Self-leadership: it’s about building a life that fits you

This is the third in a series of six posts about self-leadership: how your small choices impact your life and take you to a specific future.  Today: are the choices you make leading and supporting you towards the life you dream of?  

You’re taking a road trip, and whether you might not be totally clear about which road to take, about traffic or what the road or scenery will actually look like, you know where you’re going and for how long. You’ll stop along the way to fuel up, to explore side roads, to visit small towns and generally enjoy exploring. Challenges like road construction won’t make you head back and question the wisdom of ever thinking about a road trip.  You keep on. You enjoy the scenery.  Everything is an adventure.  It’s fun; it’s fulfilling.  It feels like living.

This road trip is your life.  Whether you’re not totally clear about which road to take, about potential challenges or what the scenery will look like, you know what you want, for how long, and every day is an adventure.  It’s fun and fulfilling.  But is it?  Is your life a big, inspiring, fun, enthralling road trip with little site visits, unexpected challenges and a sense that you belong and that you’re going where you want to go?

This life is “it”.  If you either don’t know where you’re going or don’t care about where your life road trip takes you, don’t expect to get “there”, whatever there might be for you.  So it’s a good idea to start dreaming, planning and creating a life that fits you, that fuels you, that fulfills you.  For a really simple reason: you won’t get another life when you’ve used up your time on earth; and you’re in charge of the planning.

Ignoring reality doesn’t make it disappear.  If you don’t know or don’t care about where you’re going, you won’t like the route or the destination. If your life road trip is working 60 hours a week at a stressful, meaningless job that depletes you, you’ll likely end up overweight, with high blood pressure or burned out.  You won’t like that.  Being clueless that this is where you’re heading doesn’t change anything, because ignoring reality doesn’t ever make it disappear.

Take control and lead your own life.  If life is a road trip, it’s a good idea to know what you like and where you want to go, so you can take that direction.  You’ll want to make the trip fun, fulfilling and relaxing, so here are a few questions  to help you plan your life’s road trip.

  1. How would you like your life to be, 5 years from now?
  2. How old will you be then?  Write it down.  If you have a spouse or kids, write how old they’ll be.
  3. Describe your life, 5 years from now, if you change nothing much, and simply allow life to unfold.
  4. How does this potential future life feels: exciting, scary, boring, busy, inspiring?  Use these or any other feeling that comes to your mind?
  5. Is this life what you dream of?
  6. If you ignore where your life is taking you and don’t make any changes, will you be happier in five years?

Okay (drumroll), now it’s time to readjust and to realign…

  1. What should remain the same in your life because it feels right and it’s working for you?
  2. What are the big pieces that you should you consider changing?
  3. What’s a small, easy step you can take right away, to make a tiny change that works better?

And here are the good news: You are writing the story of your own life, so you can change it anytime. You can decide at any time to make a turn or change direction, but for this to happen, you’ll have to take charge. No one can do it for you.

What do you need to change, to give yourself the life you want?


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