Let’s take ourselves back in time to the days when we were athletes and played competitive sports. As athletes we had to hit certain physical targets to be competitive. We were constantly being evaluated and re-evaluated to assess our skill level. I’m remembering the good ‘ol days of softball. We would do wild pitch drills.
For those unfamiliar with softball, the pitcher would purposely throw a wild pitch and the catcher, I would chase the ball and try to get the runner stealing home base “out”. Over and over and over again we did this drill. I was always so exhausted after practice. Drills like this were one way my coach, aka, my dad, evaluated if I was a capable catcher. As an athlete I found it helpful to get so much feedback and practice.
Dialing into a specific target or goal and then repeating it and evaluating the outcome led to better results when it came to responding to wild pitches in an actual game. So clearly it was useful to constantly evaluate our skills. Evaluating your skill set is a great tool for coaches and athletes, and is also a great way for anyone to determine where they stand on their path to self-actualization so they may lead a purposeful life.
Self-actualization is the high level of psychological development in which a person is able to achieve their full intellectual, creative and social potential.
Self-actualization is found when people are seeking personal growth and fulfillment.
Self-actualized people are highly unique and autonomous.
They are extraordinarily creative, humorous and even though they seek new and challenging experiences, stability grounds them.
They are not easily disrupted by impulsivity.
I strive to live a self-actualized life.
I’ve found that the only way to maintain self-actualization is to reevaluate yourself: your hopes, dreams, personal goals, obstacles, etc.
Re-evaluate Your Life
The need to re-evaluate your life is triggered by all kinds of scenarios. It can be triggered by an event (having kids or moving), unsatisfactory circumstances (job dissatisfaction), extreme sadness (depression or grief), or stress/trauma (car accident or personal injury). Re-evaluating your life is the first step in making a major change, a positive shift towards a better quality of life and a more positive mental state. If I think of myself as an athlete then re-evaluating my life is easier. It brings out my competitive nature and it motivates me. The feedback I give myself, which in some cases is negative, doesn’t get me down because I know that the purpose of it is to make me better.
It would be overwhelming to re-evaluate our life entirely in one sitting, like it would be overwhelming to analyze every single softball skill in one practice. You don’t work on everything at one time. You break it up so it's easier to manage. The trick to re-evaluating your goals is the type of questions you ask. You really have to be honest with yourself. As one of my favorite authors, Cheryl Strayed, says, “You don’t reach the mountaintop from the mountaintop. You have to start at the bottom and climb up. Blood is involved.” What she means is you have to do the work if you want the glory and it’s a brutal and painful process. I’ll attest that she is right and we have more than one mountaintop to climb in our lifetime. Living a self-actualized life is like an unbeatable video game that we never beat, but we always have the chance to make it to the next level.
When it’s time to re-evaluate life, the best approach is to reflect on one aspect of your life at a time so it’s more manageable. If you're in a season of life where re-evaluation is relevant then I would love to challenge you to spend 15 minutes each day for the next 5 days to re-evaluate yourself. I will help you. I’ll give you some daily prompts and then you do the self-reflection in your journal or on blank pieces of paper. At the end of the challenge you will have 1 or 2 realistic ways that you can take action that will help you feel fulfilled through personal growth.
What is your dream life?
If you could have anything you wanted day in and day out what would you choose? What does your perfect day look like? Try to imagine the perfect 24 hour window of time. Big goals are okay, but imagining the perfect day within your current life is a good place to start and also it is tangible and potentially even a realistic dream.
“You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery.” - Cheryl Strayed
“I'll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don't choose.” Cheryl Strayed
What do you really want?
What is it that you really desire in this life? Try to think past the money and all the stuff that you want that is probably invading your mind when you first stop to think about what you want in life. Maybe you want a million dollar beach house and a private jet to fly back and forth to said beach house. But is that truly what you really, really want? Is a million dollar beach house fulfilling? Will it bring you joy? Perhaps the more stuff you have the longer you’re to do list will be and is that what you really want? More responsibility? Money is usually not the thing that people really, really want. It might be that you want more money because you desperately want to be out of debt. Or you might want more money so that you’ll be able to retire comfortably. It’s okay to want more money, but you need to ask yourself why you want more money. What you really desire in life might have nothing to do with money and everything to do with your happiness or the opportunity to experience joy.
“The people who don’t give up are the people who find a way to believe in abundance rather than scarcity. They’ve taken into their hearts that there is enough for all of us, that success will manifest itself in different ways for different people. That keeping the faith is more important than cashing the check.” Cheryl Strayed
“Whatever happens to you belongs to you. Make it yours. Feed it to yourself even if it feels impossible to swallow. Let it nurture you, because it will.” Cheryl Strayed
What is making you unhappy now?
Think about the past week, month, or year. What were the most unhappy moments? Who or what were the circumstances or contributing factors to the most unhappy moments? It’s hard to admit sometimes, but if there is something in your life making you unhappy then it may just be time to let go of it or them. Why cling to something that sucks the happiness out of you? Doesn’t seem worth it to me. No one owes another person their happiness. If it is a relationship that is making you unhappy, who's to say that the other party involved doesn’t feel the same way. You’ll never know and frankly it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that someone or something is stealing away your joy. It’s up to you to take it back and own your happiness.
“Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore.” ―Cheryl Strayed
“Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you'll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you'll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.” ― Cheryl Strayed.
What is on your bucket list?
Everyone has something they wish to do before they die. Something they want to try or achieve in their lifetime. My list is fairly long actually. I’d really love to take a hot air balloon ride. I mean soaring above the landscape via a giant balloon kept afloat with hot air. How cool is that? I’ve digressed , but you get the point. You may be feeling unfulfilled because the things you want to do never seem to get any closer to being done. They feel distant and unattainable. Life is short. Don’t leave anything important to you undone. Pick one small thing on your “must do'' in my lifetime list that is easily attainable in a short time frame. For example, say you want to make homemade pasta noodles from scratch. Pick a date in the near future at which you’ll attempt this task. That’s within reach if you put it on the short term bucket list plan and make your grocery list, get a recipe and voila you're one step away from checking that off your bucket list. You should also want to make a long term bucket list. Pick the one thing that is the most important to you and commit to achieving it. Even if it takes 5 years to save up enough money or be fit enough, if it’s important to you then it should not go undone.
“You can’t ride the fair unless you get on the pony.” Cheryl Strayed
“The best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the motherf***ing shit out of it.” ―Cheryl Strayed
Are you willing to be bold?
Moms like to live in their comfort zone. In fact we thrive in predictable environments. When we know what to expect then we nearly guarantee our success. Ultimately this is why we pack our diaper bags with everything but the kitchen sink; we are able to predict the chaos of our children’s needs at the pool, playground or zoo. Living life in the comfort zone makes us feel safe and in control. This is nice and as hard as it is for me to admit it, this is existing, not living. It feels aimless and lonely as you go through the motions day-to-day. I think we have to ask ourselves if we are really happy or are we just comfortable? If we’re willing to inch out of our comfort zones then we can live the life we dream. Outside our comfort zone is our fear zone. Our fear zone will challenge us with excuses and obstacles and while it is a tough first step, I assure you the end results, joy, purpose, and personal growth, is worthwhile.
“Forward is the direction of real life.” Cheryl Strayed
“Fear begets fear. Power begets power. I willed myself to beget power. And it wasn’t long before I actually wasn’t afraid.” Cheryl Strayed
Ok, Now what?
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About the Author
Kelly Hater, owner of Mama Bear Domain, has over 15 years of coaching experience. She is a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT) and has a bachelor's degree in Health Promotion from the University of Cincinnati.
She specializes in helping clients overcome mom burnout by empowering them to stop existing and start living. Her clients no longer let mom guilt steal their identity and goals. Moms deserve to be happy and live a fulfilling life. She personally has overcome overwhelming mom struggles herself and has first hand experience. Kelly gives her clients the accountability and support they need to take action. Go Join NOW The Mom Coach™ “on demand” for the proven program, monthly challenges, journal entries and more.