The 3 Steps I Took To Take Control of My Life.
“If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story.”- Terry Pratchett.
“If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own”- Paulo Coelho.
I have always been the kind of person who has aimed to meet, and exceed, other people’s
expectations. I have always prided myself on certain qualities, such as keeping peace and harmony amongst my professional and social circles and saying ‘yes’ only not to disappoint others. After 30 + years of living my life this way, it’s safe to say I’ve become exhausted.
For those of you who have been following my blog for some time now, you may know that I have spent a significant amount of time over the past 18 months investing in self-development. I have incorporated reading and podcasts as part of my daily routine and have become obsessed with becoming my best self. Part of this process has been learning to take control of my own life and to live less for others, and more for myself. There were a series of steps and questions I asked myself in order to take control and begin living my life for me, and I wanted to share these with you here:
1. UNDERSTANDING MY WHY
A couple of years ago, someone asked me “what is your purpose in life? The sad reality is I
didn’t know. I hadn’t really thought about it. Surely I couldn’t be the only person who’s never seriously questioned what their purpose in life is?
I thought to myself- there has to be more to life than simply waking up, dragging myself to work, coming home, winding down with tv, aimlessly scrolling through instagram and waking up the next day just to do it all again. I knew I had to take control of my destiny and my life and immediately started to to plan and design my purpose.
Understanding my ‘why’ has enabled me to wake up every day with purpose and feeling like I’m an unstoppable force. It had enabled me to keep pushing when the easier option was to quit. It has also made it easier for me to say no to people and things who are
not in line with who I am or where I want to go.
2. SETTING MY OWN PERSONAL POLICY
As a Head of HR, I’ve written countless policies for organisations, but never any for myself.
I have learned that people are more understanding towards you when you have set
policies in place, rather than simply saying no because you are too tired or simply don’t feel
Taking this into consideration and learning to set some boundaries and parameters
for myself, I have cleared two time slots per week where I can fit in social events with family
and friends such as coffees, breakfasts and dinners. These time slots are Saturday night and
Sunday morning. The exception to this rule is when big, important life events take place
outside of these time slots, such as weddings, Christenings and significant birthdays.
The rest of the week is my time- time for me to work towards my goals, invest in my mind
and my body.
Setting and communicating a policy to my friends and family has made it easier for me to
protect my time, whilst still maintaining a level of understanding from people who are close
So how exactly have I managed to do this? The conversation has gone something like this:
Friend: “Hi Lara, let’s catch up for lunch on Saturday?”
Lara: “Hi <enter friend’s name>, I would love to, however I have a really heavy workload right now and have set a policy where I can meet with friends and family on either Saturday night, or Sunday morning. Do either of those times work for you?”
Friend: Sure, let’s do dinner instead?”
Lara: Perfect, can’t wait.”
And what about those people who haven’t been so understanding you ask? Well, let’s just say my social circle has progressively gotten smaller and I’m perfectly okay with it. Quality over quantity, always.
3. LETTING GO OF WHAT OTHERS THINK
“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”- Dita Von Teese.
When I first launched my blog I was so concerned by how others would view
me. The most ridiculous thoughts would cross my mind such as “what if people think I sound
stupid” or “what if people find me boring.” I have learned that no matter what you do,
there’s always going to be someone who doesn’t like you. I leaned that may not be for
everyone, and that’s perfectly okay. Worrying about how others view me is a complete
waste of time and energy, and time taken away that could be spent on working towards my
goals and dreams.
I’ve learned to become comfortable in my own skin and be proud of the
person I am. The people who are right for me have found a way to come into my life, and
TAKING CONTROL OF MY LIFE
What are some of your experiences in learning to let go of the opinions of others and take
control of your life? I would love to hear your thoughts, please leave your comments below!