(Reprinted from my column featured in eWoman Magazine.)
Joan of Arc. Susan B. Anthony. Mother Theresa. You? It’s moving to hear inspirational stories about women who touch our world, and leave a mark so deep, that we are forever grateful they walked among us. But what is even more motivating and exhilarating is deciding to stand up inside yourself, and be the activist of your own life.
Activism is described as intentional action to bring about social or political change. Women have the inner strength and grace to hold up and nurture the world. But often, we forget to put ourselves first, to advocate for our own needs. What can you do, in small turtle-step moments, to create a life that reflects your values and dreams?
A great place to begin is with the end in mind, by establishing an “end game.” This short exercise will help you clarify where you want to arrive in your personal and professional life.
What’s Your End Game?
Consider what would be ideal in areas of family/relationships, career, physical health, mental strength, and spirituality. Kicking current reality to the curb, with no perceived glass ceiling or pesky Big Mac addiction holding you back, what would your marriage, vocation, appearance and relationship with God be like for your future self?
Give yourself the space to choose what you want for yourself. Write down your ideas, and create a paragraph or two about the life that you are intentional about living. Be sure to give yourself a deadline, and be specific and positive in the language that you use. Put your end game on three index cards, and carry one with you in your purse, slide one into your car visor, and tape one to your bathroom mirror.
Actual Client Example End Game:
By March 2009, I am enrolled in an MBA program, and am on track for a promotion to Regional Manager. I enjoy at least one date night with my husband, and one family night per week. I am committed to jogging four times per week, and am at my ideal weight. I stay connected through church weekly, journaling daily, and taking quiet time for myself each morning.
Next, take each category, and develop one idea to move forward in each category. Develop a step that feels both easy and fun to do. If one of your end game goals is changing careers, an inspired first step could be updating your resume. Dreaming of Hawaii? Open a vacation savings account. Buying a house? Surf listings online. By keeping your steps small and manageable, you’ll avoid becoming overwhelmed and your momentum increase. With each success, you’ll continue to be inspired with ideas to keep moving forward.
Lastly, look at your goals and ask yourself, how will reaching these goals benefit me? What will I gain with each of these accomplishments? How will this enhance the already talented woman that I am now? Move forward to meet the future, wearing that energy now. You already have it inside you. Whether you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or the CEO of your family, or both, claim your value and shine.
Susan Hyatt is a Martha Beck Certified Life Coach and owner of Ideal Life Design. She can be reached at www.shyattagency.wpengine.com.