In this issue ~~
When the world around you is going haywire, as it has been particularly in the last year and a half, it makes you think about what's really important to you. We have a tendency to put things off to a better, more convenient time. But when you have no idea what the next day will bring, there's an urgency to doing the things that really matter to you, rather than perhaps losing the chance to do them at all.
As a career coach, I've had many people come to me who want to craft a life that's meaningful to them. Some have walked out on successful, high-paying careers because they could no longer face getting up in the morning. Others have been downsized from jobs they hate and choose to use this time as an opportunity to get on a better track instead of continuing their suffering in a different place. Still others want to revive pursuits that are important to them, but that have gotten lost in the frantic pace of day-to-day life.
Many creative people, in needing to make a living, put off doing their creative work, and their souls suffer for it. I'm not saying that it's easy to work a full-time job and still find time to paint, write or sing. But what will it feel like to come to the end of your life and not have done those things? Better to give up the premium movie channels and invest the time and money on something that will matter in the long run.
Perhaps you've come to the conclusion that you do want to invest in your dreams, but you get stuck because you don't know what to do or where to begin. It helps to have a map, so let's look at how you can start to reevaluate your life and make space for what matters to you.
Now, here's the test. Once you've determined what's important to you, pretend you're 80 or 90 years old, and look back on your life. Pretend you've done all the things you're planning to put into place as a result of this exploration. Is there anything else you can think of that you would deeply regret not doing? Is there anything you're doing you'll be sorry for later? What changes would you make? The good news is, you're not there yet, so you can make the changes now!
In doing these exercises, think outside the dollar sign. We tend to measure our success by how much we make and how extravagantly we live. There's nothing wrong with living a comfortable life, but in using money as your gauge, you may sacrifice the things that will matter most in the long run. Go back to your values. I would bet that most, if not all of them are based on something other than material gain. Redefine success based on what truly matters to you. Write notes to yourself or draw pictures that you can keep in sight to remind you.
Once you've defined what's important to you, make time for
it. Craft and shape your life to fit your goals and dreams, rather
than letting it run away with you. You may feel some resistance:
When something is very important to you, your doubts and fears
come into play. Push through them. Once you do and you experience
the exhilaration of living a life that's aligned with your passions
and values, you'll wonder what took you so long.
Make a list of the activities you have in your life and the ones you want to introduce. Then, add 2 columns: "Need to Do" and "Want to Do." In the first column, give each item a rating from 1 to 10 based on how much you need to do that activity. Things like money-making activities and family duties will rate high in this column. In the second, assign a rating based on how much you want to do it. Look at the items that rate high in Want and low in Need. What can you do to give them more presence in your life?
"Why [do] I repeatedly fail to live the intentions that matter to me? I want to know how to narrow the gap between the sincerest desires of my soul and my daily actions."
"The crime which bankrupts men and nations is that of turning aside from one's main purpose to serve a job here and there."
"We all have inconveniences of one kind or another. How you deal with them ultimately determines how successful you are."
"Accusing the times is but excusing ourselves."
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