Five Key Reasons to Design the Life You Want: Recommendations for How to Find
Joy and Happiness in Your Life Starting Now
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-Centered Career Transition and Job Search Coach | Certified Life Strategies and Stress Management Coach
Too many of us let life happen to us. Too few recognize that we have more choice than we might think.
Successful people make choices that lead to successful outcomes. That is a fact. You don't "luck" into success, even if you have a few "lucky" breaks along the way. All the luck in the world won't help you if you aren't prepared to take advantage of your position at the right time.
You can take control of your life starting today.
Go after the things that are important to you. Realize that you can achieve your dreams. Recognize, however, that you may need to learn new skills. You may need to be on the lookout for new opportunities. And realize that you will have to be willing to let go of the fears that are holding you back.
Here are the top five reasons you should start today to design the life you want without delay.
1. You can learn to identify what makes you happy in life.
Happiness is an elusive feeling. But we all know it when we feel it. And we all want to make it last as long as possible.
Happiness is also elusive in that some people are unfamiliar with the feeling. They have lost touch with what it is that makes them happy. And some people have the idea that happiness is something that is outside of them. It isn't. Joy comes from within.
What might make me feel happy will be different from what makes you happy. That's a good thing. It means we aren't all going after the same things.
If you aren't living the happy life you would like for yourself it is time to make some changes.
You need to get in touch with your strengths, your gifts, and what brings you joy and energizes you. You can then use that knowledge to put yourself on a path toward the life you want for yourself.
Designing your life starts with an assessment of yourself. Thankfully, you can find assessments galore. Some are free, and some are available for a low fee. One of my favorite free assessments is 16personalities.com. It's free, and it is similar to the Myers Briggs Personality test which you can also find online for a fee. There are many options from which to choose.
The main point of taking assessments is to help you get in touch with who you are at your core.
Many of us don't spend much time thinking about our personal preferences. Nor do we spend much time thinking about how those preferences may impact the way we feel about your work.
When I start out working with a client, my first recommendation is to decide what they want in their life.
So, consider this. What is the impact you want to make in the world? Who are YOU? And how can you use your God-given talents in your work that makes work feel like fun? We have adopted the mindset that work has to be "hard." I don't buy that. And neither should you.
So, the first order of business when designing your life is to know what makes you happy and pursue more of that.
2. You can learn to appreciate failures and mistakes as learning opportunities.
When you design your own life, you learn that all the mistakes you have made along the way have just been learning opportunities. Learn from each misstep and every obstacle that you face in life. Remember that there are no failures. Your mistakes don't define you unless you let them. Instead, look at your mistakes and missteps as opportunities to learn and grow. Being happy in life and achieving your goals is a process. It doesn’t all happen at once. You don’t know everything you need to know right now, and that's okay. You will learn as you go.
You have to learn!
And learning is a process of trial and error, of making and learning from mistakes. We are far too afraid of making a mistake. Failure has become a dirty word, and it shouldn't be. Remember how many efforts Thomas Edison made before creating the light bulb? What if he had quit after his first failed effort?
Designing your life allows you the freedom to set your sights on a goal that makes you happy. Allow yourself to be at peace with the process of learning and evolving. You must be willing to do this if you want to achieve your ultimate dream.
3. You can find a fulfilling career. And then find a new one. Do this as often as you want!
Designing your own life means you don’t have to be stuck in your current job. You can reach for new aspirations at any point in your existence. The design process teaches you to imagine many different futures. Consider how many different paths you could take that would make you happy. Finding work that energizes you and brings you joy and passion shouldn’t be a goal that is unachievable.
Designing your life means you pick the one job that fulfills you today. When that job stops being your passion, realize that you have the skills and mindset to find your next great job.
You can recreate yourself professionally as many times as you want. One career that you chose in your 20's need not define you in your 30's, 40's or beyond. Heck, I reinvented and retooled myself after a 37-year career in education. My current occupation is something I created out of nothing! I took courses. I got new certifications. I learned new skills. And I started the process when I was 60! If I could do it, anyone can. Believe me.
4. You can learn to navigate the biggest decision points in your life with ease.
Designing your life means you assess, make evaluations, and envision multiple outcomes. Then you select among many different choices.
These are all essential life skills when it comes to designing your life. They may not always feel natural. That's okay. No one promised you an "easy" life. Sometimes we are forced to deal with difficult situations. But once you start to feel confident that your design process works and it is bringing you happiness, you’ll see that these skills are transferable. You can use them at all the decision-making points in your life.
5. You can imagine multiple futures for yourself, then decide which to pursue.
Designing your life is a process that involves choices and options. When you create the life you want, you take the time to imagine multiple futures. Consider the different pathways that you might choose.
You will see that several different options could bring you joy. Consider that there is not one right future or path for you. You are free to change directions in the future or start all over again when you find your passion and joy waning.
You may not be able to enjoy these multiple futures all at once. But as you live your life, you will discover that your priorities change. Your family circumstances will evolve. You may not always feel free to pursue your happiness because there are others you need to consider. You may, at some point in your life, have to put the needs of your children above your own, for example.
But children grow up and leave home and start families of their own.
When that happens, you can be free to design the life you want. If you have followed the recommendations above, you will have developed many skills. These will be skills you can use in the endeavor you choose for yourself. But more importantly, you will have gained wisdom along the way. You will be able to move through your life with greater joy and happiness. And that is what most of us seek, isn't it?