What do you want out of life? What are the fears that are holding you back from achieving your goals?
Big questions. Questions that many of us ask ourselves not once, but often throughout our lives, as our circumstances change, as our perspective changes. They are certainly questions that I've been asking myself over the past year and a half, after I stepped out of my career into the abyss of the unknown.
But honestly, even if you've known what your life goals are for the past thirty years, revisiting those goals and the obstacles that prevent you from achieving them is like taking your car for a tune-up. Every so often, it's important to reorient ourselves, to check in and make sure that we are living in a way that brings us closer to our most authentic selves. Which is why I would like Keiko Zoll's newest e-book, The You Project, even if I weren't in a space of transition. Writes Keiko: "The art of self-empowerment is not simply a destination; it is a fluid state of continuous growth."
Keiko would know; she's been on that journey herself for over a decade. What started as an anonymous blog catapulted her into the spotlight after her 2010 video What If: A Portrait of Infertility went viral on YouTube, and in March 2012, she relaunched her blog to become a resource to empower infertility patients worldwide. But for me, the most amazing thing about Keiko is that her approach to "fertile living" isn't just applicable to people living with infertility. It's about choosing to live our lives mindfully, with intention and purpose, nourishing ourselves (and, as a result, nurturing others) regardless of where we are and where we are going.
I don't usually do reviews here, but Keiko and her book are both full of awesomesauce, and I found her e-book inspiring and relevant. In it, Keiko takes the lessons she's learned from her own journey so far and offers them to readers in a format that is approachable and engaging. The book doesn't lecture, because, as she points out, "It's not me; it's you." It doesn't give readers a prescribed path to enlightenment. What it does offer, in Keiko's conversational, compassionate, humorous, down-to-earth writing voice, are prompts for self-reflection, ways you can better tune in to yourself, your thoughts, and your values, and suggestions for taking those insights to the next level, by taking action. Reading the book and using the exercises is like having a conversation with a wise and resourceful friend, the kind who doesn't offer useless advice, but listens carefully and asks exactly the right kinds of questions. You get the sense that Keiko is taking this journey with you, which isn't so far from the truth; she confesses in the end, she has, in the process of writing, actually rekindled her own sense of purpose.
The book is designed to be used over the course of three weeks, allowing the reader to engage in self-study as a process. Keiko includes both reflective "WRITE NOW" exercises, designed to help you document your journey and record what you learn along the way for future inspiration, and "YOU DO" exercises, which encourage you to practice authentic living by starting with small, manageable (really! I've tried them!) tasks that you can incorporate into everyday life. As someone who can easily become trapped in reflective activities, I really appreciated the balance of "think and do" that the book creates.
Of course, three weeks isn't enough to change habits, or behaviors, or patterns of thinking. There's a reason the word "Kickstart" is in the subtitle of the book. The tools for unlocking truths, confronting and owning fears, and living in the moment are things we carry with us. They're things we're reminded about when we're standing in line at the grocery store, or having a difficult conversation, or noticing a stream of negative self-talk. There's no reason not to return to these exercises again and again, including Keiko in your "support crew."
For more information, and a free preview, visit the You Project at The Infertility Voice Shop. Then, as Keiko writes: "Go forward, live boldly, and kick ass."
What does living an authentic life mean to you? Do you find that you revisit your goals regularly? Do you know what fears prevent you from reaching your goals, and if so, how did you identify them?