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Use Spacious Structure to Catalyze Your Vision

By Audrey Seymour

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Do you have a love-hate relationship with accountability and time management? So often I hear "I know I need to manage my time more effectively in order to (have time for my projects / start a side business / grow my client base), but any time I try to impose a structure the rebel in me comes out and stops everything."

If this is your dilemma, it's a great opportunity to examine your assumptions.

For example, notice the use of the words "impose a structure" in the sentence above. Have you only experienced accountability and time management in an externally imposed way? This is often the case with former employees who start a business. Sometimes they become their own worst boss, as they follow the only model of accountability they've ever known.

What would it be like to have structure that was created from the inside out? This is not the kind of rigid one-size-fits-all structure that you may remember from past experience.

It would require organizing your life to be purpose-directed rather than demand-driven. If you are constantly driven by external demands, your inner vision will never have the room to reach fruition.

Think of the difference between floating in a hot-air balloon that goes whereever the currents take it, and flying a jet that keeps on course by adapting to prevailing winds.

A structure that enhances your creativity rather than squelching it feels spacious, because it's open-ended and adapts to your evolving vision as well as objective outer needs. There's room for trial-and-error while you find what works for you, and it holds many details in place so that you can focus on what you do best.

Held within the safety and comfort of the jet, you're free to walk about the cabin. There's no need to strap yourself in and limit your view except when there's bumpy air.

When the outer world gets bumpier by making more demands, a tighter structure is needed to keep you firmly on course. Entrepreneurs with children have to schedule specific hours that are focused just on work. If your most productive hours are first thing in the morning, you might shut off your phone and email until the afternoon.

The most important place to start is with a boundary that protects unstructured time with your vision and what naturally arises from that focus. Then you are accountable to that amount of time, rather than to a preordained result too early in the game.

Commit to at least one hour a week, and then no matter how busy your life is the momentum will build. It might be nothing more than a weekly date with you and your journal. Perhaps you'll form a mastermind group or invest in a personal coach.

Where in your life is the balance tipping too far toward an agenda that is not yours? What kinds of structures will launch you while giving you room to explore and change course?

Once you give yourself permission to redesign life in this way your momentum will become unstoppable. Enjoy the ride!

© 2006 Audrey Seymour. All rights reserved.