Are you creating your life by design or default?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I’m at one of my favorite sites upstate, where I go to reflect, ponder, and create some white space in my brain. A little gem of a cemetery perched up on the hill that looks over the entire Catskill mountain range, or at least enough of a sliver that makes me feel more expansive.

I know it may seem strange to languish inside a gazebo overlooking a cemetery, but that’s how I roll. I look at the tombstones and I drift off contemplating these people’s lives. I question whether they felt loved, connected, and fulfilled in their lives. Did they do what they came to do, not only in the profession but with the lives they touched? Did they learn? Their challenges and their victories?

Today is one of those days when I’m deep in thought about a recent client session I had and an upcoming workshop I’m brought in to give. It’s about using mindfulness as a tool for leadership, teamwork, and productivity. As an NYC Stress Management Speaker & facilitating Corporate Coach Training it’s a much-needed topic these days.

My client and I were discussing creating one’s life by design or default and that not choosing something is a choice within itself.

“One of my LOIS-isms which stands for Life is Always Talking Make Sure You’re Listening,” presents itself.

I look down and I am shocked by what I see: 10 unsmoked cigarettes arranged in what seems like a pickup sticks’ formation on the floor of the gazebo. Was it a message to someone on the other side? At first appearance, it looks like they are all fresh out of the pack. But when I look closer, I see one has a faded tan ring from someone having lit the end of it but opted not to smoke it. That’s the one that intrigues me the most! I can’t help thinking, was this an act of design or default?

Default means simply, a forgetful moment whenit just fell out of someone’s pocket or purse, and tumbled onto the ground in an intriguing pattern, or design, or forecasting a new future they want to step into. Did they look out at the grounds and maybe see themselves in a tombstone and realize the preciousness and precariousness of life? Or visit a friend and loved one and decide that while they can’t bring them back, they can decide to live life differently moving forward. To walk down an untethered path without their substance of choice to bolster them from the hard feelings that often emerge in life.

These three images told a story I’ll never know the end of, but reminds me, that every moment we get to create our life by design or default. While we don’t always sign up for life’s happenstances or the about-face changes that come our way, we get to decide how we’ll navigate them.

So, I ask you, are you creating your life by default or design? I’d love to know. Thanks for tuning in and not tuning out.

Looking to make some important more meaningful changes in your life? Let’s book a discovery call to support you in doing just that.


  • Lois Barth

    Lois Barth is a human development expert, motivational speaker, coach, and thrilled to have delivered her first ‘book child,’ “Courage to Sparkle.” She champions women to share their brilliance and to live an authentic life. She speaks at women’s conferences all over the country and has been quoted in The New York Times,The Wall Street Journal, Fitness, Weight Watchers, and to name a few.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.