I just returned from a long weekend with Duane in beautiful, romantic Quebec City. We stayed at a pretty inn near the old part of the city known as “la Basse ville” (the lower city). A working weekend, we spent hours each day working through an exercise I use for my clients, a planning process that helps you take ownership of your life. Hey, I practice what I preach!
While this may not sound like a romantic getaway to you, it motivates us for the future, reinforces our commitment to each other and ensures that we’re all “pushing in the same direction” toward living our best life.
We began this process a few years ago when we both realized we’d been drifting from job to job and career to career without really knowing what we wanted to do. I started businesses, many of which I didn’t really like, became a business teacher, went on to work as the Executive Assistant to the President of a pharmaceutical company, then was promoted to Project Manager and finally became a “drug pusher” (pharmaceutical representative promoting legal drugs)! I had originally wanted to be a doctor but I didn’t make it into medical school and had no plan B. As I drifted from one job to another, I completed my Bachelor of Administration, only to wonder at graduation, “Why did I want this anyway?”
From Pushing Drugs to Taking Ownership
I realized I had let life and circumstances decide what I would do for eight (and sometimes more, many more) hours per day. I only began to figure out what I really wanted to be when I grew up at age 40! Deciding to become a coach took me almost a year of soul searching, looking at what excites me in life and when I feel happiest. With this decision, I took ownership of my life.
Deciding to become a coach was both a difficult and easy decision. I worried about money, but I felt it was my calling and I knew it excited me. It’s funny how life sends you messages. I was well on my way to completing my coach training and building my practice when a neck injury left me unable to drive, a big part of the job description for a pharmaceutical rep.
When you take ownership of your life, you decide what you want life to be like in the future (your vision) and you choose the route you’ll take (the projects you’ll take on), and then you take action. Life will throw you curve balls, and your journey may be a bit of a winding road, so, like every project, you need to review your progress along the way. This past weekend is part of that process that Duane and I have been doing regularly to ensure we stay the course.
You don’t have to be in a committed relationship to take ownership of your life. You don’t need to wait until you’re 40 either! Or if you’re looking at 40 in the rearview mirror, it’s not too late! Now is the best time to start. You can create the life you want.
When you develop a vision of your future, you can enjoy your present life more because you now recognize it as a vehicle that’s taking you where you want to go. What does your future look like? What plans are you making that will share your gifts, your strengths and talents, your creative genius with the world?
How Can I Use This?
Here are the first few steps:
- Choose a day and time when you will take ownership of your life. If you’re in a relationship, share this with your partner. Commit to, and let nothing get in the way of, this very important meeting with the most important person in your life – you!
- Envision where you want to be in 5 to 10 years. Imagine the lifestyle you want, and consider the kind of person you will be when you arrive there.
- Select the first 3 to 5 projects that will allow you to progress toward your vision of your life.
Waiting to Have the Time?
PS: For those of you who are about to put this aside, thinking you’ll do this when you have time… stop! There are 168 hours in the current week. I haven’t been watching the news, but I think I would have heard of a plan to increase the number of hours in a week. That means you’ll still have 168 hours a week next week, and next year and five years from now. You can’t wait until you have time, you must make time. You don’t want to look back on your life with regret at never having lived as the true creative genius you are.