Living by design means living mindfully. It is what we call living in the moment. Living on default mode means we are simply existing. Living without a spark. It is easy to wake up one day and find ourselves living on auto-pilot and stuck in a well-worn rut. The more mindful moments you have each day, the better decisions you’ll make. Take a few long deep breaths and simply notice who you are being. What are you focusing on? What are you feeling?
When people treat "life" as something that happens to them. They are the victim. When things go wrong, it's someone else's fault. When they don't get promoted, it's because of the environment. When a project goes haywire, when their team falls short, when the end product doesn't quite come to fruition, they are never the one to blame.
These people react to life, and let outside circumstances decide their fate.
They live by Default.
And then there are those that walk into any situation and grab it by the horns. They determine the outcome of their day. They wake up with intention, they are clear on their goals, they know what needs to get done and when something goes wrong they are the first to pull the thumb and admit where they went wrong. They know that success is a process and are willing to go through that process, knowing it will ladder up to something bigger.
These people create the life they want to live, and don't accept anything less.
They live by Design.
Mindfulness is a muscle, and the more you practice it, the more you strengthen your ability to connect deeply, perceive intuitively, and make decisions that are not guided by a short-term impulse but by a long-term commitment to living a life that truly matters.
In today’s accelerated world that has become increasingly anxious, hectic and superficial, never has it been more important for us all to disrupt our default mode; take a long collective breath; and make the very deliberate decision to live each moment more purposefully, less passively, more bravely, less fearfully.
The path of least resistance may feel safe, it may be comfortable and it may require little of you, but it will never lead you to soul level success.
It is so easy to fall into the bad habits that lead to a life lived by Default. It happens all the time. People say, "I need to eat healthier," while they palm-to-face another handful of potato chips. People say, "I should really wake up earlier," meanwhile they hit the snooze ten times. People say, "I'm unhappy with my job," meanwhile make no sustained and intentional strides toward a change in lifestyle-they just expect it to change on its own.
How do you live a life by Design instead of a life by Default?
Here are four steps you can take to start living by your own design:
1. Set your compass.
Vision = Power. Any area of your life in which you have no vision for what you most want (in your career/business, relationships, physical well-being, finances, lifestyle, etc.), you are like a ship adrift at sea, moving in whatever direction the prevailing winds and currents go.
You can reclaim your power by creating a bold vision for your life. What do you want to do? How do you want to make your mark on the world? What dreams do you want to turn into reality? Only when you get clear about what you most want and why it matters at the deepest level can you forgo what you want now (like safety, comfort, security, familiarity, approval) for what you want most (like deep connection, contribution, meaning.)
2. Set goals.
A vision without action is a mere dream. So break your vision down into shorter-term goals that enable you to focus your time, energy and resources most effectively. Set deadlines and schedule actions in your calendar to achieve the “vital few” unless it gets crowded out by the “trivial many.”
3. Say no more often.
Saying yes is always easier (in the short term) than saying no. It’s what people want to hear! It’s also why people operating on autopilot reported saying yes to things they actually didn’t want to do approximately four times each day.
Sometimes you've got to say no to the good to say yes to the great. So dial up your courage and start saying no far more than you have been, knowing that you aren’t serving anyone when you sell out on yourself.
4. Review often.
Set aside time each week to reconnect with your vision and the higher intention behind it (your why), to review your goals and to adjust your actions accordingly. Never be too attached to your plan. Flexibility is crucial.
Get started today!