If you were to set about designing your ideal life, you may consider where you want to live, who you want to love, what you want to do for work…But instead of starting with your ideal circumstances, start with who you want to be.
Instead of asking, “What do I want my life to look like,” ask, “Who is the person I want to be in my life?” What sort of action do I take everyday in order to be that person? Take a look at How To Live the Perfectly Unbalanced Life for tips on clarifying your values & describing the person you want to be.
You can honor your values and be your best self in almost any set of circumstances. I’ve had a few clients come to coaching with the question of whether or not to leave their marriages. This is no small problem and only my clients can decide for themselves. But what I suggest is this: First, let go of trying the change the other person and focus on being the person you want to be – perhaps that is someone who is loving, eats healthfully, and is engaged with her kids. When/if your marriage interferes with you being that person, then perhaps it’s time to consider leaving. If a friend or partner was physically hurting you, then you would leave (this is an extreme example that does not apply to my clients). Your relationship would be keeping you from being someone who takes care of her health and safety – things you value.
So maybe you don’t like your job. If you can’t quit or you’re not sure if you want to, how can you be your best self at work? How can you be the uplifting boss, the lifelong learner, the supportive co-worker? Be that person now, regardless of the details of your actual work.
Then, when you get to considering the circumstances or goals of your life, ask ”What circumstances best support me being the person I want to be?” What supports my growth and what matters to me?
What career supports your value of being a present parent? What city or neighborhood supports your appreciation of beauty and nature? What friendships nurture your authentic self?
The things that are part of your right life support what you value and who you want to be.
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Photography by Geoff Captain.