I was sitting in a coffee shop last week with another coach and we were discussing the fact that we both come across many people who settle for a life and lifestyle that they are in fact not at all happy with.
I work primarily with women but this is true for both men and women and what I hear most of all is that because someone has studied a subject and put in the hours, days and years they think that that's it. Even if they are no longer interested in what they do or happy in their role they think they have to settle for it for the rest of their life.
One of my pet phrases that I find myself saying so often is:
"Life is not a rehearsal!"
Now is all we've got, so please, do not settle!
I met a 27-year-old Solicitor recently. She had been working in litigation for a while and not enjoying her work any more. She said that she did not know how it would be when she studied law and she was finding it dull. As we chatted she started telling me that what she actually loved doing was wedding planning. She'd done it for a while during university and loved it but because she was studying the law she did not allow herself to follow her passion. Funny thing was that when she was talking about the wedding planning her whole face lit up and she became completely animated.
When I asked her how she would feel getting to 70 having not made the change from law to weddings - her face fell and all the light went out of her eyes. "There's your answer", I said.
So why am I writing this? Because if you are settling for a life less than exciting think twice. Many people say to me that with the economic situation they cannot consider shifting their world but if this last few years have shown us anything it is that there are no guarantees in life. Many of the people I have been working with have realised that the economic challenges have actually woken them up to the fact that life is too valuable to throw it away on a career and life style that is not in line with their passions.
They want to do something that fits who they are and they want a lifestyle that means that they get to see their family (if they have one) and live a full life outside the office.
I always joke that I am totally unemployable after having my own business for the last 12 years. Being able to be master of my own time and ensure that I do have the lifestyle I want is one of my passions in life. What are your passions? Can you even list what things you'd like to be doing, being or having in your ideal life? And if you can - are you living them?
You deserve to do more than settle for the life you chose all those years ago if it's not what you love now. The person you were in your twenties is not who you are now. Realising that you want to change does not make your old decisions wrong - they were the best decisions you could have made at the time. It just means now that you have grown personally and your priorities have changed. And that's ok.
What's not ok is settling for the old decision and ignoring the pull inside you that yearns for a new direction. My signature always finishes with this line: "Life's too short not to live it to the full every day" - so, go out there and make sure that when you get to look back on your life that settling was nowhere to be seen.
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