U is for Unleash | Layers of Self-Discovery Tour

October 26, 2014

This post is part of The Layers of Self-Discovery Tour created by GG Renee of All the Many Layers. Follow the tour through the blogs of 26 women exploring the complexities of womanhood and self-discovery from A to Z. Click here to keep up with each post and enter to win a giveaway package full of goodies for your mind, body and soul. #LayersAtoZTour"That sounds good but I could never do that. That just won't work for me."I sighed because I was hoping the conversation wouldn't end there. I had spent the better part of an hour trying to show my friend that she really could have the life she wanted but apparently, she wasn't hearing me."I mean, I would love to have kids now and start my own business and everything, but I just can't. Not with work the way it is right now."I tried to show sympathy because I really did feel for her. Like me, she was a newlywed but unlike me, her job had her on the road 2-3 weeks out of every month."And I definitely can't leave my job," she continued. "With these benefits? And this pay? Yeah, I like your ambition Courtney but that just won't work for me. I have to keep doing what I'm doing. I don't really have a choice..."While I couldn't argue with the perks of her job, it was that last statement that really got under my skin. Before she could get another word in, I turned to her and simply said, "Of course you have a choice. You're making it right now."Are You Living a Leashed Life?Just to be clear, I wasn't asking my friend to quit her job. The entire conversation started because I wanted to know why she was holding herself back from what she said she really wanted.For weeks she would tell me how she wanted to settle down and start a family with her new husband, or how she wanted to move to a new city, or how she wanted to start teaching financial literacy classes to low-income minorities.And for weeks when I would ask her if she was making any progress towards that aim -- if she was even starting to structure her life just a little toward her vision -- the answer was always "no."The saddest part about my friend's demeanor was that she was still pretty young. Not to say that her attitude would have been acceptable if she were older, but as a fresh-faced 28 year-old with the whole world in front of her, she literally had no excuse.No broken life to piece back together after a gut-wrenching divorce. No wayward teenager to coax through their last few years of high school. No older parent to care for through a heartbreaking illness.In other words, she had not yet experienced many of the legitimate roadblocks that women sometimes face in their 40s and 50s.She was the one who was holding herself back. Despite what she wanted to believe, the leash around her neck was of her own making.How to Get UnleashedAre you, like my friend, voluntarily living a "leashed" life? What excuses to do you wear around your neck that prevent you from living the life you want?Contrary to popular belief, unleashing yourself does not require you to quit your job or give up everything and make some radical change. At least not yet.Unleashing yourself is first about living free from the excuses that make us believe that we have no choice. Just as I told my friend, there is always a choice. The spirit of an unleashed life is to choose consciously and to choose in the direction of your dreams.Do you see yourself in my friend's story? If so, it's time to get unleashed. Here's how:Unleash Your VisionUnleashing yourself starts with unleashing your vision. In other words -- do you even know what you want? So many people stay stuck in a situation they don't really enjoy simply because they don't know what they really want.Life is a lot like the ocean's current. If you don't actively propel yourself where you want to go, then you will get caught up in the prevailing current and be forced to go where it goes.Having a definite vision -- knowing what you want -- is crucial to living an unleashed life. How can you make conscious choices in the direction of your dreams if you have no dreams? In the words of one of my favorite quotes, “If you don’t build your dreams, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.”Step #1: Decide on a vision for what you want.Unleash Your MissionOnce you know what you want and what it looks like (vision), the next step is to unleash your mission. A mission is typically defined as "an important assignment carried out for a specific purpose; a vocation or calling; a strongly felt aim or ambition."I like to think of a mission as the vehicle by which you reach your vision. Back to my earlier example, if you are in the ocean but have determined that you want to go in a direction against the current, some type of boat -- i.e. your mission -- will be the means by which you get to your destination.The great thing about missions is, like any other vehicle, it is built to carry other people. I'm a firm believe that each one of us was put on earth by God not just to serve ourselves, but to serve and lift up other people.If you feel "leashed" in life, it's imperative that you get a sense of mission -- an important assignment, that involves the service of others, that will ultimately lead you to your life vision. People with a strong sense of purpose and service are always the most "unleashed" people on earth! Unleashing yourself is impossible without ultimately unleashing the mission that God sent you here to do.Step #2: Uncover a sense of divine purpose; your mission.Unleash Your GiftsIn addition to having a mission, I know 100% that all of us have unique talents and gifts to bring to the world. To unleash yourself and ultimately your life, you must find a way to unleash all those latent talents.When considering your gifts, be sure to look in unexpected places. Most people are so hung up on "popular" gifts -- singing, painting, speaking on stages -- that they completely overlook the uniqueness within themselves. GG Renee, creator of this Layers of Self Discovery Tour, has the wonderful gift of introverted expression. Through her blog and business, she leads quietly powerful women to express themselves and tap into their full creativity.Unleashing yourself means unleashing the uniqueness of who you are.Step #3: Find and unlock your special gifts and talentsUnleash Your StrengthThough the statement, "Stop holding yourself back" is very simple and easy to say, to actually do so requires a lot of inner strength. To truly unleash yourself, you must unleash that inner strength that will aid you in overcoming challenges, as you will face many when trying to lead an unleashed life.If you notice from my conversation with my friend, she ended our discussion by insisting "I could never do that." A lot of women think they could never learn the skills, or put in the effort, or maintain the discipline necessary to get what they really want out of life, but that's simply not true. We all have so much untapped strength inside of us, but just like our physical bodies, if we don't force ourselves to use that strength, our "muscles" will never grow.Just like your gifts and talents, you have immense strength inside of you. Use it!Step #4: Challenge yourself! You are stronger than you know.Unleash Your BeliefThough this step comes last, it is by far the most important part of living an unleashed life. To unleash yourself, you must unleash your belief in yourself.Do you think it's possible for you to get what you want out of life? This is a real question -- really sit and think about your answer, because it determines what is possible for you. If the answer is "no" -- you really DON'T believe you will ever achieve your life vision, then you won't. It's that simple. You can only achieve as much as you believe is possible.Please don't be like my friend and believe that the life you are experiencing now is as good as it gets for you. If you want to experience more -- if you want to live a life that is free and exciting and stimulating and everything you hoped your life would be...it is possible. You just have to believe that its possible and, more importantly, believe that it is possible for YOU!Step #5: Believe in yourself!

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Are you ready to live an unleashed life? What is the first step you are going to take? Share with me in the comments

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