I have just returned from a backpacking adventure through Thailand. My first time ever travelling by myself.
I really struggled during my first week away as I found it so strange being on my own. Eating out at a restaurant, arriving back at my room in the evenings and having no one to discuss your day with. It was hard when I have always had people around me, whether they were my kids or my partner.
1. Feeling constantly unhappy with our life, nothing seems to fulfil us. This points to a life totally out of sync with our values. It seems obvious but so many people live this type of existence either because they cannot see a way out, or they are living a life of habit and have forgotten what it feels like to live a life of purpose. This is a common situation for people who have gotten into a rut either through their work life , relationships or living situation.
There are a lot of statistics floating around that suggest up to 80 percent of the workforce are unhappy in their work, but if you look at society as a whole, especially in westernised countries, I'm sure that you will find high numbers of populations unhappy with their lives in general. Why is this?
I believe that for many, it's because our lives are not in sync with our true values. We live in a time when consumerism is rife. Many of us are stuck in jobs that we don't like just so that we can pay the bills and keep on buying stuff that we really don't need. We often learn this style of living from our parents or just fall into it after graduating from college or university and soon it becomes a habit.
What if we were taught how to live an intentional life as an alternative to cruising along on auto pilot? Living an intentional or purposeful life means living by our values and not everyone else's.
I have just finished reading an article written by Jim Rohn about life and how it really is just one big canvas. As individuals we all chose what we are going to fill that canvas with.
I appreciate art, some forms more than others. Street art appeals to me, black and white photography appeals to me. I also like old cars, their style, their simplicity. Even the basic Morris Minor, I love the curves that shape it and the chrome that you just don't see on cars any more, but I realise that what appeals to me doesn't appeal to everyone and that's what makes us different. The same applies to who we are attracted to, where we want to live, what foods we like, what type of work we enjoy.
We are almost half way through 2016, probably a good time to revisit our goals and make sure that we are still heading in the right direction. I am constantly reassessing where I am with my goals. I feel that if I don't do this, some tend to get forgotten.
A strategy that helps me with my goal setting and planning is to write up my tasks for each week a week in advance, normally on the Friday afternoon of each week. I use a whiteboard so that what I should be doing each day is right there in front of me. Next to the whiteboard I have my three main Project Plans outlining each phase of each project and then they are broken down to individual tasks. Whilst writing up my weekly plan, I am constantly referring back to the Project Plans. Using this method serves two purposes. It ensures that I apportion time evenly between my main projects which I have already chosen as my priorities at the moment and it also ensures that any information I need to carry out my planning is right there in front of me.
When I first trained as a careers counsellor, we explored a range of tools which could be used to help identify a client's interests, values, personality traits and preferred skill sets, but I have come to realise that the best resource available to us all is our experience.
People too often ignore the emotive reactions we experience when we delve back through our career and life experiences. We fail to embrace the often strong, sometimes subtle messages being relayed to us because we believe our purpose and values that drive us are to be figured out on an intellectual level.
For those who fret and think they haven't had enough experience, don't despair about not being able to discern what feels right and ignites your mojo. Find ways to build experience in different tasks, interests, hobbies or side projects which can often evolve into passions. It can take many years for some people to know their true purpose in work or in life. There are many successful people who discovered their true purpose when they were much older.
I want to start with a quote from Muhammed Ali who sadly passed away on the 5th June 2016 aged 74 years. Muhammed Ali once said" He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life." When I was a young boy I loved watching Muhammed Ali fight against the likes of Joe Frasier and others from his era. He was a great boxer, but I don't believe it was boxing that made him great. I believe it was because of the man he was. From a young age he knew who he was, he knew what he believed in and he lived his life according to his own personal values and beliefs.
Statistics tell us that a high percentage of the working population are unhappy in their work. Why do we remain in jobs that we don't like? What do we need to do to change our situation?
Someone whom I have never met, made this remark to me yesterday via email. Initially, it made me laugh, but I was left thinking about this statement and wondering how many mid-lifers or baby-boomers feel this way and is it good or bad?
I've had periods in my life and some quite recently when I have pondered about where my career has taken me and wondered whether I made the right decisions at certain points in my career/life. I can't say that I have regrets about career decisions that I have made, as for each decision made, something has always come of it. On occasions I may have dismissed the job as being just another experience, but at least after gaining that experience, I have learnt more about myself and which skills I don't want to develop further. I may not be in the place I envisioned being twenty years ago, but I'm happy with where I am currently and have plans in place to ensure that my current position keeps developing.
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