If you’re just joining in, the “Change Your Life In 2018” series is my quest to make some small changes this year. Rather than setting easily forgotten resolutions I wanted to focus on 12 changes that would help me learn and grow as a person. I’ve chosen to focus on one change per month so that it could not only become a more manageable goal, but I have a better chance at making these new habits as well. I hope you’ll join me in the challenge!
Do you find yourself asking the question “what do I want to do with my life”? Maybe you’re one of the millions of people working in careers that they just don’t like. Or maybe you feel like you’ve had a good amount of time in your current career but it’s no longer satisfying. Or maybe your career is just fine, it’s the rest of your life you’re confused about. Many people appear outwardly successful, however, they aren’t fulfilled. No judgement here – I’ve been there myself.
I’ve always struggled with the question – what I want to do when I grow up. I have such a variety of interests that committing to just one has never been easy. In college I was a double major. All of my life I’ve loved dance but once I began college I also became very passionate about biology and chemistry. Two areas that didn’t interest me at all throughout high school. By my sophomore year I decided that I would double major in both dance and pre-med. Partly because majoring in dance seemed irresponsible and partly because I couldn’t decide on just one…… (and I’m not currently using either)
I have enjoyed the path my life has taken, but I have been trying to figure out what’s next. Again, the dilemma is my varied interests. I’ve struggled with narrowing it down. As you know, my husband and I started a business (Cobble Hill Farm Apothecary) 4 years ago. We absolutely love it, and plan to continue it as long as we have customers interested in our products. But I want more. Again, I have other interests that haven’t been utilized through the business (I love writing, I love cooking…..). So I continued to question if we are on the right path or if there’s another piece that’s missing.
Then I completed an exercise that seemed to really resonate with me. I believe wholeheartedly in trusting my gut. Sometimes I make very quick (and assumed rash) decisions because my gut says “yup – no need to ask any more questions, just do it”. Other times I contemplate and go back and forth. But once I hit on something that my gut reaction is “that is IT” or “that is definitely NOT it”, then I follow it.
It’s critical to figure out what you should be doing because we can be very unsettled if you’re not on the right path. Maybe it’s the next chapter in your life, or maybe it’s the start of your path, regardless, once you figure this out everything else seems to fall into place.
Before you conduct any of these exercises, you first must let go.
You cannot filter what you write based on what you believe you need to make for a salary, or what education or training it would take to have your dream career, or that you’re too old to make the change, or that it’s silly. Nope, none of that. Instead, truly allow yourself to write freely. No restrictions, no editing, no negative thoughts.
1. Write Your Dream Bio
I was perusing Frugalwoods, (I highly recommend it) and came across Liz’s article “How I Figured Out What I Want To Do With My Life And How You Can Too” and was hooked. The first exercise she gave, which was this one, was SO easy. I couldn’t believe that it was this easy to really feel as though I’d hit it.
- Take out a piece of paper and pen and write out, in present tense, what you would like your bio to read as. Include your job, your community service, your hobbies, your financial state, etc. Whatever you wish was your bio that someone was reading TODAY. Remember the instructions above about letting go…..don’t filter by thinking it’s impossible, or stupid, or irresponsible, just write.
- Don’t write things you should write, instead, write what you really feel in your gut would be fulfilling. What would bring even more happiness into your life.
For me it was a huge light bulb. As I wrote my bio I really felt I was writing my dream life. And the kicker was, much of it seems attainable. Some of it is a stretch, for sure, but that’s good. First, you should always have stretch goals. Second, what you actually write may not be attainable, but it may lead you to something that is.
For example: let’s say you write that you want to be a famous singer. The “famous” portion of it may or may not happen. And the “singer portion of it can only happen if you can actually sing. That being said, is there something in the music industry that would be a good fit? Could you continue with your current career and pick up local singing gigs to help fulfill that passion?
Think outside of the box when you look at what you’ve written.
- Now compare your newly written bio with where you are today. What needs to happen in order for your true bio to change to your dream bio? What types of goals must you set? What needs to change in you (beliefs, drive, confidence, etc.) to make this work? Are there things you do today that allow you to test the waters of some of your dreams?
2. Write Your Personal Manifesto
If the dream bio didn’t work for you, what about a manifesto? Write it in present tense (“I am” rather than “I would like to”)Include things such as:
- your job including specifics on what it would be and then further narrowed down by pay, hours you would like to work, location, etc. If it’s something along the line of freelance, get specific on who you would want to perform work for.
- your lifestyle including where you would like to live, details about your home, are you living mortgage-free, hobbies and leisure activities, community service/volunteer details, what you have for money in the bank and investments, etc.
- your principles – what are your beliefs or intentions?
Next month’s topic is: Goal-Setting: Chunking Them Down Into Bite-Size Pieces