“The life I want to live feels impossible for me to reach.”
I hear statements like this all the time.
So many people feel stuck in life—working the same job, struggling with the same monthly budget, and dreading Monday mornings. They hear success stories about other people, but getting unstuck still feels unrealistic (especially for them).
Is there a way for anyone to get unstuck and start living a life that resembles the one you want to live?
Yes there is, and the answer will likely surprise you. It’s something I, like many others, overlooked for a long time.
To design your life effectively, you must learn the difference between skills and talents and align your talents with the path you want to take.
Ignore your talents (yes, you have them) and you are bound to fail.
That’s why I’ve put together a 3-step process you can use to establish a new direction, utilize your talents, and pinpoint the skills that will take you to the next level.
This is the same process I’ve used for getting unstuck in my own life, and I firmly believe it can work for you too.
How to Create Your Own Life in 3 Steps
1. Identify where you want to go.
It’s important to have your end goal in mind at the start of this process so you know where you’re going.
Knowing you simply want things to change is not enough. You also need some idea of how you’d like things to be.
So ask yourself…if you could wave a magic wand and make your life look like anything you want, what would it look like?
Where would you live?
What would you be most excited about?
Who would you spend most of your time with?
How would you feel when you wake up in the morning?
What problems and fears would no longer weigh down your thoughts?
Don’t shrug these questions off as fantasy. Answer them honestly and often. Use those answers to identify your target.
2. Align your life with your key talents.
The path you choose in life needs to be aligned with your talents because they reveal what you were made to do.
We’ve all seen examples of people NOT aligning their talents with the path they choose on American Idol. These contestants want to be stars, but they simply don’t have the gift of voice or pitch.
But when you align the path you’ve chosen in life with your actual talent, that path will begin to open up and become clearer than ever.
Now, before you start telling yourself that you might as well just give up because you aren’t talented at anything, listen:
Whether you believe it or not, you are talented at something. In fact, you likely have multiple talents.
There are two problems, however, that commonly hold people back from identifying those talents:
1. It’s much harder to evaluate our own talents than the talents of others.
Curiously, this first problem can work two ways. Overconfident people tend to inflate their talents to proportions that don’t match up with reality, while people who lack confidence tend to massively overlook or undersell their talents.
If you don’t feel confident that you have a talent, discovering it will begin with increasing your level of belief in yourself. Need help with that? I detailed seven strategies in this post.
2. We tend to have a narrow definition of talent.
I always say that when God was handing out talents, I didn’t get any of the cool ones. I can’t run fast or sing great. But I am able to notice little things about people that can help them make huge differences in their lives.
Sure, this isn’t a conventional talent, and I still get sideways looks when I tell people I’m a professional “noticer,” but it’s become the foundation of my career.
And once I became aware of this odd talent, I was able to build on it. Which brings me to number three…
3. Discover the skills you can develop to complement your talent.
Your talent is your main asset, but skills are vital too. They put weight to your talent and make it stronger.
Here’s the good news—unlike natural talents, skills can be learned. With time and focus, you can incorporate just about any skill into your life.
Time and focus, of course, are finite resources—which is why it’s critical to identify the right skills that complement your talent.
Again, with “normal” talents it’s fairly easy to identify the important skills. If you’re a great singer, you’ll probably want hone your stage presence.
If you have a weird talent like me, you might have think through a greater amount of confusion in order to find the right skills.
I wasn’t even the best student in my eighth grade English class…yet writing has been one of the most important skills I’ve harnessed to strengthen my odd talent of noticing things.
So ask yourself…
What skill would allow me to impact more lives with my talent?
Is someone with a similar talent using it to do great work? What skills do they seem to possess?
Who do I have to become to live a life in perfect alignment with my gifts?
Never stop asking yourself these questions and you’ll make yourself more valuable than you could ever imagine.
A Word of Caution About Creating the Life You Want to Live
You have a unique talent you can use to change the trajectory of your life—emotionally, spiritually, and financially. It may take changing the way you think. It may take lots of time developing skills. It may take pushing forward in the midst of confusion. But you can create the life you want to live.
A word of caution: It’s important to keep in mind that no pathway in life is straight—no matter where you’re going or where you want to go, you have to be flexible.
For instance, even if you’re driving home from work on the same route you’ve used a million times, you can’t relax with a paperback as you press your foot on the accelerator.
Some days there is more traffic, sometimes there might be an accident, and at times there will be construction on the road—all of these can cause you to take a turn.
Just remember that those turns aren’t setbacks—they’re an essential part of the process of becoming.
What ways are you developing your skills and using your talents? Tell me in the comments!