How to live the life you want

Woman balancing on a rope

I’ve done a fair amount of ‘personal development‘ stuff over the years. As it always involves a bit of uncomfortable soul searching, it’s tempting to consider that done and keep my head in the nice warm sand.

Woman balancing on a ropeSince I’d organised the recent Henpicked event ‘How to live the life you want’, I really had to go along. And of course, there were many things I’d forgotten, or just not spent time contemplating for a while. Each of which is helping nudge my life in a better direction.

There’s no real substitute for experiencing this for yourself, but thought I’d share some of the things we did and talked about here. Maybe it’ll get you thinking, or inspire you to come along to a future workshop.

Do you want a good life?

Ask yourself that question. It’s a no-brainer, isn’t it?  I don’t like to presume you’d say yes, but since you can define ‘good’ however you wish, I think there’s a fair chance you will. And do you really want to opt for the alternative – a bad life?

But this seemingly innocuous question is more powerful than it looks. Deciding you want (and deserve) a good life releases you to do what you need to achieve it. No one else can or should do it for you – they have their own lives.

So it’s worth working out what would constitute ’a good life‘ for you. We’re all different!


Sh*t happens. Human beings suffer losses and disappointments, and our responses to these can become all consuming. We may be angry, frustrated, grief stricken, depressed.

Such feelings are entirely destructive. If I allow any of these take control they make me a nightmare to be around, and prevent me from making whoopee with the rest of my life.

By accepting where we are now, that these things happened and cannot be changed, we can mostly free ourselves of the negative emotions. Sometimes just understanding that past event x is causing reaction y can help us let go.

And it’s worth remembering a phrase I learnt when it was the slogan for Stella Artois in Egypt, though it turns out Nietzsche said it first: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

However this does not mean that you need to accept your current situation as the only way life can be…

Have dreams

Action for happiness - it helps to know what you're looking forward toIf we’re fortunate enough to become satisfied with our lives, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut. Suddenly the things that made us content don’t seem quite as fulfilling. Having a dream can give us a sense of purpose and direction.

If you don’t have any dreams, try this exercise. Write down what you’d do if you won £10,000 on the lottery. Then £100,000. Then £1m. Then £10m, and finally £250m.   This will probably get your imagination going – is anyone else salivating at the thought of a private jet?

Doing this also shows what is important to you – both in terms of your values (who and what you’d take care of) and also how you’d like to spend your time if money were no object.

Though none of us are likely to win the cash, we can feel like we have if we work towards achieving these things in other ways.

Pursue them with positivity 

“We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we’ve established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile.”Earl Chesterfield

Once you have a dream, you want to work towards achieving it, don’t you? Yet how often does an inner critic kick in? Maybe people will think you are crazy or overambitious, or maybe you’re not confident you can do it?

Our dreams shouldn’t be sacrificed so easily!

Pursue them with passion and determination. There will be challenges along the way – Jo Godson has written about how to make sure you don’t see these as unsurmountable obstacles in this article. Think about all your options. Use your energy and enthusiasm to draw the right people to you – they’ll probably be like-minded and will support you.

Things may alter along the way. You may discover something that changes your mind about the destination. You may come across a wonderful opportunity that you can’t let slip by. That’s fine… you would never have known of these things if you hadn’t been pursuing that original dream.

Remember we’re all human

Finally, the greatest joy of attending a personal development workshop is that everyone shares details of their lives. It becomes obvious how much we all have in common. You can’t help feeling a huge amount of compassion for the other attendees, and receive a lot of love and affection in return. Thank you to those who came along to this event – it was a privilege to get to know you better. 

Henpicked’s ’How to live the life you want‘ workshop was run by Roy Martin MBE. Please register for our email newsletter if you are interested in hearing about similar events.

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Deborah Garlick

About Deborah Garlick

I'm the founder of Henpicked. I love reading the wonderful stories and articles women send us - I read every one. I've learnt so much and hope others enjoy them too. I believe life's about being happy and that we're here to help one another. And that women are far wiser than they often realise, so let's stop putting ourselves down.