Have you ever asked yourself “What is life all about, why am I here, what is my purpose?” and, like me, think that you have to come up with something impactful that at least saves the planet or initiates world peace!
We lead “ordinary” lives and at some point reach a midlife crossroad and feel stuck. You might have once had some sort of idea of what you wanted to be or do or have but you feel you have drifted and arrived “here” at this crossroad, feeling lost, without a meaningful vision of what you want your life to be about. You want to revitalise the ambitions and enthusiasm you once had before it’s too late, to go from stuck to unstuck.
The question you need to ask is “What do I want my life to be about?”
The first step of your journey to achieving what you want your life to be about is setting out your vision, the big picture. This may take time; it mustn’t be rushed. If you find difficulty looking forward, try projecting yourself into the future and look back. Imagine coming to the end of your life and looking back; what do you see?
The clearer you are on where you are now and where you want to be, what you want and why you want it, the quicker you will reach your destination.
Some people talk about “vision” or “purpose” or “destiny”. Let’s not get tied up in the semantics: we’re talking about what you want your life to be about. The way I think about it that means:
- the lifestyle you want to have
- the impact you want to have on others
I think of “vision” as the big picture – lifetime achievements that are maybe years in the making. You can see it in your mind’s eye but, in practical terms, it’s beyond your current event horizon.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a slick answer right now. It’s a tricky question to answer. It can take time to pin it down but it will inevitably lead to worthwhile change in some aspects of your life.
This is something that will come to you as one of those “aha” moments when you’re least expecting it – maybe in the shower or whilst chilling out listening to a favourite piece of music.
Why do you want it?
If you have an emotional and compelling need to achieve a result in your life that is your WHY – something that you really care about.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “You are what you think”. The actions you take are driven by your thoughts and beliefs; and when your thoughts and beliefs are supercharged by emotions, you have a really strong WHY.
Without a compelling, emotional reason, you will not have a really strong WHY and will be easily derailed by distractions, frustration and boredom.
Where you might stall
OK, so you’ve created a vision of sorts but you won’t achieve anything if you just sit and dream. There are two essential keys to unlocking real progress:
Key 1: Remember that I said it could take time to arrive at a clear vision? Don’t wait for super clear wide screen cinemascope type of vision. If you have a notion or outline of what you want your life to be about, work towards that and take action, which leads me to:
Key 2: Without the specific action steps necessary to achieve it in the physical world your vision is just a dream. So, see it like a movie, see the big picture but visualise the opening scenes, the action steps, in high-resolution detail. Real clarity comes from knowing what you are going to do next so the action steps are in fact just as, if not more, important that the big picture vision.
Once you know what you want and why you want it, you will need a plan to work out how to get from where you are now to where you want to be – turning the action steps into habits.