This article originally appeared on Backstage.com
Have you ever taken the time to really think about what your ideal life looks like?
My job as a coach is not to give you all the answers but to get the right answers out of you. Everyone has a voice inside that knows the truth. It knows what you want and it knows how you feel. Whenever you say, “I don’t know,” you’re just not listening. You know. Give yourself time and space to listen and trust what comes up.
However, it’s also true that everyone has multiple voices in their head and it can be hard to know which one is the truth. Sometimes there’s a really loud voice that tells you that you’re not enough, that you won’t get what you want and you shouldn’t even try. The one that says, “You mean realistic life, right?” That’s the inner critic. The voice that says you’re not enough or tells you to play it small is not actually the voice of truth, so we’re going to ignore that voice right now.
The voice of truth knows there is no limit to what you can achieve. The voice of truth knows no one person is more deserving than another. The voice of truth would never harm you or make you feel small or not enough. That’s how you know it’s the voice of truth.
Don’t believe me? Grab a pen and paper. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths until you feel relaxed. (Don’t skip this part!) Ask yourself the following questions and write down the first thoughts that come to your mind without judgment:
1. What does my ideal life look like?
When I ask this in sessions, almost everyone starts talking about their problems. While it’s useful to think about what you don’t want in order to be clear on what you do, that’s not what we’re doing here. Only write down your ideal life.
Example: I am a series regular on a popular sitcom. I take four vacations a year with my amazing, loving partner. I earn at least six figures doing what I love. We own a beautiful home with a backyard, fireplace, and plenty of closet space, etc.
2. Why don’t I already have this ideal life?
Okay, now is where you can let the inner critic speak about your problems, whether societal beliefs or your own.
Example: I have to work a full-time job, which stops me from acting full time. I have a lot of debt from school. No one can really make a living as an actor. I can’t find someone to love me, etc.
3. What is it costing me to believe the answers to question number two? What is it costing me to not live the life of question number one?
This is a really important question because the brain hates pain and wants to avoid it at all costs. Make this answer so painful that you have no choice but to change. Dig deep to find the pain! Lay on the drama!
Example: It’s costing me my self-confidence, my career, my life, and my happiness. It’s costing me love (for myself and for others).
4. Are you willing to drop those beliefs and take inspired action toward my desired life?
Just answer yes or no here. Don’t worry about the “how.” All you have to do is know what you want, be willing to drop any beliefs that aren’t serving you, and take any action in the direction of your desired life.
5. What’s one action I can take right now towards my ideal life?
Sign up for that class you’ve been putting off. Submit to that agency. Start research for producing your own content. Hire a coach.
If you spend 45 minutes today going through this exercise, you will be further along in creating the life of your dreams than anyone who hasn’t done this. The first step is awareness and the second step is the willingness to change your thoughts and beliefs.
Courtney Rioux started The Whole Artist after a temporary burnout in her own acting career. She felt there had to be a way to be happy and fulfilled as an actor and in life. As a clarity coach, Courtney helps actors go from stuck and unhappy to empowered and joyful. Her fun and easy approach has been described as “therapy without the therapy!” When Courtney is not coaching individuals and groups, you can catch her on NBC’s “Chicago Med” as Paramedic Courtney. Gain clarity at TheWholeArtist.com.