Happenstance…

Every now and then a new client will lay their problems on me and ask, “Can you fix me?” I smile and respond, “I am not a Fairy Godmother.” Then, in a more serious tone, I ask, “If I were a Fairy Godmother, would you know what to ask for?” It’s not something people have thought about necessarily.

Have you ever wondered how you have gotten to this point in your life? It seems that many times we are where we are in life not because we have methodically planned things out but because we have taken opportunities as they have come up. Our journey to this point may be one of happenstance.

This is not necessarily a bad thing; however, for some people (often around 40), we are high enough on the life ladder to see the landscape clearly and we are surprised at what we see. The risk of getting down and climbing a different ladder at that point may be daunting. So, we are stuck.

Our heart is telling us one thing – you don’t belong here, get down! Our head is telling us another – you have bills to pay and mouths to feed, stay put! It’s a disorienting dilemma. How do we begin to reconcile that contradiction?

Surveying the landscape is a place to start. It includes reflecting on all areas of our life – health (physical, mental, emotional, intellectual, financial); relationships (spouse, kids, parents, friends, colleagues, and the environment); vocation (paid work, volunteer, hobbies).

Defining success in these areas invites ongoing reflection – how am I doing, am I at my best, am I making time for my life priorities? One way to tell is to keep a time journal. It is similar to a food journal but it records time dedicated each day to each priority. The first thing to do is get a sense of where your time is going and then reorganize the day to ensure your time is in equal proportion to your priorities.

Most of us spend so much of our time making a living, we don’t have the time (or energy) to make a life. No one wishes they made more money or spent more time at the office when they are dying. They wish they had risked more, loved more, spent more time making a difference in the world.

When is the last time you have asked yourself the question – “What do I want my life to look like?” Specifically:

  • What time would I get up?
  • Do I have a ritual (tea, journaling, praying, exercising)?
  • What do I do all day if money were no object?
  • Who do I spend my time with (family, friends, business partners, spouse [do I have a spouse])?
  • What do I do with these important people in my life?
  • What does my day feel like (joyful, content, relaxing, exciting)?
  • At the end of the day, spending a few minutes in gratitude, what am I grateful for in this life I imagine?

At a time when the world feels unpredictable, taking control in our life can be empowering. It can feel hopeful to know we are striving to be our best self and live to our fullest potential.

Perspective can stimulate options. I believe once you put something out there, no matter how crazy it seems, the universe will conspire to help you achieve it. We are co-creators. We need to spend less time worrying about the “how” and spend more time bringing what we want into our conscious mind and saying, “Yes!”

“Design is the application of intent – the opposite of happenstance, and the antidote to accident.” Robert L. Peters