Intentional living and slow living have become popular over the last few years as more and more of us realise that we want to live life on our own terms.
Many of us get into coaching, entrepreneurship or freelancing because we want more control over how we live our life, we want to be able to break out of the system in some ways and do something that we actually really enjoy.
For this reason most of us probably find that our lives and businesses cross over a fair bit – that’s certainly the case for me and I don’t see it as a bad thing!
The opposite of intentional living is living by default, and this can crop up a lot when it comes to business in lots of different ways so I’ll be sharing some tips that help me return to a place of intentional living when I’ve found myself living – and doing business – by default.
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Identify your Core Desired Feelings
So, the first thing that I’ve found hugely helpful when it comes to all of this stuff is the Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. I adore this book and this process where the premise is that when we set goals or aim to achieve something or have something, what we’re actually yearning for isn’t the thing or the goal, it’s the way having that thing will make you feel.
I talk a lot about knowing your own version of success in my work and for me having a sense of your core desired feelings is a great place to start with this.
When we can identify what the feelings are that we want to experience, it means that we are not so tied to a particular outcome. It means that we can look outside of perhaps our narrow view of what it is that we think we want to achieve and consider other ways we can experience our core desired feelings. It also means we can be less attached to particular goals knowing that there are other ways we can experience how we want to feel.
I first worked though the Desire Map at the end of 2015 and found it so transformational. I often return to it and these are my current Core Desired Feelings:
🪴 Connected to nature
👯 Connected to people I care about
💘 Connected to myself
When it comes to business, entrepreneurial culture is often really at odds with wanting to live a slower and more intentional life and a lot of these kind of core desired feelings.
My priority is living a beautiful, intentional, creative life that I love – not building an empire and not hitting multiple six figures. Something that I grapple with often is how much I should be striving for more, when that doesn’t really feel that aligned. But at the same time, especially in my industry, big shiny numbers sell and that is a pressure I feel sometimes.
But making more and more money and scaling my business into infinity isn’t something that would help me experience my Core Desired Feelings so that helps me stay aligned to what I really want.
Script your ideal day
One of my favourite exercises to connect with the life I want to live is to script out my ideal day, it’s such a fun journaling exercise. This can help you connect with how you’d love to spend your time, how you’d be feeling, who you’d be with, what you’d be doing, everything!
There’s a few different ways that you can approach this. I feel like you can really go for that big blue sky thinking. Really think what, in an ideal, perfect world where no limits were placed upon me, what would my ideal life look like?
That’s definitely a really good way to approach it and I’ve done it that way before, and there’s always insights as always golden nuggets to come out of that approach.
However, what I tend to find more helpful for me is to do this exercise, but rooted in my current reality. So that’s not to say that I’m not going to strive for more or not want to do things differently as obviously that’s the whole point of doing an ideal day exercise, but I find it quite useful to think about, within the framework of what my life looks like and the things that aren’t going to change how I’d love life to look differently.
And what I usually do with that exercise is I think more than just a day, I think about over a week because I would be doing different things on different days, for example from a weekday to a weekend, so I try to think about it in a slightly wider sense.
However you do the exercise, what I find helpful is to then look at the really simple things you can change right now to bring your current life closer into alignment with your ideal life. There’s always going to be little things you can do, especially if you’re a coach and you work for yourself full time, you have control over how you spend your days.
This can sometimes be where that living by default shows up, it’s funny how many people end up working 9-5 by default even though they have much more flexibility because that’s what they’ve always done.
I usually don’t start work until 10am most days but I had to let go of some conditioning that told me doing that was wrong!
So try journaling out your ideal day and see how you can tweak the things you do now to bring you closer to that. If you have done the Desire Map then layer that into the mix. Is what you’re doing in your ideal day going to help you experience your Core Desired Feelings?
Have check in points
It’s incredibly easy to find yourself living or doing business and life by default. This can be going along with what other people want you to do, being swayed by what we’re seeing on social media and all the noise online and just losing that connection to our own inner knowing.
I find that having check in points help me stay connected to myself and come back to what I actually want.
Quite often I need to check in with myself and just reconnect with my version of success and what it is that I really want because I do find myself living by default or losing that connection to my own inner voice and getting way too concerned about what other people are doing.
Without that checking in ritual I find that for me, it’s really easy to progress down a path or start doing things that just aren’t reflective of who I am and honestly a lot of that being taken off course is seeing what people are doing on social media and then feeling like I’m ‘wrong’ or that I’m not keeping up. So those regular check ins make a massive difference.
As well as those regular check ins when I get the sense that I need them, I also check in once a month and once a quarter. I like to try and link this in with the equinoxes and solstices – that nature connection Core Desired Feeling!
Another benefit of checking in is being able to change course when what you want changes too. We’re not robots and what we desire will change and evolve so checking in with ourselves is a great way to capture that and be able to do life and business in a different way when we shift and evolve and what we want changes.
I hope this post has been helpful and got you thinking! Leave me a comment below and let me know what has resonated with you.
If you wanted to explore any of this further, check out my Wholehearted Course which dives into this in much more detail and depth or grab my free Ultimate Self Care Kit.
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