The Life You Want|
By Terri L. Norvell, Business Coach & Consultant
Three years ago at a Managers Leadership Conference, our opening keynote speaker started with the statement, "If you are not excited to come to work each day, excited to get up each morning, then perhaps you should quit your job and find something to do that is exciting and rewarding to you!" What a way to start our conference! Yet, this premise is right on target. Life is too short not to enjoy how we choose to spend our time and the people we choose to be with. Some fundamental questions are worth thinking about:
Creating a great life does not have to be difficult, but it does require self-examination and a willingness to make some changes. Here's a three step action plan on how to get started!
- Are you stopping yourself from choosing the things you want to have in your life?
- Are you ready to commit yourself to doing the things necessary to make your desired future a reality?
Assessing Your Life
What's really important to you? It is important to first know your values. Are you giving your "true" values the time and attention they deserve? Chances are, if you are focusing your energy on pleasing other people (even if you are doing a great job performing in a variety of roles), or if you find yourself neglecting the things which are most important to you, you are not happy about some aspects of your life. Also, what are your areas of strength and weaknesses? Write down 25 of each. There is no right or wrong way to assess your life and remember, your values and priorities may change over time. Life's a process, so give yourself permission to make changes along the way.
Identify six key areas in your life which are important to you such as Career, Family, Health, Recreation, Spirituality, Finances. (You can use these or develop your own.) Make a list of what you are doing right now in each category and what portion of your life is devoted to each area. Are some of these areas getting little or no attention? Sometimes, people know what they care about, but do not allocate their time accordingly. Everybody needs to find their own state of Balance. The important thing is your willingness to make changes in your behavior when something is not working the way you want it.
Creating A Vision
Successful companies create Vision Statements to use as operating principles for interacting with customers, employees and business partners. The most successful companies are those which incorporate these statements into their daily operations. A vision statement is a declaration of who you are and what you want to do in your life. Establishing a vision, and crystallizing it in writing, can be just as powerful for an individual as it is for a company. It's about creating a sense of focus in your life (so important when you find yourself navigating through changes and distractions). A written Vision statement can actually help you take ownership over your choices.
Ask yourself what you really want from your life? What do you want to accomplish? How do you want to be known? Be specific. Consider the six aspects of your life you have already recognized as being important to you. This is not the time to think small. Set your current situation or history aside and allow yourself to reach for what may seem unreachable. Think outside of the box. You might be surprised to discover that your first, outrageous thoughts, reveal the most about what you really want. Write your "vision" statement down.
Making It Happen
The difference between where you are now and your Vision may be slight or substantial. Before you create a plan of action, look at what you wrote for your Vision and do a "reality" check. This does not mean to talk yourself out of a particular dream or goal by convincing yourself you can't have what you want. Just take time to make sure your vision genuinely reflects your desires and values.
Look at each of the six areas in your life and brainstorm specific, action-oriented steps which will move you from your current situation to your vision. Think in small, achievable steps. Make them easy to do. (For example, if you want to move up within your company, think of how you can acquire the necessary skills. Perhaps you might take courses, get a mentor, or consider a series of job moves that would give you the right kind of experience.) Take one step at a time. Your action plan may require a short amount of time, three or five years, or even longer. Remember you don't have to do everything at once. Just be sure to keep your goal in sight and monitor your progress.
Making a dream a reality involves being honest with yourself (you won't be able to create a great life if you aren't ready to examine your values); being compassionate with yourself (you won't be able to move forward if you're busy judging yourself by where you are now); and you have to be committed to taking appropriate actions (even when there's no guaranteed outcome). Realizing that you are solely responsible for your happiness is empowering. Reminding yourself that you are living purposefully, that all your actions and experiences will help you reach your goals, puts you in the right frame of mind to enjoy your life today and every day.
Terri Norvell is a national business coach and consultant
for fast growing and entrepreneurial businesses.
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