- Most of us have become so used to solving problems and just making ends meet that we have lost sight of what we really want out of life.
- It is impossible to move forward without some idea of where you want to go.
- View you and your life as a “business” and what do you want to achieve in your life, regardless of the pain.
- By executing any part of your plan, you are moving away from your pain and into a more enjoyable life.
It is the norm for most of us to run our lives by continually fixing problems. We not only get worn down, but we don’t have the pleasure of achieving our dreams. A friend of mine uses the term “surviving and fixing” to describe this approach to living life. He challenges himself and his audiences to develop a “vision of excellence” regarding their own lives. Create the vision of where you want to be and then break it down into doable steps.
Your business plan
Here is a suggested template that to develop a “business plan” for your life. Visualize yourself as a small business trying to accomplish specific goals. Instead of having a nagging sense of not doing what you really want, clearly define the variables. You could also use a more complex small business template and be more specific.
Overview of self today:
- What brings me joy?
- Giving back
Character – be honest with yourself on both accounts. None of us are perfect, and I have long said that if all of us have “flaws”, why do any of us have flaws?
- Highest (expert)
- Strong (Competent and can contribute)
- Moderate (competent)
- Light (participant)
- Minimal or no skill but strong interest
Where do I want to be in five years?
- Specific areas
- Hobbies/ travel/ enjoyable activities
- Giving back
- Each area
- Specific steps
- Time frames
My concept of an action plan has changed over this last year. I historically have put time frames around my projects. To a large degree, it has been helpful and also a step to consider. However, one of my mentors who is an incredibly successful businessman counseled me to write down my projects/ vision, then ask myself if I am thinking big enough? Then he said to take time out of the equation because it only creates more anxiety. It is concept that I am still trying to figure out, as I have been so process oriented.
I would venture to say that in the context of being in chronic pain, that removing time from the process is a good idea. He is right about the anxiety factor. It is inflammatory, drains your energy, and you are less apt to achieve your vision.
What about the pain?
The key to this template is to create it without regards to the status of your pain. What do want to do with your life, with or without the pain?
Then create a focused plan regarding your chronic pain. You clearly have been seeking treatment for a while, sometimes for decades. Now that you understand the specific aspects of pain, break out the ones that are relevant to your life, and create an action plan for each and all of them. The more organized you can become, the more effective you will be in solving it. Without a plan, you will remain a victim of a disorganized health care system. Don’t let that continue to be your reality.
One of the cardinal rules of healing is to minimize your time talking about your pain and medical care. This is still a core concept. However, creating an action plan around your pain and medical care is the opposite energy. Instead of being at the mercy of the circumstances, you are taking control, which also happens to be anti-inflammatory.
You have heard me present the idea of moving forward with or without your pain many times. It is challenging to implement this because you have been so used to being trapped by the pain and your circumstances. You may be thinking that I don’t really understand the depth of your suffering, and I don’t. I am not you and only know that the extent of my suffering was severe and that there is only one choice. You must move away from your pain circuits and forward into the life you want in order to get there. We clearly know that first trying to “fix “your pain means that your pain is running your life and it is being reinforced. Besides, since mental pain is the bigger issue for most people, there is not an end point. Life keeps coming at all of us. You are learning strategies to process stress more efficiently so you can move on. But you have to move on.
Questions and considerations
- This step of taking the time and effort to create a plan for your life is a bigger step than you might think. The essence of healing is creating a shift in your brain from your pain circuits onto more enjoyable ones. That doesn’t just happen.
- Have you ever considered your life in terms of running a business?
- Even if you are completely incapacitated with pain at this moment, please spend a few minutes a day with this process. Any movement forward will help.
- Your life has been at the mercy of others for a while. What would it feel like to regain control?