What the hell had happened? I had big dreams of traveling the world and making a difference but somehow I had talked myself into taking a safe job for an NGO. I had to be reasonable, consider my skill set and find a job accordingly. At least that’s what I had told myself. Why did I do that?
And there I was, 18 months later, on a Sunday evening, crying my eyes out and unable to stop.
I had just realized I wasn’t living the life I wanted. I just couldn’t see myself going back to the office the following day. Why had I settled? To work at a job that was not right for me, for an organization that was betraying people’s trust? Was that the life I really wanted? To be honest, I didn’t know what I wanted, but that certainly wasn’t that.
That evening, it became clear to me: I would quit this job and find another one.
My job wasn’t making me happy so it seemed like the best solution at the time. But I was asking myself the wrong question. I was wondering where I should apply next when the real question was what I wanted my life to look like.
You don’t have to live your life the way most people do
Most career counselors (and I know, I’ve been one) won’t ask you about your dream life because honestly, they assume you need to fill in the blank between 9-5 like most people do. That the only way to make a living is from a traditional job.
But I don’t do that anymore.
Because as I eventually reinvented my life, I realized there are so many different ways to craft a life you love. You can work at night. You can have several income streams. You can have a full-time job and a side hustle. You can be a freelancer. You can create your own job.
What didn’t occur to me as I was crying on my couch, was there are as many definitions of success as there are people, and mine didn’t fit the mainstream. And that’s why I needed to be clear on what my definition of success was.
What is YOUR definition of success?
The real and most important question to ask is what do you want your life to look like?
How would you be spending your time if you didn’t have to conform to society’s standard?
Where would you live ? In a house ? A big city? As a nomad ? Part time in Italy and part time in an Costat Rica?
Who would you be working with ? alone or with other people ?
When would you work ? at night ? only when your kids are at school ? Full time when you’re on a project and not at all in between ?
Where would you work ? In a café ? An office ? An hotel ? In nature ?
What kind of work would you be doing ? something creative? Something manual ? Fast pace like in an emergency room ? or really calm like in a library ?
What else would your life include ? Hobbies ? friends ? family ? Volunteer work ?
You need to know your answer before making any life changing decision
If you don’t have any idea of what you could be doing with your life, it will help you think outside the box and reconnect with what you really want.
If you have too many ideas and are stuck because you don’t know which way to go, it will serve as a filter to see if they pass the life test.
Don’t know what I’m talking about? Take Emilie for example. Her dream was to have her own organic store. After answering this question, she realized her dream life did not include spending her days in her store from 8 am to 8 pm. She wanted to be able to spend a few months a year in her family house in Portugal if she felt like it, and wanted the freedom to work on the many other project ideas she had.
So we went back to the core of what she liked about the idea of owning an organic store and she realized it was not really having a store that excited her, it was the idea to help and organize workshops for her clients. So she switched her project and now organizes DIY workshops.
So what do you want your life to look like?
Spend some time pondering this question. You can write it down or draw it. Don’t simply think about it. You have to put it on paper (or screen).
And one important rule: Don’t try to be « realistic » or practical for now. You need to get excited! It needs to make you feel like a naughty kid, with little butterflies in your belly, like when you see something you really want and tell yourself you shouldn’t have it. It shouldn’t be allowed.
You need to get excited! It needs to make you feel like a naughty kid, with little butterflies in your belly, like when you see something you really want and tell yourself you shouldn’t have it.
And just to be clear, I know we’re not living in a world of cupcakes and unicorns. This vision is not meant to be your future. It’s meant to give you important clues and AHAs as to what is really important for you.
When you’re done, take some time to look at what you’ve drawn or written down and identify 5 main themes that keep coming up again and again. Those are the things that you NEED to incorporate into your new life. No matter which way.
And I’m curious, what are those themes? Please share in the comments below.
And if you want to go further with this and start making money doing what you love, sign up for my FREE 4 part e-course by filling up the form on the right (or below if you’re on a phone or tablet) or simply by clicking here.
Talk to you soon!