How Will You Show Up For Life?

How Will You Show Up For Life?

“First say to yourself what would you BE, and then do what you have to DO.” – Epiticus

It’s great to focus on what you want to accomplish in the year ahead. Habits you want to start. Or quit. Goals you want to achieve. Changes you want to make. Money you want to earn. Projects you want to complete.

All good stuff. However I think people often put the cart before the horse.

Here’s why:

To do what you have not yet done, you must be someone you haven’t yet been.

More tenacious. More focused. More assertive. More open-minded. More generous. More willing to give something a try. 

As I say in the video below (which I created at the start of 2016) to get a new result, you can’t just change your actions, you have to change the story that’s driving them and impacting how you’re showing up in the world.

Whether breaking old habits or accomplishing anything really worthwhile is tough. If it were easy, we’d all be waking up early, never losing our cool, staying focused, or never getting distracted or frazzled by the little things that we know really don’t matter all that much.

So before you let more of this year get away on you, take a minute to decide WHO it is you need to BE in order to DO whatever it is that inspires you. I call these our Power Virtues. It’s just my fancy term for the character traits that you will commit to practicing (and strengthening) in the year to come; that will determine how you SHOW up for your the year ahead and all those whom you’ll encounter along the way.

Resilient. Focused. Purposeful. Generous. Present. Patient. Positive. Curious. Willing. Kind. Accepting. Tolerant. Assertive. Brave. Decisive. Tenacious. Organized. A leader. Bold. Loving. Intentional. Fun. Daring. Self-Reliant. Optimistic. Approachable. Unstoppable. Passionate.  Accessible. Confident. Playful….


Comedian Lily Tomlin once said, “I always wanted to be somebody, I should have been more specific.” Likewise, living the life you truly aspire to live requires BEING who you need to be so that you can DO what is required to HAVE whatever it is that brings you meaning and fulfillment and joy.

So who is it that you want to BE in in the year ahead?

I challenge you to pick three “Power Virtues” that you’d love to embody in the year to come.

Then write down your three words on some sticky notes and place in around your home or office. Then, when you find yourself unsure about what to do next, feeling stuck, frustrated, doubtful or just not top of your game, ask yourself:

  1. What would I do right now if I were being (power virtue number 1)?
  2. What would I do right now if I were being (power virtue number 2)?
  3. What would I do right now if I were being (power virtue number 3)?

You will be amazing how how the answers that arise will improve the quality of your decisions!

Me? I do this exercise every year. This year I’ve chosen four power virtues (I couldn’t narrow it down to three) – Purposeful, Gracious, Compassionate and Brave.

1. Purposeful: For me purposeful means that I want to approach every day and every activity with the highest of intentions to make my greatest contribution to the world. I want to be led by a higher purpose rather than by pride or fear or any underlying need to prove myself to anyone.

2. Gracious:  For me gracious means trusting in myself that whatever happens, I can handle it and radiating that faith to all I meet to inspire them to trust themselves more deeply too.

3. Compassionate: For me being compassionate is about putting myself in the shoes of other people, particularly those I may not see eye to eye with, and connecting with them on a heart level so that I can be kinder,  more thoughtful and generous.

4. Brave:  For me being brave is ultimately walking my talk in everything I do and laying my pride and vulnerability on the line for a causing bigger than myself. It means having the courage to aim really really high, risking rejection on a regular basis and being prepared to make mistakes.  A few months ago I created a chart to track how often I was risking rejection. I plan to use it as close to every day as I can in the year to come!

What about you? What virtues will guide and shape how you show up in the year to come? Please write them down, share them below, share them with those who you know will help hold you accountable.

And feel free to hold me accountable for mine too!