The premise of Life Changers Project is to write letters to those who have made life-changing impacts on us. Acknowledging them is important. But it doesn’t mean we should sit around waiting for people to show up and help us.
As important as the letters (maybe more so) is our ability to create the lives we have imagined for ourselves. We are the architects. And we can draw our own blueprints. It will need support from others. It will require effort from us. And it will not be easy. But it can be done.
Most likely you’ve already experienced a life-changing moment. A new career. Marriage. The death of a loved one. The list goes on. Some life-changing events we welcome and others we do everything we can to avoid. Some we cause, others come whether we want them or not. The only common thread is that you’re a different person when you come out the other side.
This framework lays out the stages that most (if not all) self-initiated life-changing events will follow. It may not be accurate for every journey, but it has been true for me. By understanding the stages, we can better understand the power we have to affect the process. And we can affect the process.
But before we move into breaking down the stages, it’s best to begin by exploring the idea of a life-changing event some more. Let’s start by defining what exactly a life-changing moment is.
What is Life-Changing?
Depending on who you ask and when you ask them, you’ll get many different definitions. As a starting point, consider the Life Changers Project definition which assumes two things to be true:
- It must have a positive impact on the person.
- Whether in a large or small way, it must change the course of their life.
Yes, that’s a broad definition. It can cover pretty much anything, in fact. But that’s the idea.
Life changing moments can include anything from having a door held open for you to a stranger smiling at you as she walks past. They could be an email introduction that lands you a huge contract or a trusted friend talking you through a dark time in your life. It could be you making the decision to go back to school and chase the career you always knew you should have pursued.
If it positively impacts you and you are different afterward, that’s life-changing.
Some life-changing moments are initiated by us, and others occur incidentally, coincidentally, or at the whim of someone else.
For the sake of this blueprint, we want to focus on the things we are trying to create, the self-initiated. These are the things we can control, and as a result, are the only things we should fret over. Anything outside our sphere of control should also be kept outside our window of worry.
Let’s also narrow down our attention to those events that we would consider significant. Smiling at a stranger is great, but this framework is most useful when we’re navigating a major change.
So let’s talk about the stages.
Four Stages of the Life Changing Strategy
There are four main stages in a self-initiated life-changing experience. The four P’s. They are:
We’ll look at each in more detail in a moment, but first, it’s important to understand how they work together.
For example, as designed, the process tends to move through these stages linearly. Purpose first, then Progress, followed by Perseverance and Product.
But, real life is muddier than that. In reality, we might get to the Perseverance stage and be thrown right back into wondering what our Purpose is. If that sounds confusing, don’t worry. It will all make more sense once we start breaking each stage down.
Like anything else, there are phases to the process of creating the life we want. Each is important in its own way and it’s rare that any can be skipped.
The better we understand them, the smoother the process of moving through them.