Passions? Decisions? Here’s 1 Fail-Safe Way to Cut Through The Cr*p

passions and decisions

When I studied for my Coaching diploma, my class was asked to do a rather unusual “homework”. We were to ask ten of our friends what they saw as our best quality. The result was revealing: Seven out of my ten named my enthusiasm and ability to feel passionately about things.
 

While this is certainly a nice trait, it has its drawbacks, too. One of them is that being enthusiastic about everything also means that it’s really difficult to find time for all my passions. If you happen to be multi-passionate too, I’m sure you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about – a lot of the time you feel like you’ll never be able to master anything, because your attention is always scattered.
 

If you’ve been reading Monday Sparkles for a while, you’ll know some of the approaches I favour when dealing with multiple passions. One of them is to focus on just a few of them at a time, to avoid overwhelm. The same really goes for any types of decisions you might have to make, where you agonise over your options and have no idea which one to pick.
 

How about a simple litmus test to check any options against, that’ll make most decisions instantly crystal-clear? Sound good? I thought so.

[bctt tweet=”How about a simple litmus test to check any options against, that’ll make most decisions instantly crystal-clear? Sound good? I thought so.”]

Sign up to receive the free Checklist Stop procrastinating and start doing what lights you up in 3 simple steps you can do TODAY, as well as weekly Coaching magic, exclusive offers, and insider news:
 






Wild Spirits News


You’ll receive a weekly newsletter every Monday. You can unsubscribe at any time. I’ll never share your data with anyone.


 

Who are you on the deepest level?

 

We are all products of our environment to an extent, of our upbringing, education, and the influence of our peers, among other factors. It’s not always easy to look beyond all of these and discover our true inner selves. So much of what we do is determined by our beliefs, which can change over the years.
 

However, there are some aspects of ourselves which don’t change. They make up the core of each person’s being, the invariable essence of their character. These are our values.
 

Values are unique to each person and there are literally hundreds of them. To get you started, I’ve found a handy list for you on the internet. Here’s how you use it:
 

Scan the list and mark down or circle (if you’ve printed it; otherwise, write it down) any values that jump out to you, any you can relate to. Once you’ve got your shortlist, go through it again and eliminate any that seem less important than the others. It doesn’t mean they aren’t your values, it just means they aren’t as near to the top.
 

Feel free to add values that aren’t on the list, but are important to you. Keep eliminating and narrowing them down until you’re left with your five top values.
 
 

From values to decisions

 

Once you’ve got your values, look over them one more time and think of what each of these mean to you in your life. If you’ve done this exercise from the heart and your intuition, you’ve now got a highly accurate list of values which represent who you truly are (and if you haven’t, you can always do it over).
 

I suggest you keep this list, because it’s a very handy “barometer” to keep close whenever you need to make decisions, or indeed when you feel stressed or pressurised and in danger of losing yourself in other people’s demands.
 

The test is very easy. Say you have about six different passions you’d love to pursue. Check each of them against your core values. Which one is aligned with the highest number of values, or is aligned most closely? Take your pick from those and focus on two or three passions at this time. You can always come back to the others whenever you have spare time or feel like a change.
 

Any decision can be made using this test, but its uses are more far-reaching than this. Basically, your entire life should be an expression of yourself and therefore, of your core values. If you find yourself very unhappy in a job, check your values. You may find that the work you do has nothing whatsoever of your values in it, or worse, that it goes against one of your values altogether. These are huge red flags and a sign that you may want to rethink your career.
 
 

True to yourself

[bctt tweet=”Personal happiness is of course a very subjective feeling, but a large part of it is that we like ourselves and what we do.”]

Personal happiness is of course a very subjective feeling, but a large part of it is that we like ourselves and what we do. The more radically you align your life with your values, the higher are the chances that you’ll feel happy with yourself.
 

Try it! It’s a wonderfully direct way to eliminate the noise around every decision and action, and focus on what truly matters.

3 Signs You’re Not As Happy As You Could Be

Happiness

Years ago, I was in a slump. Nothing much ever happened in my life, and I liked it that way – or at least, that’s what I told myself. I wasn’t unhappy, after all! It took me years to figure out that an absence of pain or suffering, doesn’t necessarily mean everything’s all right.
 

It’s incredibly hard to find guidance on this. I myself have discovered that pursuing my passions gives me that buzz that lifts life from ok to amazing, but I never want to give the impression that in order to do things right, you need to be overjoyed all the time. That kind of pressure usually has the opposite effect: it makes you feel miserable, like a failure.
 

Conventional advice would have you believe that getting a good education, then a good job, a family, and then a house, car, and other material possessions, are the key. It’s a fairly universal assumption that “working hard” and achieving these milestones will make you happy. The majority of people ignore the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
 

I’m going to try to look beyond exterior criteria such as money or position in the world. Here are some factors which indicate happiness more reliably than material wealth.

[bctt tweet=”Here are some factors which indicate happiness more reliably than material wealth. https://www.wildspiritscoaching.com/happiness”]

Join the Tribe of Wild Spirits! You’ll get free weekly Coaching magic, exclusive offers and much more. As a welcome gift, you’ll also get the free Checklist 3 Steps to Stop Procrastinating and Start Doing What Lights You Up TODAY. Simply fill in the form:
 






Wild Spirits News


You’ll receive a weekly newsletter every Monday. You can unsubscribe at any time. I’ll never share your data with anyone.


 

What is happiness, anyway?

 

I’ve done a lot of research on the subject of happiness, for a course I once offered (which is now an ebook exclusively available for my Coaching clients). It’s a difficult subject to study because happiness is so subjective. Studies have come up with some common ground though.
 

One indicator of happiness seems to be progress. A person who is constantly moving towards goals, regardless even of whether or not they succeed, are generally happier than their fellow humans who spend every evening on the couch. Another criterion is gratitude; apparently, it’s impossible to feel grateful and unhappy at the same time.
 

My personal experience is that happiness is in direct proportion to pursuing my passion. Anything that keeps me from doing so, or harder-to-grasp reasons for me being inactive, are all red flags. I’ve decided to list a few of those, in order to define happiness by the symptoms of its absence.
 
 

Red Flag #1: Food love

 

This isn’t about massages or expensive beauty treatments, although they can go a long way towards appreciating yourself. No, what I’m talking about is much more basic.
 

For me, the way I eat is a sure-fire indicator. When everything’s all right, I crave whole, plant-based foods which give me energy and strength. I do occasionally eat junk food, but this happens once or twice a month, and when I start getting takeaways more often than that, something’s off. Junk food makes me sluggish and lethargic, and I’ve long realised that I subconsciously use it to numb my emotions and hide from the world – and my passion.
 
 

Red Flag #2: Exercise

 

Exercise is related to eating habits. Once I’m low in energy, it becomes almost impossible to kick myself into action. I find excuses, and day after day passes without me moving at all.
 

Plenty of my clients come to me saying they hate exercise but would like to get into a routine because they know it’s healthy. Once they kick themselves into action, they come back gushing: “Oh my god, I’d forgotten how much fun it is!” Isn’t that interesting?
 
 

Red Flag #3: Social life

 

We all have different needs when it comes to socialising. Some are extroverts and relish all company, whereas many introverts prefer one-on-one meetings with close friends. As human beings, we all need a degree of social interaction, though.
 

If I find myself declining invitations and never mustering the energy to drive to an event I’m actually interested in, it means I’m in hibernation mode. Don’t get me wrong: It can be an act of self care to take a few days or a week off to just be alone, but if this continues for a long period of time, there’s something else going on.
 

The challenge with all the above is that the signs are very subtle and tend to creep up on us. And as I said above, if you’re not unhappy, you may tell yourself that all’s well. But really, life can be so much more. You deserve to feel blissful instead of just ok. Get some support and get moving! Once you gain momentum, you’ll be so glad you made the effort.

[bctt tweet=”Life can be so much more. You deserve to feel blissful instead of just ok. https://www.wildspiritscoaching.com/happiness”]

About Time!

Time and Time Management, Wild Spirits Coaching

When I was a kid, I was chronically late. My friend, who’d pick me up for school (in those days, we walked to school), unfailingly arrived on time and stood in our hallway, waiting patiently while I dashed around looking for stray books to stuff into my bag, and my mum tried to get me to hold still long enough so she could run a brush through my always-messy and untameable hair.
 

Looking back, it’s funny, but there was a lot of unnecessary stress in my life when I was growing up! It’s even funnier when I, after learning punctuality and time management in my 20s, get told by people how “German” I am because of this (I live in Ireland these days). If only they knew how very “un-German” I am by nature! It was a big effort for me to come to terms with that elusive thing called time.
 

Over the years, I’ve studied and tried out different time management systems, with varying success. It’s probably no accident that my Coaching specialisation – prioritising passions – has a lot to do with time management.
 

Are you ready for some pointers on how to deal with the, quite literally, ‘time of your life’? Read on.

[bctt tweet=”Are you ready for some pointers on how to deal with the, quite literally, ‘time of your life’? @sibylleleon”]

Join the Tribe of Wild Spirits! You’ll get free weekly Coaching magic, exclusive offers and much more. As a welcome gift, you’ll also get the free Checklist 3 Steps to Stop Procrastinating and Start Doing What Lights You Up TODAY. Simply fill in the form:
 






Wild Spirits News


You’ll receive a weekly newsletter every Monday. You can unsubscribe at any time. I’ll never share your data with anyone.


 

Systems failure

 

I adore the work of the late Stephen Covey. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is my all-time favourite non-fictional book. It all makes so much sense, and I’m applying so much of it in my own life, and yet, the time management system attached to it is something I’ve never quite been able to implement.
 

The same goes for all the other systems I’ve learned about over the years. There are always highly valuable elements I put into practice, but an entire system? Nah. Isn’t that strange?
 

I believe it’s because time is a construct which doesn’t actually exist. Gay Hendricks acknowledges this fact in his book The Big Leap and introduces a principle called “Einstein Time”. He points out how relative time really is, how time can drag or fly depending on what we do, and draws the conclusion that time is under our command. Humans created it and so we can decide how much of it we have. It sounds a little crazy – you’d really have to read it in the book to fully understand – but as long as you understand that time is whatever you make it, you’re getting the gist of it.
 

When it comes to learning, I’m very eclectic: I take whatever suits me from the different ideas and approaches I study, and put them into practice. In the following, I’ll tell you some “time hacks” you can use to take control over the time in your life.
 
 

Prioritise like a pro

 

If you are one of those people who always have a million things on their plate, Stephen Covey’s quadrants could be a lifesaver. The idea is to focus on the things that are important, but not urgent, things like looking after your health (eating well, going to the gym), your relationship (it’s not urgent to spent quality time with your spouse; you won’t get divorced tomorrow if you don’t do it today, but in the long run, you will run into problems), and self care.
 

The important, but not urgent quadrant II contains all the most important parts of our lives. In reality, it often gets pushed aside by things that are urgent, like the phone ringing, everyday chores like the grocery shopping or picking up the kids from school, etc. The idea is to schedule your quadrant II activities first, before everything else, and make them a priority.
 
 

Master of time

 

  • What activities makes you feel like time stops existing? I mean the kind of feeling you get when you’ve just fallen in love, the way the hours spent with your lover somehow don’t exist, as if the two of you together were outside of time. Anything which makes you feel even remotely like that, is likely a passion and should take a central role in your life.
  •  

  • Watch out for your Einstein-Time clues. Audit your life: Are there obligations, clubs, meetings, even hobbies, that you are no longer passionate about? Don’t feel bad about cancelling something. It may have fulfilled you once, but you have outgrown it. Time to let go!
  • [bctt tweet=”Remember that you don’t have to fill every minute of every day with activity. @sibylleleon”]

  • Remember that you don’t have to fill every minute of every day with activity. Downtime, simply being instead of doing, is good for the soul and slows down the overall pace of your life. You’ll suddenly find you’re much less busy and frantic, and find time for those things you actually want to do.

Of Course You’re Not Stuck!

stuck, pursue your passion and live your dreams

When I was stuck in withdrawal mode, neglecting most of my friends and living between my soul-eating job and my own four walls, I was honestly convinced that nothing was wrong with me. If you had offered me help to “get back to life”, I would have laughed and said I was right in the middle of life.
 

The only thing I disliked was the job. But when I was finally in a position to give that up and move across the country to where I feel at home, that’s when I began to slowly realise how deep a sleep I’d been in. It was a slow, painstaking process, and to this day I still have days and weeks when I’m a little quieter and need to remind myself, but all in all my life is truly unrecognisable.
 

I realised with crystal clarity that nothing in life is more important than to do what lights us up. The only challenge is to explain this to the people who need to hear it most, because they are usually oblivious to their “dormant” state, just like I was.
 

This article is dedicated to those who are currently stuck, or struggling. Life tends to evolve in cycles, and almost everyone experiences these periods of stagnation from time to time. Therefore, please don’t stop reading if you’re in a period of high self-actualisation at the moment. You might need to pick yourself up some time in the future.
 
 

Join the Tribe of Wild Spirits! You’ll get free weekly Coaching magic, exclusive offers and much more. As a welcome gift, you’ll also get the free Checklist 3 Steps to Stop Procrastinating and Start Doing What Lights You Up TODAY. Simply fill in the form:
 






Wild Spirits News


You’ll receive a weekly newsletter every Monday. You can unsubscribe at any time. I’ll never share your data with anyone.


 

How can you tell?

 

It can be really hard to know that we’re in a state of settling for less than we could be, or stagnating in our development. First of all, to a certain extent it’s absolutely natural to plateau in life. We can’t always move ahead and forward; there are quieter times in everybody’s life.
 

It’s when we begin to settle into these quieter times, and begin to accept the status quo as “as good as it gets”, that we have an issue. That’s because the very nature of life is change and growth. Just look into nature!
 

You might be stuck if you:
 

  • have lost sight of something you used to want to achieve.
  • have stopped doing something which used to light you up.
  • let your health slide, be it in terms of physical fitness, eating habits, sleep, or anything else.
  • don’t prioritise Self Care.

 

Two distinct stages

 

What makes the matter more complicated, is the fact that there are several stages. Roughly speaking, there are at least two:
 

  1. Pursue your passion: You practice an art or craft or hobby/interest which lights you up. Note that this isn’t just about “things you like”. It’s great to do anything you like, but a passion is something you absolutely love doing. It makes your eyes sparkle, you could talk about it all day, and it makes you forget time.
  2.  

  3. Live your dreams: Once your passions are firmly incorporated into your life, you can go about matching the rest of life to it. This is about doing work which makes your soul sing, which doesn’t feel like work. It’s living every day in full alignment with your soul’s purpose. For many people, it takes a lifetime to realise this bit by bit. I’m certainly still in the process myself!

 

Taking measures

 

Even if you are not currently stuck, it’s almost always possible to amp up a passion. To determine your next step, take a piece of paper or open a text document on your computer, and write two lists.
 

On the first, write down what you love doing more than anything else – your passion(s), the thing or things which light you up. This is something you love doing, for you!
 

On the second list, write down the most important people in your life. Typically, this will be family and/or friends.
 

Then try and determine honestly how much time you spend doing these activities, and how much time you spend with these most important people. There aren’t any hard and fast rules as to how much time you should spend, but it should be a considerable amount. This is what your life is about, and it deserves some space!
 

If some or all of it is currently absent from your life, start with 5 minutes a day. Then expand it to 10, 15, 20… Get some support if you need it (I’m only an email away, and there are other Coaches out there as well!). This is worth every minute and every penny you spend on it, because once you get truly un-stuck, you’ll wonder how you didn’t see it before. It’s time to soar!

Are You A Good Enough Artist? (or Writer/Crafter/Dancer/…)

Permission to Pursue Your Passion

When I about five years old, I started writing awkward little stories on my parents’ ancient mechanical typewriter. At twelve, I wrote what could pass as a “novel”. Of course it was awful, altogether terrible writing. My family was rather blunt, as families are. Nobody told me: “You need to pursue your passion!” I internalised the criticism to such an extent that I stopped writing.
 

Later on, I went to study literature, and now I had the judgment to see that anything fictional I produced simply wasn’t up to scratch. I only ever wrote small poems or snippets, few and far between.
 

It took a great emotional blow for this to change. In 2010, when my mum lay dying after a bad stroke, I started writing a fan-fiction set in a computer game I played at the time. It still wasn’t good writing, but I no longer cared – I poured all my emotions into the story and my characters. That’s what kept me sane.
 

Today, I write whenever I feel like it. I even wrote a novel-length story. It’s a good story, but still not very well-written. Who cares? I’ve learned that I don’t need to be published or get recognised as an author. I don’t need anybody else’s validation or permission; I can just write for myself, because it gives me joy.

[bctt tweet=”I don’t need anybody else’s validation or permission; I can just write for myself, because it gives me joy.”]

This is something I only learned in my 40s. I’ve wasted so much time! And many of my Coaching clients are hung up on the same misconception: That you have to be basically a prodigy in order to practice an art or a craft. I’m here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.
 
 

Join the Tribe of Wild Spirits! You’ll get free weekly Coaching magic, exclusive offers and much more. As a welcome gift, you’ll also get the free Checklist 3 Steps to Stop Procrastinating and Start Doing What Lights You Up TODAY. Simply fill in the form:
 






Wild Spirits News


You’ll receive a weekly newsletter every Monday. You can unsubscribe at any time. I’ll never share your data with anyone.


 

The perfection trap

 

We all love stories like Mozart’s: The child prodigy who went on to become a celebrated composer, revolutionising the music of his time and earning undying fame. We look up to the genius of the great poets and the sheer raw skill and expression of actors and dancers.
 

It’s definitely a good thing to recognise and appreciate quality. The problem begins when we begin to judge everyone, including ourselves, by the standards of the masters. Or maybe even that isn’t a problem – there’s nothing wrong with me knowing the flaws of my own writing, after all. The trouble is that I allowed it to keep me from writing for decades.
 

Can we all agree, then, that having judgment and being able to tell a masterpiece from an amateur’s work shows taste and education – but drawing the conclusion that only the masters should practise their art, is wrong?
 
 

Pursue your passion without being a genius

 

There are very practical reasons for you to step up and pursue your passion.
 

1. “Every master was once a disaster”
Very few people can play the piano the way Mozart did at the age of four. Most of the greats in any art or craft, had very modest beginnings – clumsy paintings, bad writing, trivial compositions, and more failed crafting projects than you can shake a stick at. The truth is, you’ll never know if you really “got it” unless you commit to practising for years and decades.
 

2. Improving yourself
Even if you don’t reach the lofty heights of mastery, if you keep practising you will get better. This is the aim of every serious artist or crafter. You may not have your paintings exhibited in a posh gallery, but is that really what attracted you to your art/craft in the first place? If you love what you do, you’ll have the urge to be the very best you can be at it. Learning and improving your own level of skill will give you a buzz.
 

3. The fulfilment lies in creating
Sometimes it seems like we’re waiting for the world to give us permission to do something. More often than not, we tie this imaginary permission slip to our skill level. Since even the masters often doubt themselves, it’s the perfect recipe for never creating anything. But isn’t creating the most fulfilling part?
 
 

Your Happiness Counts

 

What you need to understand is that your personal happiness counts. In fact, it’s what life is all about! Look past the judgment and ask yourself why you want to create. How does it make you feel?
 

Stop waiting. Stop denying yourself. I’m here to tell you: You have permission to do what lights you up. People who are on fire set the world on fire. Go shine your light!

[bctt tweet=”Stop waiting. Stop denying yourself. I’m here to tell you: You have permission to do what lights you up.”]