It was ten years ago that I first suspected something significant was amiss in my life.
“appeared” wrong. My strategic planning consulting practice was booked
solid with stimulating and challenging engagements, clients were flying
me to world-class resorts to work with their staff and board of
directors, my marriage was good, so were finances and health.
as to what might be amiss, I began to explore and question elements of
my life the best way I knew how: by applying the very techniques that I
used to help businesses uncover their own critical issues, mission and
values, through strategic thinking processes. I started, simply enough,
with the question: What feels wrong with my life right now?
my thoughts poured out in written words, I was stunned to see that most
of my dissatisfactions were actually symptoms produced by the same root
cause: my choices as to how I spent my time. It seems like such a
simple thing, but it proved to be transformational. I wanted to do
things that I had a passion for, other than work, such as being more
involved in my young son’s life, doing community work, dabbling in art,
and nurturing friendships. With a one-dimensional focus on work, I had
created this problem. That meant I could possibly fix it. But this
would require a major change in how I perceived priorities and how I
lived my life. That was a scary thought. I was about to turn my entire
perspective upside down.
Let me pause here to define how I use
the term “transformation”. I mean radical change in one’s perspective
of self, the world, and how one interacts with life. Transformation is
usually enabled by a dramatic increase in inner-awareness through
study, revelation or trauma. In today’s terms, transformation is an
Once you are aware of the radical change desired and
needed, you can’t go back to being unaware. The knowledge is
irrevocable. The critical factor is whether you choose to cross the
threshold and embrace, enact and live your passion and authentic self,
or, you choose to stay paralyzed “in limbo” without action. That choice
is the difference between living authentically and joyfully in everyday
life, verses feeling that you are missing something, and always seeking
more (whether it is food, clothes, relationships, money, or staying
numb in order to avoid facing it). Unfortunately, too many people
settle for the safe, easy route of status quo, just staying where they
are and never stepping out to truly change. The joyful and energetic
people who have courageously crossed that threshold and transformed
their perspective of self, the world, relationships and how they make a
difference, are living to their full potential and satisfaction.
can you get started on that latter path? Part of my own transformation
urged me to share the tools I had created to help sort through the
possibilities of what crossing the threshold of change would bring.
Through speaking, workshops, and my book, A Left-Brain Thinker On a
Right-Brain Journey, I am happy to share with others to help them get
“unstuck” using an analytical plan, combined with a final dose of
“feeling” how a choice would fit within your life. Here is a 10 step
summary to help you consider the scope of your transformational journey:
Awareness: defining the root cause that drives your desire for
transformation. Ask: What is less than ideal in my life right now?
Next, review your response and identify patterns to illuminate what is
honestly causing all or most of your dissatisfaction symptoms. This
underlying force is your root cause.
* Commitment: truly wanting and welcoming change to occur.
* Preparation: giving yourself time and space to think and feel about change.
* Action: implementing part of the change you want; try it out.
* Listening to your intuition: discerning cues and messages from your inner truth.
* Identifying elements in your life that don’t add value, and are negotiable for change.
* Financial implications of your transformation.
* Time allocation: developing the framework for how to use your time.
* Relationships: surrounding yourself with positive rather than negative people.
* Tangible goals: breaking your plan into manageable parts to enable action to occur.
all the steps are important, the first two are critical. In fact, they
can be “deal breakers.” If you don’t identify the root cause for change
and make a commitment, you will never follow through, and your life
will pretty much remain the same. Unsatisfactory. But now you have
awareness that something needs to change, and that awareness won’t go
away. It will either bother you or motivate you.
situation, it wasn’t enough for me to realize I was working too much. I
then had to accept it had been my choice, and I wanted to learn to make
more fulfilling choices for how I spent my time, and then make the
commitment to change. It’s not easy, even when you know what needs to
I can now say that I have truly transformed how I view
my life, the importance of relationships, the use of money as a minimal
tool to have what I need, and the expansive nature of the Universe for
learning my role, gifts and purpose. This was accomplished by
implementing changes over the past eight years, mostly through trial
Some of the early changes included downsizing to a
smaller easy-to-care-for house and taking on fewer clients, which
allowed me to be more selective with who and what I worked on. From
there, I was able to serve on organizational and city Boards, be active
with my son’s school and athletics, and express my repressed creativity
through art and crafts.
My work focus also changed. I am writing
my next book, and sharing with people, such as yourself, the concepts
and practice of transformational change, through retreats and speaking.
But it does not feel like work, which is a sign of true passion, when
the action feels effortless because you WANT to do it.
through my experiences leading self-discovery retreats, I’ve noticed
three main groups who hit a point where change is more urgent to
address. The first, career-focused 35 year-olds, sometimes peak in
their first career choice and are looking for new, more stimulating
challenges. The second group, the more firmly established 45 year-olds,
are asking what else is there for me in life? The third,
approaching–retirement 55 year olds, often ask themselves if it is too
late to start something new and completely different.
of your age, any person can and should take time to give serious
thought as to where they experience passion and energy. That
self-discovery process can be the critical first step in
transformation. Once you are clear on what gives you joy and meaning,
then you want to find ways to incorporate that more into your life,
possibly working through all 10 steps of transformation for true
After all, if we are going to spend a large number
of hours in our lives in a career or relationship or location, we might
as well be excited and happy about our choices. I know I am!