Sep 23, 2010

Super-Charge Your Life and Your Mission

Six weeks ago, I decided to kill my life list. Since that time I’ve been focusing on my main thing, which is to knit 10,000 items for charity in my lifetime. I’ve also experienced major life upheaval, pared down a thing a day, and started a new Life List.

Wait, what?

As life has moved forward in the past six weeks, I’ve noticed I’ve been unable to focus as clearly as I’d been focusing in the past. And yes, some of that has to do with some of the other stuff that’s been going on, but as I started to dig deeper, I realized that not having a life list was actually doing more harm than good.

It sounds simple to focus on one life mission – for Chris Guillebeau it’s helping people live unconventional lives, for Ev Bogue it’s helping people start minimalist businesses – but as I’ve attempted to focus on knitting 10,000 items for charity and thus inspire others to devote their knitting time to others, I’ve noticed a very important fact.

Simply having a mission isn’t enough.

I had my mission, and I was convinced that’s all it took to get from point A to point B – wrong! Without focus, action steps, and even Life List items, I have been flailing about for the past six weeks, shooting in the dark more or less.

My unreasonable goal to knit 10,000 items for charity needed focus I wasn’t giving it. My old Life List was scattered to be sure, but it gave me something to look at and focus on. Without a list of any kind, I just grabbed yarn and needles and attempted to make something work.

It wasn’t working.

And so a few weeks ago I sat down with a pen and a piece of paper, and started to set actionable items, ways to accomplish my dream of knitting 10,000 items for charity. One large goal quickly became ten smaller steps, each helping me step closer to my unreasonable goal. I was able to see how I could crochet squares, knit sweaters, and add more hats to my original One Hundred, and step ever closer each year to 10,000.

I needed to work out my goal the way I’d tell someone else to. If a friend came to me with a huge life dream, unsure of how to accomplish it, I’d tell them to break it down into smaller steps. I’d suggest writing down these steps in a list, and then breaking the steps down even farther as necessary until you knew exactly what you had to do, and exactly how long each step would take.

I needed to follow my own advice, and live the life I wanted other people to live.

Once I got the smaller goals for my Knit 10,000 dream down, I kept right on writing. I began to add other, supplemental goals to my list. Before I knew what was happening, I had a Life List written again – this time around 60 actionable items, all of which make my heart sing and give me focus.

The problem with my old Life List was that it was meant for someone else – full of borrowed items and visions of someone I never truly wanted to be, it became one more thing I felt I had to do in order to become who I thought I wanted to be, who I thought I should want to be.

That list was not me.

As I thought about what makes me happy, and the things I’m most proud of accomplishing in my life, I began to see gaps – and my new Life List became a way to fill in those gaps. Not with things I thought I should be doing, but with goals and trips and ideas that were secret dreams, stories I knew I’d always wanted to tell.

You can see my Life List here. I’m sharing it not to be accountability-girl, and not to show off the things I want to accomplish with my life. I share it to show what a Life List full of Robyn-centered dreams looks like, and to encourage you to think about writing your own list.

I intend to cross off every one of these items – you’ll notice a few already are, and the list is only a few weeks old. Owning my dreams has encouraged me to start living them, in both big and small ways. It can do the same for you.

For the next 48 hours only, when you buy any one of my patterns, you'll get one free! See my patterns page for more details!

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