What does leading your own life mean to you?
My answer is evolving. I've spoken before about being in a state of emergence, a transition towards something different. I'm still not sure where it is all heading, and having felt discomfort about this, I'm now enjoying the journey, wherever it takes me. For it is a journey, and a process. The key elements of coaching, community and family will still be there, but other than that, I don't know.
One thing I am sure of, is the need to be myself, and embrace the changing self. I am certain I need to lead my own life and take personal responsibility for me. This quote from Erica Jong speaks to me about what this means, and I love it. We can't control everything that happens to us and around us, but we always have a choice to take responsibility for our response.
What do you think?
How to use this coaching companion -
You can use this Coaching Companion as a stimulus for reflection and fresh thinking about what it means to take more responsibility for leading your own life.
I suggest that you spend a bit of time on it each week, starting with the journaling questions, and working through it at your own pace. A review and reflection session at the end of each week can help you consider the learning, and how you can apply it going forward.
What does leading your own life look and feel like for you?
We all want to feel we are living the life we are meant to. Sometimes though there are other demands on us that divert us from this, or we feel pressure from others to be something different to our true selves. I invite you to take some time to reflect and journal on the scenario below
Imagine you are in old age, celebrating a big birthday. You are visited by many friends and members of your family, former colleagues, and neighbours. They have brought you gifts and cards to wish you well. People have told you how you have inspired them over the course of your life. When they have gone, you go for a walk by the river and have a profound sense of happiness. You know you have had a good life so far. You reflect on what has been most important to you over the years.
From this perspective:
What are the three most important things you would have done to know you have had this good life?
What did that mean you would have given priority to?
What did that mean you would have given up, or spent less time on?
What else has come to mind from this later life view?
Leading with purpose
Leading our own life is clearer if we have a sense of direction, a purpose or passion to guide us on the journey. This is something we can revisit as often as we want, whether it is a whole
life vision, or a daily focus. This is a key element of coaching, and there are many ways to approach achieving clarity about direction and moving forward on this track with intention. I think the key questions we can ask ourselves are summarised well in a cool layout in this worksheet I have discovered from another coach, Ravi Verma. So, get yourself a cuppa, and spend an hour or so reflecting on these and see where it takes you.
If you want to download this into A4 format to complete online, here is a link:
Its easy not to take responsibility…
Honestly, it is hard to always take personal responsibility. It is all too easy to think your situation, or feelings are someone else’s fault, and someone, not you, should fix it. We can waste a lot of emotional energy getting angry and generating self-righteous, and when we get with others we can really wallow in gossiping and bitching about how awful everyone else is. It provides temporary relief, and we’ve all done it. However, we are still left with that feeling of powerlessness, and being quite drained. Here are some inspirations about how to take more responsibility for yourself you can try:
You don’t need permission to lead your life
Here is some provocation to help shift the mindset out of seeking approval from others for the life we lead. It is a strong powerful urge we have from our upbringing, and of course has been useful at times. There comes a time though, when we need to stop looking for approval and allow ourselves to be authentic. This short (4 mins) cartoon from The Art of Improvement re-enforces this very well for me:
What was your response to watching this?
What will you do differently now?
Useful resources to pursue this theme:
To explore the concept of blame and taking on the victim role, the Drama Triangle is very useful. This short cartoon explains this clearly, and what it means to step off the drama triangle and take on new roles.
Many of my readers are women, and I love the work of Tara Mohr. She has a fabulous workbook called Ten Rules for Brilliant Women on her website. It is great fun, and very empowering.
I love poetry, and Mary Oliver is one of my favourite poets. She wrote about nature, yet there are lessons for leading our lives in there. Read this article for some examples of this.
I hope you have enjoyed this Coaching Companion and gained some useful insights and ideas. I would love to know what you think – drop me a line and let me know.
Feel free to share this with other people you think would benefit from this bite-size Coaching Companion, and encourage them to sign up to get these directly every time through my website where you will also find my other Coaching Companions