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Coach's Corner--September 1, 2008

Success is fine, but how do I achieve a more fulfilling life?

The Client
Name: Evan
Age: 43
Title: Marketing Communications Consultant
Years in business: 10+
Industry: Retail
Issue: Getting more out of life
Q. I’m a well-educated, professional woman who has achieved a certain amount of success and financial security, but I find myself looking for more out of my life. I’d like to get new perspectives on what’s working in my life, what isn’t and how to move forward. Can you help?

A. When you’re on a search for more meaning, there’s no substitute for going deep and then acting on those insights.

The inner game
Start with understanding who you are — from the inside. Look at who you are apart from all your roles in life. Set aside both business and personal roles, such as businesswoman, daughter, mother, partner, or friend. What’s left?

Move to how you’d like to be in the world. If you tend to use your analytical side, would you like more creative outlets? Are you showing your inner values as much as you’d like?

Look at what you do. Include professional roles, as well as other activities and interactions. Think about what’s energizing and meaningful to you. Explore the gap between who you are and what you do; this will provide insight into why you don’t feel fully satisfied.

These are simple questions, but may not be easy to answer. Try these tools to help you think them through.

Keep a journal. Using the topics above, write for a set amount of time, say, 10 minutes. Don’t stop until the time is up; then observe what came out.

Use pictures. This is helpful if you tend to get caught up in your head. Page through a variety of magazines, tearing out images that catch your attention. Don’t think about why they interest you; just respond to the images. After you have enough, sort them into themes, and see what these themes tell you.

Talk. Explore these topics with someone you trust — a partner, friend or family member. Coaches are a good resource, too. Choose people who can set aside any agenda for what they think you “should” do, and be completely open with them.

Use your inner-outer gaps to identify alternatives. Consider whether you want to do different things or simply bring a different approach to your current roles and activities. Make an imaginative list of changes that could lead to greater richness. Visualize the effects of each, trimming your list to a smaller set for exploration and action.

The outer game
Gather information about your alternatives, make choices and begin taking action.

Explore the requirements and consequences for each choice that you’re considering. If you’re thinking about a career change, talk to people in the roles you’re considering. If the changes are more inward, such as slowing down your pace, look for books or mentors to guide you.

Once you’ve made your choices, plan steps to move you toward your vision. Consider the milestones you want to achieve, the barriers you could face, and the resources and support you can draw on. Remember to celebrate the process, not just the outcome.

The last word
There’s no recipe for ongoing growth; however, looking inside yourself can help you envision what will lead to a more fulfilling life.

Liz Reyer, President RCC - Posted August 31, 2008
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