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Get busy living

Seeking ways to live deliberately

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose… There is no reason not to follow your heart.” Steve Jobs

Not to bring you down, but we are all going to die. It’s a sobering thought. Right now, we’re alive, but are we living? Andy’s motivating thought for Red in The Shawshank Redemption is: “Get busy living or get busy dying”. We can either go through the motions in life or we can choose to live life deliberately – living, in this sense, rather than being alive, requires effort on our part.

It can seem easier to go through life on autopilot, never stopping to ask ourselves what we really want or need out of life. Often though, there comes a point when we do pop our heads up from the day-to-day and go – hang on, I’ve achieved so much, and I’ve got so many things and it still feels a bit flat, is this all there is?

We can spend most of our lives looking after others, without much of a thought for ourselves. When we do ask ourselves what we want out of life, we often have no idea (at first). Discovering this can take time. It requires that we search within for something more - a passion, a dream, a desire. Living deliberately requires us to use that desire to act.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately… and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Henry David Thoreau

To discover what was meaningful for him, Thoreau left his civilised life for a couple of years to live in the woods – though he frequently visited his friends and family. As my mother-in-law wisely advocated: “Everything in moderation!”.

To me, living deliberately means considering what’s important to you, making plans and acting on them – doing the best for you and for those who rely on you at work and at home. Sometimes, that means that you continue to follow your existing course and continue to support those you love and respect. And, this is where living deliberately comes into its own. It isn’t running into the woods, free as a bird, without considering others. It’s discovering what’s important to you and finding ways to honour that and others – and that is transformational.

As a child, I loved playing outside and exploring – I was a real nature-child. As I grew up, I temporarily forgot that. Having focussed entirely on my career and family, I hadn’t given a thought about what I needed or wanted. This is not an unusual story. In mid-life, I did the searching work and discovered being in nature is important for me – and being in service to others is my purpose. I now know I need to recharge my batteries by getting my hands in the soil; and with my family’s encouragement, I followed my path into coaching and consultancy – and I planned to make this happen. For me, these are important parts of living my life. If you’d like to explore your own and live deliberately – get in touch.


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