Ask yourself this simple question: Am I where I thought I would be at this stage in life?
Are you doing the thing you know you were designed to do? Or are you working towards doing that thing? Some people have found their lane. The work they do feels light, not burdensome. And finding fulfillment is not the exception, but the rule. But my experience suggests there are more people in the other category. Instead of trying to be overly intellectual, let’s borrow some insight from the sage wisdom of the musical group the Talking Heads and call it the “How did I get Here” category.
Now this group can be misleading. You can drive by their beautiful houses and pass very lovely people in the park that would lead you to believe that these are the ones that have it figured out. They have cracked the code on work/life balance, wake up looking forward to the tasks before them, and find meaning and fulfillment in the work they engage. But do they…? Or are many of them in places that they never made plans to be? And yet there they go year after year. Many of these people, myself included, have been impacted by circumstances over the years that have redirected their lives. They start down a road that they believed would lead them to the place they want to be, only to have roadblocks and detours redirect them to an unforeseen destination. It’s not an inherently bad place, just not the one that they picked from the life brochure. And many of us figure out what we don’t want to do as we’re doing it.
And so, we find ourselves inside of an old fable. A man goes to visit his friend in the country. He pulls into the driveway to find his friend sitting on the front porch. He takes a seat beside his friend and begins to chat with him. At the far end of the porch, his friend’s dog is laying down, moaning woefully while they talk. Finally, he asks his friend why his dog is moaning. The friend, with a wry grin, says the dog is laying on a nail. The man, somewhat perturbed, asks why in the world doesn’t he move? His friend replies, it’s not bothering him enough yet.
For many in the How Did I Get Here group, the woeful moans have been seasoned and word-smithed into more socially acceptable phrases. If I had the time, if I had the money, if I lived in a different place, when the kids grow up, if I had more education or skills or confidence or a more supportive spouse or family. If I were smarter, or had a better upbringing, or didn’t have to deal with this physical, intellectual or emotional challenge.
Even more challenging for me as one who strives to help people discover their God given purpose, is when I ask someone what they would do when they wake up tomorrow if there were no limitations, and engage work that would bring joy to their heart, and they can’t even imagine what it would be. They’ve never allowed themselves, or allowed someone else, to ask what their hopes and dreams are, what puts wind in their sails. They merely exchange their lives for some compensation with no thought of what could be a better way, an enjoyable way, a way that provides not only for their monetary needs, but their emotional needs as well.
During a conversation with my former business partner, I gained some insight from him that I use on a regular basis to help people gauge the work they do. Caleb said that certain types of work felt heavy to him, and other types made him feel light. When taken in context, a person can very quickly identify the kinds of work they do and don’t like, and it can become the basis for developing a plan to pursue the desirable work and reduce the more undesirable tasks. Pat Lencioni has further developed this concept with his Working Genius assessment, which helps people both discover and begin to engage the types of work that bring them fulfillment and not frustration. Ultimately, most of us have to earn money to live. Work is only one facet of our lives, but it can determine where we live, who we socialize with, and how we express our unique gifts and talents to the world around us. Finding fulfillment in our relationships, our spiritual lives, our recreation, are all areas that can be purposefully pursued. But how?
Living our best life is a choice. It takes awareness, the courage to change, and lots of risk. It often takes someone willing to ask us challenging questions and trustworthy enough to hold us accountable to the change necessary to pursue our dreams and goals. Employing a coach/mentor is not necessarily the answer for everyone. However, history has proven that most people that want to and ultimately do become successful in a particular arena have someone walking the path with them, providing counsel and accountability along the way. Everyone has the right answers inside of them… they just need the right person asking the right questions at the right time to get to those answers. The coaching process provides a safe space to explore those things that you have dreamed about, consider the goals that seem too big, and determine ways to achieve those things that light the fire inside of you. Do you want to: Change jobs, start a new career or start your own business. Write a book, create a new ministry or non-profit. Scale your existing business, pursue a promotion, run for public office. Whatever IT is, IT’S YOURS to have, and the coaching process will accelerate your results. Contact me for a free initial consultation and to see if I might be the right person to help you uncover your dream, accomplish your goal, or overcome that seemingly insurmountable challenge before you. And don't be mislead, this process can work for ANYONE who has the desire to improve their position. Much like young William, anyone can change their stars...