Digging is hard work. I’ve dug lots of irrigation ditches and post holes while growing up on a cattle ranch in Wyoming. It’s dirty work because the only way to clear a clogged ditch is to get in the muck and shovel out heavy, sodden clumps of debris so the water can run smoothly on down the ditch.
Often, the stuff clogging the system is not visible from the top because irrigation water tends to be muddy. It’s only after you start that your shovel finds more mass to the blockage. I hate digging out irrigation ditches because there’s always something more to be dug out.
Whether it’s shoveling out the crap from an irrigation ditch or from our life experiences, nothing moves forward until the deed is done. Tamping it down may take care of the clutter, but only for a while, and it will eventually clog the entire system.
Digging down in our own lives means more than skimming the surface. Our society would lead us to believe that peeling back the surface layers is all that is needed to understand ourselves. Not true, but I suspect you already know this deep down.
Because deep down is where our true nature emerges. It’s a journey to get there; it can even be an adventure if we let it. The further down we go, the more transparent we become, and more importantly, the more authentic we become.
Once we regain touch with our authentic self—sometimes called our inner voice—we can begin to dream about how things might be different and take the first steps toward doing what is fulfilling. We are not afraid to dream as children; as adults, however, we grow timid. We let our need for success supplant the need to follow our bliss, calling, passion, or dream.
As our practical side takes over, we stop dreaming. Instead, we settle. We get stuck in a rut. Unfortunately, the only difference between a rut and a coffin are the dimensions.
If we are to live fully, we need to get back in touch with our dreams. Never worry that they are too grand or beyond our capacity to achieve. At the beginning of this adventurous journey, the important thing is to find your vision.
Here are 3 recommendations on how to live fully:
1. Ask Great Questions – You have a life story and your story can be powerful if you let it. Questions can be catalysts that get you to think about your own experiences. Ask specific questions that bring a smile to your face as you tell your story:
- Who is the happiest person you know?
- Who are the people you like and respect the most? Why?
- What are you curious about?
- When does time seem to fly?
- What bores you?
- What makes you different from other people or members of your family?
- How do you want to be remembered?
- What excites you?
- What is in your bucket list of things to do in life?
Questions are effective because they help us remember the things that are important to us, things we might have forgotten. Things that are buried . . . this is what digging down is about.
If you want a great life, ask this great question: “What would create excitement and life for me?”
2. Start Now – If you don’t start living your dream now, you’re on the deferred life plan—postponing life until retirement or until you’ve made enough money to do what you want.
If you’re honest, isn’t that the real reason you want to be a millionaire? Not so much as to buy more stuff but to have the time and freedom to pursue the things that create excitement and life for you.
- Name the things that you look forward to in your day or week.
- Recognize that your dream is a calling and that you may have more than one.
- Stop being a slave to the life or job that is not fulfilling.
- Minimize time spent on meaningless work.
- Create time to pursue projects that do create excitement and life.
3. Blaze a Trail – The 4-Hour Workweek is a fantasy, not a dream. Most of us will never find the perfect job that brings unending fulfillment; if we need to make house payments and send our kids through school, we’re going to have to put our shoulder into it. But there are ways we can follow our dream regardless of our circumstances.
- Align your strengths with a career you feel passionate about.
- Evaluate the job prospects in this field over the next five, ten, or twenty years.
- Ask people who have succeeded for input.
- Look for like-minded people and begin telling them about what you want to do.
- Listen to their stories and learn from them.
- Roll up your shirtsleeves and produce something that is aligned to your dream.
- Network and join organizations in your field that can create opportunities for you.
Digging down to expose your true nature can be hard work, but it’s worth the effort. In a world where you can be anything, sometimes the greatest thing is to be yourself.
LaRae Quy was an FBI agent, both a counterintelligence and undercover agent, for 25 years. She exposed foreign spies and recruited them to work for the U.S. Government. Now she writes and speaks about empowering others to seek deeper meaning in life and work via her blog Empower the Leader in You. You can find her on Twitter as @LaRaeQuy
Photo credit: ‘Funny Catch‘ by BigStock