Before I had my new logo for Life by Design (#LifebyDesignwithCheri) I was using a photograph I took of roses on my window silll. A friend of mine who was helping me with my marketing told me she didn’t really like the picture. Not the picture, but rather what it conveyed. She said it appeared to be too perfect. She went on to say that the idea of perfect flowers in a perfect setting was perhaps too far of a reach for my ideal clients. She thought the people I most wanted to reach and to help might not identify with the picture. She didn’t think it accurately portrayed me and what I wanted to do with my business. Keep in mind, I was asking her to be ultra-picky.
Well, while I appreciated the feedback (I got a lot out of it for the development of my biz) what she said about the roses in the window couldn’t have been further from the truth.
In today’s podcast I’m gonna share with you some tips for having a picture-perfect life even when things aren’t perfect. . . . spoiler alert . . . and they never are!
The photograph I talked about in the introduction is exactly what I want my ideal clients to know about me, my business and its mission. Let me explain.
First, I need describe the picture in case you’re only listening to this podcast without the aid of visuals. It is 5 deep coral roses, stuck into a square, clear bottle with a thin neck. It’s set in the corner of a white mullioned window. Quite pretty.
But let’s go deeper. The picture was taken in mid-winter while I was recovering from hip surgery. A long, long winter. The vase is actually an empty tequila bottle, Patron to be precise. Emptied by yours truly and some friends. The roses were bought at the grocery store in the florist clearance bin for $2.99. The window is dirty and just below the view of the camera is a window box which had nothing growing in it but rather was filled with dead leaves and what was my best attempt to have flowers there the previous summer.
It's those facts that make this picture the perfect image for my work with Life by Design.
My whole mission with my work is to encourage people to design their best life. But not just to design it, live it. Right Now. Today!
To do that, means doing whatever you have to, at whatever capacity you have RIGHT NOW.
To use what you have (the tequila bottle). To bring beauty into your life at whatever your budget is (flowers on sale), to make your best efforts. But when you fail, to keep trying (my window box). By the way . . . I think I’ve gotten that going now!
It’s to live your best life NOW.
About ten or so years ago, when I was single and had very little extra moola hanging around, I made a shift in how I lived my day-to-day life. Despite all of the challenges on my plate, I was still trying mightily to live a beautiful life. It was especially hard back then.
But one day I had this epiphany. I figured out that having fresh flowers in my house immediately made me feel more abundant, lighter and brighter! I decided right then I would always have fresh flowers in my house. This was a huge extravagance. Or was it? To do this, I had to reframe what flowers meant to me and where they were to go into the budget.
I did two things to make this shift. Number 1: I shifted what I thought and believed about flowers from something someone else was supposed to give me. Flowers were now something I could give myself. That may not be a problem for some of you, but I had to reframe it for myself. Number 2: Flowers were no longer a luxury but rather a necessity.
This was a bigger shift. But I simply put them on my grocery list. Simple really. Then when I was at Trader Joes, I put them in my cart just the same as I did the zucchini and the milk. The life I wanted to live included flowers, so I decided to have flowers right then.
And let me tell you, the joy those purchases given to me on a daily basis over all of these years is really hard to quantify. I think I could count on only two hands in the past ten years the number of days I have not had fresh flowers in my home. My ideal life contains flowers. Period, end of discussion.
Okay . . . now let’s talk about the tequila bottle vase. I’m not a huge drinker. I enjoy the occasional libation and when I do, it’s usually in a fun and festive atmosphere with friends. Cultivating a sense of community and connection is a key part of the life I have designed for myself. Community and laughter are crucial in my version of a beautiful life. This tequila bottle in some way represents this to me.
Secondly, I believe strongly in using what we already have to design our beautiful life. Reusing and repurposing what we have, shifting things, moving things all move us toward our ideal lives. Some of us think we can’t have what we want until we go out and get all new stuff! Not true. Sure, you may not have all of the things you want in your life but what do you have right now that makes your heart sing? What possessions make you smile? Are they front and center? Have you become blind to them? Begin right where you are. Use what you have. Repurpose what you have. Use the good china, for crying out loud!
Okay, now lets talk about the dead flowers just out of view. Our ideal lives don’t come out of nowhere. We live by trial and error. We try on different careers, different cities to live in, different romantic partners. We try out things, home in on what we like best, constantly cultivating a life that we really want. At least that is what I hope we do.
When we don’t do this experimentation and allow ourselves to fail or at least change our minds, we start to live life by default. We unconsciously live a life on the factory settings . . . settings that likely were designed by circumstances outside of ourselves. If we aren’t willing to really experiment, fail and create our perfect life, we live on a trajectory started by our parents, or their parents or their parents' parents. We live based on where we were born, the religion we were born into, stories about money and life and career that we may not even know where they came from. We don’t design our lives; we live a life designed by something outside of ourselves. We just take what is given to us. We take the path of least resistance and then wonder why we aren’t happy. (Check out Episode 4 for more thoughts on living by default)
But healthy, vibrant people make lots of mistakes because they live in the spirit of “Let's See What Really Makes My Heart Sing.” So, it may be a stretch, but that is how I see that window box. Or at least I did. Cuz, like I said earlier, I think I figured it out! And it’s gorgeous!
I still love that picture . . . I always have but now I see its beauty even more clearly. It’s a symbol of living your ideal life beginning from where you are RIGHT NOW.
So, to Recap
Use what you have. Don’t postpone your joy until something else happens or you acquire something new. Use what you have right now!
Bring beauty into your life today. What is beautiful to you? Music? If so, play it! Flowers? If so, buy or grow them! Certain colors? If so, paint the wall. Laughter? If so, have a potluck with your friends. Bring beauty into your space.
Piggybacking on number two, have something living in your space. Plants, pets, friends, flowers, a bowl of fruit! Life attracts more LIFE.
Make your best efforts but when things don’t work out the way you want them to, try again. Be thankful for the failures because it means you’re really living a life on your terms not a life by default.
Finally, Celebrate your successes!
I’m toasting you with a shot of tequila!
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