I often use a tool with my clients called The Ideal Day (courtesy of Martha Beck.) It’s a visualization exercise where I walk people through an ideal day in their regular life five years in the future. I use this tool so much with my own clients because it had a powerful effect on me the first time I did the exercise. That was many years ago, when I was working with Martha Beck, the life coach who trained me. The ideal day that I visualized then remains vivid in my mind to this day.
When I saw that ideal day in my mind’s eye all those years ago I literally thought it was an impossibility. In fact, I cried silent tears through the whole visualization. I didn’t even know I was crying until Martha looked at me and said, “What’s wrong?”
“It’s impossible,” was all I could say.
Now I see that not only did my tears stem from grief, because my ideal day seemed so out of reach, but they were also tears of joy because I had finally dared to admit to myself what I really wanted my life to be.
Through my work with Martha, I was able to get past my limiting belief about the impossibility of living my ideal day and I started to use my ideal day as a road map. Over a few years, I made some very big changes in my life, so the ideal day in my head closely resembles the life I live today.
Since I’m now living my ideal day (most days,) I don’t often think about that ideal day visualization. But recently, I wondered if there were some small changes I could incorporate into my life that would make my daily life even more like my ideal day than before. That’s when I noticed there is no TV in my ideal day.
That started me wondering—is there no TV in my ideal day because I just didn’t get that detailed, or because my soul doesn’t need/like/want to watch TV? Because some people love TV—watching it, discussing TV shows with others, critiquing their favorite shows. Other people like to have the TV on as background noise.
I like to sit down and watch a particular TV show, but I don’t get any enjoyment out of watching “whatever’s on,” and I’m not that interested in pop culture. Nor can I sit in front of the TV and do any type of work, as my husband can. I’m too distracted by the screen and I get nothing done. A couple of weeks ago I spent an enjoyable evening watching The Princess Bride while I sorted all my son’s Lego pieces by color, but that was completely mindless and not really work.
Until I thought about it in the context of my Ideal Day, I hadn’t really thought about how much TV is or isn’t a part of my best life. Once I did think about it, I realized it’s not a part of my best life—at least not my working life.
So I’ll continue to watch a movie occasionally or a TV show I love, (MasterChef, anyone?) but I’m not going to passively watch TV anymore. And I’m no longer going to watch TV on a work day.
What’s in your Ideal Day? Maybe more importantly, what’s not?