A most beloved story from my childhood that my mother loves to tell and I love to hear is the day I came home from Church with my Dad and asked:
"Mommy, is there a HER book, too?"
I love this story not only because it contains the seeds of a future feminist and mission to make more space for female voices, but also because it reminds me of what it feels like to be wholly curious.
I remember being four and in the car and asking the question - or perhaps I’ve created a memory after hearing the story so many times - but I can access the muscle memory of what it’s like to wonder about something without any judgment.
And I am becoming more and more interested in how we can wonder about our own lives, instead of judge them.
As we approach the middle of the year, I’m sharing 13 questions that will help catalyze momentum for the second half of this year. My challenge to you (and to me) is to reflect on where you are and where you want to go while making like 4-year-Liz and being:
Being wholly curious means saying:
I wonder what’s stopping me from ___________? (starting the project, taking the leap, lessening the destructive behavior) with the loving and bouncy grace of a 4-year-old, instead of:
Why the #$%@ can’t you just __________ ???? with the accusatory and aggressive tone of the Tiny Terrorist-Who-Lives-Inside-Your-Head.
Being wholly curious means wondering:
I wonder what's important to me about ____________ ?
Instead of feeling shame about wanting something you've decided you don't deserve to want.
I am willing to bet that if you take 15 minutes to explore these questions creatively - writing without overthinking, talking them out with a friend, recording your own voice answering them, drawing - you will experience a surge of courageous motion.
Being wholly curious is a prerequisite to being wholly courageous.
I heartily encourage you NOT to dutifully answer these questions because I told you to. Instead, see what sparks something in you, and follow that. If you work through one question, and then feel inspired to go start something or make a thing or have a conversation, then please follow your inspiration. You are a creative being and there is no one right way to reflect.
Here are the questions (and then scroll down for a fun list of resources below):
get (wholly) curious:
1. What are the most important discoveries I have made about who I am / what I want / how I work?
2. What is my gold? (Gold = anything that is going well: achievements you're proud of, mindsets you've been cultivating, contributions you've made, internal shifts, relationships you've nourished)
3. Who / What can I thank for bringing me joy? (Think about: other people, parts of yourself, animals, your body, obstacles, places, energy, circumstances)
get (lovingly) honest:
4. What rules and limits have I created that are preventing me from soaring? OR: Where do I get stuck?
5. What parts of me and my life need encouragement?
6. Fill in the blank: It would be amazing to say no to _____________, in order to make space for _______________.
get (playfully) inspired:
7. What creations / experiences / achievements do I most want to manifest right now?
8. What is ready for an upgrade?
9. I dare myself to _________________ by the end of 2017.
get (joyfully) moving:
10. Where would I love to be by the end of the third quarter of this year (the next 90 days)? What 1-3 projects will I put my energy into in service of these shifts that I want to make?
11. The title or theme of my next quarter = _____________.
12. What kind of support would empower and accelerate these next 3 months?
13. What actions will I take next week in service of these projects? What one action would feel good to take in the next day or two? (or, like... nowish?)
If you feel yourself giving answers that sound like things that would make someone else happy, proud, or fulfilled, recognize that you might be caught in some shoulds. There is nothing wrong with a should except that it is a dream that does not belong to you, and most likely you will lose steam in pursuing it. Go back and see if you can listen for the sound of your own soul. (And check-out this article I wrote about shoulds vs soul directions if you haven't already).
Here is a google doc with all of the above questions so you can explore at your leisure and share with others.
I am obsessed with reading, researching, and experimenting on myself to find resources that will help me and folks I work with live a more meaningful and vibrant life. Here are some of my absolute favorite things I've come across so far this year (in no particular order and spanning a wide variety of categories):
And a halfway-through-the-year-prayer-for-you:
May you cheer yourself on with the same bright enthusiasm that you would bestow upon the most beloved young person you know, midway through a wonderful adventure.
And if you can't do that, then I will do it for you.
(I just got out of my chair and gleefully jumped up and down for you).
K E E P G O I N G!
I believe in you,
A little book of inspiration, frameworks, and guidance for your next creative project.