What is your Life’s Work?
Checking in with Your Life
What do you really want in your life? Do you know? If you do know, have you figured out how to get there?
Do you get enough meaning, enjoyment, and fulfillment from your job, family, community, and self? What are your values? Is your life aligned with them? Have you devoted yourself exclusively to one area of your life (job?) and wondered about neglecting other parts of your life (spouse, children, home, time alone to ponder, personal growth)?
This article seeks to raise your awareness about personal vital signs and offer suggestions about how to dramatically improve your life and career. Our daily lives can become so overloaded that we don’t take the time to deliberately design our lives so we feel truly fulfilled. Our creativity and optimism can run aground in the mundane duties of living--the doing, maintaining and acquiring--numbing the spirit if we don't keep our eye on what we really want our lives to be. Being busy is good if it generates productive energy. In fact, when we are energized around something we deeply care about, the work becomes play and we find it effortless. We are drawn to it, and it to us, so that struggle, stress and insecurity fade into the background.
A Different Way
If you know you crave more creativity and meaning in your life or career; if you sense a deep need to simplify, you have a jump on change. Maybe it's time for a tune-up, an oil change or a complete overhaul of your life. "Things will get better when "X" happens," you tell yourself (usually more money, a child completing college, a new acquisition, a coveted promotion, etc.). The catch is that these are all external things. Living a fulfilled life is an inside job. There is no way to buy it, it takes focus and dedication and it creates unlimited rewards. More and more "miserably successful" people are beginning to think about their super stress jobs, complex lifestyles and demand more. They want quality time with family, an enriching career, time for themselves – they want it all but in a different way, in different stages.
A New World and Taking Stock
If you come to the conclusion that you want it all in a different way, you are faced with an opportunity. In today's economy, we have endless options to design our work and personal lives more creatively and earn a great living. No longer are we confined to the limited choices of reluctant employees and frenzied managers. Harry S. Dent, a Harvard-trained futurist has just authored The Roaring 2000s: Building the Wealth and Lifestyle You Desire in the Greatest Boom in History (Simon & Schuster). The Internet is revolutionizing the business world before our eyes and opportunities abound for those who have the energy and creativity to engage in this "New World."
Begin by finding the things that drain your energy. Get rid of them. Work at this little by little, and day by day. What do you love to do? How can you accomplish a lot and still take care of yourself? How do you set standards for your behavior, work habits, personal goals and practice them every day? How do you set boundaries for those around you, communicating what you will not tolerate in the behavior and demands of others.
Creating and Living a Value System
What are your values? Now we've come full circle to what you really care about. If you've wandered off-course, you'll want to pull up anchor and start steering your life and work toward these values. You'll need to create new habits. Life is only a constant struggle if you try to control the things you can let go. Learn to listen instead of promote. Learn to under-commit and over-deliver. If you are a perfectionist, learn to say, "It's perfect enough," and believe it. Get rid of some of the stuff in your life--furniture, clothes, papers, bad thoughts. De-clutter your life, from your closets to your relationships. Create a vision (see), a mission (do), and a purpose (be).
Concentrate on Your Primary Investment—YOU!
You'll be surprised at how simple it can be. As a professional coach, I can help you take action toward your highest aspirations. I work with you to respond rather than react to events. We’ll start by putting you first, figuring out what you want, setting goals that energize you. You will learn how to care for yourself. You'll learn the kind of selfishness that realizes you cannot help anyone else or accomplish anything meaningful if you do not take care of yourself first. Remember, in airplanes, we are told to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first, then to help others. A good model for life, don't you think?
Ultimately, only you can take care of the person you never have time for, but a coach can help you focus and bring your life to the front burner. I invite you to invest in your only real blue chip investment--YOU--the way you invest in your 401K, or your car, house, and others who depend on you. Keeping your self as a top priority is not easy because so many things are competing for this position. I coach people to take their personal and professional lives to a new level, not to live harder, but to live better and have more abundance.
To find out more about this new level, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.