|Kerry Hales, life coach|
1. Create a space where you can think.
2. What is your ‘Back Story’?
Before children, who were you? This exercise is to look at what you did before you had children and what you loved about it. Write it down. Yep, I mean it. Get a coffee or some kind of drink that soothes you (create a space for you) and sit and work through all that you have done – from school onwards. What we are really looking for here is what you enjoyed. Be as specific as you can, if it was projects, what was it about them – the time frame, accountability, the detail, the use of computers, the importance of communicating with other people? Break it down as far as you can. Everything is valuable in getting to know you better.
Once you have a list you will notice certain recurring themes, some of which may come as a surprise. What we are looking for are real answers to who you are, not who you think you are or what you think you want. Getting a clearer idea of what you want, comes from understanding what you have already done. The trends are there and you will bring with you a feast of talent from your past. So we always start there. Who is this character and what can we trust her to do?
What you want from life is up to you. It is your choice, your decision and you who lives it. Make sure when you are figuring out what you want, it is ‘yours’. Check in with yourself and see... are your ideas of success based on someone else’s? Your parents, siblings, BFF’s? They will all have an impact on your ideas, as you spend so much time with them. But this is all about you and what you want. If your idea is to start a business, and your friends are all employed, the conversation will be towards what their ‘advice’ is. So when you are asking for ‘advice’ (what they would do in your shoes) make sure you take notice. It is theirs, not yours. What do you want? What feels right to you?
Once you have had your children, one of the most frustrating things is trying to find what you want to do next, for you. It feels like there is no time to waste. Relax! Life isn’t like that. You are going to make mistakes. Think of it like an aeroplane on its route – it’s rarely 100% on course – it’s an ongoing process of course correcting. Try something out and check to see if it’s working for you and the family and if not – see how you can change it. The rule here is: Is this working for ‘me’? If not, how can ‘I’ change it?
It is sometimes easier to list what we don’t want. So start there. Make a comprehensive list about what you do not want. We can very easily become focused on what we do not want and ‘bingo’ we get it. So, for this I suggest you take advantage of your focus and get it down on paper, add a column next to each point and turn what was a negative into a positive – if I don’t want this, then what I really want it this. What you end up is with a list of what you do want. Voila!
Put the answer that comes on the right side of paper. When you have finished you will have ideas on one side and considerations on the other – all of which are invaluable, as you will need to answer both, but this will get ideas flowing.