A Warning For All The Visionaries

How lifestyle design done wrong can ruin your relationships

by Kris Ward

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There are consequences for every action we take, good or bad.

For many years, I took what I thought were incredibly life-enhancing actions and held what I assumed was a seriously abundance-boosting perspective. Those well-meaning actions and the perspective that inspired them led me to suffer the consequences of pushing my husband away, stressing him out, and breaking down the trust and connection between us. Life was actually really HARD for what seemed like a really long time because of it.

I didn’t realize I was actually playing a part in all of this. I kid you not, I thought it was all him – his ‘issues’. I was sure it had absolutely nothing to do with ME. I was just being a good student and practicing my interpretation of what I learned from lifestyle design books like the 4 Hour Workweek…

such as:

  • the importance of being unreasonable when it comes to your dreams,
  • how to think big,
  • and how to accomplish the impossible.

I was just ‘consciously’ and ‘harmlessly’ designing my life, milking my desires, raising my vibration, fine-tuning my preferences, envisioning my dream house, mapping out my plan to change the world, journaling about my ideal business, etc. etc., all in a loving attempt to be true to myself, make a big contribution, and live an extraordinary life where I could feel fully self-expressed… like the ‘real me’, undiminished and uncompromised.

For the longest time, whenever my husband (his name is Kraig) would try to express how much pressure and worry he felt that we could afford the luxurious lifestyle I spoke about – literally on a daily basis – and when he’d shut down or get angry when I didn’t openly receive his comments and concerns, I felt censored, contained, controlled. Kinda like:

“How DARE you rain on my parade?!
Do you not realize that you’re asking me to LET GO of my dreams… to pretend I don’t have this vision and these desires in my heart when I DO?
Do you understand you’re asking me to limit my joy and my capacity for abundance… who do you think you ARE?!!
Don’t you understand the Law of Attraction?
Don’t you get that I’m doing us a favor here and you’re getting in the way of that?!”

It’s comical to look back on it now and see how immature I was. But it’s also cool because I actually have compassion for myself… I truly did feel that I was just doing my best to treat myself right, honor and pursue the desires I’d built up over the years, and make a difference with the unique gifts I had to share. I wasn’t trying to cause harm or create stress for anyone else.

I’ve since grown up a little bit and come to realize that, as adults with significant others, we DO have to take into account how our goals, desires, and the TIMING of our loftier visions affect the people close to us who share our same bank accounts, budgets, living spaces, and desire to be together in partnership for the long term. We may have to back-burner some of our big-picture dreams or at least scale them back a bit in order to have the bandwidth to address matters of the heart and the more immediate needs of the relationship.

I just didn’t know (until I knew) that I was making a choice with my focus and attention. I was prioritizing my elation for future glitz, glamour, and gratification and the temporary high that I got from entertaining that vision ABOVE having a deep and abiding trust and connection with my husband.

The reality was, he just couldn’t relax and feel present and secure with me in my space so long as I was investing so much of my focus in all that I wanted to manifest and create in my world. Meanwhile I hardly noticed how often I was missing the moment. It didn’t make for a great deal of real intimacy.

I’m only slightly exaggerating when I say that my favorite pastimes included dream house browsing through the ritziest oceanfront neighborhoods in Southern California, drawing up plans for the über modern, minimalist yoga studio I’d one day own, test driving $100,000 cars, looking into private jet memberships, making vision boards with the most exquisite and inspiring images of abundance and freedom, talking about the 2nd (and 3rd) homes we’d own once we were bi-coastal, etc. I always felt so excited, so turned on when I let my imagination kick in to this ‘sky is the limit’ thinking, it just pissed me off when Kraig told me to ‘focus on the here and now’… or at least on what I could create within the next few months.

The bigger the dreams I vocalized and the further out I projected them into the future, the more my husband would worry about how he was going to provide that life for me if my attempts to do it myself failed, or about how he’d have to COVER for me or CLEAN UP after me if I got trigger-happy and made some not-so-smart decisions money or business wise. He knew he was in it with me for the long haul no matter what, so my decisions, like it or not, would always affect HIM.

I could’ve resisted that, coached him, told him he was focusing on LACK, that he didn’t believe in me, and he didn’t ‘get it’. Wait. I pretty much DID do all of that.

But the reality was, that’s how he felt.

So like it or not…

I DID have a choice to make. Either way, there’d be consequences.

Option #1: I could keep dancing in desire land and separating myself further and further away from him. OR…

Option #2: I could stop, really hear his concerns, reign in my reaching, get grounded in the present, focus in on more immediate NEEDS and ACHES that weren’t being addressed in our marriage, and finally move my connection and communication with him to the top of the list.

Thank God I chose the latter.

Interestingly enough, since shifting my focus and priorities in that way and since changing my whole approach to lifestyle design – where NOW I focus no further than 3-6 months out in terms of the ideal scenario I’d like to create in my life and business, REALISTICALLY speaking – not only am I chronically more connected to my husband (which makes life so much yummier), but I’m also way more grounded and clear about the specific types of clients I’ll take on, the opportunities I’ll say YES to, the exact actions I need to take when, and the projects that are worth my precious time and attention.

I actually feel relieved.

There’s more breathing room, more flow, more trust in my life in the exact way that it unfolds. I feel more spacious and deliberate NOW as compared to how scattered and ‘in the clouds’ I felt when I was always reaching for the stars.

Sometimes we can be so heavenly minded that we’re no earthy good.

I still ended up living in the 7.5 million dollar home overlooking the ocean, owning the penthouse loft in downtown San Diego, traveling the world and pampering myself at 5 star resorts, getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for my coaching, buying my dream car (twice), and all that fun stuff. It just unfolded in a way (and in the TIMING) that allowed me to put my marriage and the well being of my family first.

None of this happened by accident, or by default.

It was definitely still very deliberate and I did indeed rely heavily on the various lifestyle design plans that I created and tweaked over the years. But as I alluded to, the approach I took with lifestyle design – the same approach I now share with my clients and the AY community – ended up being quite different from what I learned from various books and mentors. I actually toned down and scaled back what I learned from them so that when we approach the lifestyle design plan, we’re doing it in a super grounded, down to earth way, that’s about addressing deep needs and aches before the more lofty, future oriented goals and desires (including all those shiny objects… which are AWESOME… when the timing is right).

What I’ve found is that starting simple takes the pressure off and gets you to RELIEF faster. It makes for a healthier, much more believable and attainable plan.

To create your own lifestyle design plan taking this simplistic and realistic approach, stay tuned for my upcoming video training series, “Do It For The Love AND The Money!”. Video number two in the series includes a 2-part exercise that helps you choose, sort of a la carte, all the elements and ingredients that make up your ideal lifestyle, schedule and business, realistically speaking, projected no more than 3-6 months out. You’ll assign each of those elements and ingredients a price tag and add all the figures up, giving you a dollar figure – a pretty good understanding of how much it costs to be YOU (operating as your authentic self, living your preferred lifestyle) on a monthly, and even a DAILY basis.

Once you know those numbers, you can be logical and mathematical about all big decisions, so there’s no more guessing games. No more crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. You’ll actually have clear, tangible, milestones. AND you’ll know how to tweak your plan, adding an ingredient here, subtracting an element there, until you find your sweet spot that feels like YES, RELIEF, CLARITY, JUST ENOUGH, ATTAINABLE, REAL, FREE FROM FLUFF, DOWNSTREAM…

Perfectly suited to you being the real YOU.

The balance point you’ll strike with this approach to lifestyle design will lead you to an elegant (meaning nothing left to add, nothing left to take away), deeply satisfying outcome that won’t jeopardize your most important relationships.

To make sure you don’t miss the video training series when it comes out in just a week or two, subscribe to AY below, then keep your eyes on your inbox.

Talk soon!


P.S. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Did you find it helpful? Did it resonate? Do share if you feel so inclined.


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Kris Ward
Kris Ward is a Lifestyle Design Coach™ Trainer and the president and founder of AbundantYogi.com. She has helped to educate and inspire over 100,000 people worldwide out of painful conflict around money, self-sabotage, and inhibited self-expression into having the freedom and abundance to do what they love every day, and ...read more

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Read 2 comments

  1. Tripp Hanson, MS, LAc

    Kris, you’re brilliant. I’m so glad that I’ve discovered you and your unique way of communicating your message. Really gets me…and many others I’m sure.

    I think this speaks so beautifully to the conflict that many of us feel when it comes to being both ‘here’ and ‘there’; the delicate balance that IS: acknowledging where we are, and nourishing the creative vision that we’re committed to, giving flight to our dreams of fancy…is the doubts that creep in…

    The early days of the New Age movement back in the early to mid-80s (yes, I was an adult already…) filled us all with such a powerful and important sense of personal power and possibility. It was Magical. The sky was INDEED the limit! We can create whatever we WANT! We were finally beginning to ‘get it’…that we do indeed have more to do with the results in our lives than we ever knew or suspected. It’s even our birthright…

    Whatever the mind can see and believe, it can achieve, right?

    Well…yes…but do we want to do that believing and seeing and achieving all by ourselves? How do we co-exist and co-create with another? Romantic or otherwise, there’s a world of family, friends, community around each of us. Lives that we can touch and influence just by connecting and interacting in the here and now!

    At the root, there’s always the need for balancing and re-balancing. The yin/yang relationship of the elements of the Universe demands it. Nothing goes in one direction all of the time; night always follows day.

    And so, failed relationships, the loss of several friends whom I loved, led to several semi-cynical years spent licking the wounds of feeling ashamed and embarrassed because- while I really liked the way it sounded- I hadn’t manifested my wildest dreams. Back to the smaller, familiar-though-uncomfortable version of what I thought was possible I slunk…that world of unanswered ‘deep needs and aches’ you speak of so poignantly.

    And it’s taken much of my nearly-56 years to begin to let myself off the hook (thanks in good part to you, young lady…). To enjoy the ride a little more. To do the work that’s in front of me, and breathe a little easier. Trust the process more. And as I let go, I’ve seen more synchronicity. More coincidence. Shapes forming in the mist. And I begin to suspect that the dream DOES come together- NOT wit our compulsive controlling and constant attention- but through these intimate, connected relationships all around us. And consistent, clear and simple action.

    The Universe IS listening. I take care of the moment to moment, deal with the subtleties of my distracting monkey mind. She does the heavy lifting…

    (Sorry to wax on here. Something really stirred in response to this blog post…thank you!)

  2. Madea Rooks

    I don’t have a “significant other” in the form of a romantic relationship but I think I have learned something here as a mother of three small boys… they also need the investment of time and attention. To feel a part of my life and for me to be in the here and now with them. Thank you for that reminder as I begin my manifestation of BEGINNING “my” world…. er… OUR world, now!