Have you ever reached a point in your life where you’ve realised that you don’t have a life, you just have a job?
This was certainly my experience. At around the time I turned forty, I assessed my life and realised that I had an amazing career, but no life. I was working seven days almost every week. I had no hobbies. And I was endlessly counting the days until our next vacation. Then there was the fact that my role as a mum was downsizing. My son, who was almost an adult – was starting to living his own life and I’d been filling up that increasing space with my job.
I realised that this was not what I wanted my life to look like. And as a result, I started working with a coach to help me build more interest into my life. Coaching helped me to understand that as long as I didn’t build more opportunities for life into my life, I would continue to let my life be filled up with my work.
And after coaching many women, I know my story isn’t a unique one.
I was working with a senior executive recently, who also happens to be a mum. She spent a lot of our time sharing all the details of her job, and she proudly chatted to me about her young children. But the words dried up when I asked what she did for fun. It took some real digging before we came up with anything in her life that prompted joy, aside from her job and her primary school aged kids.
It’s not just mums who need to build more ‘life’ into their lives. Career women everywhere – whether they happen to be partnered, single, with children or without, working full-time or flexi-hours – can find themselves in a space where they are completely consumed by their day job.
And when it gets to this point, it can be hard to see a way out. But there are some things you can do to help put more life into your life. Here are my top three tips.
Tips to bring more life into your life
Be graceful with yourself. This is not a time to beat yourself up or start a blame game in your mind. We are all doing life as best we can. The very fact that you’re aware that you need to bring more life into your life is great start. Remember that you can’t fix what you don’t know about. Start where you are and begin taking the steps towards the life you want.
Start getting clear on what you’d like your life to look like. Now my personal experience suggests that this one is easier said than done. I really struggled when my own coach asked me to do this. I’d spent so long focussed on my career and my son that I honestly couldn’t imagine a different life. In the end, I took an approach advocated by Megan Dalla-Camina and followed breadcrumbs. What does following breadcrumbs actually look like? Well, for me it looked like digging into what I loved when I was younger and what I loved now.
When I was a kid, I liked to write. And as an adult, I loved France. So I started blogging about France. And then I began writing a book about France and French style. My love of French style led me to becoming a Style CoachTM. That taste of coaching led me to career and confidence coaching. In the meantime, I started taking French lessons because I wanted experience France differently when we travelled. Today my life is a blend of my day job, writing, coaching and learning – and it continues to evolve. But I couldn’t necessarily envisage my life today when I started on this journey.
Be playful. There is no wrong or right with the things you choose to bring more life into your life. And these elements will change as you grow and evolve. While my life is very full now, there have been a number of things I’ve tried along the journey that haven’t stuck. And that’s ok. You don’t have to incorporate everything you try into your life. It’s ok to pick and choose. Didn’t love guitar lessons as much as you thought you would? Let them go. Volunteering felt more like a chore than a thing that lit your heart on fire? That’s ok – try something else. My best advice – keep the elements that make you feel joyful and give yourself permission to move on from the ones that don’t.
Do you need to bring more life into your life? Feel free to share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.
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