Live Life by Design, Not Default

September 14, 2021

“Live your life by design, not default” is one of my favorite mantras. But what does it look like to live life by design as a leader and an entrepreneur?

Living life by design simply means this: you are the architect of your life and your business. You are not following a blueprint drawn up by anyone else—not by your peers, your coworkers, or your boss. No one has defined the path for you. We design our bedrooms, our kitchens, and our bathrooms. Shouldn’t our lives be the same way?

That is not to say that you can’t take inspiration from other people. You can always find good mentors, co-workers, and friends with advice you can use to your benefit. It’s always good to add people to your circle who can motivate and inspire you. But don’t let them over-influence you. Make your own decisions. Make sure you’re living the way you want to live because it’s up to you to define how you want your life to look in the future. It’s up to you to define how you want your business to look. Then it’s your job to put the work in to get there.

Think of it like Pinterest: design the life you want one pin at a time. Find inspiration through other examples. Inspiration leads to dreams and dreams lead to a better future.

But be careful not to fall into the “default” trap. Plenty of people have made goals similar to yours but they are not you. We all have different paths, different lives so our goals might look similar, but they are not all the same.

To start, define what your ideal life looks like. Write it down, make a vision board, do something tangible so that you can see the plan. Then make actionable steps towards achieving the goal. Is your goal being debt-free? Start by consolidating debt or paying down one of your high interest credit cards. When things get tough, look at your plan and re-center yourself on your goal.

The road to designing your life can be challenging. You will need to embrace being uncomfortable. It’s when you feel safe and comfortable that you start to get complacent. Instead, dig deeper. Always strive to perform at your highest level.

You likely don’t even know what is possible until you start trying. Some goals seem so lofty they don’t feel worth it to say out loud. But I’ll remind you of this: once upon a time, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made it a goal to go to space. Although that goal seemed completely out of this world (excuse the pun), this year, he achieved that goal. How did he do that? He didn’t let doubt stop him. He made a design for his life, he set a clear goal and worked hard to achieve it.

I’m not suggesting we all make it a goal to become astronauts. But going to space for one person might be as scary and unattainable as owning your own home to someone else. But you will 100% fail to achieve goals you don’t set.

Take this as the hint to get started. What is your design for your life?

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