10 Small Steps to a Big Life
A big life means different things to each of us. But whatever your personal definition (which we will explore in a moment), one thing a big life has in common for all of us is that it feels fulfilling and authentic. There are so many ways to live a big life; this article could have turned into a book!
I have distilled it all down into these ten elements, which I believe are the most vital aspects of creating and living a big life that brings you joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment. This is a practical exercise rather than just something to read and forget, so grab your journal, a pen, and a cup of tea, and get ready to do some work.
1: Define a Big Life
Defining what a big life means to you is where you need to begin. If you don’t know what it means, how can you create it? It’s also essential to think about your purpose. Don’t worry if you don’t know what that is; many people don’t. But it’s something you should consider if you want to live a big life. I suggest finding some quiet time by yourself to journal the answers to the following questions.
- What does a big life look like for you?
- How do you define success?
- How will you know when you achieve it?
- What is your purpose?
- What work would you do without even being paid?
- What has your secret dream been since you were a child?
- Describe a day in your dream life.
2: Get to Know Yourself
Like defining what a big life means to you, getting to know yourself properly is crucial to finding happiness and fulfillment. We think that we know who we are, but for most of us, there are deeper layers of our personality and psyche that we haven’t explored properly. Taking time for some focused, non-judgemental introspection is a great way to better understand yourself. Start getting to know yourself by answering these questions.
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- What are your biggest fears?
- What holds you back?
- What are your proudest achievements?
- What are you ashamed of?
- What makes you happy?
3: One Daily Action
Do one thing each day that moves you toward living your purpose and your big life, even if it is only small. Daily action creates momentum, and once you get the force of momentum going, you’ll move forward much faster than you ever imagined. Looking back over your answers to step one, ‘Define a Big Life,’ can you break down what you have written into smaller actionable chunks that you can achieve every day?
For example, let’s say I had written that a day in my dream life involved writing my next bestselling novel, communicating with my literary agent, confirming plans for my upcoming book promotion tour, and spending quality time with my son. To be a bestselling novelist with a literary agent and a book promotion tour who has afternoons free to spend with my family, I would first need to write a novel!
One daily action I could take over the next month would be to plan out my first novel, chapter by chapter. I would commit to small chunks of time each day to plan out my story and write my novel. Then I would get it edited. Then I’d do the rewrite of the second draft. Then I’d start looking for an agent or explore self-publishing. Everything is achievable; it’s just a process of taking small actions every day. Time will pass anyway; you might as well use it to move closer to living your big life.
4: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
“Do one thing every day that scares you.”— Mary Schmich
Success and growth lie just over the edge of your comfort zone. You’ll never grow by staying comfortable. You must stretch yourself in order to develop. This is a sensitive process though, because while a little discomfort is useful and necessary for change, reach too far, and you may become overwhelmed. When you become overwhelmed, you can burnout or feel that it’s all too much for you and shrink back inside your comfort zone, never to try again.
You have to practice what it feels like to approach the edge and push just a little further. Feel the discomfort and that small amount of fear that comes with it. That’s where you need to be. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Fear is just excitement without the breath. Breathe into the sensation and realize the excitement that is present.
And once you get used to that, you’ll be able to push a little further because the edge of your comfort zone will have expanded. Then you repeat the process until you look back sometime later and see how far you have come.
Your exercise for this step is to write down three things that you can do this week that push you just beyond your comfort zone and help you to live your big life.
5: Believe in Yourself
We all have negative voices that tell us we’re not good enough to achieve what we want or worthy of living a big life full of satisfaction and joy. It’s human nature to feel that way sometimes. Don’t believe that voice. It’s just your ego trying to keep you safe. It doesn’t want you to risk failure because failure will damage your ego.
But the truth is, you have to take risks if you want to grow. You have to push past the edge of your comfort zone like we just discussed. Like all risks, there’s a chance it won’t pay off, but even when it doesn’t, there is learning there to help you move forward.
The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is simply the number of times they are prepared to fail. Believing in yourself isn’t believing that you won’t ever fail; believing in yourself is knowing that each time you fail, you’ll get back up, dust yourself off, and keep moving forward. This is resilience. It is having the self-esteem and confidence to keep trying no matter what. To know deep down in your heart that you deserve to win and that you will achieve your dreams.
The key to knowing this truth is to recognize your reasons. Open your journal and answer these questions:
- Why do you deserve to win?
- Why is your dream life so important to you?
- What will living a big life allow you to be/do/have/provide?
Next time your ego attempts to stop you, read your answers, and remember why you need to keep trying.
6: Stop Comparing
This is crucial. Everyone is on their own journey, and everyone has their own idea of what a big life means. Never compare your life to theirs. It is impossible to compare because each of us is 100% unique. We have different experiences, upbringings, personalities, standards, expectations, and goals, and so we ‘do life’ differently.
Also, you never truly know what’s going on for someone. Never look at someone else’s life and think they’re got it all figured out or covet what they have achieved or obtained. Their life and experiences and standards and struggles are different from yours because they are not you. You do you to the best of your ability, that’s all you need to focus on.
Write down the name of someone who you habitually compare yourself to. Next, write down the things you admire about them or what they have achieved. Explore how you can bring these qualities into your own life. This completely switches the energy from ‘That person has it much better than me, I wish my life was as good as theirs’ to ‘I admire their courage, tenacity, and commitment, and these are qualities I’d like to develop further in myself.’ Can you feel the difference between those two points of view?
7: Be Authentically You
Tap into your core values and ethics and use these as your compass. They will always guide you in making the right decision. Sometimes, making the right decision will involve saying ‘no.’ Often, we, as women, have a hard time doing that. We can fall into the trap of feeling like we have to please everyone. But logically, this is never possible, and so to try will always result in disappointment.
Therefore, it is critical to tune into what your heart is telling you and make your decisions based on integrity with your values and ethics. That way, you will avoid the burnout and regret that inevitably come with always doing things to please others.
Always pleasing others will not help you to live your big life. It will help you to help someone else to live theirs. But you are not responsible for other people’s lives, just like nobody else is responsible for your dreams and goals. Of course, it is important to help others, but not to the detriment of your authenticity and integrity. Be brave in your decisions, and always listen to your heart’s advice. It knows the way.
For this step, you can journal about some areas of your life where you feel you do not stay true to yourself or have a hard time saying no. Try to think of some ways to rectify this.
8: Say Thank You
Gratitude is a must for satisfaction. Look for the small things as well as the big. Living a big life is all about being grateful for the small things. You create happiness by appreciating what is right in front of you. Every moment is an opportunity to be thankful for something in your life.
If you don’t already have a gratitude practice, I highly recommend starting one. This can be in your journal, or you can get a separate notebook just for this purpose. Every day, write down at least three different things you appreciate about your day or your life. Gratitude is such a high vibration emotion; if you do this exercise regularly, you will notice a difference in the way that you feel.
Forgiveness is so powerful. People are flawed; they make mistakes. You have made them, and others have made them and affected you in the process. It’s always going to happen because that’s who we are as humans. The important thing is to let it go. Holding grudges against people only serves to harm yourself and hold you back from living a big life. Forgive people for not being perfect and move on.
It’s crucial also to practice radical forgiveness of yourself. Sometimes this is even harder than forgiving others. Mistakes are only mistakes if you do not learn from them. A wise person looks for the lessons and uses that information to make better choices in the future. Forgive yourself for your past and use your experiences to improve and grow.
Write a letter of forgiveness to yourself or to someone else you are having a hard time forgiving. You don’t have to send it, but try your best to believe and feel the words you are writing. When you’re done, you should feel like a weight has been lifted from your heart.
10: Stop Waiting
It’s okay to be where you are right now. In fact, where you are right now is precisely where you need to be. Many people stop themselves from fully enjoying and experiencing their lives because they are waiting for something to happen. Have you ever thought, “once I’ve achieved xxx, then I’ll be happy?”
The thing is, that time will never arrive because once you get the thing you’ve been waiting for, you’ll find something else that you feel you need to be happy. Living a big life is about seizing each day, each moment, each opportunity, as it presents itself. Your life is happening now, don’t miss it.
For the final exercise, journal about how you hold yourself back from living your life in the moment. What things are you waiting for before you allow yourself to live your life? Can you let go of those things and welcome happiness and gratitude for your life as it is right now?
I hope you have enjoyed this article on ten small steps to a big life, and I hope that it has offered you some practical exercises so you can begin to implement these ideas and start living the big life you desire right now. As always, we are here to assist you. Post your comments and questions below or in our Sacred Circle forum, where you can connect with the Femigod team of experts and fellow Goddesses for support and encouragement.