I was sitting across the table from a new friend when she asked me what exactly I do as a coach. “I help people fall madly in love with their lives,” I said. I had never described my work this way, and I was surprised when she welled-up. She was not, I came to discover, madly in love with her life, but she wanted to be.
Falling madly in love with our lives requires first and foremost proclaiming that our lives are of great consequence. This applies to everyone, not just “important people” doing important things. We all start with the same anthem: we matter. This precedes anything we accomplish or produce with our lives. It merely just sits as a basic truth of our existence. We were born therefore we matter. And as someone who matters we each deserve a life we can fall madly in life with.
Being madly in love with your life will mean something different to everyone, of course, as individuals’ life experiences are unique to each of us. But, there are a few common threads, some universal through lines, that can help us think about it for ourselves.
1. Live your life by design
Life is like a bonsai tree, a precious living work of art that can be shaped and cultivated with precision. People who are madly in love with their lives have carefully shaped and cultivated their decisions and behaviors so that they align precisely with what matters to them. They are intentional and deliberate.
2. Manage your mindset
Life doesn’t always go as planned, people disappoint us, sometimes it rains when we really wanted it to be sunny. People who are madly in love with their lives know the difference between making things happen in the world and believing that the world should be exactly as they want it. They’re extraordinarily realistic about what they can control (which is very little) and the things they can’t control (which is mostly everything).
3. Consciously work to be positive
People who are madly in love with their lives deliberately work against their negativity bias. They do it by focusing on what’s good, on purpose. They consciously cultivate positive memories, and form healthy, helpful perspectives on negative ones.
4. Live in the present moment
Developing the capacity to fully inhabit the present moment—to notice life exquisitely unfolding in real time—allows us to appreciate and relish every ordinary experience life grants us. People who are madly in love with their lives turn off autopilot and instead develop their ability to be here now.
5. Clarify your values and priorities
People who are madly in love with their lives know what they say “yes” to and what they say “no” to. They are rarely overwhelmed or overcommitted because they have devoted the necessary time to discover and articulate their values and priorities, and have aligned their inner and outer resources effectively and realistically.
6. Connect deeply with others
We are not islands. We are gardens. People who are madly in love with their lives show up for others and deliberately invest in the relationships that form the tapestry of their lives. They are interconnected. They know that it’s through our community, not our accomplishments, that we gain our sense of belonging and meaning.
7. Keep learning and growing
People who are madly in love with their lives deliberately create opportunities to evolve beyond their current capabilities. Without growth, we become stagnant. Without challenge, we become bored and listless. When we’re not stretched, we shrink. Choose to live by a philosophy of “not yet” instead of “I can’t.”
8. Make your life feel good
People who are madly in love with their lives have no qualms integrating juicy joys into their day. Maybe that’s a few morning stretches, a perfect cup of tea, a sumptuous bath, or a quiet walk in the woods. Regardless of the activity, there is a sense of feeling rightly entitled to having a life that feels good.
9. Do good work in the world
Whatever their vocation, people who are madly in love with their lives can connect the dots between the work that they do each day and the way it contributes to the world around them. They know that money is just one way to measure success. In fact, they’ve learned that success is more accurately measured by the positive difference they make and the way their work makes them and others feel.
10. Clean up your messes
People who are madly in love with their lives have tidied up. On the outside, they’ve done the work to resolve soured relationships and clean up past mistakes. They’re not perfect—sometimes they say the wrong thing or let someone down—but they’re quick to make amends and begin again. On the inside, they’ve done the work to forgive themselves and others, choosing to grow from past mistakes and to unburden themselves from resentments.
We get just one life. My new friend recognized this as we talked about falling in love with our lives. And she was enthralled by the idea that she could steer her life toward that aim. She resolved to do so, and I am happy to say that she’s well on her way.
You get just one shot in this body, with these people around you, in these circumstances. And if you’re not careful, this one life might end up pretty ordinary and inconsequential. The choice is yours. Are you ready to fall madly in love with your life?
ABOUT KRISTEN MANIERI (COACH, HOST OF 60 MINDFUL MINUTES)
Kristen Manieri is a coach who works with teams to increase both productivity and wellbeing. She also helps individuals navigate transition with clarity and confidence. Her areas of focus are: stress reduction, energy management, mindset, resilience, habit formation, rest rituals, and self-care. As the host of the weekly 60 Mindful Minutes podcast, an Apple top 100 social science podcast, Kristen has interviewed over 200 authors about what it means to live a more conscious, connected, intentional and joyful life. Learn more at kristenmanieri.com/work-with-me.