This article originally appeared in Forbes.com.
Kobe Bryant tragically passed away in January. He was one of the greatest basketball players of all time, and beyond his skill on the court, he was a gifted artist, entrepreneur and philanthropist.
After Kobe’s passing, I was watching the news and heard sportswriter Rick Reilly say, “Kobe didn’t just live life — he swallowed it whole!”
I love that statement. And it gets me thinking: Why shouldn’t we all want to swallow life whole? Why shouldn’t we all build a life that we love?
It sounds nice… but it’s not always easy to get there.
I have the privilege of coaching high-performing professionals. And I’ve discovered that even the smartest, most ambitious, most successful individuals struggle to create a meaningful life that they truly enjoy.
So many get stuck earning a living rather than creating a life.
So, with Kobe’s legacy as an example, here are three tips to help you swallow life whole.
1. Find Your North Star.
What are you passionate about? I mean, really passionate? Think long and hard about this. What calls to you? What keeps crossing your path, trying to get your attention?
If you’re stuck, think about the dreams and passions you had as a kid or even as a young adult. Are there dreams and passions that you’ve buried long ago?
Don’t worry about how impractical it may feel or what people might think. What are your passions? What makes you feel alive?
2. Examine Your Assumptions.
So many of us live life governed by assumptions or ideas that aren’t even true.
It’s impossible to have a great job and still make time for my family.”
“There’s not enough time in the day to run a business and still make time for my hobbies.”
“My job is incompatible with the lifestyle I want.”
Let me tell you… anything is possible. Don’t hold yourself back with limiting beliefs and assumptions.
Susan B. Anthony could have assumed that women would never have the right to vote.
But they examined their assumptions and they asked why not… and then they made magic happen.
3. Focus On Solutions, Not Obstacles.
Find the bridge over the obstacles. There’s a simple exercise I share with my clients: When presented with a new idea or a challenge, don’t allow yourself to focus on all of the reasons that it won’t work. Instead, train yourself to start by looking for the possibilities. How can you make this work?
My mother is the cornerstone of my happiness. I moved away from Denver when I was 19, and we’ve talked on the phone 3-4 times a week ever since. But as my mom got older, I knew I had to figure out how to spend more time with her. My coaching practice is based in Miami, and so I started to think…
Maybe I’ll take the summer off and spend it with her in Denver. But that wouldn’t work.
So I thought, maybe I’ll have her come to Miami. But she hates the heat!
Finally, I thought, I can develop a coaching practice in Denver, as well. So I committed to that solution… and until the pandemic hit, I’ve been able to go home to Denver every other month for the past seven years! The time I’ve spent with my mother is truly priceless, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
There are solutions to every problem. There are possibilities in every situation. But — you won’t find them if you don’t look for them.
Don’t focus on the obstacles. Focus on the solutions!
Swallow Life Whole
If there’s one thing I’ve seen in my career, it’s that anything is possible. You cancreate a life that you love… and you can enjoy a successful career at the same time. You don’t have to choose between your paycheck and your passions. You don’t have to choose between your business and your family.
Don’t settle. Don’t just earn a living. Swallow life whole!