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Are you living by design or default and why does it matter?

Do you ever have moments where you feel like your life is passing you by, where you feel frustrated & stuck in the same sabotaging patterns, where it feels like everyone else seems happier or is doing more with their life?

In this post I’m going to share with you the difference between living your life by default or design and why it matters. Like, a lot.


We start with an email I received the other day from a woman who’s struggling with the decision to join my group coaching program.


Hi Lori,  “I am having a tough time "letting myself" sign up for your group!! I WANT to, then I get scared, and of course I have other bills that I could put the money towards... aahhh! I'm not sure what good it does to let you know this, but that's where I am right now.”


My response is the following post.

(Actually my response was a lot shorter but I wanted to share her struggle as a teaching tool to help support you too. With her permission of course.)


“It's all good [insert name]. Thank you for sharing this with me.


You are not alone in your feelings here. We all have a hard time pulling the trigger in situations like this for 2 major reasons:


1.  It's always easier to look at our current conditions, like what we already have on our plate, the bills we need to pay, the things we think we ‘have’ to cross off on our ‘to do’ list and then sell ourselves on the story that 'I should be doing something else with my time & money." I get it. Completely.


2. The second reason this decision feels hard is because it can feel a little scary & somewhat daunting to do this kind of personal development work.  It requires a certain amount of really facing ourselves, of being ready & willing to call ourselves out on our BS, our own ways of thinking and behaving that aren’t working and then to get honest about the fact that maybe we need to do some re-thinking & shifting in our comfortable ways. Yikes! Of course this can feel like a not so easy choice.


But making decisions as a result from either one or both of these places is called living by default. And it will ruin your life. But before you go and start making yourself feel all kinds of bad and defeated, please keep reading.

Once you begin to see clearly the place you’re making decisions from, you hold the power to turn your whole life around. This is not a sweeping inspirational theory. This is fact.

Click to tweet: Reaching your life goals has everything to do with your choice to either live your life by default or design. 


Now, I’m not saying this is easy peasy. It’s not. It takes a burning desire to commit to the practice of becoming mindful at every turn of who you’re being and how you’re showing up to your life.  But you didn’t come here to do easy, right? You’re here to learn what really works. Good.

Let’s talk about the difference between living by default or design.


When we live by design, we anchor into our biggest desires and align our everyday choices with our higher purpose. This means we consciously make choices today that set the condition for us to achieve the big dream.  We stop paying attention to every little stressor and circumstance. We stop reacting to all the moments of noise that are jockeying for our attention and we get serious (possibly even obsessively serious) about focusing only on what we want to have happen. We begin to expect more from ourselves & our life, which is a very big deal. This is how we begin to attract what we really want.

This purpose-driven approach is our greatest chance for success, because it allows us to take back control of how we're spending our time. By doing so we improve our mood, increase our energy levels & begin to say 'yes' only those things that hold true meaning for us. The most powerful thing we do when we commit to the practice of living our life by design is re-write our story of deserving. And this is the shift that changes everything.


When we live by default, we get trapped in reacting to the everyday stressors and circumstances of our life. We respond to every incoming text & email & quickly lose control over the power we have to shape our best life. This way of living keep you stuck in the muck of your sabotaging patterns.  And oh yeah, the muck is thick.


Living by default consists of a whole lot of spinning your wheels which only serves to leave you drained, overwhelmed, frustrated and scared. It leads to a whole lot of looking around and thinking “why do things seem easier for everyone else?”

Here’s the thing.

There are endless paths to reaching your goals: a variety of different ways that will help you set the conditions to get where you want to go, but after years of my own professional research, personal experience and studying what it takes to create the life you really want, one thing that is certain is this:


You can’t make decisions from a place of fear, doubt and insecurity and then wonder why you’re life doesn’t feel easier, why you’re still stuck in the same patterns with food, money, relationships or how you feel about yourself. It's like constantly eating junk food and then wondering why you kind of feel like crap. 


It doesn’t matter what has happened for you in the past pr how you're feeling about your life right now, you have just as great a chance at changing the quality of your life as anyone else, but you can’t do it by making decisions from the same place you always have.


You can’t do it if you’re continuing to make daily decisions from a place of fear or of not wanting to see yourself clearly. Because when you make decisions from here, what you’re really saying to yourself, underneath it all, is that you’re not worthy of the life you really want.


And this fundamental belief; will kill your chances of getting anywhere or anything good.  Making decisions from this poisonous place will ensure that you never get out of your own way.


It’s like trying to build your dream house on a cracked foundation; you’re only setting yourself up to waste a whole lot of your sacred time and hard-earned money while constantly feeling stressed.  


Click to tweet: Get the foundation right, and the rest will follow.


Walter Fielding and Anna Crowley are looking for a new house- but there's not much they can afford, until they meet a con artist who sells them a beautiful mansion at a ridiculously low price, only there's a catch.

The second they move into the house it falls apart; the stairway collapses, the bathtub falls through the floor, the chimney falls into the house & anything that can go wrong, does.  They quickly discover the house of their dreams is a complete and utter money pit!

Over the course of a year they end up having to renovate the entire house, but the renovations also prove to be a complete disaster; as the home falls apart so does their relationship.


If you haven’t seen this movie, this is The Money Pit with Tom Hanks and Shelley Long. Here’s why I’m sharing this with you.


At the end of the movie after their relationship has crumbled and they’re on the edge of walking away from both their dream house, which is now beautifully finished and each other, the head contractor says this:


“You know, just between us, there were a couple of times when I didn’t think we’d ever be able to put this baby back up.  No, this wasn't an easy one, but the foundation was good, I'll say that. And if that's okay, then everything else can be fixed.”

This is why I feel so strongly about the work I want to do with you. If you get the foundation right, the rest of your life will fall into place. If you can start to show yourself, even in the smallest of ways that you are worthy of living your life by design, you will powerfully set the conditions to get what you really want.

How do you begin to show up to yourself from this new place?


You make a new agreement with yourself right now to begin choosing design over default, to take responsibility for creating your life rather than reacting to the current conditions.

I know it’s no easy task, which is why I’m here to help.


Spend the next 2 months with me and I’ll help you learn how to lay a solid foundation from which to build your dream life. It’s never too late to change your way.

Don’t let the current conditions of your life dictate what you want for yourself in the future. This is the mindset of living by default which will only ensure that you get further and further away from what you really want.

If, right now, you’re looking at the circumstances of your life and thinking, “I’m afraid I’ll never have more. I’m afraid I’ll never be able to change this.”


1. You’re not alone. We all have moments when we get really scared that maybe our life will never play out the way we dream of. I have them too, ya know! And,


2. It’s not the fact that you have this fear that dictates the quality of your life. It’s what you decide to DO with your fear that matters most.


The people who know great fulfillment across the spectrum of their life make a choice to stay rooted into their purpose.  They don’t punish themselves for being afraid or getting stressed or having moments of feeling overwhelmed; they learn to manage these challenging emotions by allowing them to be and then continuing to create their way. 

(In my previous article I shared the importance of letting your authentic emotions surface & learning how to love yourself from there. It’s a powerful Law of Worthiness. You can read it here.)

If you’re doing a whole lot more living by default rather than design, then there’s likely a much deeper story about deserving that’s eating away at the foundation of your life.  Continuing to live from this place, is the exact formula for disappointment, discouragement and unreached desires. And you deserve more.


Choosing to live by design is the first of many powerful steps you must take to earn the right to your greatest life.

If you’re longing to have more or do more with the life before you, the time is now. We never get a chance to go back and live our lives again. When our moments are over they’re over. But you can make things different starting now.


Learn more about private practice with me.


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