I just love how, at times, the universe gives you exactly what you need.
I am in the throes of adjusting to the addition of a major, exciting undertaking that is already changing my life in both expected and unanticipated ways. I’m also at the point of reflecting on and assessing the changes that I’ve made in my work in response to the pandemic.
How has your life changed in the past two years?
When is the last time you made (significant) space in your schedule to check in with your needs, desires, priorities, and more?
My wake-up call—or shall I say, the invitation to step into reflection, assessment, planning, and action came on Monday morning at 7:52 am. The phone rang with an unfamiliar number and I debated whether to answer it, and I did. From that moment to half an hour later, my day changed dramatically. I was asked to step in for a colleague to deliver a course in New York City for the next two days. Half an hour later I had showered, dressed, had breakfast, and had hopped on the train. While I got into the city in record time, I was late for the 9 am start of the course. The irony of being late for a time management class was not lost on me. In this instance, as in many others, it was “better late than never.”
While the subject is well-known to me, the components of looking with fresh eyes at my professional life (one part of what makes my whole life)—discerning what serves and what needs to be let go, assessing the gap between where I am and want to be, setting goals, developing plans and milestones, ensuring check-ins to course-correct as necessary—leading the American Management Association’s course brought the task front and center. I found myself doing all the exercises along with the participants from the vantage point of where I am at this point in time. It was awesome!
Where are you at this moment in time?
Where do you want to be in the near—and the distant—future?
It became clear to me that my life is very full, I have competing priorities, and it’s not only about being conscious of how I spend my time every day, (though I LOVED listening to Laura Vanderkam’s book, 168 Hours). It’s also about letting go of those things that no longer serve me*… prioritizing from a new vantage point, and planning for success—and for me, finding colleagues who will partner with me so that we all stay on track. (*Gosh, I hate giving up projects, volunteer work in my professional arena, and habits I have enjoyed in the past… yet my life changes and I need to be responsive to that reality.)
It was a delight to see the different areas of my life on paper… To go to 30,000 feet and in my own way (aside from what I was teaching in the course), to engage in the 5D process of Appreciative Inquiry design to:
Define—the topic of my inquiry—my life and its components… who am I being and what am I doing?
Discover—appreciate the best of what is—celebrate what is working and build on that foundation
Dream—imagine what could be—how do I want my life to be, what will it include?
Design—determine what should be and begin to create experiments — try out new ways of working with the mosaic of my life
Destiny—creating what will be—forging the path forward
The two days of focusing on myself (because time management is truly self-management) were wonderful! I would not have made that much time in my schedule to engage in this work at this depth—and that is learning I want to embrace—and repeat consistently in the future. This experience happened on a number of levels—my teaching the content of the course, learning from the participants (because the questions that they asked, and we all answered, brought me deeper into the material), and doing my own work… it was a stroke of serendipity!
PS: If you aren’t familiar with the Strengths Test (which I learned of in 2003 while completing the Authentic Happiness Coaching Program offered by Dr. Martin Seligman and now use will all my clients) —take it now! It’s free and a game-changer. If you take the test and want to chat, lmk!