The Life of Your Dreams | What It Takes

As I am typing this, I am sitting on a rooftop terrace atop a building in one of the most posh neighborhoods in Paris, France. My husband, Rob, is inside… Using his laptop to take care of a few business matters back home in the US.

We are renting this flat in the city for the week. The second stop on the three-week, four-country tour of Europe we’ve been planning for over a year. Tomorrow is our last day in Paris. We’ve already been to London and will be traveling to Rome and two cities in Greece before returning home to Texas.

As we’ve mentioned this upcoming adventure to people over the past several months we have heard a range of different responses:

“That is a LONG time.”

“Um… You know that’s going to be really expensive, don’t you?”

“How are you going to miss that much work?”

“Wow… You are so lucky!”

Personally, I prefer the word blessed instead of lucky. Because we are blessed. And if we ever forget that then I pray God will deal us a quick reminder. But I really dislike the word “luck”.

To me, luck is such a disempowering word. It implies something left completely to chance… Like winning the lottery or stumbling upon that perfect dress on a clearance wrack. People perceive luck to be something out of their control, and the fact of the matter is we have so much more control in this life than what most of us believe.

A trip of this magnitude took a lot of planning. Poor Rob didn’t realize exactly how much until we arrived and started working methodically through the 6-page itinerary I assembled for our little adventure. Nearly every day he utters a phrase such as, “How did you find this place?” or “How did we get these seats?” or “How did you know to do that?” at which point I always just smile and say, “I planned for it.”

Life is kind of like one big trip.

There is so much to see, so much to do! So many choices that it’s easy to become overwhelmed and just go with what is easiest. Just do what everyone else is doing. Just do what is normal.

And there isn’t just one right or wrong answer… Just as there are thousands of vacation rentals to choose from in Paris, there are hundreds of thousands of choices to make as we go about our lives, trying to decide what path is right for us. What’s right for one person is likely not right for another. And what’s wrong for you may be someone else’s right.

The important thing to understand is you do have a choice. The only wrong answer is the one that leaves you feeling unhappy, unfulfilled and dispassionate.

In planning this trip I chose destinations, accommodations and activities that fit the lifestyle we wanted to experience while we were here: We only had 24 hours in London, so I packed our itinerary as full as possible. I’ve already been to Paris, so I chose to stay in a neighborhood where virtually no one speaks English, and we can truly experience the Parisian culture during our stay. Rome is the opposite… We’ve never been there and don’t speak a word of Italian, so we want to go and see and do all the tourist stuff. In Greece, we wanted to experience a blend of culture and relaxation, so we split that leg of the journey up with time in Athens and a few days on one of the Greek islands.

There are a thousand other ways we could have spent each leg of our journey. None would have been wrong. They just weren’t our choice.

We tackle our entire life in pretty much the same way. Here’s exactly how to do it:

1) Begin with the end in mind — To get where you want to go, you must first decide on what you want. Spend some time designing your dream life. I have a spiral notebook with pages and pages describing mine. And I update it about once a year. It is full of detail, life, emotion! It is both personal and powerful.

2) Then, go back to the beginning — Once you have designed your dream life on paper, it’s important to go back and determine the philosophies that will make that life’s reality. Not sure how to do that? “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson is a great book to start with… It will show you how!

3) Start planning — Quit waiting for someday. Life will never be perfect. Even with over a year of planning, Rob and I were still scrambling to tie up loose ends before departing on our trip. If we had waited for “the perfect time” to begin our adventure we would still be at home… Airing at our suitcases. The perfect time to begin working towards your dream life is right now. Always.

4) Be diligent and persistent — Hard work, diligence and persistence are not enough to get you where you want to go on own, but when combined with steps 1-3 they make a stellar combination! Now, a lot of people who are reading this right now may disagree with me. They believe hard work is all you need… Well, that and a little bit of luck. I can’t stress enough though, that the life you design begins in your mind…. And that image is what will give it the strength to become a reality! Once that image is rock solid, you will have the personal motivation to be diligent and persistent enough to overcome any obstacle that stands in your way… And believe me, there will be plenty of those!

That’s all I have for now…

Tonight, Rob and I are cooking one last dinner here at our flat before walking down to the Eiffel Tower where we will catch a cab to the Champs Élysées for a show at the Lido. Tomorrow is our last day in Paris, and then we are off to the next phase of our adventure. We are having a blast, but I can also assure you… We can’t wait to get home so we can begin designing, planning and working towards the next big thing, whatever that may be 🙂

Au Revoir!!

PS: Here’s a pic of the amazing view I have while writing this post… Wow!
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