Living On Purpose    ...Life Coaching
Living On Purpose

Archive for June, 2008

I’ll Be Happy When…

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Ever find yourself postponing your happiness? It sounds something like this: “When I get my promotion, I’ll be happy,” or “Once I meet Mr. Right, life will be great!”

If this sounds familiar, you may be relinquishing your power to be happy until some outside force deems it is time.  Often when the one thing you imagined would make you happy finally happens, you find it isn’t enough. Then you wait for something else to happen. It’s an endless pursuit, a game you can never win.

You may have played the game yourself. It goes something like this. “I’ll be happy when I graduate from high school…or college…get my first job…get married…have kids, etc. We long for something, get it and move on, without realizing that “it” didn’t bring the happiness we had anticipated.

Last week one of my clients was interested in a new job. “I’m not happy in my job…but this new one is ideal,” she told me. “I know that if I get this job, I’ll be happy.”  Will you really?

She felt unhappy, and the immediate solution was to find something new and move on…which she had done several times over the last five years.  I asked her, “On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, how satisfied are you right now in your job?”


“Is five enough?” I asked.  “What would it feel like to be at an eight?”

“It would feel great. This new job is an eight and I want it. I won’t settle for less than an eight.”

A week later, she called after she had interviewed for the “eight,” and had come away feeling unfulfilled. It didn’t feel like an “eight” any more and had slipped to a five.

She questioned if she should take the job, even if it wasn’t an eight and paused, realizing she had answered her own question.

She decided to stay in her job and I challenged her to find ways to move it towards an eight. I encouraged her to clearly define what an “eight” looked like and use that definition as a gauge for future decisions. For some people an eight might be, “having a boss who shows that she appreciates me,” or “spending no more than two hours a day on the phone,” or “working with people who operate as a team.”  To remind her of this standard, I asked her to write “8+” on a post-it and hang it on her bathroom mirror. 

I then used a metaphor to explain the importance of being specific but not rigid. When shopping, one of the most frustrating times can be when you need to buy an outfit for an upcoming event and have no idea what you want. On the other hand, going shopping and knowing exactly what you want can be equally frustrating – especially if you are not willing to compromise.  The spectrum runs from being so specific that nothing works or so open that you’re unable to discriminate.

 “Be creative and describe what you need,” I encouraged her. “And, if it still doesn’t work, then use your definition of an eight as your gauge for future decisions.”

The next time she calls and starts to play the “I’ll be happy when” game, my quick response will be, “Is it an eight?”


Coaching Challenge:

Think for a moment about one less-than-satisfying area of your life. You want MORE. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being completely satisfied), where are you now? Then determine the standard from which you will gauge future decisions. Is eight enough? Do you want a ten?

Use your imagination and create the ideal situation for you. What does your eight look like? By being more specific, you can more easily gauge what you want and recognize it more quickly.  If you tend to be too specific, then look for the components that would make up the ideal job. For example, instead of identifying THE job you want, describe what makes that job important to you (flexible hours, atmosphere, location, etc.). Then use this list as your criteria for future decisions.


What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

I went to lunch with a friend who was trying to understand the concept of “life coaching.” He said he was satisfied in his life and didn’t think he was a good candidate for life coaching. It is clear that he is successful in his career and appears to be satisfied with his life. But as we delved deeper, we uncovered an area that he would like to develop further, an area where coaching might help – and it didn’t require turning his world upside down.


A person might find herself in a well-paying job – something she has studied in school or spent the last 20+ years doing – but still she longs for more. “What do I want to be when I grow up?” she asks herself as though she were 10 years old.


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People are asking this question now into their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond. The average person switches careers seven times in his or her life. This can be scary yet also filled with opportunity.

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You’ve probably heard the excuses of staying in a job where the passion is gone. “What would other people think? How could I afford to go back to school, pay my bills, or get insurance?” All are perfectly logical arguments, but what price are people paying not living with passion and purpose?

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Release the fear for a minute. Imagine a life where “work” was so compelling, so interesting, so in line with your purpose that it didn’t feel like work at all. Sound too good to be true?


Remember, your career is only one aspect of your life. However, as a full time employee, you spend roughly one-third of your waking time at work, so making a change can significantly transform how you experience your world.


As a life coach, I help people look at where they are right now. Several of my clients are in the midst of a career change. It’s scary and exhilarating all at the same time. Sometimes they are flying high with enthusiasm; sometimes they are feeling overwhelmed. As we work together, the important thing is that they are moving forward.

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Perhaps, like my lunch date, your current career fulfills you, but you long for something more. Life coaching can help develop new aspects to keep you moving forward – in any area of your life.


Back to my lunch example: You should have seen his eyes light up when we began to explore how he could bring out more of himself by adding a new dimension to his career. When we finished lunch, he had some homework, a new direction he wanted to pursue (without leaving his current job) AND a better understanding of the power of life coaching.


I’m not sure what will happen from here, but he is moving forward, with passion, in a direction he has longed to pursue, but just hasn’t gotten around to it. Think about what could happen with a little forward movement in your life.


Coaching Challenge:

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On a sheet of paper, make a large “T” dividing the sheet into two halves. On the left side of the T write, “Things I want less of,” and on the right side write, “Things I want more of…” Select one area on which to focus. For this example, let’s focus on Career. Describe aspects of your current situation that you would like to decrease (left side). In the career situation, it might include the number of hours you work, office politics, the type of work you do, the clients you keep. On the right side of the T, use your imagination to describe the things you would like to increase. This could be more clients, fewer/more hours, a supportive boss, etc.


As you look at the chart, notice where you are and where you are heading. It’s like navigating a trip. You have to know where you are and where you are going to determine how to get there. The T Chart helps you see both points and now you can begin to make your plan as to how to get there. On the left side, cross off each item you want less of and fold the paper in half so you can only see the right side of the paper. Read through the “Things I want more of…” list each day to open the space to bring these items into your life.