Are you due a life audit?
Posted at 12:47:01 by Jacky Leonard
“Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention.”
Do you ever give yourself the opportunity to stake stock? To give yourself a few minutes, hours or even days to reflect where you’re going, where you are now and acknowledge how far you’ve come on your life journey? It’s an interesting exercise and can sometimes be prompted, quite unexpectedly following a milestone or emotive event.
As a coach and learning specialist, I’m used to undertaking reflective practice of what I do in a professional capacity. Although, to do a full life audit properly can be a little more painful, particularly if you really take a good long, honest look in the metaphorical mirror and ask yourself the tough questions.
I recently returned from a trip to North Wales where I was visiting a friend on her smallholding. She and her husband upped sticks and relocated to the Welsh hills from the Cotswolds to live their dream of owning a property with a few acres of land. In anticipation of moving and not wanting to do anything by half, they started learning Welsh and set about finding a new base. Now, several months after relocating to Gods own country (being Welsh I may be a little biased), they’ve established themselves into the local farming community and have acquired quite a menagerie that includes ducks, geese, chickens and a small flock of sheep. It was a joy to see her living her dream. I had a wonderful few days and even got to help with the lambing. It will no doubt be one of those memorable experiences that stays with me for a lifetime.
Watching her absorbed in her new life, got me thinking about mine. As a child, I remember asking my Nan, if she could have anything what would it be. She responded “To be healthy and happy.” I’m sure I didn’t really understand the significance of that statement at the time, but I’ve since become aware of how wise she was. You can’t buy either of those things, although you can experience life with those attitudes and that outlook creates opportunities for you to live your best life…whatever it might entail.
I’ve never had a master plan for my life, but I like to think my Nan’s words have been a compass for my choices. I left what my brother calls “a proper job” at the end of 2006 and after spending a four-month sabbatical playing in the Welsh hills, I set up as a freelance learning and development consultant. At the time of deciding to leave that ‘proper job’ (which I loved), I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, or how things would map out. I was restless and had a burning desire to do something else before it was too late. I wanted to challenge myself, experience new things and spend more quality time with friends and family.
So far, my journey since then has been an eclectic mix of experiences. I’m fortunate to have been able to strike a good balance between what a famous confectionary company calls work, rest and play. There have been peaks and troughs, successes and missed opportunities, moments of sheer joy and utter frustration. Life’s like that!
I’ve been lucky to work with a variety of wonderful people, across sectors, helping them to develop strategies to improve their performance in the areas that mean most to them. It’s simultaneously energising and exhausting and I hope I can continue to contribute to the development of many more interesting, fascinating and passionate people.
One of the best bits of being self-employed is the feeling of having more choice how I spend my time. I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone and used the experiences to grow at work and at play. I’ve travelled, met wonderful people and rekindled my love of writing through blogs, poetry and learning resources. I’m happy to work my socks off for my clients because this feeds my need for challenge, commitment and contribution. In addition, I now give myself permission to play and enjoy the many things life has to offer.
I believe it’s important to balance the life account and ensure you’re getting the return on the investment you want. I seek activities that feed me; my brain, my heart, my soul, as well as my bank account. So, I’m sure Nan would approve. I’m happy, I’m healthy and embracing what life has to offer. I’m blessed with loyal, kind and thoughtful friends, a wonderful family and fabulous clients. There’ll continue to be highs and lows and I hope I’ll handle them with confidence, passion and humour, in my own inimitable fashion, learning as I go.
What about you? Are you living your best life, or is it time for a life audit?