Last week I visited a family member who has non curable cancer. He has played an important role throughout my life. He drummed into me that life isn’t a dress rehearsal – that it is good to challenge the status quo and not to settle for mediocrity.

Download your Free Transformation in Action Self-Assessment Workbook.

4 Reasons to Start Designing Your Life as a Matter of Urgency

4 Reasons to start designing your life todayLast week I visited a family member who has non curable cancer.

He has played an important role throughout my life.

He drummed into me that life isn’t a dress rehearsal – that it is good to challenge the status quo and not to settle for mediocrity.

His influence and support over the years have helped me create positive changes in my life. He has been a role model for living life large and on your own terms.

I don’t know when, or if, I will see him again as me, my husband and son are in the final stages of preparing to move to Vancouver, Canada to live.

Spending time with this particular family member, and seeing the positive and inspiring way he is dealing with this curveball that life has thrown at him, is a reminder of the importance of grabbing life by the scruff of the neck, designing how you want it to be and taking action to make it so.

4 Reasons to start desiging your life as a matter of urgencyDesigning life isn’t a new thing for me and my husband. It started as dawn broke on 1st January 2000.

We were sat on top of our favourite mountain watching the sun rising on a new millennium. In that moment, we made a pact to design the life we really wanted.

Our pact stemmed from a growing dissatisfaction with many areas of our life.

So we set out to design life on our own terms, based on what we value most and our own definition of success. Over the last twelve years, living and working by design has become a way of life, reaping benefits by the bucket load.

Here are 4 reasons to start designing your life as a matter of urgency:

1. You don’t know when life will suddenly throw you a curveball that will rob you of the opportunity to have the life you want with the people you want. (I wrote about this in more detail in Lessons from a Wake Up Call after my husband had a serious car crash in April 2011).

2. The pain of settling for what you don’t want is far more than the pain of creating change. Because the pain of staying stuck is endless. The pain of the change process is temporary.

3. A designed life is a fulfilling life – on so many different levels. A life lived by accident or by someone else’s definition of success is just gambling that it will all turn out OK. And that is a hell of a gamble to take with your one and only life.

4. Life is too short to settle for mediocrity (The philosophy me and my husband live and work by)

Don’t leave life to chance. Design it. Then find ways to turn it into reality because:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Related posts:


Download Your Free Transformation in Action Self-Assessment Workbook.

  • Sharon Jackson

    Well said and food for thought. Thank you. 

  •  Thanks Sharon. Glad you found it useful.

  • Love this reminder to take more chances, to dream and discover. Looking forward to having you here in Vancouver Ali 🙂

  • Thanks Sandi.

  • Gillian Killiner RD

    I agree entirely, hit by a curve ball at a young age. Remaining on the repeat button keeps the wheels turning but not the fire burning. Question: What can you do if you are keen and desire change but those around you are not…….?

  • Great question Gillian. I think you have to always remember that you can’t change other people. They have to want the change themselves. That said, there are ways to work with people to create “win win” situations that are supportive of a desired outcome. Learning how to improve communication, listening, understanding etc can go a long way. But ultimately, you can only change what is within your sphere of control and influence.

  • Hi Jackie –  this week I sent the three questions below out to my email subscribers as part of getting prepared for next year. Thought I would post them here in case they are of interest to you.
    These are also questions I ask myself when I feel stuck or at various times during the year to keep me moving in the right direction:
    1. What do I want to achieve in my life and business in 2013? (or it could be the next, week, month etc)2. What do I need to do to make that happen?3. What challenges/obstacles do I face and how will I overcome them?I have always found these questions helpful to get started and to then idenitfy small baby steps that can be taken regularly to move toward creating change.  

  • Jackie Paulson

    I have a problem, I get 9.00 hrly at job doing security, and I am 46 yrs old and have a paralegal degree.  This is Crazy I cannot live on it…please help me anyone…

  • Pingback: The Key To A Fulfilling Life AND A Thriving Business()

  • Good thoughts, all of them!

  • Ali Davies

    Thanks Paula. It is a subject very close to my heart.

  • We did some designing early on. But part of our design was to not get too structured, to be more mellow and that’s been working for us!

  • Ali Davies

    I think that is a really important point Carol. Structure with flexibility matters when designing life.

  • This is such a touchy subject for me. I was born into a family of “drifters,” kind of what ever will be will be people. There’s something to that of course, but I have a character that wants and needs more structure and control. The one thing I would urge people with children to do, is to teach them to take control of their own lives, build them, and start early! I’m now playing catch up and that’s hard, but I am playing. 🙂 Great post!


  • Ali Davies

    Anita, it is wonderful that you have the awareness of what you want and need. Such an important part of creating fulfillment is self awareness.

  • My husband also has incurable cancer, so we are living this daily. It is so true – we like to believe it’s forever, but it’s not. I think WE are, but this experience must be relished. You have to turn down anything that doesn’t feed your soul, and embrace all that does. Thank you!

  • Ali Davies

    Donna, so sorry to hear that. And you are so right. Doing more of what enriches life and having strong boundaries to reduce that which doesn’t is so important.

  • Preach it! You are singing my song! SO happy to have found your blog. Looking forward to exploring more. 🙂


  • Ali Davies

    Thanks Kelly. So glad you like my blog.