There’s an important missing piece in your pursuit of a better life. Yes, you already have the drive; you’ve proven many times over you’re resilient. But these qualities can only quicken your arrival at the wrong destination if you don’t do this one thing. Whether it’s your career, relationship or health that feels like it’s stuck in its own Groundhog Day, the advice is the same.
And it’s unlikely to be what you expect.
So take a breath, because we aren’t going to recommend that you fill your already-packed 24 hours with a dozen time-saving hacks to help you get more done. Tips like those can be useful, absolutely. However, if you’re reliving the same problems, day in and day out, chances are you don’t need to be doing more or doing things faster and better.
No, the key to taking your life to the next level is this: you need to stop. Stop all the striving – at least for a moment – and take time to reflect. As our Headspace Director at Pivot, Vanessa Auditore, says, this can help you move closer to your goal and with less effort on your part.
That’s right, less effort. Doesn’t the mere promise of that already lighten the load on your shoulders?
“Being able to evaluate our experiences leads to transformation,” Vanessa says. “When we talk about taking our lives to the next level it really is about having a process that keep us grounded and centred. We get to check-in regardless of what is happening.”
Bringing this awareness into your daily life helps you to discern what is working for you and what needs to change. It also helps you realise that change has its own cycle that can’t be sped up – no matter how many impatient hours of overtime you put in. Taking your life to the next level then becomes less of a struggle as you only focus on necessary actions and let go of force and control.
“It’s like looking at a garden or field,” Vanessa explains. “To get a decent harvest, we first have to till the soil. In tilling the soil we’re turning it over. We’re waiting. We’re pulling out the stuff that no longer serves us.
“Then, we plant seeds. The seed might be a concept, idea, goal, or vision we have.
“And then we need to tend to the fields. We need water and sunshine to nurture the seeds. We might even need a scarecrow in there – we might see that as creating boundaries of personal space, time and expectations.”
And just like in nature, the metaphorical seeds you’ve planted grow in their own time. “Many people plant the seed of their goal, but then the next morning they dig out the seed and ask, ‘Have you grown yet?’ It hasn’t, of course, because you haven’t allowed it to go through its rhythms and cycles.”
This is why it’s important to schedule in regular times for reflection to avoid blindly busying yourself with a to-do list that only sabotages your success. Take Steve Jobs, for instance, who would reflect daily. As he said in the past, “I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
The simple act of starting each morning and asking yourself, “What am I thinking?” can bring that awareness into your daily life. Vanessa says, “A lot of people don’t check what they’re thinking when they open their eyes but that early state actually sets up the day.”
Vanessa recommends these self-care routines to bring awareness into your life:
* Journalling, so you can write down what’s worked and what hasn’t, and workshop solutions.
* Meditation to give your mind a break from your busy life. The best ideas seem to come when we least expect it.
* Mindfulness exercise, such as yoga or NeuroPhysics as it teaches you to move mindfully.
* Life coaching and counseling to help you uncover your beliefs and where they’re taking you.
* Celebrating along the way. “Part of this self-reflection routine needs also to be about celebrating the wins,” Vanessa says. “Because if we never stop to really appreciate how far we’ve come, or what we’ve achieved, then we can lose motivation and feel disengaged. Motivation really comes from that place of feeling a sense of contentment and we want more of that experience.”
Let us know if you need any support along the way. As always, just think of us as your pit crew on your track to being better.
Vanessa & The Pivot Team