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4 Questions to Ask Yourself in the New Year

quilt squaresNew Year’s Day is not only one of my favorite holidays but one of my favorite days of the whole calendar. It recalibrates  my mindset for the coming year.  By the time December rolls around, I usually have things flying everywhere, and  my year’s efforts are leading to a culmination and a time for review. This day beckons me to focus, trim back what isn’t working, and begin anew. ‘

While having coffee with a young client recently, I asked him why he thought he was put on this earth.   The standard answer is often “to help others” and this is exactly what he said.  I explained that  I was looking for the thread that weaved together the experiences of his life, some sort of common theme that no matter what role he played, he could find joy in what he did.

My young client was silent, and then remarked, “I have never given this much thought.  What is my purpose?’  He liked the idea of trying to determine, as specifically as possible, what that might be.  Are your  experiences random or intentional?

Many of us don’t think about our purpose and so life is experienced but not lived.  New Years is a good time to ask ourselves some important questions:

1. When I look back on my life so far, what experiences were energizing and what experiences were just ok.

2. When I look at this past year, which projects and commitments were carried through to completion and which ones were difficult to complete or not completed at all?

3. When I look at what I want to do this year, what excites me?

4.  Are there any common themes in my answers to questions 1,2,and 3?

Briefly, when I answer these questions for myself, I am certain my life purpose lies in helping others uncover personal potential.  Whether I was helping a brain injured client return to a meaningful life, or raising my family, or coaching- the common theme is helping others see the possibilities that life has to offer. I imagine when I am a grandma someday, I won’t be known for my cooking or crafting- instead I will be toggling perspectives around until the world of possibility opened up to them.

I have tried side careers in sales but they never really gain traction because they don’t fit the above theme.  I might get excited at first because it is a new adventure but in the end, it doesn’t have the same zap of energy I get when someone I care about sees themselves in a whole new,exciting light.

I went to a meeting once and several people were talking at lunch.  One man told me about how he had changed his career because even though he was good at what he did, that was all he did and it wasn’t very satisfying.   Another lady leaned in and said she had been the “go to” data person at her job for the past 10 years because she was competent.  Nevertheless, she didn’t like it very much but felt stuck because that was expected of her.  Pretty soon, two more people joined the conversation with similar sentiments. It seems that sometimes you go round and round on the same track but never get a chance to get off, all because someone else has put you there.

The new year is a good time to take stock of what you’ve been doing and to ask if it fits with your reason to be on this earth.   You may find that you are right in sync with who you are or you might find that you are badly out of harmony.  It doesn’t mean you have to throw everything to the wind and start over necessarily but it may be that you may need to make adjustments in how you are doing what you do, perhaps changing your approach.   Who knows?  But I urge you to take the energy of the new year as a time to dial into what makes you want to get up in the morning.

And so…. my uncover your potential wish for  you in 2014 is that you find the satisfaction that comes from knowing your life’s purpose.   No matter what you do, may it reflect your gifts, your values, and your intentions.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. In having a responsibility for hospitals and health care centers , I can appreciate where you are coming from on this matter of helping others . It takes a particular individual type, to commit to the well-being of others and this is as much a calling as it is a career ; as exemplified by Nurses . Once you have a critical mission in your life ; professionally helping others ; most other jobs seem hollow & without purpose ( money alone wont satisfy the soul ). We are in the minority Ann; I wish everyone could be given a dose of empathy, for a better society.

    In relation to the right Career : it has always surprised me , the number of persons in a job that they were unsuited for… Your knowledge in the area of personality types , could help put many on the right track… I recall John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens while you’re making plans.” Likewise, most people
    go with the flow of opportunity and of least resistance . Yes, it may pay the bills but all too often, the years pass bye and the plans were not realized; I agree Ann, for many, 2014 may represent a better direction !

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