After the new year, Maureen came across some outreach I was doing, and she scheduled a time on my calendar to discuss working together. Maureen was a successful business development manager for a technology company. Her days and weeks at work ran together in a blur, and before she knew itten10 years had passed!
She had fallen into a familiar routine of dreading the workweek, living for the weekends, vacations, or anything else that got her out of the office and broke the mind-numbing monotony of her life.
Maureen was like most of my clients, seeking out a coach because there was something that she wanted different in her life. She felt empty, unfulfilled, and unhappy. She wanted to find meaning in her life, and so this begged the question, “if you don’t want to experience what you are currently, what do you want?”
I always find it strange that most of my clients have already overcome so much in their lives but then get to a point where they feel stuck and feel that they can’t achieve fulfillment in life. In Maureen’s case, she had immigrated from Moscow, arrived in an unfamiliar country, not knowing the culture or speaking the language. She had to learn that language as quickly as possible to survive, became a citizen, had to compete with others the whole way, and had built a successful career. That is impressive; why stop now? Why shouldn’t she demand to have it all! Why shouldn’t you?
But when I asked her, “What do you want? What life do you want to wake up to every day?” Like all my clients, she couldn’t answer. She had never allowed herself to dream any dream. She tried to convince herself that it was enough to survive. But that was unfulfilling. She wanted more but felt guilty for wanting it because she was so much better off than most.
When my clients are stuck and have never dreamed their absolute dream, I developed this exercise while walking this path myself. This is the same exercise I used to uncover my life’s dream, the dream that laid dormant inside my soul until I called it forth.
It may be anti-climactic but, I started to journal about my “Ideal Day,” and here’s how you can do it too:
Ideal Day Journaling Exercise:
Find a quiet place and sit uninterrupted with your journal, envisioning your perfect day. Be as consistent as possible and commit to 10 minutes every day in the evening or morning. Begin by taking a few deeps breaths (box breathing) and begin to envision yourself waking up to your IDEAL DAY.
Your ideal day is; if you could wake up and experience anything you wanted in the world, I mean ANYTHING, any feeling, what would that be AND I mean in specific detail!!! Not what job you are waking up to; what do you want to FEEL! Start from the instant you wake up. When your eyes first open in the morning, what is the first feeling you want to feel, what is the first thought you want to have?
Examples may include, I want to be filled with excitement when my eyes first open, or gratitude, or love. Do you want to wake up naturally or to an alarm? Do you want to have a tight schedule in the morning or hours for yourself? Do you want to commute, short drive, no drive, never leave the house? Do you want to work early, finish early, start late, work late? Do you want your schedule made for you, or do you want autonomy of schedule?
I went through this line of questioning throughout every MINUTE of my entire ideal day and journaled 1-3 new aspects per day. Before I knew it, I had what my ideal day looked like, EXACTLY!
Now, this may sound ridiculous. HOWEVER, you know what it provided? This… I had no fuckin clue what job, profession, or career I wanted because all of them made me conform to them. All of my “strengths.” Everything I was “good” at, I was good at it because I spent 20 years doing those things in a career I hated. Even though it was a strength, it did not lead to my fulfillment. So what this exercise did was to eliminate 1000’s of jobs and professions that didn’t line up to that ideal day. Once I knew the kind of day I wanted, it gave me another measuring stick to judge whether a potential job or career path was a good fit.
Now here’s the second step; with this exercise eliminating a ton of jobs I didn’t want, IT SIMULTANEOUSLY identified the jobs that did fit that profile. AND from there, I was able to identify the jobs that did fit the profile easily; THEN, I could evaluate what strengths were most compatible or needed for that job and whether or not I possessed them. And guess what if I didn’t have that strength, and that job fit my ideal day? I didn’t bail on it. I ACQUIRED that strength!!!
This is a crucial shift! This process is how you create any damn thing you want!
You have been through a ton, I’m sure, in your life’s journey to date, and you have acquired numerous new and complex skills. You can develop any new skill you want, but you have to know what skills you need to develop and the purpose or overall vision of WHY you want to acquire them. The WHY is crucial because a strong WHY will provide all the motivation you need to keep going and complete what you started.
This exercise identified the skills you need to acquire, will bring you focus, knowledge, and growth in several new areas!
I know this may be a lot and if it’s not clear, let me know. I’m open to hopping on a quick call to review the exercise with you!
Blacked Out Buddhist