Feeling Trapped Part 4: Taking Action
Hello everyone and welcome back to Taking My Own Advice. Last month we talked about accepting reality and how this can help us live a more honest life. This month we will be discussing how we can take action in our lives. This is the last step in my first series and I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I had writing it.
What does it mean to take action?
We often see taking action as this big or dramatic event that has to happen. I want to put this idea under a new light. Personally, for me, I have found that small actions built towards a larger goal have been the most effective. This works for me because I tend to have many ideas and I take on many projects at one time. Because of this, my focus is spread thin. So if this sounds like you, you are in the right place.
We see people every day achieving great success because of their determination, stamina, and ability to focus. If you are like me, what they have achieved can seem overwhelming. This comparison between our lives and theirs can limit us in our journey. Within our overwhelm, we can also become discouraged to achieve anything at all. We can feel as if we need to take a great leap to have success. We are also bombarded by ways to be more successful instead of looking at how our life is a success. Most people find chasing their dreams either too exhausting or too exciting and both lead to a lack of ambition. Today I will tell you three small steps you can take to build a foundational and sustainable approach to taking more action in your life.
Step 1: Inspiration
Purpose: To find fuel and momentum so that your action can be sustainable.
Experience: I am a girl with her head in the clouds and I can find most things awe-inspiring. If you find yourself cynical or lacking inspiration you may have put limitations on your thinking. Perhaps you have not allowed yourself to indulge in the beauty of this world. Maybe you feel as though you know this world all too well and that it is only full of disappointment. I feel that way too sometimes. Especially when living in a cynical world, we can often find ourselves feeling lost in the numbness and in this constant feeling that we have to give so much to gain anything. When I was quarantined, I found that I had more time to feel. While I was working full time, I felt so numb. Almost like a robot doing the same thing day in and day out. I had not given myself time to feel inspired or even become inspired by what was around me. So often we try to escape our busy lives through our phones, food, alcohol, or maybe even drugs. While doing this, we create an apathy that stops us from feeling anything or seeing anything beautiful. When we decide to stop distracting ourselves and start engaging, we can find that solving our problems is easier and our life can be brighter.
Question: What would happen if you just sat down to listen to the world around you? What if you had a decent meal that was indulgent? What would happen if you looked at something striking and let it touch you? What would happen if you opened yourself up to the beauty of this world? (see part 2, step 3: Be Present)
Action: Find a beautiful journal and use this as a place where you put all of your inspiration. Perhaps you saw an interesting person and you could jot that down. Perhaps you found a flower or a leaf, you could place that in your journal. Perhaps you heard the most beautiful song or saw the most inspiring video. Feel free to add the resource in your journal. Days when you feel life is lacking its luster, flip back to a time when you felt the fire of life.
Step 2: The Visionary
Purpose: To make a plan or goal that you can achieve.
Experience: Half of taking action is building confidence. Many of us will either think too highly of our ability or think too little of what we can achieve. When we cannot look at ourselves truthfully (see part 3, step 1: Be Honest with Yourself) we have a hard time visualizing our potential. Visualization can happen in many ways. You can role play something you struggle with or a goal you would like to complete, with a friend. For example, I have a hard time being assertive without being aggressive. My husband volunteered to be a particular friend that pushed my boundaries repeatedly. He quoted some phrases they would say and I practiced responding to them. You would think that because this was my husband I would feel very comfortable. However, when he used the phrases that triggered me in real life, they still triggered me in the role play. It was great practice on controlling my reactions. A couple more examples of visualization could be mental walkthroughs and mirror work. Mental walkthroughs can be done in the morning right before you get out of bed. You can think about the tasks you have for the day and visualize yourself having the best outcome. Mirror work can also be done in the morning and this is like an affirmation. You look in the mirror and tell yourself that today we will complete a goal and we will succeed. When you make plans or goals you can stick to, you build confidence and trust in yourself.
Question: How can you improve your quality of life?
Action: Follow through by visualizing the things you will do in your day. Visualize them in the way that would be most favorable to you. This will help you see your own special ability before it even happens.
Step 3: Take Small Steps
Purpose: Seeing the importance of small and consistent steps made towards a larger and more impactful goal.
Experience: You will often find that the smallest steps you take in your life, make the greatest impact. Maybe you decided to go to that cafe by yourself or you met your friend there. That day they introduced you to the love of your life. Had you not gone, you never would have met them. Perhaps you did take that online seminar and now you have a whole new career. Perhaps you left behind the life you knew, stepped outside of your comfort zone, and did it all in fear of uncertainty. What you found on the other side was priceless. Friends, love, knowledge, education, and a greater understanding of yourself and those around you. Those small steps and choices really do count, all you have to do is look back on your life and see it.
Question: What small step can you take every day that will change the course of your destiny?
Action: Don’t worry about what it is you will do or how you will do it. Worry about doing things in your life. Worry about being stagnant because the lack of movement is the only way your destiny will pass you by. As Joyce Meyer most lovingly acclaimed in her book, “Do it afraid.”
I hope you all enjoyed the last article of our feeling trapped series! Feel free to go back through the exercises anytime you are feeling trapped and please share with others who have found stagnation in their lives. I want to thank you for all of the support! Stay tuned next month to see what I will write up next!