“Our first challenge is to answer the question, ‘How should I spend my energy in a way that is consistent with my deepest values?’ The consequence of living our lives at warp speed is that we rarely take the time to reflect on what we value most deeply or to keep these priorities front and center. Most of us spend more time reacting to the immediate crisis and responding to the expectations of others than we do making considered choices guided by a clear sense of what matters most.” Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz in The Power of Full Engagement
One of my favorite business distinctions that originally came from Michael Gerber of E-Myth fame is captured in the question, “Are you spending all your time working in your business so you have no time to work on your business?” By working with this distinction between working in a business vs. working on the business for a number of years with my clients, I realized that much the same is true in our personal lives.
Are you spending so much time caught up in the busyness of your life that you devote little or no time working on your life? As the quote from Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz points out, most of us spend time in reaction mode to the circumstances around us and what others expect from us. We’re all too familiar with what it means to be caught up in the busyness of our lives, but what does ‘working on our lives’ look like? Well, here are a few examples.
Design Your Year
Over 10 years ago, Ann and I decided to devote time at the end of our year to design what we wanted our next year to be like. We started with a popular coaching tool known as the Wheel of Life exercise and then looked at each area of life in detail. It worked so well that we vowed to continue it each year. Spending quality time with your loved ones envisioning what you want in your life is highly leveraged ‘working on your life’ time.
Weekly or Monthly ‘Life Meetings’
Once you have a plan for your year, it’s important to schedule time throughout the year to be sure the plan is being implemented. These weekly or monthly ‘life meetings’ will help you stay on track as well as helping to keep your vision for that year in your awareness. The more aware you are of your vision the more easily you attract all the resources to you that you need for the vision to become real.
Working with a Life Coach
I truly believe that one of the reasons life coaching is growing in popularity is that being in such a coaching relationship ‘compels’ us to carve out time to work on our lives. This is highly leveraged time because not only are you focusing on your life, you are doing so with an experienced coach who can assist you to stay focused and on track.
Group coaching can be another powerful structure for fulfillment, in that you bring the combined energy of an aligned group to bear. That’s one of the reasons I included the Group Coaching Telegatherings into the Life On Purpose Community structure. I’ve witnessed through the years the incredible added power that working in a group setting provides. Besides, traveling along the Purposeful Path with others is a lot more fun. 🙂
Clarify Your True Purpose
As Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz point out in their book, The Power of Full Engagement, “Connecting to a deep set of values and creating a compelling vision fuels a uniquely high-octane source of energy for change. It also serves as a compass for navigating the storms that inevitably arise in our lives.” Not surprising, one’s core values and vision for what’s possible are two of the key ingredients that make up a life purpose, so one of the highest leveraged activities you can do is to invest the time in becoming crystal clear about your true life purpose.
Significant Transitions Start with Significant Transformations
Designing your life to be a true and consistent reflection of your true life purpose is a significant transition that can often take 1 to 3 years or longer. But the journey becomes much easier when it starts with an inner transformation. In fact, I believe all truly great transitions that really work and flow with relative ease and grace start with an inner transformation, like the transformation of becoming clear about your life purpose and also uncovering the ‘saboteur’ of your Inherited Purpose that often keeps us from living on purpose.