I am back from spring break, and the sun is shining in my part of the world.
I am starting the INSEAD Life Vision program next week, and I have been thinking a lot about how we can create our dream life.
I have put together four reliable steps that have worked for my clients and me. Four steps sound too simplistic.
But, a framework is meant to help us understand complex processes in simple terms.
So here it is:
1. Define what you want, even if you do not believe it is possible
I thought it was a prank.
The email was from someone I did not know.
She claimed she was an editor at Penguin, the bigger publisher in the world.
She asked me whether I would like to write a book for the Penguin Business Experts series.
I could not believe it.
You see, two months before receiving that email, I had added a photo of a book royalties check on my visionboard.
A few weeks before, I had signed up for a business accelerator that included book-writing coaching.
I had blocked time on my calendar to write a book.
I had the vision. I took action.
And then the universe responded in the most unexpected way.
I did not even know I could get a book deal without an agent.
Our knowledge about what is possible is always a fraction of the truth.
The Penguin editor happened to read one of my articles; she loved it and reached out.
In April 2021, my book Hold Successful Meetings launched. It hit the Amazon bestseller lists in its category in several countries.
Never let what you think is possible affect what you admit to yourself you want.
2. Listen to your inner guidance to identify the right next step
“Seriously? That’s crazy! Not again!”
That is usually my reaction when I listen to my inner wisdom.
I hate it. I try to negotiate against it.
Because it asks me to do things that don’t make sense.
But, if common sense were what was needed to build a successful business, the majority of businesses would not fail. Yet, they do.
If common sense were what was needed to have a happy life, most people would not have anxiety and depression. Yet, they do.
As much as I resist and fight it.
My inner wisdom is always right in hindsight.
The game of our lives is to learn to trust our inner guidance.
Trust that we will be OK, even if we take the risks required.
The road to freedom will always go through courage.
3. Enjoy the wind on your back
The universe does not conspire to give you what you want.
The universe gives you more of what you already have.
In science, it is called a positive feedback loop.
In finance, the compounding effect.
In psychology, the snowball effect.
In sociology, a happiness advantage.
It feels unfair. The rich get richer. The successful, more successful. The happy, happier.
But we can use this phenomenon in our favour.
A knight in shining armour is unlikely to save us if we are stuck in a victim mentality.
But, if we acknowledge what we already have and move in the right direction…
We can enjoy the universe being the wind on our back that amplifies our results.
4. Acknowledging how far you have come
My most viral post on LinkedIn was published last week. It was a summary of what perks I gave up when I left Google and what perks I am enjoying now.
I realize now that the business I created was a culmination of the three previous steps in this newsletter.
- Identify what I want, even if it seems impossible (starting my own business and maintaining my lifestyle)
- Listen to my inner wisdom even if it seems crazy (leave Google)
- Enjoy the wind on my back with many serendipities and opportunities like the book contract with Penguin.
And as I acknowledge and appreciate what I have, I take further advantage of the positive feedback loop.
Here is the post:
“What are you going to eat now that you are leaving Google?” a colleague said on my last day.
Some Googlers were so used to the perks that they were worried about whether I would survive after Google:-)
Here is what I gave up when I left:
➡️ A job with great autonomy.
➡️ A job I could leave at 18:00. Staying late in the office was never a thing during my eight years there.
➡️ Free food, on-site gym and subsidised massages.
➡️ First-class professional development.
➡️ A 6-figure salary, bonuses, stocks and pension.
➡️ The second biggest brand in the world on my business card opening doors.
➡️ A huge network of awesome Googlers
➡️ Health insurance
➡️ Free therapy and coaching
Now, five years after I left to start my own coaching business, I enjoy:
🌀 No commute = drop off kids to school and walk for an hour in the park before I start work every day.
🌀 3 days a week, I am meeting-free. A maker’s schedule.
🌀 I choose the projects I want to work on.
🌀 I choose the team members I want to work with. I outsource everything I don’t want to do.
🌀 I take 12 weeks of holiday/year.
🌀 A chef comes once a week to cook homemade meals for my family.
🌀 I do a yoga class two mornings a week and have a massage once a month at home during working hours.
🌀 I invest in my personal development (courses and mentors) what used to be my first salary at Google. Nobody needs to approve the expense but me.
I am hugely grateful to Google.
I would not have created the business I have today without my work at that company.
I am also grateful I left when I did. It was a hard decision as I was giving up a lot.
I had no idea whether my entrepreneurial endeavour would be successful.
I am sharing this to give an example that there is life after a corporate job if that’s what you choose to do.
Often, you need to say goodbye to something great to create something incredible.
Which one of the steps above resonated most with you?
Hit reply and let me know.