A question that I ask myself almost daily.
Though it hasn’t always been that way.
It wasn’t until a few years ago, after a significant event took place in my life, that I began to consciously take time out of every day to reflect on what it is that I ‘do’, and more importantly, why I do it. My decision to become more self-aware brought about a very long period of inner-reflection – one that has never truly ended. Even today, I still run all of my daily thoughts and actions through these ‘what’ and ‘why’ filters.
Perhaps my biggest realization over these last few years has been that as I’ve settled more and more into my adulthood, it has become much too easy (and tempting, even) to not make decisions about my tomorrow, instead focusing all of my effort and attention on what is right in front of me on any given day. Yes, everyone who believes in the practice of mindfulness will tell you that being present in the here and now is key. I agree. However, what resulted from my own experience was that I was so committed to pushing through the now that I spent almost zero time thinking about later. I had no plan for what was next for me, and no tools to create one.
I also began to notice that while time continued to elapse, and my interests, desires, and motivations continued to shift and evolve, my life choices – whether they were personal or professional – did not always shift to match. I found that when I took time to look up from all that kept me busy each day, I would sometimes find that I was climbing the wrong ladder. In other words, what I wanted or needed at certain points in my life was, in fact, not what I was working toward. While running in my auto-pilot mode, the responsibility that I had to pause and rethink, re-prioritize, and re-strategize my life in a way that best served me fell entirely off my to-do list.
Which brings me back to the original question.
Which ladder are you climbing?
Once I started to commit to both the asking and answering this question, and to think more deeply about what it was that I was actually aiming for and where it was that I actually want to go, three things happened:
- The various areas of my life slowly started to sync up and align in my favor
- The areas of my life that no longer served me started to reveal themselves in a very clear way
- I began to fully embrace (and exercise) the right that I have to, at any time, choose again and choose differently
As powerful of a question as this is, I wasn’t able to answer for quite some time. There were actually other questions that I had to ask myself first, before I was truly able to ‘identify my ladder’. I’ve included these questions below, not with the intention of persuading anyone to change their entire life today, or even at all. Instead, I hope that they will help you – as they’ve helped me – to become more aware of what it is in your life that lights you up or that doesn’t, what you love to do and what you hate, and what you truly need to help you be what you most desire.
When you’re thinking about making a change – or even when you’re not:
- What do I want more of?
- What motivates me?
- What do I want to be known for?
- What’s not working for me?
When you’re starting a new phase in your life, like a new job, new relationship, or even a new year:
- How do I want to feel?
- How do I want to make others feel?
- What am I best at?
- What do I want to know more about?
When you’re starting a new week:
- What am I most excited about for this coming week?
- What would make this week ideal?
- What was the best part about last week? The worst part?
When you’re starting a new day:
- How do I want to feel today?
- What would make today great?
- What do I want to say no to today?
With my help, you can explore what moves and inspires you and how to apply that in the next step of your career. Inquire about 1-on-1 coaching.