Reverse engineer the life you want to live, you only get one.
We only have this one life to live, so what do you want yours to look like?
Even pondering that question gives me butterflies in my stomach. It's so exciting to sit and let my mind explode with all the possibilities. But then what?
Strategy is the name of the game. Strategically making decisions and taking steps to turn that daydream session into what you wake up to every morning. Where do you even being? Before I dive into that, full discretion, I am a complete nerd when it comes to this kind of stuff and I have read a lot on the topic. So to save you some time, here are the main takeaways I have learned over the years and what I implemented to build the life I am currently enjoying.
It's a three-step process. I have been accused of oversimplifying the process, or making it sound "so easy" but in my mind it is. I think if you follow these three steps you'll have a blueprint for yourself to follow to design the life you want. All the other stuff that pops up along the way are your limiting beliefs and blockages, but those can be worked through too.
Before you begin reading the steps, I ask that you make a commitment to yourself to sit down and do the exercise today. It's so easy to just keep consuming information and not actually take any steps towards what you want. I'm guilty of this too, so in an effort to stop procrastinating another day, say it out loud right now. I promise myself I will take 30 minutes today to sit down and work through these steps on paper as my first step towards creating the life I really want. Tony Robbins always says that when he makes a decision he confirms it by taking immediate action, so basically the decision or habit isn't real until he takes that first step. So following the advice of that titan, commit to taking your first step today!
Step 1 - Allow yourself to dream
I think this is by far the hardest step. I meet so many people who don't allow themselves to really dream, and I get it. When you open up your heart and mind completely to what it is you really want you also run the risk of being sad, upset, disappointed, frustrated and even heartbroken. Thoughts like what if I think about what I really want and then realize I wasted the last x years living a life I don't want, or, what if I think about all the things I want and can't get them, then I'm just left depressed thinking about what I don't have. But the truth is, how are you supposed to create the life you want if you don't muster up the bravery to even think about it? This is a completely private exercise, you don't have to tell anyone else what your private dreams and aspirations are, so don't hold back if they seem silly, out of reach, or whatever other negative thoughts pop into your head. I also recommend writing this down, don't worry about grammar, handwriting or even sentences, just free write everything the pops in your head. Try and let go of what was holding you back and let it come flooding out.
If you are struggling to think about what you really want, here is a great prompt. If you could have everything you want, no limits, what would the perfect day look like for you? In other words, if your life looked exactly how you want it to, what would a typical day look like for you? Go into detail, where are you waking up at, what country are you in? Are you in a home you own, a hotel, a beautiful condo with a view? Are you in the mountains, a big city, or a beachfront cabana? Who are you with? What's on the agenda for your day or maybe you don't have an agenda at all. What are you wearing, how do you feel? What are you working on, creating, building, designing, writing? What makes you happy? What does your body look like? What are your plans for the weekend? Let it all come out, feel your heart swell with excitement. And be as honest as possible, try not to write down what you think your parents want for you, or what your significant other wants, what do YOU want. You might be surprised how simple it actually is, or extravagant, no judgment, just write.
Step 2 - What do you need to have that life?
Congrats you completed the hardest step! Letting yourself dream and being really honest with what you want is huge. Okay, now you know what you want, the next step is what do you need to get it? You might be thinking If I knew that I would already have it. Let's break it down in simple steps. I think this is best illustrated with an example.
Example: When I completed the exercise in Step 1 here is what I came up with-
I am waking up in a tropical location, in my beach-front home over-looking the ocean with Andres. I walk out onto my patio watching the sunrise and practice yoga in the warm balmy air. After feeling refreshed, awake, inspired, and excited for my day I eat a delicious fresh breakfast and head to my home office also with a killer view and hop on a conference call with my editor, we are working through my next book I am publishing later this year. I spend the morning working with my team I love on projects around public speaking, conferences, education, helping women start businesses, and travel. In the afternoon I meet Andres for a surf session, feeling the warm tropical sun on my skin. And enjoy the evening with friends at a local restaurant watching the sunset. I am so excited for next week, we are headed off to South Africa to meet up with our friends, immerse in a yoga retreat, surf and go on a Safari.
Okay, you get the idea. Now for step 2, what do I need to have this life? I like to start with the basics.
I need to have an income to support this lifestyle, I am guessing around $10,000 per month.
I need to write a book to have an editor working with me on my second book.
I need to work remotely so I can live and work anywhere I want around the world
I need to practice yoga & connect with people in that community
I need to practice my public speaking and start building my reputation at conferences in my industry
I need to practice surfing or really just surf in general
Now take those general basics and break each of those down even more.
I need to have an income to support this lifestyle, around $10,000 per month, working remotely.
Here is a big one, making money. I currently work in marketing and eCommerce, so here I would break down how many clients I need to have, and how many sales per month to reach these goals. Then you can break it down even more, what action steps do you need to take to reach those goals.
You might be thinking what if I don't know how to reach those goals? That's okay too, just keep going breaking it down, breaking it down, until you can't go any further. Once you reach that point. Answer this question: What type of person would I need to be or need to find to be able to reach this goal. Let's say for example the goal is to build an online community of 5,000 followers on Instagram. For this goal you can answer in two ways:
What personality traits do you need to cultivate to create this: I need to be brave and show up for my community on Instagram stories to start to build my following, I need to be authentic, confident and take care of myself so I feel comfortable showing up on video.
What type of person do I need to find to reach this goal? For this example it could be, a friend who has built this following on Instagram and can teach me. Or a professional I can hire, etc.
Basically in step 2, you are thinking about the big picture dream and thinking about all the pieces that would need to be in place to create that reality.
Step 3 - Take action on what you Reverse Engineered
Once you have a list all the way back to the beginning of how to build this lifestyle that is called reverse engineering. You start with the end goal and work backward (this is what you did in step 2). Now that you have your reverse-engineered list. It's time to take action.
All the best planning in the world means nothing if you don't take action. But luckily for you, you now have a really clear road map. So the next is to hold yourself accountable on. taking steps toward that direction. Strategic, thought out steps with intention. You might have realized but in step 2 you were basically creating a vision board with words, and putting your clear intentions out into the universe has already created momentum towards those becoming your reality!
There are hundreds of studies that show when you assign a due date to your actions steps you some crazy percentage more likely to get them done. For me that's true, for you, you'll have to experiment and see what helps you take action. It might be due dates on your calendar, it might be a friend who's your accountability partner, it might be posting on social media every time you complete a step. Whatever it is for you, just commit to it.
Now here is the part where your limiting beliefs and blockages might come into play. Odds are you have some negative self-talk going on in your mind that might make you stumble or worst of all stop on your path towards creating this life. The key here is to be self-aware enough to see these for what they are - fear- and address them. Self-growth is different for everyone so I can't tell you what will and won't work for you. But here are some ideas if you are feeling resistance, procrastination, or self-sabotage when it comes to taking action.
Hire a life/business coach (email me if you want recommendations)
Talk to a counselor, advisor
Lean on your friends or family for support
Read (click here to see a list of recommended books for Life Design and Personal Growth)
Surround yourself with people who have what you want
This process might take you a few hours or a few weeks to really mull over what you want. Embrace the process and know that you are taking steps towards creating the life of your dreams which is really exciting! Just remember to keep taking little steps in the direction of your dreams, it might not feel like a lot at the time but believe me it will add up quickly.
I would love to know how your experience goes working through these steps, please email me or reach out to me on social media if you'd like to share or have any questions!