Often, when we tell people who we are, we actually describe how we'd like to be seen...
(e.g. "I'm a Systems Engineer working for a Fortune 500 company and the father of two beautiful daughters.")
But who we are isn't a perception of our life or how we choose to label it.
Who we are is what we do all day.
Artist Austin Kleon summarizes it this way...
“You are the mashup of what you let into your life.”
You are an amalgamation of all the tiny things to which you give your attention during your waking hours. (Those things may or may not be in your job description.)
And yet we rarely take a hard look at those little choices, little changes, little ideas and little rituals and ask ourselves, "why?"
But if you want to make changes in your life, that's where you need to start.
If I were being honest (which I am), and broke down the little chunks that make up an average day/evening for me, I would say they include...
When you add up all of these little pieces, it gives you a pretty accurate picture of who I am as a person, (And is much more accurate than if I just said, "I'm a consultant and a mom.")
What does your list look like? I double dog dare you to take a moment and write it down.
(Be honest. If you spend most of your time cleaning up your boss' messes or generating reports no one reads, write that down.)
Let's do some work with our lists.
First, proportion out the time you spend each day on each of your chunks and ask yourself some hard questions, like...
For example, here's what a typical day looks like for me, proportion-wise...
This is a picture of the life I am inadvertently creating for myself each day.
So, now I need to ask myself, "Is that the life I want?"
If I want to be a good wife and mother, should I be giving more time to my family and less to entertainment? If I don't have many friends, then who the hell are all these people I'm having conversations with all day and are they deserving of that much of my time?
These are the kind of questions you need to ask yourself if you want to achieve your life goals (Not something generic like, "How can I achieve my life goal?")
Yes, this exercise may be uncomfortable, but it sure is enlightening.
It shows you what your life really looks like so you can accurately assess what you can to do with it.
As Hunter S. Thompson said...
“Beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life.”
You are already living your life and working toward your goals--right now, as you read this.
It's the pieces that hold the power in your life, not the goal.
So, ask yourself, do those pieces have a purpose? If not, which will you keep and which will you leave behind? Which will you love the best?
I’m a consultant, strategist, author, educator, and speaker with more than 30 years of professional experience. I’m passionately curious, fairly sassy, kinda dorky and seriously good at what I do.