Live The Life You Have, Not The One You Want

Live The Life You Have, Not The One You Want

“In an ideal world we’d all be back in the office in September,” a client said to me last week, bemoaning the disruption the Delta variant has created for ‘back to office’ plans.

Of course in ‘an ideal world’, we’d not have had this pandemic to begin with.

In an ideal world…

How many times have you heard that phrase… and how many times has it left you feeling deflated, resigned, resentful, or ‘all the above?’

Clearly, we do not inhabit an ‘ideal world’ yet our attachment to it is the cause of so much of our suffering.

Of course, eighteen months into this pandemic that we had hoped would be behind us by now, life feels particularly unsettling, difficult, and disappointing for many people. Which is why I keep circling back to a timeless principle for thriving amid life’s long stream of unexpected ‘plot twists’ and ‘plans interruptus’:

Live the life you have, not the life you want.

This doesn’t mean you should sit back, chuck in the towel, and passively let life happen to you.

Rather it means that you should stop cursing and complaining about what you cannot control and instead, focus your attention on making the very best of what you can.

And there is always something within your control.

Maybe the ongoing disruption wrought by the Delta variant has upped the ante on the problems you’re dealing with right now.  Maybe you’ve been feeling rather ‘ho hum’ about a lot of stuff. 

Work stress. Kid stress. Partner stress. Money stress. Life stress. 

If so, there is nothing more important you can do right now than taking some time out to reset your mindset; to get your head in the right space… beginning with focusing on what you can do, not on what you can’t.

And when you find yourself venturing down the path of ‘woulda-shoulda-coulda’ thinking, gently catch yourself, take a sacred pause, and surrender to ‘what is.’

If life were perfect, it wouldn’t be. To quote Albert Einstein: “Our problems cannot be solved at the same level fo thinking at which they were created.”

It is in rising to meet our ‘problems’ (and ‘problem people’) in our far from ‘ deal’ lives, that we can discover our greatest strengths and find purpose in our lives. Indeed it is those very situations that challenge you the most – compelling you to dig deep and summon courage that may otherwise have lain dormant – that are required for you to fulfill it.

Life isn’t happening to you, it is happening for you

After all, you wouldn’t be half the person you are today if everything had always gone your way.

So embrace your emotions for the learning they hold.

Give yourself permission to feel them fully. But don’t let them linger.

Rather let go comparing and complaining. Let go blaming and finger-pointing. Let go those stories you’re spinning that keep you stuck and feeling sorry for yourself.

They serve nothing and no one. Least of all you.

Instead, decide to show up in the world as the big-hearted person you aspire to become. As you do, trust that the biggest challenges you are facing right now can be transformed into a catalyst for you to grow into your potential and to ultimately live a more (not less) meaningful life. As I said, those times that test us the most also teach us to the most. 

A big claim? Sure. But if it resonates, even a little, then maybe it holds truth.

As you reset your mindset for the months ahead, let go your attachments to how life ‘should be’ and decide to show up with the courage and ‘can do’ optimism needed to make the very most of whatever lays around the next corner.

You’ve got this!

Live from that place. Love from that place. Lead from that place.

It will make all the difference.

And not just for you. For all of us.

Thank you in advance.