So I was reflecting on my most recent post, and it dawned on me:
You might not know what your ideal world looks like!
That’s totally okay. I didn’t always know either.
I thought I wanted to work in a corporate office, then social services. City livin’ was calling to me, then the country. A 9-5 sounded appealing, but so did evening hours.
It sucks, not knowing what your big picture looks like. You feel directionless, frustrated, disenchanted. It’s like you don’t think you’ll ever find your right path because you don’t even know what you’re looking for.
But you do. You know, somewhere in your soul, what you need to be doing for fulfillment. It just might take some uncovering.
Aside from the numerous books, articles and exercises, there was one question that was instrumental in my discovery process:
What don’t you like about your life right now?
I know, I know. I’m usually all about positivity – but this is negativity with a purpose. If you’re not sure of what you DO want, try thinking about what you DON’T want.
Not crazy about your job? Dig deeper: what don’t you like about it? Is it the 8 hours at a desk? The lack of teamwork? Or is there too much teamwork and you’d rather work solo?
Really get in there. For the first and likely the only time, I’m asking you to go totally Negative Nancy on me. What is really annoying about your life?
Your lover? Your family? Your car? The climate you live in? The company you keep? The state of your health? How you spend your free time?
Resist the temptation to get irritated. We’re just taking inventory here.
Ok, you feelin’ good and pessimistic? (Sorry, we’ll fix it!) Drumroll please, we’re about to get positive…
Flip the “don’t likes” and you’ll likely get what you do like. Easy, right?
Hate sitting at a desk all day? Your ideal world probably involves work that allows you flexibility to move. Cold climate making you wanna snap your snow shovel in half? Your ideal world might include sunnier skies and warmer breezes.
You get the point – just take the annoyances, flip ‘em, and bam! You’re painting a picture of your ideal world.
I know it’s tempting to get frustrated at everything you don’t have. But pleeeease, don’t! That was so not my intention for this exercise. The intention was for you to have a starting point.
Don’t go from frustratingly lost to frustratingly overwhelmed by lack. You’re not lacking – you now have a starting point!
So you’ve done the exercise, and now you have a slight idea of what you wanna do. Great! But you’re not done. You’re smart, I think you know what’s next:
Taking action has been the biggest tool for me in painting a clear image of my big picture.
After reading tons of books and doing tons of exercises last summer, I still wasn’t totally sure of what my ideal world looked like. I had a vague idea – writing seemed appealing, as did public speaking and life coaching. But it definitely wasn’t solidified in my mind.
I took action anyway. I brainstormed blog names, registered a domain name and set up my blog. Before I knew it, I was writing.
My coach told me about Toastmasters, so I started attending meetings. I was curious about life coaching, so I read some books on the subject. I hated feeling overweight and unhealthy, so I started making small changes in the direction of my ideal (good health).
As I’ve moved along, my picture has become much clearer. I have a very good idea of what I wanna be doing, what I want my life to look like. When I notice something in my life that I’m not crazy about, I flip it into a positive and start taking action.
Action is where opportunity lies. You can only do so many exercises and answer so many questions before you just have to get moving.
You might find things you don’t like, but you’ll also find what you LOVE. It’s like mining for precious gems. You’ll hafta pick through a lot of crap, but in the process, you’ll also find the good stuff. Just keep throwin’ that axe. You’re bound to strike gold.
Peace, love and a steaming cup of Zen,