Finding Happiness Through Designing My 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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Many years ago, I decided that I wanted a flexible lifestyle, in which I could choose my own work hours, pick projects that excite me, and allow plenty of time for self-care, adventures and fun. I embarked on the journey of being self-employed part-time back in January 2000, and went full-time right after 9/11 back in 2001.

I find happiness through designing my life in a way that suits my spirit, heart, soul and ambitions. I am so fortunate to be in the position to be able to create my own life, and I don’t take it for granted in the slightest.


Making The Leap! 

This year marks 15 years of being self-employed. When I first ventured out on my own, I still had a part-time job at a local community college, and started going community relations consulting work on the side.

Right after 9/11, I left that part-time job and went out on my own full-time. It was scary, but something about that epic tragedy woke me up to the fact that life is short, and I need to go after what I want.

We never know what is around the corner, and while we hope to live long, happy, healthy lifetimes, no one truly knows when life may end. For that reason, I feel like it’s so important to cherish the time we have on earth, and to do our utmost to make the most of it.

When I launched my own community relations consulting company in 2000, I had a few years of experience under my belt in public relations, marketing and events planning. I decided to offer those services to the community as a freelance consultant, and set out to target local organizations that might need additional support that their in-house staff cannot provide.

I worked with the Troy Waterfront Farmers’ Market as they began to grow and brand themselves. I helped the Rensselaer County Historical Society prepare for their 75th anniversary.

I threw a fundraising gala for the Barker Park Association. I grew very visible in the community over time, between my consulting work and the volunteer work that I did for various neighborhood and downtown associations.

And I had fun! I learned. I learned how to structure consulting contracts.

I learned how to market my own services, instead of marketing something for someone else. And I learned how to gradually raise my prices, so I could make enough to support myself.

I wanted to keep my prices low enough for the local nonprofits to be able to afford me, but I still needed to pay my rent, buy groceries, and make my car payments.

Creating My Own Adventures! 

I also decided several years ago that I wanted to travel as often as possible. My goal was to travel to at least one international destination a year.

I’d been to Paris for a week when I was 17, and spent a summer in Russia when I was 21. But I wanted to make travel part of my lifestyle.

The joy of being self-employed was that I didn’t have to worry about vacation time or sick time. I got to choose when I worked and when I took time off.

And so began my world travels. I spent three weeks in Argentina, half a dozen times, because my brother-in-law is from there.

I spent a month in Cuba studying Cuban salsa dancing with my ex-husband, Adrian. I flew back to Russia for the wedding of my best friend from Princeton.

I visited Venezuela, and Costa Rica, Spain and Italy. In 2006, I spent two months in the Middle East and Mediterranean Europe, traveling my myself after my ex- and I split up

My travels were magical, life-changing adventures. I stepped into a more confident version of me than ever before, feeling empowered to do and create anything I dreamed of.

 Designing My Life Now!

I’m moving into a phase in my life now in which I finally feel truly ready to activate some of my biggest career goals. 8womendream readers know that I completed a book manuscript back in 2010, and I need to finish edit that book and get it out there in the world.

I want to write, speak and travel around the world, empowering women to live their dreams. I am creating my first-ever weekend retreat for women, booking the housing and reserving a summer weekend date today.

I will create global retreats for women in exotic locations, and plan to host my first one in 2016. I will be launching more life coaching programs this year (just launched my supercharged and fun Awesome Goddess Posse yesterday!).

I am so ready to raise my level of prosperity and abundance, so that I can do more, travel more and give more back. I’m designing a life that will allow me to help as many women as possible, but still maintain flexible hours for myself, and still allow me to keep my healthy habits.

I don’t believe we were put here on this earth to go to school, work, then die. I believe we were put here to self-actualize fully, realize our dreams, maximize our potential, have fun and be happy.

And to learn to love ourselves and one another. I practice that every single day, while moving forward on my biggest dreams.

So Excited for The Next Phase!

In order to help me create my life and maximize my potential, I hired dynamite business and life coach Susan Hyatt to help me really accelerate my business growth. She rocks her business, and already lives the kind of lifestyle I am building for myself, while keeping it fun, maintaining a happy marriage, and being a cool Mom to two creative teenagers.

In March, I’ll be spending a weekend with Susan and a dozen other life coaches who are also part of the Clear Coaches group that I joined. I can’t wait to meet all the other amazing women live, and to enjoy all the adventures and learning of our weekend together.

And, I can’t wait to create powerful weekends for women like this one, starting now! I’m brainstorming all I want to include in the weekend, from meditation and yoga, to dance and art, to working on goals, to walking meditation on the beach, to swimming in the ocean…. Everyone will have the option to do what most calls to their soul during “Goddess alone time” periods of choosing to honor what your heart and spirit carve.

I think I am going to call my first weekend retreat Bold, Brave, And Beautiful – The Beach Weekend For Goddesses Looking To Live Their Best Lives, Now! I’m having fun dreaming it all up.

I love thinking of my whole life as a masterwork of art. I truly believe we have the power to create our lives as whatever we wish for most. It just takes a lot of heart, soul, belief and yes hard work – but it is fun work.

Doing what you love is energizing. I’m so blessed to be able to design my life, and help others design theirs.

Design YOUR Life!

Spend some time today thinking or journaling about your ideal life! Then, take one powerful action step in the next 24 hours to help you create it.