Vision-casting Your Ideal Life
Five Steps to a Life You Love

Five Steps to a Life You Love

In this career success guide, I take you through a five-part process to define your ultimate life vision.  It’s important to define a happy life before planning your specific career goals because once you know what’s most important to you overall, you can design your career around those things.  As a result, your career will blend with your life rather than conflict with it.

A lot of people make the mistake of forcing their life to fit around their career.  They focus so intently on their career that their personal happiness gets crowded out, thus resulting in deep personal dissatisfaction.

Publishing executive Cathie Black is the author of Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life).  In her book she refers to living a “360-degree life” – meaning a full life that is satisfying from all angles, not just from the career viewpoint.  My mission is to help people have both a satisfying career and a fulfilling life.  The key to having both is working in a career that supports your personal goals and allows you to live the life you want.

This career guide presents five power activities to help you create a life you love.  Each exercise involves brainstorming and writing down specific aspects of your ideal life vision.  I provide thought-provoking questions to help you get clear on what you’d like your 360-degree life to look like.

Have fun with these exercises.  Let your creativity flow.  And please do not judge or censor yourself.  Of course, you have real-world practicalities to consider – your children’s needs, a partner’s job, proximity to extended family, etc.  Stay grounded in reality while also thinking outside the box and dreaming big.  Couch it in these terms:  “If I could live my ultimate life, what would that life look like?”

I suggest you work on answering the questions presented in this guide a little each day.  This will allow you to consistently focus on the process and open you up to new possibilities. 

Power Activity One

A Life You Love:  Surrounding Yourself with People You Love

The first step in defining your ultimate life vision is identifying the people you want in your life.  Naturally, the people with whom we surround ourselves influence our happiness.  To have a happy life, we must be around people who feed our soul and allow us to blossom into our true potential and thrive as our best selves.

The following questions will get you started.  Feel free to add additional details that come to mind.  If you’re not exactly sure how to answer these questions, that’s okay.  Simply write the first thing that comes to mind.  The idea here is to start the process of brainstorming your ideal life vision. 

Answer these questions as though you are currently living a life you love.   For each question, do not simply recount the way your life is right now.  That is unless you’re already experiencing the ideal in that particular area.  If that part of your life is not ideal right now, vision out how you want it to be and describe what that ideal looks like.

  • With whom do I live?

 

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  • Do I have children?  If so, how many?

 

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  • Do I have a life partner?  If so, describe this person.

 

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  • With whom do I spend most of my time?

 

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  • What family members are nearby?

 

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  • Who is in my social circle?

 

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  • Additional question #1 (Add a detail here, relevant to your unique situation, that will help you round out your ultimate vision of surrounding yourself with people you love.)

 

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  • Additional question #2 (Add a detail here, relevant to your unique situation, that will help you round out your ultimate vision of surrounding yourself with people you love.)

 

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  • Additional question #3 (Add a detail here, relevant to your unique situation, that will help you round out your ultimate vision of surrounding yourself with people you love.)

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Give yourself the time and space to ponder these questions.  Remember, don’t filter anything out and let your creativity flow! 

 

Power Activity Two

A Life You Love:  Where You Live

The next step in defining your ultimate life vision is identifying where you’d like to live.  The location in which we live is essential to our core happiness.  To lead a life we love, we must reside in an environment in which we feel comfortable and free to be our true selves.

One element that bogs people down when they think about career change is geography.  A lot of times when someone is considering a career change they’re also contemplating moving to a new geographic location. 

Geography may not be an open question for you.  You may already be living exactly where you want or have a clear picture of where you want to end up someday.  For others, the geography question is quite perplexing and adds complication to the career transition process.

When someone is not sure where they want to live or what career they want to transition into, overwhelm can easily set in.  The formidable combination of these two major unknowns can make the challenge feel insurmountable.  This causes many individuals to abandon the process all together.  Unfortunately, this leaves them right back where they started – in a job that makes them miserable and in a less than ideal geographic location. 

If you could choose to live anywhere, where would it be?  Is it your dream to live in a penthouse in New York City, a beach house on the California coast or a farm house in the Midwest?  I personally have the best of both worlds, according to my values and criteria. 

If you’re not sure where you’d like to live, the following exercise will help you identify your criteria for choosing an ideal location. 

Again, answer these questions as though you are currently living a life you love.  Put yourself in that emotional state and feel the deeply satisfying feelings associated with it. 

 

  • In what region of the country do I live?

 

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  • In what specific state and city do I live?

 

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  • If I live abroad, in what country and city do I live?

 

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If you’re not sure where you’d like to live, identify your criteria for choosing an ideal location.  Rank the following criteria in order of importance.  Add additional details that are essential to you.

  • Proximity to Family and Friends
  • Career Opportunities
  • Climate
  • Cost of Living
  • Culture
  • Recreational Activities
  • Urban, Suburban or Rural
  • Other __________________________________
  • Other __________________________________

 

Consider each factor and rank them in order of importance.  Put them in order from most to least important.  Add additional categories personally relevant to you. 

 

Complete the following template with your top criteria ranked in order of priority.

 

My Top Criteria –

Ranked in order of importance

 

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Now that you know the top criteria for your ideal geographic location, go back and take another crack at answering the three “where you live” questions.

Give yourself the time and space to ponder these questions.  Remember, don’t filter anything and let your creativity flow! 

 

Power Activity Three

A Life You Love:  How You Spend Your Free Time

The third step in defining your ultimate life vision is identifying how you spend your free time.  Of course, how we spend our time is how we live our life.  The way in which we allocate the precious moments we’re given is essential to living a life we love.

The following questions will get you started.  Feel free to add additional details that come to mind.  And another reminder to answer these questions as though you are currently living a life you love.  Let yourself emotionally connect with the vision of your ideal day to day existence. 

  • What do I do in my free time?

 

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  • What do I do for fun?

 

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  • What are my personal passions?

 

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  • What are my personal goals aside from career?

 

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  • Describe my ideal non-work day.

 

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  • Do you I volunteer/community work?  If so, what activities do I participate in?

 

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  • How many weeks of vacation do I take?

 

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  • Where do I go on vacation?

 

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  • Additional question #1 (Add a detail here, relevant to your unique situation, that will help you round out your ultimate vision of how you spend your free time.)

 

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  • Additional question #2 (Add a detail here, relevant to your unique situation, that will help you round out your ultimate vision of how you spend your free time.)

 

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  • Additional question #3 (Add a detail here, relevant to your unique situation, that will help you round out your ultimate vision of how you spend your free time.)

 

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Give yourself the time and space to ponder these questions.  Remember, avoid filtering anything and let your creativity flow! 

 

Power Activity Four

A Life You Love:  Your Work Life

The next power activity is defining your ultimate work vision.  It is so very true that life is way too short to be in a job that makes you miserable.  Doing work you love is an essential part of being happy and living life to the fullest.

In this exercise, we’re concentrating on the logistics of your work life.  We’re not focusing on what you actually do for a living just yet. 

The following questions will get you started.  Feel free to add additional details relevant to your personal situation.  Remember, have fun with these exercises and do not judge or censor yourself in any way.   Again, think about it in these terms:  “If I absolutely could not fail in living my ultimate life, what would that life look like?”

  • How many hours a day do I work?

 

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  • How many days a week do I work?

 

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  • What office hours do I keep?

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  • Do I work in an office, at home or on the road?

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  • At what age do I retire?

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  • Additional question #1 (Add a detail here, relevant to your unique situation, that will help you round out your ultimate work-life vision.)

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  • Additional question #2 (Add a detail here, relevant to your unique situation, that will help you round out your ultimate work-life vision.)

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  • Additional question #3 (Add a detail here, relevant to your unique situation, that will help you round out your ultimate work-life vision.)

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Give yourself the time and space to ponder these questions.  Remember, don’t filter anything and let your creativity flow! 

 

Power Activity Five

A Life You Love:  A Life Well-Lived

The final step in defining your ultimate life vision involves beginning with the end in mind.  In his highly acclaimed book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Stephen Covey discusses specific success principles essential to a happy life.  Dr. Covey’s Habit Number Two is:  “Begin with the End in Mind.”  This means embarking on your goals, both large and small, by visualizing how you’d like things to be at the end of the process. 

The following inspirational story from history illustrates this point.  Alfred Nobel was a wealthy Swedish businessman and the inventor of dynamite.  When his brother passed away in 1888, a newspaper mistakenly printed Alfred’s obituary, referring to him as a “merchant of death.” 

This inspired Mr. Nobel to do something positive with his wealth.  As a result, he left his fortune to the establishment of the Nobel Prizes which honors outstanding achievements in science, literature and peace.  To this day, his legacy continues to have a profound and lasting affect on the world.

A few years ago, I had somewhat of a similar wake up call.  When the spouse of a colleague passed away, it got me thinking about the concept of a life well-lived.  My colleague’s children developed a beautiful website to pay tribute to their father.  They included his life story with details of his family, personal passions, career and accomplishments.  It was a poignant tribute to a life well-lived. 

It may sound strange, but after seeing this moving website, I vowed to write my own memoriam.  I knew it would give me the opportunity to review my life to date and see what else I wanted to experience. 

Completing this exercise allowed me to gain a great deal of clarity.  As a result, I was much clearer on where I wanted to go and what type of life I wanted to live.  I invite you to complete a similar exercise to help you review your life thus far, and launch the rest of your life, as Stephen Covey would say, with the end in mind. 

The following questions will get you started.  Feel free to add additional details important to you.  If you’re not exactly sure how to answer these questions, that’s okay.  Simply write the first thing that comes to mind.  

 

A Life Well-Lived – Your Memoriam

  • Who attends my memorial service?

 

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  • What do people say about me?

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  • What humorous, touching or inspirational stories do they tell about me?

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  • What makes them smile when they think of me?

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  • What makes them laugh when they think of me?

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  • What do they remember most about me?

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  • Who are the speakers at my memorial service?

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  • What music is played in my honor?

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  • What is carved on my tombstone?

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  • Additional detail #1  (Add a detail here that is of personal importance to you and will help you round out your vision of “beginning with the end in mind”.)

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  • Additional detail #2  (Add a detail here that is of personal importance to you and will help you round out your vision of “beginning with the end in mind”.)

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  • Additional detail #3  (Add a detail here that is of personal importance to you and will help you round out your vision of “beginning with the end in mind”.)

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Give yourself the time and space to ponder these questions.  Remember, don’t filter anything and let your creativity flow! 

 

Capstone Reflections

Did the exercises in this career success guide bring up some powerful emotions for you?  For example, did they help you feel grateful for all you already have?  Did they make you realize there are some fundamental things you want to change about your life? 

To round out the experience this guide has taken you through, answer the following questions:

  • In what way(s) do I want my life to be similar to how it is now?

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  • In what way(s) do I want my life to be different than it is now?

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  • What changes do I need to implement in order to truly live a 360 degree life?

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Few!  Well, this guide may have brought up some “big stuff” for you!  That is all part of the process.  I hope these exercises served as a compelling wake-up call that will propel you to truly live the life of your dreams. 

If you need help sketching out each of the five elements of your life vision, feel free to schedule a one-on-one coaching session with me.  I will help you brainstorm and define your 360 degree life.

Click here to schedule your personal coaching session.

Now, let’s move on to your Career Success Guide to Identifying Your Personal Priorities.

© SkylarSaint.com

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