I’ve always been a high achiever, which means I’m the type of person who’s constantly taking action. Early in my career, I jumped from business to business, with the end goal of discovering my purpose so I could live my dreams.
I ended up building a successful Facebook marketing company and made it my goal to sell it by the time I turned 30. As it turned out, I did sell my business. I made more money than I’d ever had, moved to San Diego, and got a home right on the water.
After moving in, I stood on my balcony, looked out at the ocean, and cried.
I was single, I was alone, and I felt empty. I had achieved my bucket list goal of selling a business at a substantial profit, but I was so busy pursuing the end game that I lacked the wisdom to enjoy the journey. That day, as I looked out at the ocean, I experienced a paradigm shift.
“What was it all for?” I wondered to myself.
I was done waiting to get to my final destination. Instead, I wanted to enjoy the destination and live my dream right then.
Why Most People Get Hung up on the Destination
My story is a classic case of being so focused on the destination that you completely wreck the journey, and this is a mistake I see many people make.
Take my client, Andy Zitzmann. Andy had everything in life that most people equate with success: He had a six-figure corporate job, success, and power. Yet, despite reaching what most people would consider “the destination,” he was incredibly unhappy. He turned to drugs to numb his unhappiness, and it almost killed him.
Andy has since recovered and is now pursuing the life he wants, but it just goes to show that there won’t always be time to take the trip of a lifetime, pursue the job you want, or try that thing you’ve always wanted to do. You have no way of knowing whether you’ve got 40 years left or four.
Waiting for the right time to live your dreams is always the wrong answer.
If you wait, you’ll look back one day with regret, wishing that you had lived a fuller life. The only way to avoid deathbed regrets is to relentlessly pursue your bucket list and live the life of your dreams every single day.
Happiness and fulfillment are not the result of arriving at a certain destination. They are the byproduct of enjoying the journey you’re already on. Viewing happiness as a daily choice, rather than an end destination, will help you unearth your true reason for being. When you align your journey with that sense of purpose, the smallest tasks take on new meaning. The little moments start to matter.
Related: 6 Ways To Become Happy
The Cycle of Inspired Action
If you want to enjoy a purposeful journey, you need to take action. The simple act of waking up each day, focused on moving closer to your goals, will inspire happiness and fulfillment in your daily life.
Taking action does not guarantee success, but it does guarantee that you won’t wake up in 20 years in the same financial or emotional state that you’re in today. Action falls in two categories: imperfect action and inspired action.
Sometimes, learning what not to do provides the momentum you need to propel yourself forward. Entrepreneurs call this concept “failing forward” because even if an idea fails, the process of acting on it moves you forward.
If you’re not happy with how your life looks right now, what do you have to lose? Action — even imperfect action — is better than accepting an average life.
Inspired action is both an action and an attitude. An inspired attitude drives inspired actions, which help you maintain a great attitude. The cycle is uplifting and self-sustaining.
When you wake up each morning on fire because you love what you do, it changes everything. It means that your purpose, your skills, your gifts, and your resources are aligned and that your actions have meaning.
4 Changes You Can Make Today to Have the Life You Want
That night on my balcony, I realized my success felt empty because I was so focused on the destination that I’d destroyed the journey. I knew it was time to take inspired action and start living my dreams, so I decided to make four immediate changes that you, too, can put into practice now:
1. Live your bucket list
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have a bucket list that you take inspired action on every single day. Some of your items will be big, once-in-a-lifetime things, but most of them should be things that you can do incrementally.
Every day, for instance, I want to have a cup of coffee and look out at the ocean. Your bucket list can be just as livable as mine is, but it will require you to prioritize your time.
2. Make faster decisions
We all have the same number of hours in a day, but some people use their time more wisely than others.
Making quicker decisions about everything from business to where to have dinner will free you up to do other, higher-priority things with your life.
You will be amazed by how quick decisions open up your day, making time for bucket list adventures.
3. Partner up
Everything is more fun with a friend. Whether your partner is a colleague, your spouse, or your best friend, inspire him or her to make a bucket list, too. When you have a partner in bucket list crime, you can tackle your dreams together.
4. Plan your adventures like investments
Your bucket list is the ultimate investment in your future. After all, the purpose of planning for your future is to have a good life, and doing what you love is the essence of a good life.
Just as you put money in your 401(k) before buying a Porsche, you should put your bucket list adventures on the calendar before your schedule fills up with other obligations.
Don’t wait until the end of your life to realize what it means to live. Relentlessly pursue your bucket list every single day, and you will live the life of your dreams.
Nick Unsworth is CEO of Life On Fire, a business coaching company that helps entrepreneurs and business leaders become the rock stars they are meant to be. Nick has been an entrepreneur for 11 years and was inspired to live his best life after watching those close to him struggle for money throughout his childhood. Nick has worked in several industries and bounced back from many setbacks, which inspired him to help other entrepreneurs make every day a journey worth living.
Photo by [rosieamber]