I’d love to be able to tell you I’ve always been crystal clear on the direction of my life and my business, but that would be a lie. We all hit those crossroads where life is changing, and – even if we’ve chosen the changes – life can feel hazy. What I’ve learned at any crossroads, though, is to go back to my “perfectly imperfect ordinary day” process to help me discover the best decision for myself.
In fact, it’s a process I recommend to clients over and over again. Because it never fails to help discover nuggets of truth, desire, and practicality. Being at a crossroads – or in any space of limbo will feel challenging to you as well.
And that’s why, rather than fighting the reality of needing to make changes, I recommend turning to tools to find your own perfectly imperfect solution.
You see, my dear, Sometimes, we try to hang on to how things used to be. We want to be our old selves, our old ways, our old routines. But, my dear, that isn’t truly possible.
See, there will be seasons of life that demand something different. Periods when we toss out everything familiar in the hope that doing so will help us settle into a new phase of life faster. For me, the worst is when I feel like i”m just drifting. Even though we have a “purpose” we don’t seem to be getting anywhere.
The first time I learned the value of the Perfectly Imperfect Ordinary Day exercise was back in 2011. I was at a crossroads of how I used to live and what I desired my life to look and feel like.
See, a former coach I’d been working with told me I was choosing to play small when I told her I needed to have a season of settling into real, everyday life. After years of being on the road, I needed to put my suitcase away and nest. And that meant no new coaching programs or International retreats sounded appealing. (Of course, she told me this when I told her I didn’t want to join her Mastermind, but it felt all too real at the time.)
That was a month after selling my house in Texas and moving to Ohio to create a life with JB. I was no longer actively parenting (hello, empty nest). At the same time, I was shifting the focus of my business from consulting and project management to coaching.
Fortunately for me, I’d just hired a new life coach. (The reminder that while someone may be a good fit as a coach or mentor during one season of your life may not grow with your needs.)
And a single conversation with helped me shift from feeling lost to feeling grounded.
And it all began by admitting that I didn’t have lofty goals for the year ahead. Rather, I wanted to find love and beauty in the simple moments of my everyday life. Rather than shame me for seeming ordinary desires, she helped me see that there was nobility in simple goals.
While my mind had been toying over a variety of ideas of shifting my business life in a way that felt more sustainable. And allowing my personal and home life to have priority over my work life. But it did feel silly when compared to the bigger goals of others.
She asked me what a perfectly imperfect ordinary day would be like.
Rather than leaving me and told me to describe it in exquisite detail from the moment I woke until I fell asleep. When I would pause, she’d help me continue by asking a question about what comes next.
I’d done similar exercises in the past, of course, but usually when someone asks you to describe a Perfect Day, they encourage the fantasy. They applaud and push you to create scenarios where you’re waking to a sunny beach out the front door and snow covered hills out the back door. Or waking in Tuscany and laying your head down in London.
How would I describe a perfectly imperfect ordinary day? That question had me fantasizing not about what I WANTED if I were ever going to find satisfaction or happiness. No, darling, it allowed me to finally understand that I got to create my everyday life.
Here’s how to do the Perfectly Imperfect Ordinary Day process for yourself.
- Grab a pen and your journal. Taking pen to paper helps you get through the mental clutter.
- Begin by describing your day from the moment you rise.
- Include details like what your home and surroundings are like. And what you’re wearing.
- Add delicious tidbits like what gives you pleasure.
- Whenever you get stuck, go back to the basics of living your life. Look for pivot points like time of day, meals, and relationships.
Yes, imagining a perfect fantasy day puts you outside the box and allows you to find the traces of what you desire. But you can’t actually live in the fantasy. Then, my darling, parlay this work by taking action.
Yes, find the nuggets of what you define as perfectly imperfect in your ideal day that can be present tomorrow.
Best of all, it allows you to define what you can have right now.
The perfectly imperfect ordinary day process invites you to not just feel satisfied and fulfilled. It helps you choose happiness in the here and now rather than waiting.
Darling: one thing to know is that hidden within the stresses of everyday life are blessings. When we examine what’s beautiful in the imperfections or our ordinary day, you get to do something magical: hone your focus for living a full life.
Because no matter what glorious vacations you may take. Or how fabulous a wedding might be or a date night feels good. Our lives are lived in the ordinary trenches of daily life.
By focusing on an ordinary day that is beautiful in all it’s perfect moments and crazy imperfections, you can more easily see what you really desire to experience.
You get to focus on your daily life instead of some fantasy in the future.
The reason I return to this process is simple. It helps me love myself and my life more easily. If I am to be a better custodian of my time, my focus, my business, my relationships, and my soul, then it’s my responsibility to be clear around those ordinary days.
Whether you’re feeling clear, murky, or somewhere in the middle, play with this activity and see what your heart and mind want to tell you about your daily life. In some ways, it’s a form of positive day dreaming. It’s also a step on the path to taking all the ideas you have in your head about your life and your work and really exploring the essence of how you desire to spend your time.