How much of your life has been spent moving away from what you don’t want? You may not have thought about your life through this lens but for most people they make decisions in order to avoid what they don’t like or things that cause them angst, pain or discomfort. “I’m leaving this job because I don’t like my boss.” “I’ve tried working in account management maybe I’ll try strategic planning.” “I’m going to work in not-for-profit because I don’t like corporate politics.” “I want to start my own business because I don’t like working for someone else.”
Over time you become conditioned to make reactionary decisions on avoidance or to alleviate pain. Why you do it makes perfect sense. In the absence of having a life focused on a clear vision or purpose, you navigate your life around what you don’t like. And through a process of elimination you hope that you will patch together a life that works for you based on what things aren’t. This isn’t a bad strategy, I did it for most of my life, but in retrospect it was highly inefficient, left a lot up to chance and I always felt something was missing. I didn’t have a vision for myself that I was moving toward.
As a result, you can feel like you’re wandering through life without a clear sense of what you want. Are you hoping that you’ll fall into the right thing or that it will find you? During this state of wandering, things may be satisfactory. You may have a good job, family and life but it’s happening to you versus your being out there and claiming the life you want. Are you waiting for some future event (kids graduate, my next promotion, when I turn 50, health scare, etc.) in order to take action? Well, you’re losing precious time and you’re losing bits and pieces of yourself in the process. Don’t wait for a major life changing event to happen in order to claim what you want.
What would it be like to have a clear vision that you are moving toward? A vision that is informed by things you already know about yourself. For most of us who are in our 30s, 40s or 50s we have collected a lot of data points about ourselves. It’s time to put those data points to good use. It’s time to move toward a life that we envision for ourselves and will be fulfilling.
Here is a simple 3 – step exercise that begins to create a fulfilling vision for you to move toward:
Step 1: Take a sheet of paper and fold in half lengthwise. On the left side, write down all the things you do that make you feel fulfilled. On the right side, write down all the things you do that drain energy but you feel obligated to do.
Step 2: What is the balance between what’s on the left vs. what’s on the right? Where do you spend more time: pursuing what’s on the left or avoiding and mitigating what’s on the right?
Step 3: Now, think about shifting the balance so you spend 70% of your time focusing on the left side and 30% focusing on the right. You can also reframe what’s on the right to make it more fulfilling. What can you do to create that new balance? Try it for a week and see what happens. And then a second week.
Creating your vision is an iterative process and this is just the beginning.
Join me on this journey. I’m here to help you create a thriving life that moves you toward what you want.