I love working with clients who are at a crossroads point in their life.
It's when they realised that the way they've been living thus far is no longer fulfilling and they know they want something else. They're ready for a change. But they aren't sure what or where to turn. That point in life can feel immensely stuck, many roads available but the path unclear down each one ... and no signposts to lead the way.
You may be in this position now. I was in this position quite a few years ago. It was painful, frustrating, and scary.
I knew I couldn't stay where I was, in a corporate career attempting to climb the ladder that seemed to be leaning against the wrong building for me. I didn't see myself in that future. But I also didn't see a clear future of another kind. There were inklings of many possibilities, and I eventually took one (that led me to the path I'm now on and love it :) ). But the decision wasn't easy and the path far from clear.
There is good news though.
We all have an inner compass. We may have been out of touch with it for so long that we've forgotten about it completely. But I assure you it's there, we all have it. It just takes consciously tapping into it and trusting in the greater clarity emerging.
"Clarity comes after a period of stillness."
Below I share a few pointers, a map if you will, to help you tap into that inner compass and get more clarity around your best new direction in life.
(This can be applied generally to your life overall, or to a specific life area such as career, relationships, health, etc).
Our values are what really matters to us and drives our daily actions. They are the WHY behind what you do, what is important to you.
A fulfilled life will always be closely aligned with your core values, and an unhappy life will have core values missing to a great extent.
Once you're clear on your values, it will be much easier to make decisions. You will understand your behaviour better and so will be able to more consciously design your life to be more closely aligned with your core values. And you'll enjoy greater fulfilment as a result.
For example, if one of your core values is freedom but you feel you have no freedom in the decision making at work for instance, you're simply expected to follow the will of your manager, your work may feel very unfulfilling. Conversely if you were just given more freedom to implement some of your own creative solutions, the fulfilment would likely go up significantly. There's many possible solutions in this case, some of which might be to have a conversation around that with your manager, or if no possibility for a change in your current role, you could look for a position that would give you more of the freedom you want.
To determine your values, it takes some reflecting.
- What is really important to me in life (career/relationships/etc)?
- What matters to me most?
- What would I never want to compromise on, or tolerate?
Also look at your life so far, especially significant times (peaks and troughs) and see what themes emerge, then connect the dots of your life story. Values ultimately guide our actions, so we can tell a lot about one's values from the life they've led so far.
In my work with clients 1:1, I guide people through a process to elicit their values, which are so important when making life choices.
Download 'Know Your Values' worksheet to help you clarify your core values — just enter your name and email below.
2. CORE DESIRED FEELINGS.
This is a concept I love from Danielle LaPorte (from her book The Desire Map). According to her, the reason that we are pursuing goals is that we want to FEEL a certain way once we achieve them. It's not as much about the goal itself as it is about the feelings we expect to have once we achieve it.
Sometimes we're right about those feelings, but often when pursuing a goal we feel quite the opposite of what we want to ultimately feel.
Aligning yourself with your core desired feelings on the way to your goals brings the satisfaction you expect to get when hitting the goal, and boosts your motivation. Feeling good makes you want to take the necessary action.
Your core desired feelings give you clarity around how you most want to feel on a daily basis, and you can then bring them consciously into your every day, and moment, as much as possible. Imagine living your life feeling now the way you wish to feel once you achieve your goal! Connecting with those feelings regularly will shift your state and fuel your motivation as you pursue the goal - the end will not have to justify the means, and you won't have to feel frustrated, stressed and off-balance as you're nearing the fruition of your dreams.
To elicit your core desired feelings, take some time to journal and ask yourself:
- How do I most want to feel on a daily basis?
Also examine your goals and ask yourself "WHY do I want it?", and with each answer go even deeper...and WHY do I want that .... and why....and WHY. And eventually you'll come to a feeling you are after. Do this with your top 5 goals/dreams, and you will get to your core desired feelings.
Your passions are that which you would do even if nobody paid you, if nobody knew about it, and you were the only person doing it. It doesn't matter what the outer world says or thinks, your passions come from within. They're enjoyable and engaging in them is energising to you.
You can bring these qualities into any context, because it's how you're doing something not necessarily what you're doing that is your passion.
A teacher for example may bring her passion for facilitating learning and understanding in others to her work as well as her hobbies, her family, etc.
Your passions are most often closely related to your innate strengths and gifts, what you're naturally good at. So it's very powerful to align your life with your passions. It will add that spark to what you do and the stamina to keep going. And this is what we all need when pursuing the life of our dreams.
- What am I passionate about?
- What am I really good at?
- What energises me?
- What are those things that I do and enjoy in multiple contexts?
- What adds a spark to my life?
This for me is the key piece of the clarity puzzle. We all do better if we consider the impact of our actions, more narrowly on our own lives and those that we touch, and also in a wider sense in terms of our community, and globally. When designing a fulfilled life, getting clarity on the impact you wish to make will help you with your sense of meaning and purpose.
- What impact do I want to have in the world?
- What causes light me up?
- What world would I want to live in?
- What version of the world would I love to contribute to?
To get clearer on all these four areas of a fulfilled life plan, take some time and answer the questions for yourself. Journal and allow the words to flow.
Let me know your key insights in the comments.