I was standing confidently on the edge of a very steep cliff overlooking the breathtaking Pacific Bay 80 feet below me. With adrenaline rushing through my body, my feet were firmly planted on the ledge between the famous two cliffs in Acapulco, Mexico known as La Quebrada.

Taking one last deep breath, I raised my arms overhead, bent my knees and started to jump up and dive head first between the rocky, uneven cliffs. Suddenly, someone grabbed me by my waist and yanked me off the ledge. In disbelief, I said, “Mom?”

I couldn’t understand why my mom was frantically screaming at me and pulling me off the jagged ledge. I soon discovered why. In reality, I was not at the cliffs of La Quebrada. I was a 7-year old child climbing the rod iron railing on the 4th story of our hotel room in Mexico.

I had been sleepwalking…again.

Are you Sleepwalking?

Although you might not be mimicking professional high divers in Acapulco, you may very well be in a constant cycle of sleepwalking through life. If you are, take heart because you are not alone. Sadly, most people live their lives without any intentionality or a deep sense of purpose; waking up every morning and robotically punching the timeclock of life. They allow life to happen to them and react to their circumstances rather than creating vibrant, thriving environments in which to live.

What does it take to wake up and break the cycle? For some, it comes in the form of a stinging slap in the face: a job loss, breakup, or financial crisis. For others, it’s a gnawing in their gut that something vital is missing and they want more out of life: more joy, more fulfillment, more significance.

There are two key areas that I consistently see people sleepwalking:

  1. Not being committed to their personal growth.
  2. Not living in the present.

Neglecting both of these areas carry potentially damaging social, professional and emotional life consequences.

How can you recognize whether or not you’re sleepwalking through life? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much time do you spend worrying about the future or stuck in the past?
  • Is your mind frequently swept away by powerful thoughts and emotions?
  • Do you have a vibrant sense of purpose?
  • Do you live by a clearly defined mission statement for your life?

If you can relate to any of these questions, chances are you might be sleepwalking.

IMG_7143Consequences of Sleepwalking

Another question to ponder,

“How is sleepwalking impacting your life?”

I’ve personally both lived and seen the effects of mindlessly walking through life, without a sense of meaning or purpose; merely going through the motions. How can this impact your life? Many people find themselves frustrated in relationships because they don’t have a clear understanding of who they are or what they want. They make life choices based on past experiences, a flawed belief system, or from a position of ignorance.

Some people settle for a career that is unfulfilling because they are unaware of their strengths, talents, or true motivators. Others are in a constant state of being bombarded by stress and anxiety; feeling that they have no control over their lives.

What’s the solution? The answer is very simple; it’s time to take back the wheel of your life and start living intentionally. Intentional living unleashes the power of purpose.

The human mind is the steering wheel that determines the direction of one’s destiny; we are transforming our lives by the way we turn our minds. – T.D. Jakes

3 Ways to Take the Wheel of Your Life

Action is always a catalyst for change. If you want to stop living your life on autopilot and find more joy, fulfillment, and a deeper sense of purpose, you must be highly intentional about pursuing personal growth.

Let’s look at 3 areas to focus on that will help you live life more fully.

1. Write Your Own Story

You are both the author and hero of your life story; this is a powerful gift entrusted to you. Your story is the greatest weapon you have to activate your warrior genes and discover your true identity.

To start crafting your story, commit to the habit of journaling. When reflecting, look closely at the heart and soul of who you are at your inner core:

  • Your personal values
  • Your core strengths
  • Your top motivators
  • Your most trusted character traits
  • Your strongest positive habit

Examining your core will give you clarity and direction to your identity. Remember that in order for a hero to emerge, he or she must face challenges and obstacles. You will experience failure in this world; tested to your very core and encounter pain and heartache. Such is the path of the warrior. Learn to:

  • Embrace your challenges as friends
  • Be purpose minded
  • Count the gifts that grow out of your trials

Know your mission in life. Ask yourself daily, what must I do today to move in the direction of my mission?

“You are the principle character of your story because you are the only character you can control.” Donald Miller

2. Be Present

Despite the fact that life unfolds in the present, most people are rushing through life always trying to be somewhere else or worrying about things out of their control. Being present is the ability to become fully engaged in the moment.

The best way to keep yourself in the present moment is to focus your attention on your present experience.

  • Slow down to recognize when your mind is drifting
  • Connect with your 5 senses
  • Be attentive when others are speaking
  • Replace rumination with reflection
  • Frame your day with intentional habits
  • Align yourself with what is…not with what should be or what once was

Connecting with your senses is relatively easy but does require practice on your part. What do you see, feel, hear taste and smell? What is the temperature against your skin? If you are seated, what does the seat feel like, is it hard or soft? What colors and shapes do you see around you? What sounds do you hear?

When you are with others, be curious. Ask questions regarding the here and now. Look for opportunities in front of you. People who are skilled at living in the present are more fully connected to themselves and experience healthy, meaningful relationships.

3. Leave a Legacy

This may sound like a morbid question; however, it is not intended to be.

“What do you want people to say about you at your funeral?”

Everyone in this world leaves some kind of legacy behind. If you truly desire to influence others and to leave an enduring legacy for future generations, you must focus on living your life on purpose and with purpose.

“A life isn’t significant except for its impact on other lives.” – Jackie Robinson

Take some time to consider what you want your life to stand for. Your legacy is closely related to your sense of purpose or mission in life. Reflect on and answer the following questions:

  • What are 3 things in life that you would like to be remembered for?
  • If you could influence another person, what would you contribute to them?
  • What are some of the most painful obstacles you’ve overcome?
  • What do you find most fulfilling in life?

The answers to these questions are vital components of your story and consequently your legacy.

Life Mission Statement

Based on your answers, write a strong mission statement for your life. Some examples of mission statements:

My mission in life is inspiring purpose in others.

My life’s purpose is abolishing injustice for the needy.