Recently, a coaching client confessed to my Extraordinary Self partner, Donna, and myself, that she did not know what she wanted next in her life. I was perplexed. This person had developed an amazingly successful business. Puzzled, I asked myself how can someone like her not know what she wants next in her life? How can someone so successful in life not know her direction?
As we listened more, we heard her say that she had been very successful and very satisfied with her business accomplishments over the years. She had achieved what she wanted up to this point in her life. Now, she is feeling the urge for a new direction. She is searching for something more to fill her heart, although she doesn’t yet know what it is – where to find it!
So, how do you find your direction — when you don’t quite know what you want?
Reflecting on where her confusion comes from, I realized that she has been scaring and worrying herself because her mind was coming up empty and directionless – not her usual style. Unsure of how or where to move forward, she felt stuck and frustrated!
To fix that, I realized, she first needs to get really curious in order to get her mind moving with new thinking, new questions, new missions and new goals! She needs to look inside herself more deeply and outside herself at what attracts her.
She needs to gather a lot of new information and spend time in serious reflection. Then, armed with new information about herself, she will be able to reach conclusions about her desires and define herself and her future in new ways.
Below are some tools and exercises that will help our client navigate the Discovery Stage.
Basically, the Discovery Stage is a necessity for defining her new direction. We don’t know what the final result of her exploration will be. However, we do know that we are launching an important process. First, our client needs to trust that a useful result will come out of the Discovery Stage. This may be difficult for her as she has a fact-based, mathematical sort of mind. She will need to call up her inner creativity for extra help.
Are you wrestling with similar thoughts? Are you feeling there is more out there for you, but you are not sure what it is? Ready to fill in your own empty map? Please feel free to use the exercise below for your own exploration and reflection:
Discovery Stage Exercises
Exercise 1. Questions and Answers
Directions: Answer the questions and exercises below in writing. Don’t worry if you don’t see an end goal yet. The purpose of these questions and exercises is to stimulate your thoughts, feelings, ideas and beliefs in new ways.
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- List 50 large and small successes that you have achieved.
- As a child, what were your fantasies of success? Who were your role models? Whom did you admire and why?
- Who were you jealous of? Why?
As a child, what was your attitude about giving to others? About taking from others?
- How did you feel when you were praised or admired? How did you feel when you were criticized or rejected?
- What are your hopes for the world? What hopes have you given up on? Who are your role models out in that world?
- What are your important values? What values of yours haven’t you yet lived up to enough?
- What were your parents expectations of you when you were a teenager moving into adulthood?
- How did you feel about those expectations? What did you do about those expectations?
- What did you admire most about your brothers and/or sisters? What did you admire least?
- How accepting were you of yourself growing up?
- What feelings do you want to feel more? What do you think you have to do in order to feel those feelings more?
- If you believed in yourself more, what would you want to do in the world? What would you not want to do in the world?
- What skills, jobs, roles and abilities would you like to explore if you believed you would be good at them?
- What pierces a hole in your heart about the world outside? Where do you feel a pull to help?
- Whom do you admire in the world now? What skills, jobs, roles and abilities does each of those people possess? What would you be doing if you possessed those skills, jobs, roles or abilities?
- What do you need to learn to move yourself in a new direction?
- What do you long for, even if it seems silly or out of your reach?
- Where are you stuck or holding yourself back? What might you do if your stuckness was gone?
If you have answered all those questions, your mind is fertilized with new thoughts and ideas. Great!
Exercise 2. Brainstorm Writing
Now, it is time to take up your pen and simply “free write” or “brainstorm” any thoughts and ideas – anything circulating in your mind. Do not judge or re-write as you go. Just focus on letting your ideas flow. Do this for 15 to 20 minutes.
Next, reread what you have brainstormed and reread your answers to the questions above.
Then ask yourself questions like: What does all of my writing tell me about what I want and don’t want next? You may find that incubating your answers overnight can result in “lightbulbs” the next day.
We hope you enjoyed this process. For more self-exploration and self-learning, consider our self-development courses, available at: www.extraordinaryself.com/register