Ask the Coach: Creating the Life You Want

Dear Ann: I’m having a hard time balancing the spiritual wisdom of letting go of expectations and letting my life unfold one day at a time with the practical idea that I need to strategize, plan, and prioritize so that I can accomplish my goals and create the life I want. How do I do both? — Annie L.

Dear Annie:

You’re having a hard time because the poise that you describe (so eloquently) is a hard thing to accomplish. Most of us are much better at one side of the equation than the other, either at pushing or yielding.

Creating a life requires both skills. You can push all you want, but life happens. And yielding will only get you so far.

The temptation is to go with what you’re better at. Instead, remember that pushing and yielding are two sides of the same coin. This sounds counter-intuitive, but they will support each other rather than cancel each other out.

Let me offer you a physical image. Consider how you literally move from here to there. If you control and tense your legs so hard that you lock your knees, you ain’t going nowhere. Conversely, if you’re too loosey-goosey, you’ll fall right on your butt. We move forward with the most ease when we are both grounded and flexible: when we’re committed to our goals and we’re open to new opportunities for achieving them.

In brief:

1. Know your goals

2. Prepare yourself

3. Give yourself a generous time horizon

4. Design an interim “launching/landing pad”

5. Cultivate practices that calm your anxiety

6. Commit to what is financially enough

7. Be still and look inside

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