Don’t Settle

Live the life you want with these 5 steps

By Marcia A. Reed-Woodard
Sonya A. Lowery had a good life-but she wanted more. Her
dissatisfaction prompted her to make pivotal changes in her personal and professional life. Three years into her marriage and a budding graphic design enterprise, she left both her husband and her business partner.

“My life was okay, but I knew I could have more,” recalls Lowery. “I wasn’t excited about what I was doing and I was constantly torn between doing what I wanted and adhering to what others wanted me to do.” Today, 38-year-old Lowery is president of Solaris-House of Fine Graphics, a Greenbelt, Maryland-based design firm she launched after the split.

“We all have an innate drive to fulfill our desires,” says Karyn Pettigrew, author of
The Invitation: The Secret to Creating Your Best Life (Highest Good Publications; $6.95). “But we have to choose whether we want to support that drive or suppress it.”

The Chicago-based life coach and business consultant maintains that those who suppress it suffer in ways that include living with increasing regrets and experiencing feelings of discontentment, anxiety and even depression.

“When we settle for less than what we want, we’re living less of the life God intended for us to have and we’re unhappy,” Pettigrew says. “However, when we embrace who we are and pursue what we want, we experience joy, happiness, peace, and contentment, making it easier to deal with obstacles we encounter in getting it and move beyond them.”

Lowery agrees and recalls that while the divorce and business closing were difficult, the changes allowed her the freedom to rediscover her creativity and reignite her childhood passion.

“Creating your best life doesn’t necessarily mean making monumental changes,” reminds Pettigrew. She recommends implementing these small adjustments, which can yield big results:

Outlook. Rethink your frame of reference or modify your stance.
Attitude. Establish how you will feel despite the circumstances.
Response. Determine what response you will exhibit.

CHANGE IS GOOD
Pettigrew insists that everyone can create their preferred life. Here’s how:

  1. Find your truth. Look deep within your heart and identify what is important to you. Determine your values, likes, dislikes, and desires. Lowery realized that she cherished her independence and felt best when she made decisions on her own terms.
  2. Trust yourself. Listen to your intuition. Regardless of what others think, pursue the life you dream of having. Lowery acknowledges that despite having fears associated with single parenting and entrepreneurship, she always believed in her ability to build a business and take care of her children.
  3. Be responsible. Take steps that move you toward your preferred life. Seek out information. Secure resources. Solicit support. Lowery took charge of her career aspirations by networking more.
  4. Stay focused. Concentrate on what you want and those things that will allow you to achieve it. Lowery refused to spend time working at jobs other than those that built her business. “If it wasn’t graphics, I wasn’t doing it,-no matter how bad I needed the money,” she recalls.
  5. Be intentional. Make deliberate, impactful efforts to further your progress. Early on, Lowery volunteered to design marketing materials to gain exposure.
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