In the beginning of my self development process I wanted to embrace my creativity and the artist living within me . A coach advised me the book the Artist Way from Julia Cameron. The main topic of the book is morning pages.
What are morning pages?
The exercise is to write first thing in the morning 3 pages longhand during 30 minutes . That’s it. It’s simple. You write everything that goes through your mind without holding yourself back. If you want to write “the wall is white”, just write it. The pages are not to be read to anyone or even yourself. Let go of your fears, don’t be scared to be judged, don’t bother to sound good. It doesn’t have to be meaningful. Write down your thoughts and put the words on paper.
How does it work?
When you have thoughts in your brain, they vanish as suddenly as they appear It is not easy to make constructive thinking. We are easily interrupted by some external factors. With morning pages what you write is not just endless words in your head anymore but they exist on a sheet of paper. It allows you to read your life, your opinion and what’s been spinning around in your head but you didn’t pay much attention to it before. Those thoughts are hints that may reveal what you want, who you are and your needs. Haven’t you notice that sometimes you feel blocked with a problem and as soon as you write the problem down, you gain more clarity?
“Morning pages leave no corner of our life unexamined. Our dreams, our hopes, our disappointments, our pains(…). A day at at a time. A page at a time, an issue at a time, we become intimate with ourselves.”
“We connect to our emotions and our intuitions”. – Julia Cameron
Building a safe place
I’ve organized my life to prepare myself in case if things would go wrong. I made my life a secure place with a well-paid job in an industry that hires a lot so I won’t have to worry about being unemployed. I’ve prepared myself to resist in difficult moments. I’ve created my bunker to protect myself from what can occur in my life. Of course, once I’ve found that secure place I was yearning for a life full of meaning and passion. I was expecting a change and something that would free myself from this lethargic life where each day seemed so similar to the hundred previous ones. My life seemed like a boat that would go through life with a minimal chance to sink in poverty or shame. This boat would have led boringly to the end of my life not having experienced some exciting days.
Waiting for the extraordinary life
I was hoping that something would happen to my life, that I would meet someone who would somehow reveal my unique talent. My life would tremendously change. But of course, it never happened. Nobody appeared and saved me from my own life. There was no god intervention to help me and put me in the spot light. I was waiting for some better days to arrive. I was hoping for a passionate life with amazing friends, amazing experiences… Life is not like a lottery. It’s not about waiting for the luck to come ring at your door. There are too many fairy tales where the princess is just waiting for a prince on his white horse to save her. The princess has nothing to do to make it happen. If you’re waiting to be saved by a prince or to win the lottery, you may wait for a long time.
Happy New Year, everyone!
A new year is always a chance to do better than the previous year, to take on new challenges, to find new opportunities and to make some new resolutions. I often hear people saying that they don’t make new year’s resolutions but still they keep hoping for a better job, a better health, better relationships or simply a better life.
Choose your resolutions wisely
Picking few resolutions is better than many small where you would lose track of them. Prefer a resolution that would bring important and significant benefits in your life, something that really matters to you.
Choose a resolution to improve your life
Make the changes for your sake, to feel better, to respond an internal need. Don’t make changes because people wants/advise you to. Those kind of changes don’t stick and the chances of failure are much more important. Put your needs first. If people tell you to lose weight, to get a better job, I don’t tell you to not listen to them but take a resolution if you feel it is right for you.
Give up the “Should”
Don’t formulate your resolution in terms “I should….”. When you say “should” it’s already something that you don’t want to do. It’s hard for me to imagine myself committing to such a goal. I feel unmotivated and disempowered facing a “should”. It sounds like something you didn’t choose and people imposed it to you. Take the responsibility of your resolution. Formulate your resolution in an uplifting way, make them positive, fun, fulfilling, challenging or whatever that is more inspiring you.
I should lose 10 kilos => I want to be healthy and eat healthier
I should sleep earlier => I want to have more energy to achieve my goals
I should learn Japanese => I want to discover and have a better understanding of Japanese culture
Yesterday, my friend Allison told me that the story of my self development inspired her. She wanted to know herself better. But she didn’t know where to begin. It is not easy to make the first step. Her request made me think. So where to begin?
Wheel of life
How about doing an easy exercise to assess your life ?! I did this exercice myself. It was amazing to have such a quick and visual overview of my life.
It’s a powerful coaching tool that is often used in the beginning of coaching to help a person to have a clear view of their life.
How does it work ?
First, you choose at least 8 areas of your life you want to assess ( popular areas are in bold):
– Personal development
It is up to you to put any other area that is important to you. Everybody is different after all 🙂
1. Take a sheet of paper and draw a circle. From the center, draw as many lines as the number of areas you choose. If you choose 8 areas, it should look like this.
2. Rate your level of satisfaction on a scale of zero to ten for each area of your life. Zero means not satisfied at all, ten means highly satisfied.
3. Mark on the life wheel each score and connect them. It should look like a web. The wheel shows how balanced and how satisfied you are about your life.
4. Rank each area according to their importance
In October 2013, I told my boss I wanted to change my career. I knew it was a major step for me to admit what I wanted. The next step was to take actions and look for my passions. But my wedding was planned for mid 2014, I needed to focus on it. So I’ve postponed the project to look for my passions after the wedding. I wanted to be committed to my self development. I knew it would take all my energy. I would need headspace for that. After the wedding, I still couldn’t take any actions.
As advised in the book Coach Yourself to Success , I have decided to look for a life coach to get some help. This task seemed utterly complicated to me because I would commit myself to the process of self development. It was unknown and out of my comfort zone. I was in a position where I knew what I didn’t want anymore but too scared to reach out and take responsibility for myself to improve my own life.
Until one day in August 2014, my husband gave me a reference of a coach in Paris that his colleague knew. Usually, when you face a difficult project it is advised to take one little step at a time. My little step was to send an email to that coach. It was just few lines. After the first email, the rest of the process came naturally. I couldn’t settle for a random coach. So I looked and contacted other coaches to compare. Soon, I had complimentary coaching sessions.
Change in action
To prepare myself for the coaching sessions, I felt that I needed to open my minded and gain confidence. I begun to read motivational and inspiring tips on self developments blogs and on Twitter. I’ve decided to tweet inspiring quotes @chenanna. This is how I gained energy and put myself in the right mindset to begin my self development.
Before when I was wondering what my passions or interests were, the only answers that popped in my mind were shopping, watching TV, going out with people, going to restaurants… but isn’t it what everybody does casually to socialize or during their spare time. In the end, I only had spare time… I was feeling frustrated and empty.
When I became more conscious that I wanted to change my career, I realized that even out of my work I was not enjoying my life. My problem was deeper than just about my career. I thought that I was supposed to be having fun outside of my work. I wasted so much energy on disliking my work that I was left with no energy to enjoy my life outside of my work.
Another reason which explains why I had no passions, is that I had a very strict and close minded education. For my parents, the goal in life is to earn money, live comfortably and follow Chinese traditions. They never taught me to dream or to enjoy my life. As a consequence of such education, I’ve never allowed myself to experience much outside of the boundaries of my education.
I’ve heard people saying “you know if you have passions or not. If you had any passions, you would be aware of it.” I couldn’t conceive that I was a passionless person. I am such a passionate person with my husband, my friends, when I speak and simply when I go through my everyday life. Sometimes my feelings and my emotions are so strong and are rushing in me. I am sure I have passions. But what are they?
To reduce my procrastination time, last April I’ve decided to switch off my TV and put it in the closet. Every day, I was watching movies or reality shows. As soon as I arrived home, the first thing I did was to switch on the TV.
What you see and experience shapes your brain like what you eat and drink shapes your body. I don’t want to be stupid and lazy by watching over and over the same people mocking one another on TV. Self-development books always advise you to shut down your TV to reclaim the time you waste watching it. We are easily caught up by a movie and anything on TV. I don’t say everything is silly and isn’t worth watching. But you can choose a program to watch and after turn off the TV and not let it on by default.
It has been 6 months now that my TV is stored in my closet. I feel great not watching it. I don’t miss it. I don’t watch news. People are sometimes surprised about how ignorant I’m about events in the world. I don’t feel the need to be aware of it.
You may wonder what I do instead of watching TV. In the beginning, I was watching Korean dramas and American TV shows online. OK, not much better :p but at least I was choosing consciously what I wanted to watch. With the TV, I was watching whatever was the least uninteresting…. Hum hum.
I began to read self-development posts, tweet about self-development, write my blog etc. Switching off the TV freed me and gave me some time to experience what I really enjoy doing. Now, my self-development journey takes more and more space in my life. And I’m loving it!
I (re)discovered an extremely interesting website.
TED Talks !!! Tada 🙂
I have trouble to talk about my career change with my friends and people around me. I was worried that they wouldn’t understand or worse they would mock me. What? You want to change your career? You graduated from a great school, you are in a great company, and you have a decent salary… Here are all the voices hunting my head. I was really careful to tell what I was going through to the right person and the right moment. This matter is very important to me and I really don’t want people to make a joke out of it. I don’t want to have to explain myself for hours. According to all the kind of reaction I got, I classified people in following groups:
Type 1: People who don’t understand at all
They are completely closed to the possibility to have a passionate job or other way of living. They think that life is about:
• Having money,
• Having children,
• Having few days of vacations,
• Working to have money,
• Working for 9 to 5,
• Experiencing your passions/interests only out of your job,
Those people think that life is like that and you can’t do anything about it. I would only get sad and waste my time to think otherwise. The faster I would go back to my right mind, the less painful it would be. They would argue with me for hours that I’m wrong and I can’t make my passions to be my job. They think that if you make your passion your work, it would get boring and daunting as it is for any job.
Type 2: People who pretend to understand
Those would pretend to understand but at the same time say that it’s not for them. My dream to make my passions to be my job resonates in them but they are limiting themselves so much that they directly find excuses. They want to feel free to dream and to pursue a passionate life.
It’s been a year I have realized I want to change my career. Since then, I’ve been looking for materials and help. I began to read self-help books and blogs to get inspired. I’ve been looking for people who are in the same place to talk and exchange about career transition. I was looking for blogs about people explaining how they change their career or their life. I couldn’t find any interesting or inspiring French blog about this topic.
For the first time, I thought it was a good idea to write my own blog and to talk about this journey. I’ve never had the need or the will to write about any topics before.
The goal of this blog is to track my progress in self-help and to discuss about what I learn in books/blogs/experience related to self-development.
Name of the blog
I call this blog “Do what you love” because it’s a popular quote that resonates in me. For too long, I’ve taken the decisions based on the wrong reasons. I’ve chosen my career because it was easy for me, because my university was prestigious, because you can get a good salary, because it was easy to get a job etc. The right reason is to choose what I love/like/interests me. Whether choosing a career, a boyfriend, a friend, a movie to watch, clothes to wear whatever in life, now I’ve decided to choose what I love/like/makes me smile/pleases me !