The 5 Keys to Living an Extraordinary Life

I trust you're here reading these lines because you're wanting more out of life, you want to become the best you, you can be. If that sounds like you then you're going to love these 5 keys to living an extraordinary life.

If you're wanting to become your best you and life the life you want then keep on reading to discover I the 5 keys to living an extraordinary life. These 5 keys are something we teach our students here at The Coaching Institute and something we encourage as they make their way through their journey.

Key 1: You Must Take Control of How You Interpret Your World 

What determines the quality of your life is not what happens, your level of luck or hard times, your family, your income, your job or your friends. What determines the quality of our life is the meaning we give to the events that happen and the choices we make as a result of those meanings. Think about this for a moment. Think of what is happening in your life right now. Perhaps you're stressed or feeling overwhelmed or out of control. 

What if you were feeling overwhelmed because of how you perceive the situation a certain way? Doesn't that mean you also have an equal power to choose to perceive the event in another way? 

The first time I heard this key, I said there is no way anyone would say that if they knew what was going on in my life right now. I decided that the person telling me this must be heartless because if they only knew how hard things were for me, they would never say that. 

Then I started thinking about it. What if it was true?

Just for a moment, I imagined my life with this key being true. I realised that it meant that how I was feeling about my life was entirely up to me. I had the power to change how I felt about it. Only I had the power to change how I related the world. Only I could change how I experienced this world. 

woman learning to live an extraordinary life

Key Number Two: You Must Choose What You Focus On 

This second key flows from the first. It says that what we choose to search for we will find. What you focus on is what you will get. Think of a time you bought a car. Can you recall that before you decided to get the car you didn't notice that particular type of car in your travels? What changed once you made the decision? How many of that type of car did you begin to notice? 

Focus on the hardships in life, and you will experience more hardships. Focus on life's injustices and you will experience life's injustices. Focus on ill health and you will experience ill health. Focus on your weaknesses and you will experience disappointing results. 

Focus on love and kindness, and you will experience love and kindness. Focus on the keys to health and vitality and you will experience the same. Focus on your strengths and you will experience even more success. 

Because what we focus on is what we get. And what we focus on is what we get to the exclusion of everything else. 

The possibility you experience is based on what you search for. 

If you focus on what you fear, you will only see what you fear. Focus­ing on your strengths is always to your benefit and will help you to be living an extraordinary life. What many people do is focus on what will be difficult or how they might fail, so they don't even attempt the thing. This is such a limiting way to live life, because it ensures they will only attempt the things they are sure they can do.

Key Number Three: You Must Take 100% Responsibility for the Results You Get in Your Life 

This key continues on from the previous because it asks us to hold ourselves accountable for all of what happens in our lives, regardless of whether or not we believe we chose it. 

This key is a challenge for some people to embrace because they point out that sometimes something happens that they were not expecting, could not have predicted and could never have prevented. 

I tell them to act as if it’s true anyway. Because it's only when we take this key on totally that we get to learn from everything that happens, and not just the stuff we believe we chose. 

Even if something happens in a different city, if affects you, take 100% responsibility... not for the event... but for how you choose to respond. 

Take 100% responsibility for the results you get. 

This key isn't about blame, as in "you asked for it, "but about responsibility for choosing how you respond. 

It is totally empowering to accept that how you respond to the events in your life is entirely up to you. 

Think of the times you've heard someone say "It's not my fault," or "I didn't ask for this."Did you see how powerless they became when they said it? Why do that to ourselves when we could say, "This is what has hap­pened, I don't like it and I'm determined to find a way to turn it around." 

People say "Why me?" 

How about instead, "It's me because I have the resources I need to deal with it" 

You have all the resources you need to be living an extraordinary life. No ex­ceptions. No one else is responsible for your transformation. No else is responsible for your results or your lack of results. You are responsible for whether you choose to feel happy, sad, content, overwhelmed, angry or empowered. 

Most of us know the importance of forgiving and letting go. The bigger question is, how? For that, let’s first explore what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you don’t have any feelings about the person who wronged you or the situation. It’s not about forgetting what happened. You don’t even have to let the other person know they are forgiven. True forgiveness is accepting what happened and finding a way to live with it. It is a state of resolution. You forgive for you – not for anyone else. So why is forgiving so darn hard? Most people are addicted to drama, and drama can play out resourcefully or un-resourcefully. Anger, for example, is drama gone un-resourceful. It generates a shot of adrenaline which is addictive. That said, you cannot forgive unless you’ve fully identified and felt your pain, anger or whatever emotion you’re going through. Because forgiveness is gradual, this won’t happen in a day . When you’re ready, forgiveness will put a seal on your hurt. You’ll still remember what happened, but you won’t be restricted by it. And that is a big sign of demonstrating courage.

Key Number Four: You Must Get Rid of the Secondary Gain 

Have you ever done something that is harmful to you, recognised it's harmful, and then kept doing it? It could be a recurring negative thought about yourself, such as "I'm not good enough." It could be a behaviour such as overeating. It could manifest as self-sabotage. Perhaps you want to save, and then the moment you get ahead you blow your entire pay packet on something you hardly need. 

The payoff, whatever that is for you, has the ability to keep us doing, saying and thinking what we are sure we no longer need. The key to ap­preciating this is that we only think, say and do what we believe works. On some level, self-sabotage has for us a benefit. No payoff, no repetition. 

Don't bother telling yourself right now that you are the exception to the payoff rule. There are no exceptions to this rule. 

This key has been understood by psychologists for years. We want to avoid the feelings of failure, of self-doubt, of lack of confidence. We don't want to fail or look silly or risk being rejected or any of the other fears we hold in our heads. The benefit of playing it safe is we get to avoid all of this perceived pain. 

If you want something in your life and find yourself falling short at the last moment, or of justifying why you're not doing it, or you see your­ self-avoiding it, then you are in the grasp of secondary gain

Most secondary gain is a fear of going outside of our comfort zone. We fear the unknown. We fear not seeing how we can control every step that lies ahead of us. We want to have certainty about how things will play out before we act. 

Or so we think. 

You can't get happy playing it safe. It is impossible to feel a sense of accomplishment sitting still and convincing yourself that the risk isn't worth it. Every time you talk yourself out of attempting a new thing you move a step further away from who you truly are. 

The only thing you can learn through playing it safe is mediocrity. 

The only way to discover the courage within you is to act, even when you feel fear. 

How to Let Go of Secondary Gain and start living your extraordinary life...

The first step to let go of the payoffs is to get real about what they are. Any area of your life where you have told yourself you want it to be different but haven't changed it is worth looking at. 

Identify the area you want to improve. What do you tell yourself about why it isn't how you want it? 

Think of the area you want to transform or take to the next level. What has been the payoff of you not playing at that level until now? 

What has the secondary gain prevented you from being, doing, hav­ ing or experiencing? What don't you have in your life because you have had the secondary gain? What do you have that you don't want in your life because of it? 

What are you going to take action on now that you have identified the secondary gain? What is going to be different from now on? 

The second step to move through the secondary gain is to hold your­ self-accountable when you become aware of it returning. 

what if you fly

Key Number Five: You Must Be Willing to Explore... And Embrace ... the Unfamiliar 

All the talk in the world about what we can do to transform our lives is just talking... unless we are willing to explore the new ideas for ourselves. Knowledge is only knowledge if we apply it... otherwise, it's just informa­tion gathering.

The truth is, many of us spend so much of our time worrying and try­ing to prevent the"bad" from happening that we forget to enjoy our lives! Who said that life can't be wonderful, rich, abundant and joyous in the presence of uncertainty? The only question is, "What do we need to be to be able to achieve this?"

The first law of life to consider and embrace is this: 

"Life is uncertain:' 

There is no escaping this and the more effort we put into getting rid of the uncertainty the more energy we're wasting. Instead of trying to control the inevitable, what about focusing on what you can control and influence? Focus instead on what you enjoy, what you can do, what your strengths are and what you want to achieve. 

The fact is, in life, there are few guarantees. You can't control your world. You control nothing when it comes to the future. You have no con­trol over the future. This sounds negative, but in reality, it's freeing. Think about it, if you accept this is true, doesn't it free you to focus on what you can control? 

For certainty in our future is surrendering our greatest gift... the ability to enjoy the ride regardless of where it takes us. To live an extraordinary life is to live and be ok with uncertainty. 

women living an extraordinary life

How do we do this? 

Give up the need to be right. Surrender the desire to win an argument, prove your point, correct someone else or remind yourself of your exper­tise. If you have a big case of "Certain-itise " then this will be a stretch for you, as it was for me. It's worth sticking at, though, because you'll start to relax and go with the flow. You'll notice people's differences with appreciation, instead of the desire to change them to conform to your way of thinking. People will be drawn to you and you'll be a much warmer person to be around. 

Get used to saying"Maybe..." Instead of having to know the answer, get in the habit of being curious about what all the possibilities could be. Someone says to you, "This won't work." Suppress the need to say how it will, or why you think it won't. Instead say, even if it's just to yourself, "Maybe...", or"I wonder...", or"Let's see..."

success habit - I can


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