Josh didn’t understand why he was frustrated and dissatisfied with his life. He’s 38 years old, works hard and is successful in his profession. Everyone tells him he’s doing well and is a lucky man. However, he wasn’t thrilled with his job, and wanted to be married and have a family but hadn’t yet met “the right woman”.
He explained that he’s always believed that he’ll know the right thing to do when it comes along, so he’s never actually set goals or made plans. He went to college but never did any introspection to help him decide what to major in. He chose the college he went to because his friends were going there, and majored in things that seemed interesting, but he had no career goals for when he graduated.
After college, jobs seemed to come his way. He believed these were “meant to be”, so he took them. He worked hard and did well, but never felt fulfilled because he wasn’t doing something that made him happy. It was the same with women — whenever he met someone who ‘seemed nice’, he’d date her for several months, but it never worked out. He still hopes the right woman will come along.
Josh’s problem is that he’s never taken the time to look specifically at himself, at what makes him happy, or what he needs or wants. All his life he’s followed whatever came his way, with no plan or thought about if it really met his needs or where it would take him. He’s been reactive by responding to what comes, rather than being proactive by making decisions, setting goals and choosing how to move toward them.
When he called me Josh had decided that he was ready to take stock of who he is, what makes him happy, and where he wants to be next year and five years from now. However, he was unclear about how to do this.
After we talked, he began to ask himself several questions:
- Am I living a life that fulfills me? What does being fulfilled mean, feel and look like?
- What is fun for me? What did I love to do when I was a child?
- What makes me lose track of time?
- What makes my heart sing and fills my soul with joy?
- What is missing and how can I put more of it into my life?
- What kind of relationship do I want? What will that look and feel like?
- What do I want professionally? What are my talents and skills? Do I want to use them in my work? What do I want to avoid doing?
- What expectations are keeping me from being me?
- What fears are stopping me?
- What can I do to change this situation?
- How do I feel about money? Is this moving me forward or holding me back financially?
- What things do I need to allow myself to let go of so I can reach my goals?
- Who do I need to be in order to live the life I want?
- What is the next step to getting there?
Josh had never looked at himself from this perspective, and was surprised and pleased at what he found. From the answers to these questions he began to make decisions, and created both personal and professional goals, which gave him a destination for which to chart his course. He then created an action plan with steps to move him towards his goals.
This was a new, exciting and uncomfortable experience for Josh. It took a lot of work for him to sort out who he is and what his needs, desires and dreams are. He needed to look at who he is, what his values, talents and skills are, and make some decisions, rather than just going with the flow.
Letting go of the “shoulds”, fears and expectations of others that he had built his life on, and creating his own road map was a difficult process.
However, he became excited once he realized that he is now becoming clear about what he wants and how to get it. He is now happily implementing his plan, taking it one step at a time with a goal in mind, and is moving towards the life he’s always wanted.
Is it possible that you might be like Josh? Just moving through life, taking whatever comes, without a plan or concept of where you’re going. If so, you might want to ask yourself how well this is working for you and what you’d like to do about it.
It’s something to think about.