Blueprints for Your Life

There they are. All of them laid in front of you. Choices. Directions. Winding paths, Straight ones. Ones that are overgrown and unclear.

 Which path do you choose? Depending upon what place your life is currently in, all of them can be so inviting. Maybe two or three are tempting you. Enticing you to choose them. Which one leads to happiness? Success? Health? Money? Are they exclusive to one another? Is there an easy path or a Best path? Can you pick more than ONE?

Then, what happens when you get stuck on a path? You thought you just paused for a moment, but now, you just can’t move forward. Is it okay to pause? Turn around? Change direction? Go sideways? Will there be someone to help along the way? A guide? Some magical spirit? Obstacles? Trails that are washed out?

Often, the first path is chosen right after high school or college. The thought is “I have a degree and now I will…” fill in the blank with the chosen career. Teach. Fight Fires. Bring Justice. Med school. Does this mean that one must stay committed to that ONE direction always? No. If becoming a doctor is your calling by all means stick with it. Keep going. However, what happens to some of us, is Life. There are circumstances that come up and change us. They redirect not just our internal direction but our whole life path. Sometimes, the most difficult part is learning to know how to recognize the distinctive change and figure out how we will make a simple course change or forge a whole new trail.

My last day of work was December 31, 2013. It wasn’t a choice. The department I worked for was being closed down for budgeting purposes. I had been there for almost ten years. Others had been there much longer than I. We were given notice and help with job searches and resume’s. But nothing prepares you for NOT being the person you have been for ten years. Had I looked at other jobs while there? Yes, but then leaving would have been on my terms and when I was ready.

Even though I knew this was coming, the first month of not working was a struggle. I looked for work. I updated my resume. I had plenty of time for reflection and writing. I should have been super productive. I needed to make a choice between who I wanted to be in that moment and six months from that moment, and then twelve months. Even as I was mourning the path I had been on, I felt torn between settling for a jobs that no longer met my expectations or going in the direction of writing and creative work that I really loved. The choice itself had it’s own obstacles to navigate: family, financial obligations, etc. I realized I had some good fortune, so I was able to make the choice that allowed me to follow my creative path. I still stumble and bump down the trail, climbing over fallen trees and pulling myself out of sink holes, cutting away brush and overgrowth. Going down this new path, I have seen new parts of myself I didn’t know were there, and rediscovered pieces that had been forgotten.

Following this new path has been possible because of all the others who had walked it before.

 WAIT! What? Others walked your path?

No. They walked their own but they left behind some amazing blueprints for me to use. So, I use them.

 Examining them closely so that I can adapt their plans as my own. Forging forward on a new life choice is struggle enough. There is no need to start completely from nothing.

In the book, The Happiness Project, author Gretchen Rubin uses this idea. She sets herself out on year long quest to find more happiness in her life. She reads many books and implements several changes in varying aspects of her life. Some big things, some small things. But she did not do everything. As she read and listened, she adjusted, edited and then incorporated them in her best way, to fit with her life and her family. Then end result, she was happier. She forged her own trail through hundreds of pieces of advice.  She is an inspiration in her discovery. It wasn’t just her conclusions about seeking happiness, it was because she plowed forward in a new direction, wrote about it, then created a blueprint that thousands of others could use to seek their own happiness.

Blueprints are adaptable for the circumstances. They give us outline and structure but the final form is entirely up to us.

 How can you use someone’s blueprint for your path?
 Think about who out in the world is doing something similar to what you want to do. Look around in books, online, at schools or in your own network, and see if there is someone who is already a few steps ahead. Read their books. Look at their webpage. E-mail them. Talk to them. Gather your information, then BEGIN.

Taking that first step down your path is key. You can learn from others and have libraries of knowledge in your head but if you don’t use it, then it is not valuable.

You heard me. None of the information will help you unless YOU take the first steps.

It’s ok to go slow. It’s ok to be wary and little nervous. It’s ok to stop and check out what is hanging out on the side of your trail. I know you might be scared. I get it. I spent years wanting to start a blog. Talking about it and mulling it over until I reached a point that what I wanted to say was more important to me than being afraid of what other people thought of what I said. Does that mean when I sit down to write I don’t get a bit nervous and wonder what kind of response I will get? No. It means that I have something to say and I know the people that will find it valuable will hear it, and the people that don’t like it, well, I guess they can read something else. It’s still a little scary putting myself out into the world. I also couldn’t be happier about it. I am stumbling, tripping, and falling into the cyber mud and it is still the right path for me.

 There is a path for you. For some out there, maybe there are a few paths. Just start walking. If you get lost or sidetracked along the way, remember you can go back to your blueprints and try again. There is no failure, just starting from a new place.

Here are some other fantastic people that I find have great blueprints.

Leonie Dawson: I first heard of her years and years ago on the planets ark forum. I remember when she first announced that Blue Mountain had bought one of her designs. Since then, she has built a wildly successful online coaching and artful business. She is very real about who she is and she makes me laugh when she cusses in her posts.

SARK: Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy. I was 20 when I first read The Creative Companion by SARK. I have since read ALL of her books. She continues to do great courses and presentations for the creative spirits in the world. I have met her twice and done a few of her live phone calls. She is amazing. Sark moves forward through all of life’s challenges in her little cottage in San Francisco.

Chris Guillebeau: Author of The Art of Non-Comformity and The $100 Start-up. I read his books out of order. At the time, I was reading all kinds of business books, and the $100 Start-up fell off the shelf at me. I think I read it in about 36 hours, give or take. Then devoured The Art of Non-Conformity as soon as I was done. (I swear next year I am going to his World Domination Summit in Portland. I wanted to this year but tickets sold out WAY too fast.) If you feel you are blindly hacking away at your own trail, I HIGHLY recommend his books.

Here are others that I have discovered in the last couple of years, who took chances, love what they do and inspire others daily. They may not be as “famous” as the previous people but I have learned so much from them.

Lamisha from Life Once Dreamt coaching. Lamisha is in LOVE with helping women pursue and accomplish their business and life goals. She exudes delight and happiness and her articles have been published on The Huffington Post. Find her on Facebook. Visit her webpage. She is an inspiration.

Laura Probert is a writer of two very awesome books and a fierce writing warrior and I love her. She is a bundle of creative energy that is inspiring and motivating. Her books include Warrior Joy, A Journal to Inspire Your Fiercely Alive Whole Self and Warrior Love, A Journal to Inspire Your Fiercely Alive Whole Self. You can purchase them here.

Shai Ford is Unleashed! Recently named co-CEO of Wild Sister magazine and owner of Vagabond Studio. Shai has taken metal stamping jewelry to a whole new level. She also offers courses in Rockin’ Your Small Biz, helping small business owners make their business more successful. She writes about improving Etsy stores, improving product photography and more. Follow her on Facebook as well.

Tery at Creative Soul Poetry has been inspiration since I first met her online two years ago. She knows how to get to a person’s creative center and help focus. She is great at finding a place to become unstuck in the creative process. She has incorporated healing and the creative process for herself and others. You can also find her on Facebook.

While searching for your path, I encourage to look at these amazing women to see how they are laying blueprints in the world for others to follow.