An Expert Shares the Success Trick That Can Bring Your Life to the Next Level

An Expert Shares the Success Trick That Can Bring Your Life to the Next Level

Want the kind of work life that makes you excited to wake up in the morning? Do you want the kind of life where your mind is constantly buzzing with ideas, connections, and creativity; the type of life where you feel an electric pull toward success? Us too! That's where Cortney McDermott comes in. A brilliant career strategist, coach, visionary, and author of the book Change Starts Within You: Unlock the Confidence to Lead With Intuition, Cortney can teach you to tap into your intuition and deep "knowing" to craft a full, successful, lucrative life you love. Welcome to her Intuitive Success column, running once a month! — editors 

Have you ever planned a road trip? Most of us have, and so we know that the basic things we need to know are 1) where we're starting from; 2) where we want to end up; and 3) the means, plus a plan or directions to get us there.

Moving toward Intuitive Success works the exact same way. It starts with a personal inventory. Where are you right now?

Because you can't get where you're going if you don't know where you are.

Imagine wanting to get to Chicago, but not knowing if you're in New York or California. That would be a problem. It's the same in life: In order to get where we're going next, we have to have a clear idea of where we are in this moment. We have to be able to plug in the right coordinates.

Understanding where you are can be uber simple. It doesn't take a 30-page personal assessment. All that's needed is a picture. Yes, an actual physical picture.

In my book i describe this starting point as "taking your life pictures." The idea is to grab a real camera (you probably don't want some of these in 'the cloud') and take some pictures. If you don't have a camera, you can get a disposable one and have them developed just for this (that's still a thing, right?).

Once you have your camera, you'll want to take pictures of any area of your life that you want. Say your body is your focus to get started. Get naked and take the picture. Then write a caption under that—one sentence that describes how you feel in your body right now.

That's all you need. Now you know where you're starting from. This is simple. It's immediate. And it speaks volumes.

Now, if you're not happy with where you are with your body (or your finances, romantic relationships, etc.), remember that for the moment you're just getting clear. See if you can be as objective about it as saying, "I'm in New York or I'm in LA."

If it helps, you can also think of it like an experiment, a school project that's just helping you move more toward what you want.

Here are the areas of your life you might want to assess:

  • Physical: Get naked

  • Social: Grab a recent pic of you with your friends

  • Love: Take a picture with your partner, or alone if you’re not currently in a romantic relationship

  • Financial: Open your wallet or take out your latest bank statement and snap a shot

  • Purpose/Career: Take a selfie at your desk, or a photo of a recent project

  • Home/Environment: Capture a messy closet or your favorite nook in your house

  • Spirituality/Faith: Take a snapshot of an inspiring passage from a book or your favorite element in nature that illustrates your relationship to God or the Universe

And remember to add a caption to each photo to describe the current status of that area in life. 

To start it's sufficient to choose 1- 3 areas where you'd like to dedicate you focus. For example, personal finances was a big one for me for a while in my life. When the conversation would turn to numbers, I would completely check out. I knew this wasn't sustainable, because I'm a business owner and I have a family to co-support. But the neural pathways responsible for my reactions to finances would automatically shoot me down that road. In this case my picture could have also been my caption, and it looked like this.

That's all I needed to see that I wasn't where I wanted to be... YET.

Life is a non-linear process and you may have to circle back to the 'picture-taking' multiple times as you continue to grow and evolve in the various areas of your life. You can use it as a simple framework that can help point out what still needs your attention.

In next month’s Intuitive Success article, we’re going to look at figuring out where you want to go from here—the next destination on your life map.

Until then, give this picture-taking a shot and let us know in the comments which pictures you choose to take, or send us one of them!

Cortney McDermott
is an award-winning writer, TEDx speaker, and strategist to Fortune 500 executives, entrepreneurial leaders, and think tanks around the world. Her work has been featured in multiple major media including: SUCCESS, HuffPost, and MindBodyGreen. Cortney’s debut book, Change Starts Within You: Unlock the Confidence to Lead With Intuition
was selected for’s “26 Favorite Books of High Achievers” and has been described as “‘‘Eat, Pray, Love’’ meets ‘The 4-hour Workweek’. 
Before turning entrepreneur, Cortney served as an executive at Vanity Fair Corporation, vice president at Sustainability Partners, professor of graduate studies for Big Ten US universities, and global associate for the renowned beCause Consortium. (She has also moonlighted as a deli waitress, secretary, and everything in between, as a way to put herself through school and life.) Cortney is a graduate of the London School of Economics and a certified cultural mediator in multiple languages. She lives with her family between the United States and Italy.

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