What Should I Do With The Rest Of My Life?

I had a client who was in her mid forties. She was a high achiever. She had accomplished all of her career and personal goals and more and woke up one day thinking “What should I do with the rest of my life?”.

At a cross roads?

She felt she had literally reached the end of the road and whilst she had lots of options and ideas she didn’t know what to do next. She was confused because this was not at all like her. She always knew what was next and what to do. She had reached a crossroads in her life… Sound familiar? sign post depicting a cross roadsPeople reach a point in their lives where they are unclear what to do next. They have often had a real sense of purpose but they reach a realisation that what they have been doing is no longer fulfilling or will not be fulfilling for another 20 years. Sometimes they are exhausted or burnt out. Other times something else shifts in their lives and causes them to stop and re think. Many want to reignite their sense of purpose. I found myself in a similar situation a few years ago.

What’s a value?

One of the simplest ways I support my executive coaching clients as we begin to look at refreshing their sense of purpose, is to help reconnect them to what’s most important to them via their values.

In coaching terms a value is…. a feeling or emotion that is very important to you in your career and life (e.g. Achievement, honesty, trust, harmony…). Values are our DNA, the building blocks of who we are. They are the core of our strengths, vision and goals. They are the emotional feelings that are important to us. A value is an operating principle that we carry with us everyday.

Core values

Photo by Howard Lake

Reconnecting to what matters most to you

By noting what is important to you and evaluating how much you are currently honouring this gives you vital information. One way to begin to get clear on what’s important to you, is to think about all the things that annoy you, make you cross or make your blood boil.

And I am sure you will come across a number as you embark on your summer break, for example: flight delayed (you value punctuality), not given the correct car you hired (you value attention to detail), noisy people on the beach (you value thoughtfulness) people who litter (you value cleanliness/orderliness), etc. Your reaction to these situations, highlights where someone has stepped on something that you consider important.

Summer time

With the holiday season upon us, a thought occurred to me: ‘Isn’t it funny how you feel more alive after a summer break’. Granted you wouldn’t be able to lounge around all day, have long leisurely lunches and alfresco dinners every day!

What are the important things you honour on holiday that evaporate when you return home or at least become severely compromised? How many of these could you sprinkle over your cornflakes or porridge weekly in the autumn and winter months to ensure you continue to honour what you hold dearly, regularly? A holiday is a great time to take stock and review the important things that matter to you in your life.

What? I hear you say. “I won’t have time to do those things once I’m back because my job is very busy/stressful/hectic and so many people depend on me…”.  So ask yourself this “How much better would you do your job if you routinely honoured all of the things that are really important to you?”. And by the way, working hard is an important value for many people but if it is the only thing you are honouring in a 24/7 way – well you know what they say ” All work and no play…”

All work and no play...

Photo by Bernard Walker

If you are at a crossroads and unclear which way to turn, Email me to sign up for an initial consultation where we will look at reconnecting you with what matters most to you so you can decide which road to take.

Leave your comments below along with any tips you have for reconnecting with what’s important to you.