Living by Design or Circumstance?

Photo of mountain pathSo much in life can distract us from doing what we want. Life happens; you respond. Someone has an emergency; you accommodate. You have a choice. You could create space–in your schedule, in life. Do you know what the purpose of your work is, why are you doing it? What kind of life do you want to live? Take time, and design it. You can either live a reactionary life, or one of design. You choose.

Once I started a family, I felt pulled by the new baby or school schedule. I never considered that I could actually design how I wanted just about every day to go. My oldest son will turn thirty this year and my youngest is sixteen. That’s a lot of time spent reacting and responding to the needs of others.

My questions to you: Are you working to meet your financial obligations? Are you practicing to provide for the needs of your patients? Have you thought about, how you want to show up in life, and what kind of reputation and legacy do you want to leave?

I don’t want to be morbid or for you to necessary look at your end days and think about what people will say about you. I AM saying you should take stock of your life so far and determine how you would want it to be different. In a sense, take inventory and look for the pluses and the not so good parts. Once you’ve done that, do some serious soul searching for what you would love to have more of.

“Business, and life in general, is a balancing act between excelling in the current systems while creating new and improved ways of doing things and meeting the needs of those around us.”  — Jim Stovall

Every day, at the end of my Deanna’s Daily video, where I take a quote and break it down, I say, “Make welcome that life you would love to live.”  What is that life that you would love to live? What do you want more of and what do you want less of?  We begin with the end in mind. If we don’t do this, circumstances have a way of dictating our every day. Much like I experienced when my children were young or while I was a student. Someone else decided what my life would be like. I allowed that to happen. It was a choice I made unconsciously. I allowed circumstances to get the best of me.

One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. “Which road do I take?” she asked. “Where do you want to go?” was his response. “I don’t know,” Alice answered. “Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.”
– Alice in Wonderland

When we go about our life, following one day with another, never really giving life thought and reacting to whatever circumstance comes our way, we become unsatisfied, jealous, often angry and eventually depressed. We have a choice. If designing your entire life seems overwhelming, look at the next three years. Begin there.

Three years from now, how many days a week would you like to be working? What percentage of patients do you want to be committed to full treatment plans? What vacations would you like to take? How will you be spending your free time? How are you enjoying the relationships in your life?

When I began doing this, I was shocked at the positive results. Here’s one simple example. I wanted to have an extra day in my schedule when I travel, to give myself space and alone time. As soon as I wrote that out, I began adding a day on either side of the trip when I book my travel. I’ve been doing this for two years now, and when I return from a trip I’m not harried and stressed.

Write out a description of your answers to the questions I’ve posed in this piece. Review it daily. Make decisions and take action, based on that life you want. Keep the vision of that life you would love to live in front of you, and soon you’ll be living a life that you have designed. That’s how you do it.  Yes, situations will come up, but because you have a design/plan, you will respond accordingly. With time, you become more skillful. You get derailed less. The best part, you become bolder in your design for the life you love living.

Begin today.