By Diane Baranello, Career/Personal Branding Coach & Accountability Partner, Coaching for Distinction
Are you clear on what matters most in your career and your life today? Not last year. Not last month or yesterday … today. We live life ‘in the moment’ and asking ourselves thoughtful questions about where we want to put our energy and experience, and the difference we want to make, is so important to our brand, our life, and overall well-being. There’s no book in the world that can tell you precisely what you should do next, when or why. It’s up to you.
That may sound a bit scary but the task to rediscover what you want to do with your life &/or your career, although a bit daunting, is also exciting. Let’s assume you’re full of energy but the idea of what comes next is stopping you in your tracks.
Start with a prompt.
What is it that lights me up when I think about it? Perhaps it’s something you’ve put aside for years, feeling you didn’t have the time … but now you do. Maybe it’s work that will fulfill your desire to do good, pay it forward, leave a legacy. You may have sacrificed for family or friends and ignored a creative wish, a yearn to learn, or a destination that’s always intrigued you. Until you ask yourself what lies in the gap between what you’ve accomplished and what remains undone, the frustration of no decision will become your decision.
Reimagine your life.
Think of your life as a blank canvas. In your mind, allow a wash of color to bring it to life. That’s the warmth of your spirit. Consider what comes easily to you and write them down. Those are your innate talents … the gifts you’ve been blessed with. Reflect on the hurdles you’ve had in your life and how you’ve overcome them. Those are the times you’ve had to be bold, strong, resilient. Write them down too.
Trade problems for possibilities.
Tell yourself … I can’t do everything but I can do something. What is that? If time, or money, or health are obstacles, break each one down into possibility statements. For example, if I can’t do it all, what can I do? If my dream is too big, is there a part of it that would satisfy me? If I can’t afford to bring my dream to reality, is there a way I can earn enough to see some of it come to life? What if…? Why not? What’s possible? You don’t have to tilt at windmills. You have to change your perspective to see possibilities.
Consider the risk of no risk.
Often, we want the road to be straight and the way to be easy. Who wouldn’t? But we have to risk something in order to get ahead. Sure, risk implies we could lose instead of win, but without risk we stagnate. Often it’s resistance to change or fear of failure that prevents us from taking chances that might change our lives for the better. Ask yourself, what am I willing to risk in order to achieve what I set out to do? Being bold requires courage but think of how courageous you’ve been in your life when the chips were down or the odds were against you. You are already brave.
Above all, do something. Thinking, planning, considering, weighing … that’s all good unless you get stuck before you start. You need a bit of a trigger. For example, each day write down what you’ve done to move the needle forward from the day before, and the action you will take today to advance toward living the life you desire. Living your life with purpose requires commitment, so start your day by completing a simple statement … “Today I commit to …” Hold yourself accountable for every commitment and, if you think you may falter, work with an Accountability Partner.
Create a roadmap.
Every journey requires a roadmap to get from where you are to where you want to be. Your Career/Life Roadmap is your personal guide for achieving your goal. When you write down where you’re going, why you’re taking this trip, your strategy for arriving at your destination, and all the milestones along the way … you’ll be living your purpose. Live it now. You have more control than you know.
[Editor’s Note: Diane will be leading a thoughtful discussion on these issues on the first Evening Salon at Women At Woodstock 2018.]