Dear Life Designer,

I know you have a secret dream, a longing, an aching. Something pulls at you, something brighter, bolder, more precious, more real, much more … you.

That something is the life you love. I call it your great life.

Great lives are not super lives; they are truthful lives. Great lives are not without tears and heartbreak, uncertainty and confusion. They are not lived for approval, applause, or accolades.

Great lives are born when you listen to the call of your soul. They are built from truth, integrity, courage, self-awareness, and vulnerability.

Your great life may involve a huge change – a move, a relationship transition, an adventure, a creative dream. Or, maybe all that’s needed are a few small tweaks. Living your great life may mean your old world needs to die so your new world can be born. It may also mean having a difficult conversation, forgiving yourself, or becoming liberated from an old fear. Your great life may ask you to love yourself so completely and unconditionally that your heart breaks open. That wouldn’t be such a terrible thing, would it?

When you hear your soul calling, you may be tempted to glance over your shoulder to see how your friends, family, culture, and society feel about the path you’re being called to. They may be worried or confused; be gentle with them.

Life design isn’t always easy or effortless – though sometimes it can be. You may have hesitations, doubts and uncertainties, or you may step into your great life with bold enthusiasm. No matter what, every step you take in the direction of a fuller, truer life brings you closer to what deeply matters.

Be prepared. Your ego will almost certainly protest your new life. You may hear the fears of your constructed self say, who do you think you are? You can respond lovingly with, I’m my true self. Suddenly, you’ll know now is the time to let the old habits and patterns of your constructed self crumble away.

When you choose to live the great life your soul is calling for, you may notice some fears rising.

What if …

… I make a public declaration and I fall short? 

… My friends and family don’t understand? 

… I don’t like waiting in the unknown?

… I outgrow the people in my life? 

… I make the wrong choice?

… I succeed? 

… I fail? 

… I transform my life in such a revolutionary way that the people I love no longer recognize me? 

… I make the move, hand in my resignation, open my heart, take the leap – and instantly regret it?

… I spend heaps of time, energy, money, and effort chasing the dream that calls to me, only to end up back where I started?

… I start living my fuller, truer new life but long for my comfortable, familiar old routine?

I wish I could promise you these fears will never see the light of day. I wish I could guarantee you will be safe from discomfort. I wish I could support you by saying every step of the journey will be easy. I wish I could assure you that your loved ones will support and understand you. I wish I could comfort you with the knowledge your choices won’t hurt anyone. I wish I could claim with absolute certainty that you will experience success with every decision you make and every action you take.

I really wish.

However, life design is subject to the realness of life. At least one of your fears may come true. But, it is just as likely the reality won’t be as shattering as your mind makes it out to be. As you embark upon living a life you love, please remember, fear has a tendency to inflate itself. It likes to puff up into a sharp and prickly ball to scare you into staying stuck. Even if your fears do materialize exactly as you imagine, it won’t necessarily mean you’ll regret designing a life you love.

The whispers of your soul are meaningful and trustworthy. You are much more likely to regret not listening to them than to be sorry for heeding their call. As you follow your own advice, you will see the truth of your soul and the truth of your life. Trust it.

Please remember, there will be struggles in life no matter which path you choose. People will tell you what is right and what is wrong regardless of whether or not you live life on your own terms. There will always be dissenters, critics, and walls erected by the status quo. These things are unavoidable, so you might as well choose to live a life you love.

As you pursue the truth of your life, you will bond your heart and soul to like-minded people. Your love of authenticity and living a meaningful, fulfilling life will tether you to others who are doing the same. You will feel kinship, connection, and belonging.

Living a great life begins with a choice and continues with a belief: I choose my soul’s calling over all others. I am capable, I can handle whatever life puts in front of me.

Do not mistake a designed life for a self-indulgent life. Living a life you love is a gratifying by-product of repeatedly choosing to live with consciousness, courage, and community. It’s what happens when you choose listen to your soul and do what is necessary to make it the truth of your life.

My dear Life Designer, at the end of your life you will look back and know you picked the sacred adventure – you designed your life the way you wanted it to be. You lived truly and fully. When you reached the fork in the road, you picked the path that allowed you to feel proud of who you are and how you spent your time on earth.

When you reach the moment where you face the ultimate decision – the predictable, familiar, untrue path versus the unpredictable, unknown, truthful path – you may experience a nervous edge, a stomach full of butterflies, sweaty palms, a mind filled with uncertainty. Take the first step and know you are not alone. There are many others walking right beside you.