Monday, December 6, 2010

Knowing What Your Looking For

Today I read a blog post on ANOC that reminded me to always be thinking about a few very important things. While the list wasn't long, it was significant. Check it out if you have a minute.

Things like dreams, influences, relationships and passions are all things I think of regularly and I try to  nurture them, re-visit and rejuvenate them as often as necessary. But there was something else that resonated with me today and that was "destinations".

"Because you need to know where are you going, whether it’s a real destination or a representative one. (If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.)"

So I started to think about where it was that I was going and it brought me back to a Work / Life career workshop that I participated in while I was working for the Games. Not having any clue what it was all about at the time, I can say it was one of the best thing I ever did for myself. I ruffled through some filing and found the workshop booklet that we used. I kept it because I found the exercises that the hosting life-coach had us do were THAT valuable.

We started with some simple exercises that included writing out your strengths and skill sets, identifying where you've succeed in your current or past roles and what it is about your position that you really like or dislike.

We also were asked to think about a "pivotal" moment in our lives, or more simply, a time when we were the most happy, felt alive and were excited.  Remembering that time, we wrote out all things associated with it.

  • What was the experience?
  • What were you doing?
  • Who was there?
  • Why did it make you feel so alive?
Identifying the contributing 'good-time' elements helped us move forward to what, in my opinion, was the most valuable exercise of the day. 

We identified, and wrote in detail, our vision of an ideal working environment. We listed everything from what time you start in the morning, how you get to work, where you are, who you work with, what are you wearing and so on. We tried to be as specific as possible.

Here's what my list looked like:

- I start early in the morning when there are only a few people around.
- My day is full and requires some logistical planning and scheduling to make sure my time is used    efficiently
- I have an office to go to, but I am not there all the time (work from home or various work sites)
- I dress professionally, but casually
- I work with people I respect
- I work on time sensitive projects
- My projects have a beginning and an end
- I am responsible for my own schedule
- I work long hours and I am dedicated to my projects
- I am passionate about what I am doing, I believe in it's purpose
- I take work home with me, but have good work / life balance

So there it is, my perfect day. I still haven't found a 'job' that meets these requirements, but at least I know what I'm looking for and that is a HUGE relief. I'm also comfortable with the idea of not finding a "job" to fulfill these needs, but I might have to create the opportunity myself. But I know that by identifying these things, I am taking the first steps towards my ideal life and being at my happiest.

However, if you know what this job is that I'm describing..... email me! Kidding.... (sort of).

Not having found a way to make a living with these prerequisites yet doesn't worry me, and I'll tell you why.

Further into the booklet I found some questions and answers that made me grin ear to ear.  Below are some examples. Keep in mind this workshop was completed in summer of 2009.

Q: What do you want more of? What gives you energy? What do you want to say "yes" to?
A: Travel, new opportunity, relationships, exploring of new possibilities

Q: What do I really want? Who do I want to be? What will I achieve? What impact will I have?
A: I want to inspire others to be their greatest, I want to work on something I am proud of, I want to love someone and be loved by them back

Q: Identify one goal:
A: I'd like to do 3-5 weeks of traveling after the Games in 2010

Q: Identify steps you can take to achieve this goal:
A: Research Thailand and Cambodia (what to do there? How much? Where to go while there)

During this session, the life coach did a great job of getting our creative juices flowing. We were really dreaming and writing down things that we weren't completely sure we could do, but in a perfect world, we could have.

 Fast forward to winter 2010 and here's an update:

- I completed the Ironman (a five year goal) and had an overwhelming response from friends, family and new acquaintances about how inspiring my story was. Because of that, and my own experience, I'm working on a project that will help others achieve their extraordinary goals. The project will launch in January.. so stay tuned :)

- I moved in with my boyfriend whom I love dearly (and who loves me back:)

- Together we are building the foundations of a FANTASTIC new business

- I returned home from 6 weeks of traveling through South East Asia (Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam)

This wasn't meant to be an opportunity to brag about my life, these where just a few highlights selected to make a point. The point is how valuable it can be to really make time and think about where it is you are going. Life isn't perfect and things come up, challenges surface and set backs occur, but like Randy Pausch said "you can always change the plan, but only if you have one."  

I use my DreamBoard now as a way to keep updating new things I want in my life. As life evolves, so do my priorities, my circumstances and my opinions. But if I want to keep defining my own success, I have to at least know what it will look like once I find it.

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