3 Steps to Achieve the Life You Desire

Heather Edwards Coach PsychotherapyYou chose the path of least resistance. When starting college at age 17, I did the same. You followed the protocol. A real no-brainer. It’s what your parents or friends wanted for you. But it wasn’t YOUR dream. And you didn’t even realize it then.

According to Forbes.com, a Mercer survey of 30,000 workers worldwide showed that between 28% and 56% of employees in 17 spots around the globe want to leave their jobs. In the U.S., 32% said they want to find new work in a Right Management survey. Those employees reported they were either somewhat or totally unsatisfied.

Many spend years studying, training, and working in a job that’s not fulfilling. They did what their parents prescribed or chose what was available to them at the time. While noble because they value work, they consider work a four letter word. It creates stress, dread, and low self worth.

After years of  feeling exhausted, frustrated, and hopeless a light bulb glows. You realize it’s not too late to change your path. While regretting time lost – passion, creativity, and impact on the greater good tempt you. There is hope for for a happier, freer, more purposeful life.

Your unique strengths and talents can only be actualized by you. Don’t deprive the rest of us. The world needs you.

Own what makes you tick and what gifts you possess. If the path of least resistance failed you, then open up to the many opportunities available to you, and choose.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Heather Edwards Coach PsychotherapistWhen you have a few moments between tasks, what do you think about? If there were no obstacles, what would you do differently? Free your mind to explore the possibilities. Quiet the inner critic. Honor yourself in all your glory. Notice what you’re doing when time melts away. That’s a key to your mission and purpose.  Indulge your imagination.
  2. How do you want to feel? What kind of person do you want to be? Make of list of 10 feelings words and 10 adjectives that describe the kind of person you respect and admire. What and who moves you? Notice the moments you embody those feelings, attitudes, and attributes. These are more clues to materializing the life you desire… Focus on that.
  3. Draw a map of your future. Identify what you want this week, in 3 months, a year, in 5 years, and your lifetime. Write it down. When it’s written down, it’s real. Identify one step you can take today or this week to inch closer to achieving them. Now you can do something with it. Get started. What is the thing you need to do to begin the trajectory forward? Do you need information? Do you need support, resources, networking, training, funding, or time? Seek clarity.

Get off the metaphorical couch. Get real. Take action. The only real failure, is the failure to act. Just get started. The rest will follow.

 

Photos courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net by stockimages & David Castillo Dominici. 

Get Down With Y.G.G. (Your Glorious Gestalt)

Heather Edwards Coach Gestalt

Heather Edwards Coach GestaltWhen was the last time you woke up on the wrong side of the bed? You know – one of those days you wanted to pull the blankets up over your head and grumble, “Hell no!”. You were feeling run down, unappreciated, and not so inclined to jump back into the grind. You just want to say, “WTF!” – and go back to sleep.

Stress is a sign that you need a change. Don’t run. Don’t hide. Turn toward it. Respond proactively. Take an inventory of your self care practices. Where do you stand with exercise, healthy eating, adequate sleep, socialization, romance, fun, or a sense of accomplishment and higher purpose?

Honor all the areas of your life that comprise you. The Gestaltists claim that, “The whole is worth more than the sum of its parts.”. If that’s the case, then maybe some of your parts (or life domains) are disproportionate. Take a look and how you’re living your life. Stop neglecting the glorious gestalt that is you.

Make a checklist or mindmap of all the life categories that together create the who that you are. Here are a few to get you started:

Heather Edwards Gestalt

Rate each category on a scale of 1 to 10. if you’re not happy with your score in any category, consider what it would take to bump that number up a few notches. Be specific about what needs to change.

In essence, you’re comparing your actual life status to how you would like it to be. If you want a score of 10 in each category, what one thing could you do today that could make a difference in your score tomorrow?

Remember, you have control over your life. You are responsible for the choices you make. You decide how to spend your time each day. You choose the path you take. Moment to moment you are creating your future. Decide in this moment what you want your future to look like. Commit yourself to taking one action every day that will inch you closer to it.

Heather Edwards CoachWhen you’re feeling stuck, remember you are not! You have the power to choose to go to that crappy job, stay in bed, take a day off, go to the gym, or start doing what you really want. Stop living in fear. Stop limiting yourself. Open up to a world possibilities by taking charge now. Imagine your life being truly inspired, fulfilled, and happy.

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by stock images.

Personality Type:  Know Yourself

Personality type has its roots in a psychological theory dating back to the 1920’s. The Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung (1875-1961) known for his work on the psyche, ego, personal unconscious, collective unconscious, archetypes, and dream analysis also developed the enduring theory of personality types based on psychological opposites.  Jung and  Sigmund Freud collaborated from about 1907-1909 addressing Freud’s mission of making the unconscious conscious through the practice of psychoanalysis.

Jung’s personality theory explains normal differences between healthy people.  He concluded that these differences in behavior stem from inborn tendencies to use our minds in different ways and can be influenced by culture, family, and the environment. Each of us possesses all six characteristics he defined in his personality theory, but we favor one or the other of each opposite.  His personality typology has been so enduring that it has current practical applications in career, leadership, relationships, and learning today.  So what are the six opposites that in combination define eight different personality types according to Jung?  Furthermore, what is their purpose?  Let’s start with Introversion vs. Extraversion.

Energy:

Where do we get energy?  According to Jung, one aspect of personality called the “attitudes”, are the psychological opposites Introversion and Extraversion.  In Jung’s typology, he believed that individuals gain their energy either from internal reflection and subjective experience (introversion) or from the outside world of people and the environment (extraversion).  These opposites interact with the “functions” of personality in gathering information and making decisions.  Together, they create a dynamic individualized way of experiencing and interacting with the world.

Information:human resources image

How do we gather information?  The four dichotomous “functions” of personality are Sensing vs. Intuition, and Feeling vs. Thinking.  Sensing types tend to focus their attention on concrete information obtained from using all five senses – touch, taste, sight, sound, and smell.  Intuiting types tend to focus their information gathering on the big picture inferred from the five senses.   They tend to abstract information and use imagination and concepts.

Decisions:

How do we make decisions?  Those who prefer Feeling vs. Thinking tend to be compassionate and value driven. They tend to use their energy and information in ways that promote harmony and practice empathy, considering the feelings of others in decision making.   Those who prefer Thinking tend to be analytical and objective in making decisions.  They take a step back from the situation and evaluate the facts.

“The four functions are somewhat like the four points of the compass; they are just as arbitrary and just as indispensable. Nothing prevents our shifting the cardinal points as many degrees as we like in one direction or the other, or giving them different names…but the one thing I must confess: I would not for anything dispense with this compass on my psychological voyages of discovery.”C.G. Jung, Psychological Types

Katharine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers made Jung’s personality theory their life’s work in developing the most widely studied and used assessment of personality type.  It is called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).  It is based on Jung’s eight patterns of personality type.  Briggs and Myers added another dimension to the theory to determine which of the opposites are dominant and also extraverted into the environment.  It is the Judging vs. Perceiving function.  It expanded the theory to 16 personality types, all of which explain the way we get energy, gather information, make decisions, and interact with the outside world.

Dealing with the outside world:Man shaking hand

People who prefer Judging tend to be structured, organized and plan ahead.  People who prefer Perceiving are more spontaneous, open ended, and comfortable with last minute changes. These combined with the other “functions” and “attitudes” determine which of the psychological processes is dominant, auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior – or are varying levels of consciousness and unconsciousness, and which is extraverted.  Together, they form the gestalt of the multi-faceted 16 types of personality.

ENTJ is an example of a personality type based on Jung’s theory and the MBTI assessment.  It means the “attitude” is Extraverted, the “functions” are “Intuiting” and “Thinking”, and the way one deals with the outside world is “Judging”. Jung emphasized that one type is not better or worse than another type.  It is different.  Understanding those differences benefits the user in many ways.

In plain terms, according to Isabel Briggs Myers, Introduction to Type, Sixth Edition, an ENTJ tends to be “frank, decisive, assume leadership readily.  Quickly see illogical and inefficient procedures and policies, develop and implement comprehensive systems to solve organizational problems.  Enjoy long-term planning and goal setting.  Usually well informed, well read, enjoy expanding their knowledge and passing it on to others. Forceful in presenting their ideas.”  

Knowing your type gives you the information you need to understand the way you interact with others and thus, the way others interact, too.  It sheds light on the best ways to listen, gather, share information, and accomplish your goals.  When enlightened with the knowledge of “what makes you tick”, you also gain insights into what makes others tick.  This is invaluable information across the roles you play at work, home, and in personal development.

Jung’s legacy continues on in corporate environments, marriage therapy, and life coaching – among those seeking to better understand and leverage their personality type. As a Certified MBTI Practitioner, I’ve witnessed the profound personal growth and positive change created through increased self awareness and acceptance discovered through this process.

 

 

“1st Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

“2nd Image courtesy of  David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

“3rd Image courtesy of stockimages/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

Jobs 101: The Ultimate Search Simplified

Brooklyn BridgeWe’ve all run full speed ahead in the hamster wheel of work-exhaustion and discontent, at times. Job dissatisfaction can bring you down and effect all areas of your life, if it is not addressed.  People often feel burned out and under-appreciated at work.   “I feel so disrespected.”, “I’m bored with my job and I deserve a promotion.”, “I’m overwhelmed, I don’t enjoy my work anymore.”, are pretty common expressions of burn out.  These are obvious indicators that it’s time for a career make-over.  If you put in the time, effort, and soul searching required, you can create the career you want!  It seems like a daunting task, but the alternative is not an option.  How does one turn that formidable rodent wheel of work exhaustion into the grand Ferris Wheel of job and life fulfillment?  Here are a few tips for re-defining your professional self and getting on your way to a purposeful and inspiring career.

Name Your Talents:

What are your special skills and strengths?  Everyone has strengths!  What are yours?  Notice the challenges and tasks that you enjoy.  Identify the activities that give you energy, and a sense of satisfaction.  Shift your focus to the responsibilities you savor.  What are the small successes within each of those that you’ve mastered? Use this information to develop the job description you want.  Consider industries in which those assets are valued and sought out.  “Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?” – Benjamin Franklin.

Brainstorm:

Identify a few options.   Based on your answers to the previous questions, what can you do differently today?  Leverage your successes to ask for what you want.  Here are a few ideas for how to do so.  Talk to your boss about gaining more responsibility, or peruse the internal job postings in other departments. Consider starting your own business, or begin the task of updating your resume and exploring external options.  Perhaps your interests lie in a different industry altogether.  Whatever your direction, stay true to yourself.  The more you enjoy your job, the less it will feel like work!  “Use what talents you possess, the woods will be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.” – Henry van Dyke.

Gather Information:

What do you need to know?  You’ve completed the first steps of career exploration.  Now that you’ve identified what’s important to you, search out industries and companies that match those preferences.  Make a list of your top five target organizations.  Begin researching their history, mission, and products.  Go to networking activities, such as industry conferences or business networking groups.  Speak with people in those businesses.  Do your homework to avoid jumping from the frying pan into the fire!

Training and Education:

Is there a certification or license that would push you over the next hurdle in your career?  Find out what is required to achieve it.  If you’re planning to pursue a different field, explore the education and credentialing requirements for those jobs.  Collect informational packets from professional schools and universities with programs in your area of interest.  Remember, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”, Lao Tzu.

Choose a Deadline:

This is a crucial factor in the process of self discovery and change.  Creating a deadline helps you stay on track in defining and aligning your path in career development.  It keeps the journey time limited, focused, and easier to manage by breaking down the steps into weekly, monthly, and/or annual goals.  What do you want to accomplish by the end of this week, this month, or this year?  Write it down.  Share your intentions with others.  Accountability to yourself and those you love will provide the structure and support necessary to follow through on your plans.New York City

Self Care:

Throughout the process, be good to yourself.  Job hunting and career development can be overwhelming!  Maintain life balance.  Establish healthy boundaries.  Spend time with friends, family, exercise, and have fun.  Be patient.  In the words of Buddha, “There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path.” So continue to embrace and be grateful for the things you cherish.