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The following is an excerpt from the book Traveling Hopefully
by Libby Gill
Published by St. Martin's Press; October 2004;$23.95US/$33.95CAN; 0-312-32394-8
Copyright © 2005 Libby Gill

Traveling Hopefully
The Five Steps to Jumpstart Your Life

It took me a long time to realize how much of my personal story -- that is, my beliefs about myself, my value system, and decision-making process -- had been shaped by my family’s story. Finally, at age forty, when I found the courage to admit that I was flat-out miserable and that the image of the successful professional I presented to the outside world had little relationship to who I was on the inside -- I realized I had merely fulfilled a legacy designed by my family instead of by me. That insight was the first step in a profound process of self-healing that I’ve come to call “traveling hopefully.”

Following are the Five Steps to Jumpstart Your Life that helped me get past my past and create the life I really wanted. As you’ll see, all Five Steps are inextricably intervwoven but require separate explanation so that you can firmly grasp the concepts before you begin to combine them to create the life you want.

The Five Steps to Jumpstart Your Life

• Step One: Dissect Your Past so You Can Direct Your Future
If you are living in denial about who you are and where you came from, it’s going to be difficult to assess your current status and make the necessary changes to rewrite your future. Maybe you’re the adult child of an alcoholic and have minimized your parent’s addiction. Your reluctance to see the situation as it is, or as it once was, doesn’t change those circumstances, it just makes it harder for you to figure out how they’ve shaped you and how you can begin to change. Or maybe you don’t consider your childhood especially traumatic, but you remember all too well the sting of the little slights and offenses and have begun to comprehend how even those minor wounds taken to heart over a lifetime have left their scars.

• Step Two: Learn to Link Internal Clarity with External Action
The potent combination of internal clarity and external action will be the cornerstone of your transformation. The problem is most of us do one without the other. We develop a heightened sense of internal awareness, what you might call trusting your gut or following your intuition, but don’t act on it. Or just the opposite: many of us are constantly on the go, but we haven’t taken the time for the internal homework, so we don’t really know where all that movement is supposed to take us. We’re in motion for the sake of motion, like my son’s pet mouse inside its little Plexiglas ball, just rolling around and bumping into the furniture. Once you learn to link internal clarity with external action, you’ll have the insight to know where you want to go and the action steps to get you there.

• Step Three: Recruit a Support Squad
Is this all starting to sound a little trickier than you bargained for? Relax, you don’t have to do it alone. If, like me, loneliness has long been a part of your personal story, you may be used to telling yourself that you have to do everything alone because:

• Nobody ever wants to help me
• I don’t know where to turn for guidance
• I can’t let anyone see how needy I am
• I can’t trust anyone to do anything the way I would

Now let’s rewrite that lonely story and imagine a life populated with generous folks who have your best interests at heart: your own personal Support Squad. Whether it’s two people or twenty, it’s much easier than you might think to create a support team to offer insight and inspiration, to help hold you accountable, and to celebrate your success.

• Step Four: Create a Traveling Hopefully Personal Road Map
Here’s where the proverbial rubber meets the road on your hopeful travels. The first step has helped you understand how your family legacy has contributed to shaping the life you’re living. The second step has shown you how to develop your internal clarity, then translate it to external action. The third step shows you the value of a support system and how you can establish a custom team to keep you motivated. This step guides you in creating a detailed road map with very specific, measurable goals to which you, or others, can hold you accountable.

• Step Five: Keep Moving Toward What You Want and Away From What No Longer Serves You
This positive momentum is the essence of hope -- something you must never be without—because even in your most desperate, frustrating, or challenging times, you need to, as the old expression goes, “keep on keeping on.” The fifth step will teach you what all winners know -- that perseverance is everything -- and show you how to make perseverance a habit.

It took me a lifetime to learn the lessons I’m sharing with you, but it doesn’t have to take you that long. In fact, you’re beginning right this very minute by learning the Five Steps to Jumpstart Your Life. As you move forward on your own hopeful travels, you’ll shed the old baggage to which you’ve been clinging, consciously or not, and discover the joy in replacing that outdated legacy with a level of awareness and self-compassion you might never have experienced before.

Libby Gill is a life-change coach, lecturer and author of two books, including the newly released Traveling Hopefully: How to Lose Your Family Baggage and Jumpstart Your Life. Libby can be reached online at or at 866-77-LIBBY.

Copyright © 2005 Libby Gill