Do you feel stuck? Or even worse, comfortable where you are but longing for more. Success without fulfillment is failure. Are you ready to stop procrastinating and jump into your next act? Here’s how you can do it the right way:
A while ago, I found myself scrolling through the Core Curriculum of the Coaches Training Institute (CTI) website and felt a tingling at the back of my neck. The last time I had felt that particular tingle was when my husband proposed to me on the beach back in 2008. Needless to say, it’s a special sensation. I picked up the phone, spoke to a Program Advisor and said: “I want to become a Life Coach. When can I start?”
Once I hung up the phone, the fear hit:
“Oh shit. What will everyone think?”
I’m an independent film producer with a background as a studio executive having worked at places like New Line Cinema and Walden Media. I’ve also had a producing deal at Focus Features for about the past 10 years, where I created and ran a very successful training program for emerging African directors called Africa First.
However, I had an eventful year. The birth of my twins had changed me forever and forced me to look at my future in a whole new way. My boss had also recently been let go and I knew that as much as my beloved program was respected, without his clout, it would be a tough sell to get funded. Thankfully, I made a decision about my transition: “This is going to be the BEST thing that ever happened to me.”
Big Picture Assessment
Before I came to that decision, I decided to look back over my entire life and career to search for patterns of behavior so I could begin my reinvention. I asked a few questions:
What’s the same about me wherever I work? What do I always love to do?
If I died today, what are the 5 things that would NOT be OK with that? What will I regret not having done?
I put that in a list called: Column A
Gifts, Strengths & Weaknesses
Then, I worked on an honest evaluation of what were my:
Gifts – These were the things that came to me easily and without thinking about them. They were present in my personal and career life and even at times caused me distress because I was so good at something that it made others self-conscious.
Strengths – These were the abilities that I were good at. They didn’t necessarily count as a gift, but were things like my ability to be organized, to adapt, my writing skills (natch!), my management skills — things that I had developed and mastered over time.
Weaknesses – These were the things that I didn’t like to do or that I wasn’t passionate about and did by necessity only. Listed a few tasks that really made me want to peel off the skin from my fingernails. Oddly, some of these things were a big part of jobs I had in the past. Hmm…
I put that in a list called: Column B. I learned as I uncovered how to embrace ALL of myself, my passions, imperfections and unique gifts, that I was able to turn them into my greatest strength, my ability to believe in others until they could believe in themselves. All these years, my true power had been right in front of my eyes, and I could finally claim it.
If you haven’t heard Simon Sinek’s amazing Ted talk, you should make that mandatory watching. We are all hardwired to act based on the why or the purpose behind what it is that we do. The exercise here is to clarify your Values and the core reasons you want to do what you want to do.
So, really take some time to write down a list of your most important values (Family, Courage, Connection, Romance, Freedom, etc.). I use a few different techniques when I work on this list with coaching clients because its sometimes hard to identify on your own.
Add these to Column C
Find Oz, Then Follow the Yellow Brick Road
Take the list of the 3 columns and brainstorm about the job or business that honors ALL THREE COLUMNS. Be sure that you’re aware of what the day to day is like so you can evaluate whether you like that part of the job as well. You might like a job title, but not the day to day responsibilities. If so, this is not the gig for you. Most of our time is actually spent following the yellow brick road to the Oz of our new life, so you be sure you like the walk or you’re in trouble! Check with others in the industry, do an internship. But be clear about how you’ll be spending most of your time and know that is a process that you will enjoy first.
For me, I absolutely love coaching. While it’s not the sum all of my next level dream, I love it so much that I know if I did it all day every day, I would be absolutely thrilled with that idea.
Get Moving! Take Massive Action!
So, now that you have your new life in focus, it’s time to get to work. This can also be the hardest part. That’s because the hardest part of jumping off a cliff is just that: jumping off the cliff. This is where all the doubt and fear of failure creep in. “It’s not too late.” The voices whisper, “You can stop here and no one will even know of your crazy ass plan to change your life.” Don’t let the voices win:
Always have a consequence to not taking action.
Whether this is a coach, accountability partner or even spouse or good friend. Reinvention is hard work. Make your goals and make sure you have support to back it up.
By far, the best way I’ve found to manage goals in a way that’s in alignment with your purpose is Tony Robbin’s Time of Your Life. It gives you the foundation to get clear on what your target goals are for the month, quarter and year and helps you move effectively in the right direction. You’ll need to set attainable, realistic goals and move steadily towards where you want to be.
Create Routines and Rituals for Success
Now you’re in the zone and moving towards your goals! Make sure to stay focused on your future by creating habits that reinforce your reinvention. Try some of these:
- Meditation – A great, fast way to clear the mind and invite some space into your thoughts. Don’t worry about it having to be perfect. Just start with 5 minutes a day, but do it every day if you can.
- Journaling – I call mine the Good Book. I use it to write down all of the new things I learned, beautiful things I saw or my appreciation for things like my children’s laughter. Use it to celebrate the good in your life.
- Incantation + Affirmation – The incantation is a powerful and commanding statement that I make to myself in the mirror, using my whole body to get me pumped up — almost like what I imagine a boxer doing before a big fight. Affirmations are follow up statements like “I am willing to change.” and “My work is deeply fulfilling” that I use to keep the energy flowing.
Making any life change is challenging. Make sure to have a group of people (partners, friend and family) whom you trust, who you can share your goals an visions with and who will help keep you accountable. I’ve helped to coach people through this process as well, and if you want that extra support, you can contact us at email@example.com.
Now get to work!