Is there somewhere else you want to be?

Are you less than excited, enthusiastic or content with your job or life in general? Are there more days than not when you dread starting your day or you’re exhausted before you’re even out of bed? What else exists beyond clocking your eight hours a day, staring at your screen and daydreaming your time away?

If you feel like pieces of your life’s puzzle are missing or out of place, it’s time for some clarity, choice and a catapult into a new and improved life.

Aligning the pieces

Slightly more than one in four Canadians describe their day-to-day lives as stressful, says a 2011 Statistics Canada report.

The stress causes:

  • Loss of productivity
  • Absenteeism
  • Increased disability claims

Of those one in four Canadians, 62 per cent identified work as their main source of stress. That’s well ahead of financial concerns and time management (both at 12 per cent), family matters, personal and relationship issues, and health.

Work is a big part of our day. So, attaining a dream job that allows us to minimize stress is a big part of having our dream lives.

OK, I hear you rolling your eyes and thinking “BS!” Nope, this isn’t pie-in-the-sky thinking. It can be a reality — your reality.

That is, it can be reality if you make the plan and follow through with your action items, rather than just sit around and think about it. I know. I spent a few years myself just thinking about … but more about me some other time.

First, we need to know what that dream job and dream life looks like. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the limits we place on ourselves, how to remove them and how to design our dream jobs.

An all-encompassing path to your dream life is not much different.

You must:

  • Uncover your passions
  • Find a mentor
  • Build your plan
  • Believe in yourself
  • Take action

Easy peasy, right?

Oh, I know that’s wrong. Don’t worry about that.

The clarity that comes with the first two steps will help you build your plan, but I also need to share with you a tool that’s fundamental to helping you along the way. It’s a tool I use regularly to gain clarity in my own life.

The Clarity-Contrast List

One of my clients was overwhelmed by the amount of reports he had to write. Deadlines were looming and the stress was killing him. (No joke, stress can shorten our lives!)

He was paralyzed by the workload and he couldn’t figure out where to start.

We built a Contrast-Clarity List, then figured how to get him through the stacks of paper on his desk. We broke down his workload into realistic targets, set a timeline and recorded his achievements with each target reached.

Now, you’re going to start with your Clarity-Contrast List. I want you to get out a pen and a piece of paper.

Yep, it’s time to do some growth work. This is the tool you must use to change your life, otherwise you’re just thinking about it. Draw a line down the middle of the paper.

At the top of the left column write this heading:

What I don’t want is:

Now list all the things you don’t want in your dream life.

For example, I don’t want:

  • An hour commute each way
  • To work in a cubicle environment
  • To have set work hours
  • To work in isolation
  • To be stifled or stopped from learning

At the top of the right column, write this heading:

What I do want is:

Now go down your left column list (I don’t want) and for each item, write its opposite stated in the positive in the right column. Draw a line through each item on the left as you move down the list. Be as specific as possible and use language that gets you excited.

For example, I want:

  • A 30-minute or less commute to work each way with flex days I can work from home and telecommute if needed
  • To work in an environment with natural light, the ability to close my door as needed, to have silence as needed
  • Flexible work hours and days; I may work 12 hours one day and four the next . As long as I get the work completed on time, it doesn’t matter how I got there.

Everything has an opposite to it, just like the Yin and Yang theory. From our “don’ts,” it should be easy to create list of all the things you want.

This list gives us a road map to where we want to be, and now we can build the steps to get there, setting small targets along the way and celebrating each small success toward the goal.

Remember when you’re creating your steps, you need to ask:

  • What skills, talents, knowledge do I need to reach each target?
  • Who can help me get there?

[tweetthis remove_twitter_handles=”true”]When you develop a clear path toward your goal, you can become even clearer on the things you want to achieve. [/tweetthis]

It will also help you move beyond your everyday C.R.A.P (Can’t Recognize the Problem) and past the B.S. (Burnout and Stress). You’ve identified tangible ways to effect the change you want in your life.

That means rolling with the punches, too, and adjusting your targets, plan and even goals if something doesn’t feel right.

You become more productive, better able to manage stress, and better able to prioritize your work and your life. You become more focused and more pleasing to work/live with.

You’re pursuing your own goals now and you get to feel the accomplishment of planning and achieving your targets. You see the benefit of taking action and following through on your plan.

You’re committed and motivated.

That’s what it’s like to work toward your dream life. And it feels fantastic.

If you need some help creating your Clarity-Contrast List and plotting your new path to a dream life, give me a call or drop me an email.

It’s reassuring to know you’re not alone in this journey called life.

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