On the way out to Los Angeles, our in-flight entertainment wasn't available. The screens were completely black, which left me with three options: sleep, read, or listen to one of the podcasts I had loaded on my phone before the flight.
I opened up the Barbell Shrugged podcast and listened to them interview Lewis Howes, who wrote this book after a career ending injury left him without a job. In the book, he reached out to people he greatly admired and wound up identifying 10 principles for success all these people had in common. I'm always looking to grow, and these sorts of motivational and inspirational podcasts really interest me, so I took notes as I listened.
One of the principles that was mentioned is having a very clear vision of what you want in your life. If you're struggling to come up with a vision of what you want, Lewis Howes said that one activities you could do is to dream up your perfect, ideal day. What does it look like? Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with? Get very clear on that, write it down, say it out loud, and really feel it. And then from there, you can design your perfect life.
I feel like I have a solid handle on my vision. I know what I want my life to look like, and every day I'm doing the things I need to do to get there.
But the other day, while out in LA, as I crawled into bed, I realized: that day was my perfect, ideal day. There was nothing particularly exciting about it, but it was a truly perfect day. Here's how it went down.
6:00am - I woke up early due to jet lag, but woke feeling well rested. I had plenty of time before my first work-related obligation, so I laid in bed and journaled. I really like journaling. It clears my head, and is a nice way to reflect on the latest things going on in my life.
6:30am - After, I opened up the new book I'd purchased on my kindle for the trip, and read for a bit. The writing is both laugh out loud funny and deeply moving. It was definitely difficult to put down.
7:15am - I went downstairs, and had a delicious breakfast (and continued to read at breakfast). I realized that while I love a good breakfast with my girlfriends, I equally love a good breakfast with a great book while solo.
8:15am - I still had a solid four and a half hours before my photoshoot, so I headed out to a cute little coffee shop with my computer. It was time to get some work done, so I posted up outside the cafe on their patio, and took care of emails, tended to upcoming blog posts and sent out some pitches for upcoming collaborations.
10:30am - I went back to the hotel, showered, and began prepping for a photoshoot I had. I laid out all the outfits, packed them neatly into my bag, and then did my hair and make up and headed to downtown LA for my shoot.
12:50pm - I met the photographer at a coffee shop, and I was sweating bullets because I was so nervous. The only thing that made me stay was the goal I'd set at the beginning of the year to try to get comfortable being uncomfortable. To do the things I don't really want to do because of insecurity and self doubt. And also because this photographer was not cheap. The photographer instantly put me at ease, and in guiding me in what to do to get a great style shot, I wound up learning a lot I know I'll implement in the future.
3:15pm - I changed into workout clothes and drove up to Runyon Canyon. I got semi-lost along the way going up Mulholland Drive, which is the curviest, steepest road that makes you feel simultaneously terrified and yet fully alive. I found where I needed to go, parked, and went on a long solo hike. As I walked, I committed to being very present. I wanted to stop and take pictures (and I did take a few), but I kept it in check and made sure to breathe deeply, and take in the beautiful sights around me. I felt so much gratitude and my heart was so full.
4:30pm - I got back into my car, and headed over to Melrose to poke around through two of my favorite thrift stores, before grabbing a fresh juice and some organic veggies to bring back to my hotel room, where I already had chicken ready for me from the night before. I rinsed off, changed into pjs, crawled into bed, and ate dinner while chatting with friends.
7:00pm - I opened up my computer, worked for about three and a half hours and was asleep by 10:30pm. It was honestly the most perfect day, and I've been on such a high from it.
This past year has been really hard for me, and having days like these - truly perfect days - that aren't just a dream, but is an actual day from my real life, makes me feel so, so happy. There's an old Salvador Dali quote that goes, "There are some days where I feel like I might die from an overdose of satisfaction." As cheesy as that sounds, that's how I felt.
Now, nothing about my day was that remarkable. In fact, when I talked with a family member who is going through a tough time and asked him to detail his perfect day, he started out with, "Well, I think I'd sleep in. I'm definitely in an exotic place, maybe near the beach. I'd probably wake up, swim, and then eat. Then maybe go back to sleep." We talked a bit more, and I said to him, "Honestly, that sounds fun for a few days, but I think eventually you'd get bored. That's a dream vacation day, maybe. What's your dream typical day in your day-to-day life?" He agreed it was more of a vacation day, and admitted he couldn't yet envision his dream typical day. So if you're stuck, see if you're dreaming up your perfect vacation day, or your perfect typical day.
I recognize that I really only worked about five hours total that day on my computer - and that's not normal for me, I usually work about eight or so, but I suppose if you factor in the photoshoot (not that that's an exceptionally difficult thing to do, but it was definitely for work, not for fun), then it was an eight hour day. I think for me it just still surprises me that I can be successful (ie - make a living and be happy doing it) with such an even balance of work and play and relaxation time. For many years, I had this idea in my head that in order to be successful, you need to sit at your desk for X amount of hours per day and be somewhat miserable. But that just isn't the truth.
Everyone's definition of success is different, and mine is simply enjoying my days, doing work I enjoy and am proud of, and earning a good living. Are there days when I am overwhelmingly stressed out by typical small business problems? (How will I make ends meet? How can I secure this deal? How can I get people to sign up for this retreat so I don't lose money? How can I effectively continue to promote my book so it sells?) Yes, I have those days for sure. But more often than not, my mood and happiness factor are even, for lack of a better word. There aren't too many drastic ups and downs. I'm just consistently and pleasantly content with the direction in which my life is going, and I think it all comes down to knowing what you want, envisioning it, and setting out a game plan to make it happen. And the first step to all of that is having an idea in your head about your perfect day.
So, I'd love to hear what your perfect day looks like. Are you living your dream life? What are your goals and aspirations, and how do you envision getting there?
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