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Whatever happened to the idea of pursuing the Good Life?

Are we losing ourselves to hustle culture by endlessly pursuing goal after goal, without actually stopping to ask ourselves, is this even what we want? What is the point to achieving more, if we never have time to enjoy it? And what if there's another option?

Beautiful Woman with the words: Finding your feminine motivation, emblazoned across

All I think about when I read a quote like this…


“One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.”

– Michael Korda


…is dread. Dread of having to make yet another round of ambitious goals, another vision board, or anything else connected with the hamster wheel of hustle culture.


And I don’t know about you but I’m seeing more and more women feeling that exact kind of burn out over goals in the last few years.


Which makes perfect sense to me, because for the most part, the way we think about goals tends to be oriented to the masculine.


Of course, we all have feminine and masculine sides to ourselves, no matter how we identify. This doesn't seem to stop the culture we live in from often seeming to prefer only one side of ourselves: the productive masculine.


This preference show ups in how we make and pursue goals, but it also tends to color what we even decide our goals should be, encouraging us to focus on achieving and amassing more trophies, more things, bigger and better promotions, homes, cars, and of course, even more money.


And…. There’s nothing wrong with that. I happen to love achieving and upleveling in life, and yes.... even getting more money. Wanting those things, and centering our ambition isn’t the problem.


The problem is when we told that’s all there is.

No alternative to the rat race, nothing out there for us *but* achievement. And then we wonder why we’re burnt out, exhausted and yet, still hungry for something we can’t put our finger on.


We ace another round of goals, only to end up restless, and moody. Out of sorts. We don’t want yet another goal, but without it, what else is left?


What else is there?

 

If the masculine side of the equation is about endlessly pursuing achievement, then what is the feminine side of that same equation?


It's about pursuing more than just ambition, it's about pursing a well-lived life.

If the masculine style of goals seeks to move us up in the world, into loftier and loftier places, then feminine pursuit of pleasure and joy, often seeks to expand our worlds outward into new dimensions.


Masculine goals are straightforward and simple. Trade in the Jeep for a Lexus SUV, and then trade that in for a Mercedes-Benz and so forth and so forth. Up the ladder we go.


But the feminine pursuit isn’t so simple.


It’s about creating a rich life of experiences and connections. It isn’t about trophies or plaques with our names on them, it's about enjoying our lives and sowing the seeds of deep contentment.


These types of pursuits or "goals," if you can call them that at all, are all about making our lives fun and enjoyable as they are right now. Not waiting until we make it to the next level


Pursuing our feminine joy often lends nuance and a pleasurable kind of complexity to our lives as they are right now.

When we pursue goals or ideas embodied by this feminine side to ourselves (again, that we all have) we make unpredictable, but often pleasurable choices, that give our world more color, meaning, and often connection.


We make friends, we develop our style, we learn French, we indulge in a love of Vietnamese food. We spend time gardening. We start a family. We cook delicious food. We take a surprising vacation off the beaten path.


Feminine pursuits often flesh out our lives in ways that are profound, and meaningful, as well as frivolous and fun, but it does so in ways that can’t easily be summed up in trophies or promotions, or money.


What it’s usually about, is the simple act of living the “good life,” whatever that means to us.

Achieving is wonderful, but only when it’s held in balance with the idea of living the good life.


Without that counterbalance of the feminine, we all risk living a life of high achievement married to a shallow, surface level enjoyment of the richness of our lives. We may have achieved greatly, but never really experienced life. And who wants that?


And I know what some of you are tempted to think...



"When I finally make it, then I can sit back & enjoy it."

 

And it's so tempting to think this, that once you've finally gotten to "there," wherever there is, then you can relax and enjoy the good life you've achieved. Masculine first, then feminine, right?


The masculine ambition, allows us to pursue that feminine side of joy and pleasure, right?


Not so fast. There's two falsehoods here. The first is that you have to be able to afford the good life because the good life can only be bought.


Only the good life can't be bought.

You can buy beautiful things, and even exciting experiences, but the good life isn't about buying things, it's about how you enjoy the things you've already got.


You can buy an ocean front property in Hawaii. But that doesn't guarantee you pleasure or joy.


Taking time to live in that home and enjoy it, creating memories of family meals around the table, evenings playing a round of cards with friends and family laughing. Time spent walking the beach, and having a heart to heart with your son? None of that is about money.


Further, even if you can't yet get that ocean front property? You can still create those memories in the home you do have.


But there is another lie hidden in here about waiting to live the good life and that is:


Hustle culture doesn't lead to time off for pleasure, instead it begets even more hustle culture.


Hustle culture, where we pursue masculine ambition without any counterbalance, is a hamster wheel of achievement that's impossible to ever stop.


In the masculine world of competition, someone is always waiting to take your place.

You may stop running and achieving for a bit, but the person next to you, breathing down your neck? They won't. Dare to pursue the good life, to stop the endless cycle of achievement, and you may loose your place in line altogether.


Worse, we're constantly told in hustle culture, that achievement *is* the be all, end all. That there is no good life, no joy, except for the thrills and chills of endless, nonstop achievement. Stop upleveling your life, and you stop really living.


Which is probably why so many of have found nearly all of our waking hours dedicated not to leisure, but merely more pursuit, more ambition.


No wonder we're all tired and feeling so resistant to goal-setting. Who wants to set yet another goal that will only drain more of our leisure hours of pleasure?




So how do we get off the hamster wheel & into the good life?

 

The solution is pretty obvious right? It’s all about putting more emphasis on the feminine pursuit of the good life. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up your goals or ambitions. I want to emphasize that:


We need both types of pursuit in our lives, pleasure and achievement, to be fulfilled and happy.

So how do we do it?


The thing about the good life is there is no one size fits all recipe. If you want the good life, your going to have to spend some time figuring out just what that is to you.


No one person’s version of it will look like anyone else's, regardless of what the media will tell you, or rather, regardless of what they're trying to sell you.


It's not that easy. The feminine is always subtle. So instead, you're going to have to ask yourself a few questions, and be willing to ponder the answers.


Here's a list of questions to get you started, and to get you in the right frame of mind. You may not answer all of these questions, some might draw you more than others. That's fine. It's just a place to get you started, so have fun and enjoy.


Oh, and a note: I'm going to have you imagine yourself in five or so years having achieved everything you've ever wanted. Seems like it's in direct opposition to what I just wrote, right? The thing is, it's often easier for people to think about what would really bring them joy, if they can relax around what they want to achieve. Pretending you've already achieved it all, is a great way get around that little hiccup.




The Questions

 

First, imagine it’s 5, 10 or 15 years from now, whatever feels like a good time frame for you to have envisioned that you’ve achieved the bulk of your most important dreams and ambitions, or, are at least well on your way. In your mind, think about this future version of you.


1. What is this future you, who's accomplished so much like?

Is she confident? Ballsy? Fun and charming? Is she more relaxed and even tempered now that she knows she’s made it to the finish line of her biggest goals? Is she more playful than you, or does she perhaps take herself more seriously now that she's made it?

2. What are three adjectives from what you written above that best describe this future you that you love?


3. What kind of places does this future you like being in? Where would she want to live? What is she drawn to?

Does she love the beach or is she a city girl? Is she the kind of woman who loves living near to her family? Does she need deciduous forests and daily hikes to be happy? Would she adore living in wine country and owning her own vineyard? Or maybe she’d be happier in a tiny coastal town in Oregon?


4. What are her friends like and what do you like to do when your together?

What is her idea of the ideal girls night out? What is her idea of a true friend? Someone who makes her laugh? Or someone who's be there for you at 3 am if you needed her?


5. What is her home like? How does it feel to her? What kinds of activities does she love to do in her home?

Does she have a favorite reading nook? Or is she hosting wild dinner parties? Does she love to have guests? Does she take pride in her kitchen?


6. What does she do in her solo time? How does she like to spend her free time? What activities thrill her nowadays?

Is there someplace she’s always wanted to travel? Something she’s always wanted to learn, like a language? Is there a book she’s always wanted to write?


7. Does your Future self have a partner or romantic other in her life?

What is that relationship like? What is her ideal way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon with a partner? What’s her sex life like? What is her most romantic or sexy date?


8. What is her family like? Who's in her family?

Does she have kids, and how does she spend time with them? Grandkids? What about extended family, what does that look like? What are her holidays like, and how does she spend them?


9. What does she love to talk about over dinner or coffee?

What can’t you get her to stop talking about? Interior design, Impressionism, dating, quilting, politics, Italian Culture, Travel…


10. Now that she’s achieved her biggest dreams, what is the biggest thing she’s learned from achieving them?


11. What else to her, is a part of the good life?

Does she need beautiful food? A garden? Someone to cook for? What is her spiritual life like?


Your answers to these questions are the keys to your personal vision of a life well-lived. They contain many of the elements of what you need to create in your life to lead a rich life of not just achievement, but of pleasure and contentment.


And they hopefully gave you a peak into your future and who you are becoming: your future self. But here's the thing about that.


That bright sparkly future self, the one you just imagined with those questions above? She isn't really your future self. She's actually your Authentic Self.


She’s who you've always been, and who you are right now, if we could wipe off all the grime of fear, doubt, and cynicism that's been hiding her.


Underneath all that, her sparkle is just as bright, as it was when you imagined her as your future. Your sparkle, your authenticity is just as bright.

Which is good news, because the thing is… if we just leave her as your future self, that’s where she’ll remain, merely in your future, always somehow ahead of you. And so will that good life of yours.


Instead, we need to take our answers to those questions and figure out how bring her essence into our days now.


That’s the key to creating more of the Good Life, more expansion and pleasure into your world now, and finding the balance with goals and achievement.


So take one of those questions that was the most fun to answer and ask yourself how you can bring some of those elements into your life now to expand it. Maybe it's time to start dating again, to find that fun romantic partner you envisioned.


Or maybe it's past time to make some space in you work calendar for a vacation at the coast with your kids because you loved seeing yourself there in one of your answers.


Or maybe it's time to work on becoming as confident and friendly as you saw your future self now that she's achieved her dreams.


I can't know where you need to start or what that will look like, but you do. Trust yourself, and don't rush your answers. Give yourself the space to let those ideas bubble up from within you.


And remember...


“In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed.”

– Sid Caeser


I hope that helps you to find your good life and to revitalize your world right now. And with that, I'm off, but I will see you next week!


Much Love,


Desirée Sommer


 

Desirée Sommer is a former Interior Designer, and a current Writer/Speaker who helps people just like you Style, Beautify and make their lives Fun again!



She happily resides in the rural beauty of Idaho with her pet pooch Bree, where she gets to take epic hikes, and plot her next big adventure/road trip/travel destination.





 

Oh and before you go. I have a gift for you!


Get your absolutely FREE guide:

"55 Simple Pleasures to Wake up your Ordinary Days."


I'm getting a lot of great feedback from people on it, and I want to make sure you have a chance to grab your copy before it's gone! Get it here!


 

Can’t get enough? Need more? I like your style! Here are some other articles you might enjoy:



If you’d like to write in a question for coaching feel free to message me on Facebook or email me at info@desireesommer.com.


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