You are not your work. And your work is not you. Deep down we all know that. Even so, it’s a simple truth that we often forget. Or choose to overlook.
I’ve never been a huge fan of bucket lists. The name ’bucket list’ in itself seems a tad morbid. And considering that bucket lists tend to lean towards fun things to do before you … well ‘kick the bucket’; it makes the whole exercise just a bit weird. While not a big ‘bucket list’ person, I am however, a huge fan of living with intention and having clear goals. And never more so was I reminded of this recently.
You see, I celebrated a birthday recently. It wasn’t one of those big milestone birthdays. So it was very unexpected when I had a real palpable awareness of time. I could not wrap my head around how fast the last 10 years have flown by. Just like that. In a blink of an eye. So logically, one would assume that the next 10 would zip past just as quickly. And before I know it, I’ll soon be (insert your age here). And I have to admit. That it was a bit unnerving.
There was so much more that I’d like to Do. See. Accomplish. Experience. But I knew that without goals set and plans made, nothing would happen. That sparked a decision to approach my next 10 years with clear(er) intentions.
A few weeks ago I wrote about self leadership and how managing yourself is an important aspect of Personal Leadership Mastery. Being clear about what you want from work and life outside work is a big part of managing yourself. As I’ve said before, there is no work and life. There is life.
So I’ve begun to define what I consider “A Life Well Lived”. And as the universe moves in mysterious ways, as it often does, just as I was writing this, I received an email from Gallup with their recently published report “Women in America : Work and Life Well Lived”. So clearly I wasn’t the only one thinking along those lines.
To have enough gravitas, I asked myself what, at the end of it all, would have me feel that I had experienced a well lived life. This brought for me a clarity of focus that helped separate out the important from the nice to do. And yes, the list definitely includes a few crazy fun things, like in typical bucket lists. But guided by a little more thoughtfulness and purpose.
Clearly what makes up “A Life Well Lived” is very subjective based on what matters most to you. For me personally, I found thinking about it along the following dimensions helpful –
- How does work fit into your broader priorities ?
- What do you want to accomplish, professionally and personally, that you would be proud of ?
- What experiences do you want to have to appreciate this beautiful planet of ours ? To love life ?
- What important relationships do you want to nurture ?
- How, and in what areas, do you want to continue learning and growing ?
It doesn’t really matter how you approach developing your definition of “A Life Well Lived”. What matters is that you are clear about what it looks like, feels like, sounds like – to you.
Because there’s only one truth – the next 10 years will go by in a flash.
As always, wishing you onwards and upwards in your journey …..