Monday, February 14, 2011

Designing Your Signature Life, Part 2

Copyright 2006 Melissa Galt The Parts and Pieces: In the second and final part of this series about designing your signature life, we’ll talk about how Entertaining and Homemaking, Travel and Adventure, and Personal Image and Style play key roles in creating a life you truly love. We’ll also address the larger goals of attaining balance, leaving a legacy, and actively creating a life plan. As we discussed in Part 1, designing your signature life is not just about your home interiors but is instead about every aspect of your life. Designing a signature life will enable you to get what you want by making a plan, establishing goals and creating a map to get there. By demonstrating flexibility and patience in each step you’ll be able to maximize your potential and the opportunities we each have. It’s about creating a life as unique as your own signature! Entertaining and Homemaking Too often people want to entertain, but are afraid. They are waiting for the house to be decorated, for that next promotion, for the kids to be grown up and gone. Entertaining is not about waiting! It is not about the perfect décor, your status at work, whether the kids are home or not; instead it is about sharing time and experiences with friends and family. If they are truly coming only to see your latest drapery or hear about your raise, consider getting new friends! Entertaining is a chance to invite others to share in a bit of your life, a bit of your home, and a bit of you. It doesn’t have to be grand, expensive or involve a caterer, although that can be fun too! Think about having a potluck with a handful of friends. Or maybe a leftover surprise dinner where everyone brings leftovers or cooks up something from things they have had for awhile in the pantry. Better yet, have everyone chip in $5 and order a pizza. It can be that easy. Entertaining can also be about hiring the experts. Get a caterer, develop a menu, hire a party planner, and let them take care of the details! It isn’t about the scale of the party, but about bringing people together and mixing it up. I throw parties for every reason or no reason at all. Few of my friends are comfortable doing this. Yes, it can be a lot of work if you let it. The choice is yours. Travel and Adventure Where do you want to go?? Many of us want to travel, but we don’t seem to go anywhere because we don’t plan it. We are very routine oriented and can’t seem to break loose for that spontaneous road trip or weekend with the girls. Planned or unplanned, it won’t happen if you don’t just do it. Taking a trip used to require loads of time, a travel agent, and tons of money. Now it requires a few clicks of a mouse with no agent in the middle, and you can do it for pennies. Of course, if you can do it all out and want to, I say go for it. But don’t miss an opportunity to experience another country, city, state, neighborhood, or culture. Don’t wait until you physically incapable of moving around freely, with all the resources, but with hindered ability. None of us knows how long we will remain able bodied, so appreciate your good health while you can and take every opportunity to explore your world. Travel is about exploration, adventure, trying new and different things that are sometimes exciting and sometimes scary. It is about tasting unfamiliar foods, smelling new smells, experiencing other customs, seeing different living environments, appreciating alternative architecture, touching novel textures, and hearing unique sounds. It is about taking a bite of life! It is about living bigger. Often travel really makes us value home that much more. And sometimes we really need that extra dose of perspective to appreciate what had become ordinary to us but is really quite special. It can also make us realize how big the world really is and put our lives and our own challenges in a new light. Personal Image and Style Renowned costume designer to the stars, Edith Head, once said, “You can have anything you want in life, if you dress for it.” This may well be true. The key is in making a personal statement and showing a sense of unique style. I always get a grin out of those that try to tell me to wear scarves. It won’t ever happen. It is not my style. It was my Mother’s and sister’s style and they did it with panache and grace. But not me. It would be comparable to making a man wear a bowtie that didn’t fit his own sense of style. Finding and defining your own sense of style is very important. It is tantamount to creating your personal image signature. I have a business associate who always wears a hat. It makes a big statement about her and gives her a unique importance. She also stands out from the crowd and wants to. Some gentlemen wear suspenders or a pocket handkerchief with same panache and are remembered for that. Clothing and image are inextricably tied together. What we wear, like it or not, makes a statement loud and clear about who we are and what we are about. Are you flashy? Sexy? Elegant? Professional? All buttoned up? Bohemian? Tailored? Frumpy? Old Fashioned? Dated? Fresh? Do you have savoir faire? Do you vogue? Are you saying what you want and mean to say based on your wardrobe and personal presentation? Is it a consistent message or are you all over the board? Fashion and image also relate to your interiors. Typically when you have truly defined yourself at this moment in time, you are consistent in your appeal. Your interiors will suit you as your wardrobe suits you. You will appear as a cohesive whole and not a series of confused fragments. Working on one aspect leads to subconscious work on the other aspect, and there is professional expertise available at all levels for all aspects. The Goals and Benefits: Getting Balance Often we think of balance as something that will eventually just happen or we will magically find it. The truth is that it is up to each of us to create it. What represents balance to one person may not to another. It is an individual definition but typically means that our life is flowing smoothly, our goals are on track, we feel on purpose and secure, and we are making time for our priorities. When out of balance we feel stressed, burned out, overloaded, and stretched too thin. It happens a lot but few realize that it is really a matter of evaluating priorities and delegating those that don’t mean as much. Yes, we can do it all, but we don’t have to and it isn’t healthy to. Achieving a healthy balance is about looking forward to each day, knowing that we can tackle the responsibilities at hand, that we have rewards to celebrate, and that we are truly living by our own design and not anyone else’s. A Life of Legacy When we are living a life of our own design, when we are writing our signature on the world each and every day, we are making connections to a legacy. We are forming alliances and relationships with many that will feel a lasting impact. Very rarely do we get a chance to know how much we have influenced another’s path, but instead have to trust that each encounter is never coincidence but intentional and with reason. We have a great deal to learn and a great deal to teach while in this life. It is by crafting our legacy and our significance with purpose and passion that we will make the greatest difference. A Life Plan Creating a life plan is not an exercise we will do once and forget, but instead it is about learning the tools and skills needed to continually shape and redefine our goals, priorities and passions. As we grow and change, our priorities will shift. What was important in our twenties seems silly in our thirties, and different still in our forties and fifties. We cannot predict, but only be open and flexible to opportunities, directions, and experiences, always keeping in mind our personal core values and seeking a fit with those values in all we do. Creating a signature life is about learning the interior of you and finding the happiest way to share and express that with the world. It is about feeling fulfilled and secure in all you are and do, despite the frequent hiccups in everyday living, and occasional disasters and thunderstorms of tragedy that invade every life. Find your signature, design your life. LIVE.

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