldn’t continue to have it without also making these 6 changes:
1. “You Become Like the 5 People You Spend the Most Time With. Choose Carefully.” Unknown
The reason your parents didn’t want you to hang out with the troublemakers, the rabble-rousers and the ambitionless? Because you, “become like the five people you spend the most time with.”
Want to have an amazing life? Want to be surrounded by inspirational people and ideas daily? Want to be doing the most interesting and rewarding things? Then, spend your time with people who want and, more importantly, do the same.
Want to have the energy drained out of you? Swim in negativity? Feel constantly belittled? Or just seemingly always in difficult and unrewarding situations? Spend your time with people who can, and will, give you just that.
Want only the best people around you? Here’s how to get started:
Identify the people in your life you most (and least) enjoy. For those you enjoy double the amount of time you currently spend with them. If you go out to lunch with them once a month, go twice. For those you enjoy least, cut the time you spend with them in half, and then, sit back and watch your entire life transform.
2. You Become MOST Like the ONE Person You Spend the Most Time With. Choose EXTREMELY Carefully.
Your partner will have more influence on you than anything else in your life. Choose well, and you will select your biggest fan, your strongest supporter and your best friend. Choose poorly, and you will have someone who on their best day is unhelpful and on their worst, which in my observations tends to be most of them, aims to sabotage you and everything important to you.
Want to know if you have chosen the best life partner? Start here:
I asked a wedding planner once if she could tell the couples who would make it versus those who would not.
She told me, “I find the couples who tend to make it are the couples who are very at ease with each other.”
In asking yourself if you are in the best relationship for you, I would begin by evaluating your general feelings of ease when you are around him or her. Are you constantly questioning if he or she is “right” for you? Do you have feelings of mistrust of him or her you cannot shake? Do you feel like you walk on egg shells when they around? Are you waiting for the next shoe to drop? Do you feel like your feelings are regularly hurt, or that you are generally not respected?
In my days of being in bad relationships, I could answer yes to all of these. I remember searching desperately for solutions during one particular time, when I read somewhere, “If you have a problem with a relationship; you have a problem with yourself.”
“What???????????” I thought as I read that.
But HE is the jerkhole.
It is not me.
BUT, as the book was saying, it was, after all, me who was choosing to stay.
And therefore, it was me who had the problem.
When I look at my relationship decisions in hindsight, I realize the absolute truth in the statement that I, not he, was the problem. In my adult life I have made relationship choices ranging from inexcusably horrendous to beautifully profound and deeply lovingly. The primary differences are not between the characteristics of the people I chose. The differences are who I was when I chose these people.
I chose the loving, wonderful and supportive relationship when I was happy and strong within myself. I chose the unhealthy relationships in times where I was lost, unhappy and with little self-esteem.
If you are not ready to leave, don’t think you can do it or just don’t feel like making a decision now, start by doing the only thing you can do – work on making yourself strong and happy. It can be as simple as taking the spinning or writing class you have thought about. It could just be spending more time with friends and family. But you need to start by teaching yourself how to make the small healthy decisions, so you will soon be able to better see and have the confidence to make the big healthy decisions also.
3. Take all thoughts of overnight success out of your head. Immediately.
I was reading an article recently about a famous band that seemingly went from nobody to on the cover of Rolling Stone – overnight. The journalist asked one of the band members how they explained their sudden “overnight success”. His response? “The seven years of extremely hard work that lead up to it.”
Want to be thoughtful yet steadfast in your success? Here’s how to get started:
Keep yourself realistically but firmly on track by breaking down your to-dos into the smallest form possible. As an example, a to-do destined for failure is, “Write a book.” A productive to-do that is bound for success would be, “Write 1000 words of Chapter 2 today.”
Consistent little steps with respected deadlines will get you much farther, much quicker than unrealistic and often overwhelming enormous ones.
4. Score Your Spending
Some like to say a penny saved is a penny earned. I like to say, “A penny saved is a penny you, did not have to wake up at some ungodly hour, to put on clothes you would never wear otherwise, to sit in traffic, to get to a job, to attend 8 hours of meetings, to discuss things you really don’t care about, to earn.”
Want to spend less, save more, take more control over your life and give yourself more freedom? Here’s how to get started:
Look over your credit card bill and bank statement from last month. Score every purchase with a 1, 2, 3 or a WTF next to it.
Indicate a 3 for any purchase that was very memorable, absolutely necessary, worthwhile and/or something you would love to repeat.
Indicate a 2 for any purchase that was average and in the end you could have taken it or left it.
Indicate a 1 for something ranging from generally unmemorable to flat out not worth it.
Indicate a WTF for something you do not recognize or were unaware you were being charged for.
For the next four weeks, purchase only things that will give you a 2 or 3 experience. For the month after only do experiences you would score as a 3.
And immediately, call the credit card company or the company associated with the WTF charges to get the appropriate refund or to stop any future charges. Many times you can do this online without making a phone call via your credit card’s ‘Dispute a Charge’ functionality.
5. Stopping Spending Money to Learn Lessons You Already Know
It was a year and about a half into writing when a travel blogger I admire announced an upcoming writing and blogging class for a little over $1000 dollars. I talked to my husband about it. His response was, “I think you are going to pay someone to tell you what you already know.”
I talked to a childhood friend about it. Her response? “I think you are going to pay someone to tell you what you already know.”
Undoubtedly, he would have taught me wonderful tips, but the fact of the matter was there was a helluva a lot I did know that I was just not doing. It was frankly easier and far less terrifying, to take another class and effectively stall myself than it was to actually do what I knew I should be doing.
Want to just get on with it? Here’s how to get started:
Now that you have mastered making effective to-do lists, determine if there are any items on your list you would not know where to begin without outside input. If this is the case, do searches online, ask friends who may know (or may know someone who may know), or look for books you could check out at the library that could educate you on the topic. If you think you can partially do an item on your to-do list but are not sure if you can complete it, do it up to the point where you get stuck and then consult some of the resources above. The point is to build in processes so you don’t allow fear or self-doubt to create excuses, and therefore stop you or slow you down from living a life you want to live.
6. Accept discomfort as a reality. Right now.
Truth #1: If you stay in the exact life trajectory you are in right now, you have no idea how it will turn out.
Truth #2: If you radically change your life trajectory, you have no idea how it will turn out.
One of the fundamental differences between people who live the life they want and those who don’t, is that those who actively craft their lives understand that part of it is going to be new and therefore sometimes scary, uncertain and uncomfortable.
BUT they are willing to trade in feelings of discomfort, which they quickly learn are almost never as bad as they imagined, for a life they feel good about living.
Want to learn to deal with discomfort that pays off amazing dividends? Here’s how to get started:
My dad would always tell me, “It is not supposed to be easy; it is supposed to be worth it.” Feel uncomfortable about making a phone call or asking for something you have never asked for or doing something you have never done?
Well, ask yourself if the discomfort of doing it is worth the reward you could reap because of it.
If that reward has anything to do with getting closer to what you most want out of your life, most people will find the discomfort, and the fear of it, an entirely inconsequential price to pay.
Linda is the founder of thedeliciousday.com.