Here's a question I'd like you to consider. On a typical weekday morning - how do you feel when you wake up? Do you happily look forward to the new day or are you filled with anxiety about the problems ahead? If your reply is similar to the first scenario, congratulations - think about what you are doing that is working well for you and keep up the good work. If your answer is more like the second scenario - welcome to the Awful Zone. At this point, it's time to start taking steps towards a better life. And that is, without a doubt, possible.
But what if your answer lies somewhere in between? You're not jumping out of bed greeting the new day with joy and excitement but neither are you contemplating sticking your head in the oven. Life is OK - it's not what you had planned back in the day, but it's quite nice. And I would conjecture that it's this situation that is the most frightening because it's this life in the Grey Zone that does not force us into change (unlike a horrendous existence where we are truly miserable). It's this existence that we can endure for years until it's too late - we can look back on a life half-lived, unfulfilled dreams and a feeling that we just wasted all our potential.
The good news is that once we are aware of the fact that we are just plodding along and take the decision that we want to move out of the Grey Zone into the Brilliant Zone, there are steps we can take that will start helping immediately. Here are just 4 ideas to get you moving:
- Spend some time clarifying your values and strengths (there are various quizzes online or you could ask friends and colleagues for some feedback). Once you are more self aware, you can decide how you can build on your strengths and start incorporating your values into your daily life.
- It's that goal setting thing again - take some time to decide where you would like to be in 10 years time, in 5 years and at the end of 2016. Think about your values, your strengths, perhaps old goals that you have put to one side, things that you think 'if only I could...'. (Because normally you can - you're the one that's holding yourself back!) Put as much detail as possible into these goals and perhaps create a vision board to represent your dreams and aspirations. Put the board somewhere visible.
- Identify any belief you have that might hold you back. Do you think you are too old to change? Reframe it - you have years of experience to fall back on and the strength to know you can do this? Do you think you're not good enough? There will never be a perfect time to make the change so give yourself credit for the knowledge and expertise you do have and decide that you can learn more on the way...
- Once you've started creating a set of empowering beliefs and you have a real idea of the direction you need to go, start chunking down - break the big goals into smaller steps. Decide when you will do these steps. And then decide what step you can take first - and do it! It doesn't need to be an enormous stride, just a small fairy step to start you going in the right direction. Because it's all about progress. And once you start making progress, you build your confidence and create a momentum that will take you out of the Grey Zone into the Brilliant Zone.
Wishing you luck - take the decision to live a more positive life and you can start to become one of the lucky ones who wake up on a Monday with a feeling of excitement and gratitude!