Want the kind of work life that makes you excited to wake up in the morning? Cortney McDermott, author of the book Change Starts Within You: Unlock the Confidence to Lead With Intuition, shares how to be happier, right now.
Have you ever started a practice — yoga, meditation, running — that felt really good to you, only to give it up after a couple of weeks because you just got too “busy”? We tend to glorify busy in our society.
When people say to me, “You must be really busy,” my response is always: “I’m not busy. I’m blessed with work I love.” Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all trade in “busy” for a feeling of joyful, present-based momentum?
If you’re here I’m guessing you’re ready for some version of that in your life.
That’s what Intuitive Success is about — getting clear enough to understand what’s right for YOU and then acting on that knowing in every moment.
So far in this series we’ve talked about gaining that clarity by first understanding where you are now and then deciding where you want to go next . Once you have those two “life pictures” in hand, you can begin bridging the gap between them and steadily embodying the truth of your deeper desires.
Sticking with the actions that fuel your dreams and empower you isn’t as complicated as you may think.
Here a few ways to keep your momentum:
First, decide what practices nurture you and your vision.
There’s a lot of noise out there, and it’s easy to get lost in what works for other people. So it’s vitally important to discover what works for YOU. This will be different for you than for anyone else.
Once you’ve found your own practice, see if it matches and supports where you want to go next. Say, for example, you’ve uncovered that the simple act of journaling in the morning or at night brings you a lot of joy, and you would also like to start writing more professionally — maybe contributing to your favorite online publication or launching your own blog. Bingo. Now it’s time to make that habit stick.
Second, make it easy to engage with your practice.
One of the biggest mistakes we make when cultivating a new, empowering practice is to overcomplicate it. We do this primarily by 1) taking on too much of it at once (cue daily gym visits after a period of couch-potato-ing…yes, couch-potato-ing just became a verb), or 2) forgetting to schedule it or associate it with another long-standing habit.
In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explains that we can make our new habit stick by pairing it with something we always remember to do. Let’s use brushing our teeth as an example, since luckily that’s a given for more people. Then let’s add on a simple gratitude practice as the new habit. So every time you go to brush your teeth, you can also start mentally reviewing everything you feel grateful for in your life right now. After a few days, your brain will create an association and boom! autopilot sets in.
I use this in a lot of different ways — even linking trips to the loo with pushups and situps to keep my upper body in shape — and it works!
Third, remember that before running we first need to take a lot of small, wobbly steps.
The idea that we have to ‘make it happen’ now — that if we can just move faster, work harder, or force certain outcomes, then we can get where we’re going quicker — just doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. Instead, that approach tends to lead to burnout. There is a far more effective way to get where you’re going: baby steps.
In my book I talk about the importance of testing the waters one toe at a time . Small consistent actions in the direction of what’s most important to you tend to lead to far more prolific results than the occasional sprint. So start with what you feel confident you can handle and you’ll soon notice a deep-seated success take hold. — by Cortney McDermott
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 Inc.com’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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