For many of us, we are in a place that we want to escape. The ‘place’ might be a job, a relationship, or any number of other situations that just aren’t working for us.
For some of us, the solution is simple…we know what we want to do, and we are moving towards that place. If this is you, no need to read any further.
If this is NOT you…if your ‘purpose’, or ‘why’ is not readily apparent, then here are some practical steps to moving in the right direction.
These are in no particular order. I hope something here resonates with you.
1. Pick a time in the future and visualise the type of life you want. Use a time frame that works for you; I often use 5 years, but maybe 1 year, or 10 years is better for you. Think about what you want to be spending your time doing at that point in the future.
Visualise how you want to look physically. What does each day look like? Is routine important for you? What does your social circle look like? Where are you living?
This maybe a difficult process for some, and you may have significant constraints depending on your personal situation, but remember ‘people generally overestimate what they can do in one day, and underestimate what they can do in one year’. Once you can vividly picture this ‘future you’, replay it over and over again. This is an extremely powerful way to move towards your goal; something we will touch on in a future blog. (This technique was extremely important in my journey from a very small country town into the cockpit of an F/A-18 fighter).
2. List the general areas of your life that are important to you. Most people’s lists will look something like this:
Add or subtract categories as required…maybe you want to add ‘spiritual’, or maybe you don’t want ‘financial’ included at all.
Then use these categories as an assessment framework to view your options for change. For example, you may have an exciting idea for an entrepreneurial venture, but when you look at it in the context of these categories, it is apparent that you will be growing in only one area whilst neglecting others.
3. Realise that you simply may not be ambitious in this way, and that the thought of 'needing' to have to have an exciting plan for the future saps you of energy. This is completely normal and OK…do you think Mother Theresa sat down with a notebook and mapped out her plan for domination of the Calcutta charity scene? Of course not…living a quiet life which contributes to others and leaves you feeling fulfilled is absolutely OK, and will often help us avoid some of the trappings of ambition.
4. What would other people say? When assessing a course of action, it is helpful to consider what this course looks like from other perspectives. Ask yourself “What would my best friend say about this plan?”, or “How is it going to effect my family if I change to this job.” I have found this simple act of alternative viewpoints to be a very powerful tool in coaching conversations. We all have our own biases, but by forcing ourselves to see the situation from another persons’s viewpoint, we become more objective and can make better decisions.
The prospect of change can fill us with anxiety; I hope something in the above list can alleviate that for you. Of course, you could also use a coach to lead you through some of the above! I find the help of an independent partner incredibly valuable; I have a session with my own coach today!
Good luck…embrace change and uncertainty. It’s normally where the most growth occurs.