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The Secret to a Successful Life

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Do you struggle with decision overwhelm? Do you ever find yourself locked in indecision because you’re afraid of making the wrong decision? And you just keep thinking, “If I only knew what I should do. If only I knew where this road leads to.”  It would be easier to make a decision.

Are you one of those people who need all your ducks in a row before you take the first step?

You can’t see me right now, but I’m raising my hand. My entire life, I’ve been one of those people who needed all my ducks in a row and I need their names, date of birth and blood type before I could make any move forward. I was the queen of overthinking, and then if I did make a decision, I’d spend the entire time worried that I made the wrong decision. 

But to live a successful life, you’ve got to make decisions. I mean, it’s just part of life, but why does it have to be so hard? Don’t you wish making decisions could be simple? Well, I’m gonna share a secret that will make decisions making easier and it’s the key to living a successful life but what’s gonna freak you out the most is how utterly simple it is. 

And the secret is taught to us through an animated Disney movie!

If you know Matt and me then you know how obsessed with Disney we are then OF COURSE you know I’m gonna talk about Disney at some point here on this podcast. And if you don’t know, let me just give you a little back story. 

Matt was the Disney park fanatic. He fell in love with Disney parks on a family vacation when he was…I guess about 11. Ever since then, he has completely adored the magic of Disney. When we first got married 15 years ago, he would spend all day listening to Disney podcasts and reading everything he could about Walt Disney as a person. 

I grew up in Southern California, so I grew up going to Disneyland often. It’s kind of like the thing to do on the weekends, so I went many times. We both grew up watching the movies over and over again and still to this day will rewatch our favorite Disney movies. So we both have a deep deep love for Disney.

Well, about five years ago, Matt and I came together to do a Disney blog that we called it YoHo Disney. It was just a hobby that we did together as a creative outlet and our love for Disney.

What we discovered in creating this blog was there’s actually a Disney community of other people out in the world who love Disney as much as we do, and yes, they are adults. And so we found this amazing community of Disney lovers — just loving our childhood movies and parks. 

It didn’t take long for us to realize, ok, we need to really think this through. Ok, we lived in St. Louis, and If we were going to grow this little blog and engulf in this community, we were gonna need to take more trips to Disney, but these trips are expensive. One trip alone for our family is like $5000. If it’s a family vacation every couple of years, that’s one thing, but to go any more than that isn’t realistic. But if we were really embracing this little blog that we were falling in love with and this community of people. 

We were like, what if we just moved closer to Disney? Like, what if we just MOVED?

It’s one of those moments where you’re like, is that even an option in your life? Like, can people just move? And to move because they love Disney? I mean, who does something like that? I don’t know very many people who just move. — because they love Disney. That sounds like crazy people.

And let me tell you when you tell someone you’re moving your family of 6 across the country to be closer to Disney. Their look confirms, yes. That’s cra-zy.

But we thought, what’s the worst thing that could happen? We have to load up a U-haul and move back to St. Louis. Well, that doesn’t sound so bad. I could handle that worse case scenario. 

So we moved. And let me tell you, it’s been the craziest 4 years of our lives. Seriously. It’s been the wildest ride in the wilderness. We’ve grown so much as people since moving here and I actually have an episode with Matt coming out soon where we talk more about the lessons we’ve learned since moving to Orlando. It’s gonna be like Yoho Disney returns. 

But ultimately, it was a magical turning point in our lives. It gave us the opportunity to start our company, Lillian & Co. that is a dream come true, for sure, a dream come true. But it was a dream that I never knew I ever had. I don’t want to say I stumbled upon it, but it wasn’t something I had planned to do. It sort of grew out of Matt and I following our hearts one tiny step after another.

If you’ve never heard of Lillian & Co. It’s a whimsical inspired jewelry and lifestyle brand where we create bracelets and necklaces with some of our favorite magical quotes on them but I didn’t want them to be just cute and fun, I wanted to have a special meaning behind each one of them. My hope was to take a quote that already brought you happiness and add encouragement and inspiration that you can apply to your life every time you wear one of our pieces. 

I would love for you to check us out over on Lillian & Co.!

And this past week, we released a new bracelet over at Lillian & Co. with the quote “Do the Next Right Thing”  that was inspired by Frozen 2. So, the secret to living a successful life is found in the theme of Frozen 2 and that is Do the Next Right Thing. 

If you haven’t seen the movie (or even if you have) “Do the Next Right Thing” is one of the main themes of the movie, but especially there’s a moment in the movie, where Elsa and their snowman, Olaf, seem to be lost forever, and Ana is left alone in the cave and all her hope is lost, but in her grief, she realizes that she must go on, and even though she has no idea what to do, she knows she can take one step forward and then another toward the light. She didn’t have any answers or knew what to do, but she did know to at least do the next right thing. And of course, one decision led her to an answer, which led her to another answer until, in true Disney fashion, Elsa and Olaf were saved and brought back to her and all was restored to its rightful place. 

And as soon as I planned to release this bracelet, I knew I wanted to talk more about this topic here on my podcast because this phrase has been Matt and I’s mantra for the past few years. We were first introduced to it from Matt’s business mentor. As we were navigating through all the ups and downs of starting, running, and growing our business any time we’d get stuck and didn’t know what to do, we’d look to our mentor who’s been in business many more years than us for help, like, “What do we need to do?” he would simply say, “What’s the next right step?” And then he goes on to say, “once you’ve taken that step ask yourself, “what’s the next right step?” You just do that over and over again. And if you make a wrong step. Stop, pivot and make the next right step.”

I remember the first time I heard that I thought, there’s no way it could be that simple. You mean there isn’t a secret I’m missing. You mean to tell me the difference between successful people and unsuccessful is the fact that they just keep taking the right steps? 

I’m not gonna lie, it was rather disappointing to know that was all it takes. Because my whole life I’ve been waiting for the big reveal of the secret sauce to life’s success. But it also set us free from having to have all the answers. It relieved us from having to have things figured out. It made life more bite size.

So learning to make decisions and stick to them and be at peace with them has been a long journey for me, but today, I want to share some ways you can begin practicing “Doing the Next Right Thing” in your life.

I created a free pdf you can download for reference. You can find download it here: 6 Tips for Next Right Thing

1. When it comes to making decisions in your life, you’ll never know how it ends, there’s no way knowing what sort of chain reactions will happen because of your choice, especially when there are other people involved because you can’t control how others will respond. If you’ve seen the Back to the Future movies, then you know how knowing too much of your future can mess things up. The lamp we hold in life only illuminates the path a step or two ahead of us. This is how life works. Accept the beauty in not knowing and trust that in the end, everything will work out.

2. There’s no decision that’s so final, you can’t pivot and change your course. if there’s a “Next right thing” that suggests there’s a “wrong thing”. I know so many of us live a life of indecision because of this very thing. You’re terrified that you’re going to make the wrong choice and regret it. And then when you put moral judgment on your decisions, it adds another layer of uncertainty. I mean, if you take a step in the wrong direction, then you might make God mad, or your family will come down on you. The thought of being rejected by others keeps us locked in fear of making a decision that we want. But here’s the deal. Let’s say you make a decision and you find, “Oh shoot, that was a mistake.” Perfect. Pause. Pivot and do the next right thing. There’s no such thing as a final decision. Too late for you. Sorry, Charlie. You can always change the direction you’re going and start down a new path. Make sure you take the time to learn from your mistakes, grow and become a better person because of it.

I just want to say here that making the right decision doesn’t mean you’ll never experience pain, frustration, or setbacks. I think sometimes we get it in our head that the right path is free from potholes and roadblocks. And that is completely false.

Let’s go back to Matt and I’s decision to move our family 1000 miles away. This was the first time we made a decision purely on the basis of this is exactly what we wanted to do. It made us happy and we went with it, but moving your family across the country is a big deal, especially with small children. You’ve got to think about how this will impact your kids. You’ve got to figure out where you’ll live to make sure they go to good schools. So, when we first spoke it out loud it was sort of like a pipe dream, you know, it was one of those, “what if we moved to Orlando” and then you both gasp and laugh at the absurdity. For us, it took an interesting turn when a few weeks later we were at Thanksgiving at Matt’s family when his cousin said, “Yeah, my dad has to find a new renter for his house in Orlando.” Matt and I sort of just turned and stared at each other. This was the house that his cousins grew up in. That was the house we stayed at several times over the years. That was the house we stayed in when we came down to Disney and he proposed. Matt looked at his cousin and said, “Wait. Uncle Brad never sold your guy’s house when you moved to Tennessee?” Clueless. She replied, “No, he couldn’t get what he wanted out of it, so he’s renting it until the market goes back up enough to sell it.”  Matt mentioned something to his uncle, and he said, “If you want the house, it’s yours.” Just like that, moving to Orlando became a reality. And every single step of the way, the doors to move to Orlando swung wide open. It was obvious that we were making the right decision. 

We moved to Orlando in the middle of the summer. In June and we’re beyond thrilled about this new adventure. We pulled our car into the driveway of our new house, and Christian, who was 5 at the time, begins crying so hard. I mean, sobbing out of control. We were like, “Chrisitan what’s the matter?” Through the sobs, he wailed, “You said we were moving to Disney Wooooorld!” So, within minutes we let the first child down with this move. 

Then, we opened up the back hatch door of our SUV where I had spent so much time carefully placing my plants in the back. I mean, we were selling off all our furniture and matt was giving away his childhood baseball card collection just to make room for our stuff for the move, but I was NOT going to leave my plant babies behind. We pushed the button, and as the back hatch slowly rose up every single one of my plant babies shattered to the ground. Matt and I just stood there and it was all I could do not to sob with Christian. 

Then, as we were unloading the Uhaul, as it got later on in the day, we noticed how hot the house was, even though the doors were open, it was like extra hot, we finally discovered that the air conditioner unit had gone out. And it was a Saturday and we couldn’t get ahold of anyone. So, all we could do is just die of sweat in the humidity. We got the entire Uhaul unloaded and Matt and his dad went to turn the truck back in and on the way, our SUV got a flat tire. They got that changed and turned in the Uhaul only to discover that they charged us $400 more than we were quoted and it literally was the last $400 to our name that we were going to use to make it through until Matt got paid again. And there was nothing they could do at the Uhaul drop off, they said we had to file a claim with customer service. 

All this happened in the first 24 hours we arrived at our new home. Laying in the dark that night on our mattress with no sheets, sweat sticking to every inch of our bodies, I told Matt, “If this didn’t feel so much like home, I’d say we made a mistake.” 

And little did I know that was only the beginning. But with the crazy potholes, so much good and happiness have happened in your life since moving.  Just because you run into setbacks and problems, that doesn’t mean you’ve made a mistake. That means you just do the next right thing. 

3. Spend all your time worrying about your decision BEFORE you make it, then once you make it, trust your decision and let it go. So many times you make a decision and then worry and obsess about whether you made the right decision or not. But the thing is, once you’ve taken the step, you’ve taken the step, you can’t take it back, so let go of the mental anguish of whether you shoulda, woulda, coulda made the other choice, because you’ll never know, right? You’ll never know how the other decision would’ve gone, so don’t spend your time thinking about it.

4. Trust Yourself and the still small voice that leads and guides you. Everything you need to move forward is already within you. The Kingdom of God is within you. You don’t need to look outside of yourself for the answers. Trust the journey, trust that the answers will reveal themselves at the exact moment you need it. Make a decision and once you make it let all other options go. Don’t look back, don’t second guess yourself or your trust in the voice guiding you. Always trust that you’re making the next right decision.

5. Don’t overthink things. Now, this is coming from an overthinker, but I’ve begun to force myself to make a decision as fast and as confidently as possible. I’ve begun to rate the importance of decisions on a scale from 1-10, so one being, almost no impact on the bigger picture of my life — what should order off the menu, to 10, will change the rest of my life and those I love — should we move to Orlando. If I find the decision falls under a 5 or 6 of importance, I make the decision as fast as possible. 

Chicken or steak, chicken or steak? I trust myself and as soon as it’s my time to order, I go with my decision, close the menu and don’t think about it again. Then, if I love it Yay!! If I don’t, then I make a mental note to never order the chicken here again and I move on with my life. I don’t even complain about how dry it is or bland, I simply state, it’s not very good and leave it at that. 

For bigger decisions, take more time to weigh things out, but ultimately do your best to tune into your intuition to listen to the voice of Love within you and trust that no matter what you decide, everything will end well. EVERYTHING, Doesn’t mean you won’t slam into some potholes or forced to take some detours, but that’s the way life goes. Keep moving forward.

6. Finally, You’re never in the wrong place. You’re never on the wrong road. You’re exactly where you need to be. What if you find yourself in a mess because of lots of wrong decisions, either by you or someone else? You start in the middle of your mess and you just do the next right thing. Nothing is too bad or too far off course to find your way back to love and happiness. 

You’ve got what it takes to create a life full of purpose and clarity. You’re in the driver’s seat of your life, and you’re the one holding the steering wheel. Don’t let indecision keep you from going places your heart longs to go. Trust yourself with your life. You’re made to live and love with fullness and don’t for a second think potholes and detours, or flat tires mean you doing something wrong. Life is life. It’s exciting and complicated and an adventure that you deserve to take at the end of your life, if you’ve taken more right steps than wrong ones, you can count your life as one of success. So, keep on moving forward, keep taking one tiny step forward and do the next right thing.

Here’s my challenge to you: if you haven’t watched Frozen 2, don’t do anything else until you watch it. It’s such a beautiful film of trusting yourself and doing the next right thing. Then, begin to practice these five tips in your life to make life’s decisions more bite size. You’re capable of so much more than you will ever realize, you’re connected to the greater source and you’ll find that life is so much better when you trust the flow. 

Here’s the recap: So many people find themselves locked in indecision because they’re afraid of making the wrong decision. Through the animated movie, Frozen 2, Ana reminded us that when life choices are in front of you and you have no idea where to go or what to do, if you simply look around and do the next right thing, one right step after another you will be led to the light. You will find your way to love and happiness. Here are six ways you can begin to practice “doing the next right thing”:

  1. You’ll never know how it ends, and that’s ok. We can only ever see a couple of steps ahead of us on our path.
  2. There’s no decision that’s so final, you can’t pivot and change course. You can always change the direction you’re going and start down a new path. 
  3. Spend all your time worrying about your decision BEFORE you make it. Once you’ve made your decision, don’t spend any more time worrying whether it was the right decision. Accept it and move on to the next step.
  4. Don’t overthink things. Force yourself to make a decision as fast and as confidently as possible, especially if they’re not big life decisions.
  5. Trust yourself and the still small voice that guides you. Trust the journey, trust that the answers will reveal themselves at the exact moment you need it. Don’t look back, don’t second guess yourself or your trust in the voice guiding you. Always trust that you’re making the next right decision.
  6. You’re never in the wrong place. You’re exactly where you need to be. Nothing is too bad or too far off course to find your way back to love and happiness. 

You’ve got what it takes to create a life full of purpose and clarity. You’re in the driver’s seat of your life, and you’re the one holding the steering wheel. Don’t let indecision keep you from going places your heart longs to go. Trust yourself with your life. You’re made to live and love with fullness and don’t for a second think potholes and detours, or flat tires mean you doing something wrong. Life is life. It’s exciting and complicated and an adventure that you deserve to take at the end of your life, if you’ve taken more right steps than wrong ones, you can count your life as one of success. So, keep on moving forward, keep taking one tiny step forward and do the next right thing.

 

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  1. Pingback: How to Define Success in Life | Charity Craig

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