Many of us are currently at a crossroads. The unprecedented global pandemic has forced us to step back and reflect upon our lives in a way we haven’t been able to do since a long time. Ancient routines have been abandoned and new ones are being formed. We are reviewing the way we have been living our lives, and in some cases even take radical decisions to transform them.
While many people have developed a sense that they need change, they don’t always know how to go about making it happen. Something is niggling inside. Perhaps a feeling of slight discontent, or dissatisfaction about where they are at the moment. This doesn’t necessarily mean that if you feel like this, you are unhappy. Happiness consists of little moments. It’s perfectly possible to enjoy the occasions where everything falls into place, and at the same time suffer from an overall feeling of dysphoria, without being able to put your finger on quite what the issue is. Often, feelings of general discontent are related to living with a value crisis. Values are abstract, and while situated at the core of who we are, we tend not to think much about them in our day-to-day lives.
Humans are good at living with internal contradictions, in fact our lives are full of them. A churchgoer leaves his church after a sermon about practicing altruism and compassion, and goes back to thinking that some people deserve misery and pain. A professional sportsman, having declared his love for the team and unwavering loyalty to the fans, accepts a transfer to another team which offers a better financial deal. A honest company worker, having declared on several occasions that she is unable to tell falsehoods, lies in order to avoid getting into trouble.
We all have broken our internal code from time to time. However, when we live prolonged periods of our life not in accordance with our own values and beliefs, we inevitably reach the point where something starts to bother us inside. Those are often the seeds for a desire for change, away from the internal dissonance and towards a better version of ourselves.
Deciding you are ready for change is only the first step towards achieving it. In order to be successful, this decision will need to move on to the phase of planning and then implementation. The foundations need to be laid for making this change sustainable and long-term. Possible obstacles will need to be considered, and a plan to deal with the occasional slumps and setbacks, will strongly help to maintain the momentum. It is vital to know WHAT to do and HOW to do it, and people will often successfully employ self-help books, life coaches and accountability buddies for additional support at this stage. But most importantly, you should not lose sight of WHY you decided on this change.
Knowing your ‘why’ and acting in accordance with it, is your safest bet to remain aligned to your values and your beliefs. If you are not sure where to start, the following 7 questions will help you understand your current self a bit better, focus on the right things, get unstuck and take significant steps towards the desired change. Take some time to reflect on the answers and write them down. They will give you a solid basis to understand what you will need to consider in order to create the best version of you:
- What did you enjoy doing as a child? How did it make you feel? What stopped you (if anything) from continuing to do that?
- Thinking back of your life, what activities have consistently produced the greatest sense of happiness and satisfaction? Are there any common themes?
- What do you currently do that you really enjoy doing? What, if anything, can you do to do more of it?
- What are your areas of experience or expertise that you enjoy? How could you make the most out of them?
- What keeps you awake at nights? If you had a magic wand, what is the single biggest thing in your life that if removed, would not keep you awake any more?
- What patterns in your head prevent you from achieving your goals? What can you do to silence them?
- What would you be doing right now if money was no object?
You will have noticed that every single one of these questions touches on fundamental aspects of your being, such as your values, the things that make you ‘tick’ and your mindset. While change needs its time to fully unfold and show its long term benefits, approaching your current reality armed with the right set of questions, will get you in a position where you will be able to accelerate that change and make the most out of it. Taking the time to reflect on these questions and answer them for yourself honestly and transparently, will be your guide to start creating the new ‘you’, the best version of yourself.
Kostas The Coach is a Psychologist, Life and Small Business Coach and NLP Practitioner based in Llantwit Major, Wales. I help people of various backgrounds find the ideal intersection between profit, joy and values in their lives, amplify the voice of creative people and assist businesses to grow sustainably while remaining aligned to their why.
If any of the topics discussed here has intrigued you, I would love to hear your thoughts. You can email me on Kostasthecoach@gmail.com or contact me via telephone or SMS on 07725653870.