However, sometimes you find a framework that helps you get to a solution or to your goal faster. But whatever the framework or tool you use, there are no results without hard work and consistency.
15 years ago I created one of those tools and have been using it ever since.
I had just got divorced from my first husband and decided that next time round it'd be better. I was building a wildly successful design business and I guess my hubby got fed up with me as I wasn’t playing the ‘perfect wife’ role anymore. I have no regrets letting our marriage broke down. He was right. Building my business was more important for me than our marriage.
And here’s the trick.
I didn’t want to put my marriage first, or my business. I wanted a great relationship AND a flourishing career!
Life is made up of millions of tiny daily decisions.
It sounds simple, but if you look at your life and skim over your calendar appointments, the way you spend your time IS your life. Everyday small decisions make up who you'll become.
The problem is we don't make calendar appointments with ourselves. Apart from a hair cut and the occasional manicure, what else do you have in your planner that indicates you are putting in the things that really matter to you?
After my divorce I decided to live intentionally with greater awareness. So I created a tool called 'My Life Matrix' and started using it actively to make my bigger life happen. I wanted to design my life, to live it fully and leave out nothing I really wanted.
'My Life Matrix' is now a foundation exercise at DrivenWoman. This tool has been used by over thousand women globally and it works! And the most satisfying part is that I get the most amazing feedback emails from women all over the world.
“Miisa, I came to your meeting a year ago and it changed my life. Just by writing down what I wanted had a profound effect on me and how my life has turned out since.” Sarah
So this is how it works.
Write down what is really important to you?
First, choose Four Key Areas in your life. Many life planning tools give you pre-determined boxes to fill in, but I believe when you create your own, you are more present and as a result more committed.
"There is an art to living, to creating your life on your terms based on your desires, talents, values, and dreams. We’re rarely taught to look within and name what it is we want from life." The power of writing down what you want by Tiny Buddha
What kind of things do you want to invite into your life?
What do you want to create? How do you want to spend your time?
Family? Health? Career success? Ambition? Wealth? Helping others? Travel? Creativity?
Go ahead, write these things down. Yes, thinking something in your head doesn't make them real. Research shows that writing down your goals makes you much more likely to achieve them. I find paper and pen the only effective method for this. There's something that happens when we purposefully write down what we want. It brings ideas and emotions into our consciousness which will then start directing our actions. When you become aware of what you want, you can start aligning those small daily decisions and actions.
"I didn't even look at what I had written down in my sheet and it's amazing how many of these things have actually happened after completing My Life Matrix." Maryam
My four key areas are:
1) my (second) husband (I didn’t want to cram him into the same box with my kids!),
2) my 'nest' (this includes my kids, my family, home, everyday beauty in my surroundings and how I live),
3) impact (what kind of impact my work has on the universe and the impact it has on me and my wealth),
4) balance (everything else I love in life: friends, mediation, riding my horse, going to art shows, a glass of wine…).
"I had only made plans and goals for my business. Using My Life Matrix made me realise that if I don't take care of my health and my family, also my business will suffer. I love that it looks at the bigger picture!" Heidi
The purpose of the Four Key Life Areas is to focus on them and start putting action points into your real life – your calendar – to make them happen. Get conscious of the things you want and allocate time and resources to do those things.
It's one thing to say something is important. It's another thing to take the hard steps.
So you say your relationship is important to you. But is it? Are you taking the actions that are required? Are you engaging in the hard conversations that are inevitable?
Try to remain fully present with your answers and think them through. Then answer the following questions and write down couple of bullet points for each of your Four Key Life Areas :
How do you want to live?
How do you want to feel in that area?
What do you want to experience, have or create?
We tend to go through life never actually stopping to think what is important to us. You can’t do everything that’s thrown your way and expect great results. It’s time to say what is important and then start putting actions behind them.
It’s time to become your own best teacher.
I’ve changed my health, my body image, I’ve reduced stress, changed my networks, updated my diet, my social life, and my work and business using this simple tool. You can do it too!
For 15 years I have been updating my Four Key Life Areas regularly. The Key Areas have remained pretty constant, but the 'how' has evolved. And that's the beauty of it. What ever you write down today is perfect. Life is never the same and we all keep growing even if we don't notice it. It's important to update your dreams as well.
And now for the first time since its creation, my Matrix is changing for me in a more radical way. I notice that I’m moving from tangible to intangible, from mind based to soul based Key Life Areas. I will be sharing my four key 'states' on the DrivenWoman Instagram feed with more details to inspire you to create your most amazing life using this simple tool.
Do you want to create your My Life Matrix and be inspired by the stories of like-minded women? Join DrivenWoman, find out more here.