How to Live An Extraordinary Life

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Lisa is a freelance writer, consultant and life coach. She has her BA in English and Creative Writing from Princeton and her MPA from Harvard. Lisa recently finished the first draft of her book manuscript, Burning Down the House. Her dream is to publish this first book and teach the world how to discover their hidden joy. Her post day is Tuesday.
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The camera was rolling, the room lit up with one of those professional white umbrella lights, and the script was scrolling upwards on the teleprompter. I gained a new level of sympathy for television newscasters, as I tried to keep my voice at a natural pace as the words scrolled by.

Sometimes they seemed to roll by too quickly, and sometimes too slowly. My friend David, a talented videographer, kept adjusting the pace for me, and yet it all still felt unnatural or forced somehow to me. It wasn’t quite “clicking” for me yet.

Finally in exasperation I decided that maybe it was time to scrap the script, and just wing it. I love public speaking, and am the opposite of camera-shy. (My friends all love to joke about how I’m always trying to make sure the camera is capturing my “good side,” which in my silly mind is my head turned slightly to the left, with my chin titled down just a fraction of an inch. My knack for striking a pose any time a camera appears seems to come from the consummate diplomat/politician that resides somewhere in my psyche!).

Strike A Pose!

Winging it was much more fun. I still stumbled occasionally, and with David’s cue just kept on going after fumbling my words, since he could cut out what wasn’t working easily enough.

I’d decided, for whatever reasons, just an impulse of inspiration, that it’d be fun to film a few little snippets at the end with me in big sunglasses, and with a flower in my hair. Just being goofy, posing and hamming it up.

I’m a glamour girl at heart and a bit of a card, and I felt like that would showcase my personality and keep the tone light.

It’s A Wrap!

After two hours of filming, with a script at first and then without it, David and I decided we’d captured enough to pull together a few-minute long video.

That was the goal. I was filming it to promote the 100-Day Extraordinary Woman Challenge that I’d created which launches in one week, all about how to live an extraordinary life.

Oddly enough, I wasn’t the least bit nervous, although I’d procrastinated on filming the video initially. David and I originally were supposed to film in one week earlier, and I was having a “bad hair day” and felt like I desperately needed a haircut!

Solution: Before we filmed, I trimmed my own bangs, which had been so long as to be unmanageable, since I couldn’t get an appointment with my favorite stylist until after the shoot.

A woman does what she’s got to do!

Following Our Soul’s Impulses

It was a leap for me  to create the video. It was something I’d been wanting to do, including creating “podcasts” for my work, yet I hadn’t actualized on it until now.

Then everything just seemed to align for it to happen. My friend David had called to invite me to dinner with him and his beautiful wife, Dawn. I hadn’t seen them in months, since I’d been away for so long, in Florida, London, Hawaii, literally gone since mid-December.

I had the impulse to ask if he’d be willing to spend even 1/2 hour just shooting a quick video since that is part of his genius and his work. I suggested that we could do a trade, and I’d do coaching with him, if he could help me out.

Being the generous soul that he is, David immediately said yes, and now I knew I needed to make it happen!

Writing the Script

It was Thursday when we set a dinner date for Saturday night, so I had two days to write a script.  I didn’t really know what I was doing, so I just wrote down what I thought would capture the essence of the series, wrote about our expert guest speakers, and as much as possible, tried to capture what it means to me to be “extraordinary.”

I committed to living an extraordinary life years ago, and I’ve managed to do so many things that I would never have even dreamed I could have done, years ago: traveling to India to teach with my spiritual teacher Nithya Shanti; ziplining over the rainforests of Costa Rica; white-water rafting in the river valleys in the Mendoza region of Argentina; watching Spain win the World Cup in San Sebastian, Spain; parasailing on the beaches of Florida, just to mention a few.

extraordinary times in India

Living Our Soul’s Purpose

Of course, for me at least, being extraordinary means more than simply having outrageous adventures and experiences. It’s more about living life to the fullest, truly savoring the moments of our lives, learning and growing.

And, for me, it’s about following the call of my soul to be who I want to be in this world. For me, right now, that means leading and teaching classes, workshops and retreats, mostly on living with more joy and living with purpose and passion.

I always incorporate mindfulness teachings into my workshops and classes as well, since meditation is the single most fundamental and transformational practice it my one life, that has brought me so much joy and peace.

I love teaching, and one of my current life missions is to inspire and empower other women to live extraordinary lives. I’m someone who feels incredibly lucky simply to be alive, after some of what I’ve survived earlier in my life, and it’s such a gift to live the life I do.

I want others to live in a way that fills them with joy, and to be able to create themselves to be whoever they most want to be in the world.

Rocking It As Women

For women, especially, self-doubt, fear and low self-esteem seem to get in the way sometimes of people living their dreams.  I know so many women, myself included, who have listened in at times to the critical voices in our own minds that tell us we’re not good enough to do, be or have what we want.

I believe that when we can step into our own power, thank those little voices for their opinions but not listen to them and just do what we want to do anyways, we are giving a gift both to ourselves and to the world.

In my own life, I’ve decided that I’m just not that interested in what my inner critic has to say, since that nattering little voice seems to just love to compare me to anyone with whom I think I fall short. I’d rather play a big game in this world and just focus on being my best self than stop myself from self-actualizing because I think I’m not good enough, not as good as someone else, or not living up to some false ideal of perfection that I’ve created in my head.

Making this video, for one, meant overcoming my own perfectionist impulses and just leaping in and doing it! How’d I do? You can watch the video and see for yourself!

100-Day Extraordinary Woman Challenge

Living An Extraordinary Life

For me at least, here are some of the secrets that have helped me along the way to live an extraordinary life:

1. COMMIT to it: There is something so powerful about making a true commitment, to anything in our lives, when we decide that we are in it 100%. I have written numerous “commitment pledges” over the years, to myself and the universe, inspired by an exercise from Tony Robbin’s Book, Awaken the Giant Within. I’m just not willing to let life pass me by without making the most of the ride!

2. Focus on the JOY: I make a point both of doing things that bring me joy (writing, dancing, traveling, spending time with people I love, leading workshops, to name a few!) and just looking for the moments of joy in every day life. For me it is so much of what makes living worthwhile.

3. Keep on consciously EVOLVING: Personally, I get bored if life stays in the same routines for too long. I like to shake things up, to challenge myself to try new things, to visit new parts of the world, and to expand constantly in what I am creating in the world. I think we are meant to continuously grow and evolve, for a lifetime, and for me at least it can actually become painful when life feels too “stagnant.” I am happiest when recreating myself over and over into the next, best, grandest version of me!

4. Take GOOD CARE of yourself: I am committed to meditating daily, and have done so for the past several years. I make a point of eating healthy, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of rest because it’s important to me to feel high energy, healthy, vibrant, and to feel like I am being my best self. We have even more to give to the world when we take excellent care of ourselves!

5. LIVE a purpose that is bigger than you: I believe I’m here on the planet to love, heal, evolve, and to share joy; and to help others do the same. I am committed to the Bodhisattva vow to achieve enlightenment in this lifetime or the sake of all beings and to help all beings be free. No small task, right? I just know that I can spend a lifetime dedicated to this mission and still have learning, growing and amazing work to do. That makes life more fun – my purpose feels giant, much bigger than just little ol’ me!

5. LEAP again and again: Nothing beats just leaping sometimes and doing what we are most afraid to do. When we are willing to take bold risks to make our lives amazing, and to follow our dreams, life becomes magical at a whole new level. And, we are giving the gift of our best selves back to the world.

I’m excited to help others step into even more extraordinary living – the 8womendream team will be journeying me on the journey! Hope you will too! Here’s to your most extraordinary life!