Want a Better Life? Career? Then Do This!
On Saturday, October 26th, you would have questioned my judgement. It was cold, wet and windy in Indiana. I had been gone most of the month and was preparing for even more travel – so you know what that means as far as “to do” lists.
None the less, I spontaneously called the Inn at Turkey Run, a fabulous Indiana state park with beautiful hiking trails and found they had only one room that night. I booked it, wrapped up my most critical chores, packed up and headed out for what has become an annual tradition: My Day of Discernment.
Every year, somewhere around the end of one year and beginning of another, I strike off to be by myself, in nature and off the grid (which gets harder and harder to do). In my 24 hours of aloneness go through a process that goes like this:
- I reflect on the past year to name what is working in my life and what is not
- I dream about the shape I’d like my life to take
- I capture my thoughts in words and images
- I put plans in place
My spontaneity was well rewarded. The downpours dissipated into sprinkles, allowing a late Saturday hike that ended at the campground where I experienced the joy of trick or treaters. I lit candles (please don’t tell the Inn Keepers), I meditated, I reflected, I journaled, I dreamed, I planned. And I came away inspired about possibilities in front of me, grounded in the actions I need to take to realize those possibilities and with a solid start of a plan for 2020.
And as I wrapped up my inner work in time for the 11 am check out, I stepped out into a glorious fall day and several hours of fabulous hiking through the woods, ravines and gorges.
I share this story to encourage you to find ways that work for you to stop. To reflect. To discern. To dream. To plan.
For me, it works to be in nature. For others, to be with others who inspire them, teach them, challenge them. No matter how you take time to reflect, dream and do – the value is enormous.
I can already hear the rebuttals of those that are too busy, too stressed, too needed by others, too strapped for cash. And I challenge those of you who are saying those things with these questions:
- Are you so very busy doing the things that matter the most?
- Of the 8,760 hours in a year, is it too much to give yourself 8, 10 or 24 hours to get perspective?
- Why are you willing to invest money in material goods and not in what you need on the inside?
- Is being indispensable filling a need you have to be needed…or is it really true?
- Is “too busy” an excuse for avoiding stepping into your potential?
My life began to get better, way better, when I began to take the time to intentionally reflect and refocus. When I took time to dream and then to do. When I put myself in situations where I paused long enough to determine what was working and to work out of the things that were not. Where I had a plan to pull more of what I wanted into my life and career.
After 7 years of doing this, I have learned that this is not a “once and done” thing. Dream….Do……Reflect….Repeat. Life is too fluid, to everchanging to come up with a grand plan in one fell swoop. As I reach one goal, I replace it with another. As I step out and into my life and potential, new possibilities present themselves. And that is why, for me, this is a cherished annual ritual.
If you too, want more from your career and a more meaningful life, you don’t need to go into the wilderness. You don’t have to go it alone. You don’t have to figure out how to do this process of discernment. You just need to find a way to do it, the will to do it and the discipline to do it year over year.
All you have to do is to join me, Caroline Dowd-Higgins, Lindsay Boccardo and room full of other remarkable women leaders on January 16th in Indianapolis to Design a Career with Purpose. We’ll show you how to use design thinking principles on your career. You’ll be inspired by the stories of women who are designing their careers with purpose. You’ll be surrounded by supportive women who will walk on this journey with you. You’ll come away with focus, energy and a plan.
I leave you with this question:
- Are you willing to invest a bit of your time and treasure for one day that can change the direction of your career and life?
This awesome guest post is from my friend and side hustle colleague, Kris Taylor. It is a great joy to collaborate with her on our Design a Career with Purpose event, but I also learn amazing things from Kris every time we are together. Her sage wisdom is spot in and has helped me navigate a fulfilled life and career with purpose. Thank you, Kris!