Archive for July 2012

Defining Moments – How to Jumpstart Your Next Big Thing

Sometimes we need a darn good excuse to create necessary changes in our lives! 

Have you ever tried to start a car with a completely flat battery?  No matter how often you turn the key and pump the accelerator, nothing happens.  With sheer frustration you know you’ll have to do something different to get it going.  You take out the jumper leads, attach one end to the dead battery, the other to a healthy car battery and try again.  Miraculously the engine splutters to life and with a few good revs you’re away.

Defining Moments - the key to jumpstarting life redesigns

This is exactly how it is when you’re bogged down and can’t see a way out. We all have dreams and aspirations of things we’d like to achieve if only….  Yet for all sorts of reasons we procrastinate and put it off, waiting for a better time to do what it takes.

Maybe you’re waiting until you’ve got more time, more money or the children have left home.  Perhaps your job or partner provide convenient excuses that let you off the hook so you don’t feel compelled to even start your next big thing.  What’s more, if you don’t even start, you can’t fail and we often go to great lengths to avoid failure. 

Yet, if you wait until everything in your life is ‘just right’, you may have missed the window of opportunity.  Putting off until tomorrow that which can be started today will only prolong your frustration, dissatisfaction and discontent. Regret becomes an inevitable outcome.

If this sounds like you, then look no further.  What you need is a ‘defining moment’ – something that converts your dream into a goal – one that you’re so compelled to achieve nothing can stand in your way.  What your dream needs is a ‘defining moment jumpstart’.

What’s a Defining Moment?

Defining moments are life redesign triggers.  They are catalysts that create change, breathing life into your idea and energy into your motivation.

Defining moments can be profound events that simply happen.  Remember that moment when you locked eyes across a crowded room with that one person you knew would change your life?   Serendipity, karma and pure chance create these encounters, often when you need them most.

Defining moments can be good or bad – either way you know that life will never be the same from this moment on. These include life milestones such as finishing school. Life unavoidably changes following the birth of a child, the death of a loved one or the argument that ended a toxic relationship.  These all mark the end of a chapter of your life and start of a new one.  When these events are seemingly bad, we reject them with every ounce of our being until we can no longer ignore the reality that they happened.

Defining moments often happen instantaneously.  Receiving the news that you’ve been successful in a job interview for that role you really want provides a moment in time where you look forward to the future with excitement. Although your fingers were crossed and you desperately hoped you’d get the job, there were no guarantees and you didn’t want to get your hopes up.  Often triggered by contrived serendipity, the law of attraction often creates these defining moments.

Defining moments can take on a ‘slow burn’.  When the seed of an idea is planted by a seemingly inconsequential event, it grows and grows until it can no longer be ignored.  This is what happened to Steve after a chance encounter with an elderly stranger on a railway station lead to numerous adventure travels. (You can read Steve’s story in The Great Life Redesign).

How to Recognize and Use Defining Moments to Get Going

  1. Look back on your life and make a list of all the major changes that have occurred along the way.  Notice what the particular defining moment was for each event and why that was the catalyst that set a string of future events in motion.
  1. Once you’ve got a long list, take stock of your life right now.  What needs to change?  What would you like to change, if only you could?
  1. Identify recent events that may provide the ideal reason to create your desired change.
  1. Where something else needs to happen to clear the way for your dream, work out what three steps you need to take and take the first one.
  1. Tell people!  Once you’ve got your perfectly good reason lined up, use it to explain why you’re making this change. 
  1. Now you’ve jumpstarted you’re next big thing, don’t look back.  Focus on the future, keep your foot on the accelerator and do whatever it takes to redesign your life, knowing it all started with that one defining moment.

Have you ever had a ‘defining moment’ – something that changed your life forever?  Share it here on our Great Life Redesign Facebook page or in the comments below. I’d love to hear about it and who knows, you may inspire someone else to take that first step.

Carpe Diem
Caroline Cameron

 

Discovering the Delicious Delights of ‘Slow’

What happens when you unwittingly stop and smell the roses?

Discovering the Delicious Delights of SlowMy father never really seemed to sit still for long.  Even on holidays there were always things to do and places to see.

Not surprisingly, the classic Type A, high achiever mould fitted me like a glove. This conditioning was even more deeply ingrained as I pounded the corporate treadmill, juggling single parenthood, peak hour traffic and never enough hours in the day.

A good day was one where I ‘got lots done’, preferably ahead of relentless deadlines, until recently…

As a big fan of the ‘brisk daily walk’ it came as a sad realisation that Sherry, my 17 year old Soft Coated Wheaten was struggling to keep up.

From puppyhood to middle-age she’d always possessed way more energy than me and was still raring to go, long after I’d collapsed in an exhausted heap!

Our daily goal used to be to knock minutes or even seconds off the walk and get home quickly, a challenge she relished as much as me.

Gradually, over the last six months, my beautiful Sherry has been forced to slow down.  Now showing all the signs of doggie dementia (a bit like the ‘7 signs of ageing’), she’s very deaf, nearly blind and increasingly forgets to tell me when she needs to go out!

Yet she’s still happy following me around, tail wagging as she waits patiently near the coat rack to have her leader put on.

But the cold, damp morning that greeted us as we ventured out this morning, seeped into her old joints, rendering us virtually stationary as we pottered around our neighbourhood.

Our excruciatingly slow pace reminded me of a childhood game called Dolly Steps where rather than rushing to the finish line, the aim was to take tiny… slow… short-strided steps.

If you stopped completely, you were ‘out’ and the winner was the last to arrive. As an eager 7 year old, it was a game that infuriated me and seemed rather futile.

Yet rather than being infuriated, our enforced slowness has uncoverd delights I’ve never noticed before.

First we stopped to watch a pink, wriggling worm inch slowly across the footpath. Given the distance such a small creature had to travel, I have a new found respect for its focus and determination to reach its destination, no matter how far away it must have seemed.

A little further along I noticed that one of my neighbours had planted some new and colourful shrubs in his front garden. He was about to hop in his car to go to work. Waiting for Sherry to catch up, I called out, “Your garden looks great!”

He smiled in acknowledgement and wandered over to tell me what he’d planted. We’d never had time to stop and chat before.

Seemingly out of nowhere, I heard a cacophony of birds competing to see who had the best call. Their chorus rang out over the street as if they were making some important announcement.

I stopped to listen, identified at least 5 different birdsongs and realised I’d never really taken any notice of them before.

Rounding the corner, a bunch of tradesmen were ready to start their day’s work on a new build.

Although I’d noticed the old house being demolished and the block cleared some months before, we usually hurry past to avoid the trucks, vans and muddy footpath.

Today we stopped for a chat with a couple of plumbers, leaning on their shovels, drinking coffee, waiting for their foreman to arrive.

They bemoaned the soaking rain that had held them up for the last week and yet, when they leaned down to pat Sherry’s soft head, their weather beaten faces softened into a smile.  “She’s pretty good for an old dog.  We notice you going past every day no matter what the weather and reckon that’s what keeps her going,” said the older of the two.

Sensing that we’re on the ‘home stretch’, Sherry’s pace picked up to a trot and as we turned into our drive she abruptly stopped.

An irresistable smell near the letterbox grabbed her attention and she was determined to investigate. Looking down I noticed an envelope wedged between the letterbox and a thick shrub next to it. Disappointingly for Sherry, it wasn’t full of dog treats, but I wonder if I’d even have seen it on my usual mail box dash.

Spring bulbs are peeping through in the front garden and while Sherry sniffed and pottered, I wandered around pulling out a few stray weeds, marveling at how the number of bulbs have doubled with no help from me.

Our daily walks used to take us 15 minutes – today it had taken nearly 40 and I didn’t begrudge a single one of them. I’ve lived in this street for 14 years and yet today the deliciousness of going slow brought a raft of new delights and a calming sense of peace.

Curiously, I’ve achieved a lot this morning at work, even though I’d been late getting started.

Who knew that ‘going slow’ could actually increase productivity!

Have you ever consciously slowed down?  If so, what did you notice that in the usual mad rush of life, you’d not otherwise have experienced?

Leave a comment below about the ‘delicious delights’ of going slow you’ve discovered.

After all, the moral of this story could be, ‘don’t wait until you’re old to slow down – you never know what you might be missing.’

Carpe diem

Caroline Cameron