Janice, a marketing executive in her early forties knew she needed coaching after she came to a troubling realization: “I don’t like who I am at work”. Given she worked more than 50 hours per week, this meant more than half of her waking hours were spent in a state of self-loathing. No wonder she felt stuck, unmotivated and depressed.
Just as Sandra was finalizing a long and traumatic divorce, she lost her job. What followed were three years of extreme financial difficulties that forced her to sell her home, and the stress of becoming a single mother (truly on her own, as her ex-husband was unable to offer any support) at the age of 48. With considerable grit and brains Sandra recovered, finding a new job and buying a condo where she and her son have become part of a community. But now that the pressure is off, she feels adrift. “I’ve been running so long and so fast, I’ve forgotten where I’m trying to get to. I’ve lost myself.”
At the age of 38, Connie looked back at her successful career and wondered, “How did I get here? Did I choose this path or did I just go where I thought I was supposed to? Sometimes I feel like my career is something that happened to me, rather than something I chose for myself.”
Call it what you want – a midlife crisis, a lack of alignment, an understandable state of disillusionment given the state of the world today – I call it an occasion for celebration.
In their discovery sessions with me, each of these women declared “I’m so confused!” and each time, I responded, “Yay for you!”
That’s right. Confusion is good. In fact, if you want to live up to your full potential, it’s necessary. As a Strategic Intervention coach, I’m never happier for a client than when she declares herself to be confused. That’s because she’s created an opening. She doesn’t know what comes next. Fantastic. Now the real work can begin.
Feeling a little confused yourself?
Ready to return to yourself, live on your terms and reach your potential?
Here’s how to do it in just 12 weeks.
Weeks 1-4: Remember who you are.
We get stuck when we are out of alignment with our needs and values. We get out of alignment because we’ve forgotten who we are. It’s time to rediscover your
Think about the activities, people and environments that bring you joy and put you into a flow state. What do they have in common?
Discover what’s driving you. We all have the same basic 6 human needs. How we decide to fulfill them affects our how we spend our time, what we focus on and ultimately, the quality of our lives.
How do you rate your fulfillment on each of the following needs:
Certainty (comfort, security, safety)
Uncertainty (variety, spice of life)
Significance (to know that you matter, to feel validated)
Love and Connection (to have people in your life you love and who love you)
Growth (to expand your knowledge, capabilities and spirit)
Contribution (to give back to the world)
Which are the positive ways you choose to fulfill them? Which are the negative ways?
Discover what drains your energy. Are there activities, people and environments that leave you feeling depleted? What do they have in common?
Finally, list the qualities in life that you value (eg. family, creativity, exploration, honesty, community...). Prioritize them. Are you living your values? Or are you betraying yourself? What keeps you from living your values?
Weeks 5 and 6: Purpose, Mission, Vision, Goooooooaaaaaaals!
Use what you learned in the first four weeks to write a purpose statement. This is the reason you’re here on earth. It will likely be smaller than you might think it should be.
Here’s the Dalai Lama’s: To be happy and to help others be happy too.
Next, create a vision for your best life. Where do you live? Who is there with you? What do you do? What impact do you have on the world?
Finally, create your mission. Your purpose is why you’re here. It gives the meaning to your life. Your vision is a compelling vision of your future. Your mission is the way you choose to get from purpose to mission.
Now, set some goals. Are they aligned with your values? Do they help you fulfill your needs? Do they support your purpose, mission and vision?
Week 7: Harness the life changing power of “I can, if...”
Now that you have some goals and an idea of what you want to do with your life, you’re probably frightened. If you’re not, your goals likely aren’t big enough. Repeat weeks 5 and 6 until you’re at least moderately scared, if not completely terrified. (BTW, after you achieve these terrifying goals, you’ll look back and think, “What was so scary about that?”)
Excellent. Here comes the fun part.
Take each and every one of those big scary goals and write it down as an “I want…” statement. Then write, “I can if…” and go to town.
I want to write a novel of consequence. I can, if...
I take a story and structure class
I join a creative writing group
I block 2 hours every morning and 8 hours on the weekend for writing
I hire an editor
I want to be the founder of a technology start-up. I can, if...
I improve my coding skills
I attend tech meet-ups and hackathons in search of the right co-founder
I read The Lean Start-up by Eric Ries and other books, blogs and website that will help me learn the skills I need
I build a minimum viable product for market testing
Week 8: Create your Big Plan
You’ve got a purpose, a mission and a vision for your life. You’ve got scary goals and a very long to-do list to match.
You need a plan. A big one.
Divide your life into zones, both personal and professional.
Your personal zones may include: family, spouse, home, personal growth, healthy vitality, time management, finances, celebration, contribution, etc.
Your professional zones may include: Innovation, maximizing skills, revenue delivery, cost management, strategic planning, personal brand, etc.
Planning for the next 12 to 18 months, list the to-dos for each zone, no matter how big or small (works best if you do this in a spreadsheet).
For each to-do (action), list the juicy outcome you desire and the purpose of that outcome. Give it a due date.
It might look something like this:
Sort your completed spreadsheet by due date, then purpose, then outcome.
Now it will look something like this:
Congratulations, you now have your Big Plan.
Weeks 9-12: Practice, evaluate, adapt.
No one is perfect out of the gate. And that’s perfectly fine. What’s most important is to remain open, flexible and responsive to your instincts and the things happening around you.
If a part of your plan isn’t working, don’t give up on it, but rather examine it. What’s keeping you from doing the things you want to do? Then adapt the plan so you can do them.
What might trip you up?
Fear. While sometimes motivating, fear is often debilitating.
Self-imposed boundaries that keep you from doing what needs to be done.
External obstacles and constraints that need to be transformed into opportunities.
Your “why” isn’t big enough. You don’t connect with it at a deep enough level.
Lack of personal accountability.
Yeah, this stuff ain’t easy.
That’s why I’ve created a detailed 12-Week Transformation Plan for you.
Learn more here.