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Career Coach: Client, Know Thyself

As we immerse ourselves in the holidays (or not...personally our only plans are comprised of having a nice dinner for two, and letting the rest of the world stress about the materialism of the season), the fact that 2022 is in a week and a half has made me think of the conversations I've had with my coaching clients over the years. And while I personally have always focused on the strategic side of job search advice, I have always encouraged my clients to look inward and think about what FEELS right (and what doesn't) before plowing headfirst into their search. Like the old saying goes, "If You Always Do What You’ve Always Done, You Always Get What You’ve Always Gotten." So take some time to sit down, take a breath, and look at your career through a new lens.

30 questions to ask before you die is a classic article in Rebelle Society from 2013 I have had bookmarked for eons, challenging us to think about our personal and professional lives in new ways, while reminding us of how we can affect our own future for the better.

Some might not specifically connect to your career, but in a society that often forgets that we are more than our jobs, it's not such a bad thing to think of ALL aspects of your life...not just the ones involving a paycheck. Because a career that we love should allow us to embrace the rest of our life as well, so recognizing and naming what's important to you is huge.

Below are excerpts, and I’d love your thoughts on what made you stop and think, or even one that you want to answer right here in the comments.

  1. How much have you loved? Count the people. Add it up. Have you loved even when it hurts, when you can’t, when you shouldn’t, when you wouldn’t, when you didn’t – just because love is a verb, not a noun, and it’s the hardest, most beautiful gift of life?

  2. What do you love doing that you aren’t doing? Furthermore, how could you get paid for doing what you love? It’s your right to be alive every second of the day.

  3. What person or type of person would you choose as a life companion? A witness to your life? When you say your dreams out loud, you turn on the engine.

  4. Where do you want to live? Are you happy with your life where you are? There’s nothing more inspiring and motivating than good company and an environment that reflect and support your mission.

  5. What do you want to accomplish? And most importantly, why — what’s your motivation? Be unrealistic. Life itself is unrealistic. Your very existence is as random, impossible and unrealistic as it gets. Only unrealistic people accomplish extraordinary things.

  6. What do you want to be remembered by? Write it down. This is the woman who ____. Take your time.

  7. What kind of life would “make you jealous“? And why? If you could start over, what would your life look like, right now?

  8. What adventures do you want to have? Can you list five?

  9. If you had to add something to humanity, what would your contribution be? List at least one. The good news is that whatever the answer to this question, you’ll enjoy doing it. Your mission is encrypted in your blueprint.

  10. What are your ghosts? Your unspoken demons? The stuff you keep in your closet under a lock? What are you most deeply afraid of? Say it out loud. Get real with yourself.

  11. What are your favorite memories? Can you picture four or five instances in your childhood you are fond of? What’s that common denominator, the deepest statement about you and life, that lies at the core of them? There is usually only one – or two life-altering statements that come up when you dig. How can you live from that same belief now? How can you transform your current experiences so they begin with that same idea – that fueled your most cherished childhood memories?

  12. Who do you love the most? What 10 people would you put on a lifeboat in case of end of the world? Do you eat, drink and sleep every day? Then love everyday too.

  13. What worries you the most? Why? List even the most trivial worries. And if any of these worries came true, do you think you could survive?

  14. What type of people inspire you and make you come alive? What people — at this point in your life — add to the truest equation of YOU?

  15. What type of people bring you down and make you hate yourself? We each have a choice – to give and to take love — and whether we are aware of it or not, we choose the people we give to and take from. You are responsible for your heart’s investments.

  16. Who are your mentors? What have they taught you? Writers, thinkers, teachers, people who’ve shown you the way at some point, and the beautiful mystery of life made sense in their hands. You owe them a mention on your lips and in your heart; and you must pay it forward and become a way-shower to someone else.

  17. What is your cosmic elevator pitch? Not your job description, not your professional bio, not your resume, not your About page. In short, who are you – raw, unedited, wild, ordinary and extraordinary you? What does it come down to? And why?

  18. What issues can you help with? We’re in trouble as a planet, as a species, as a global community, and as individuals. It’s not a choice, actually. If you want to live here, you need to pay the toll of helping out, or your so-called-living won’t be more than a selfish idea of living.

  19. How can you express yourself creatively? Starting with the belief that we are all creative animals by nature, what’s your medium? Don’t think about profit, think only of how you can recycle your demons and become a channel for truth.

  20. How do you manage your time? What works for you? If you’re a mess, how can you get it together? Can you make a schedule, write down your routine (to help you stick to it), come up with a productivity manifesto of some sort?

  21. If you were to leave the world today, what’s your manifesto? What would you tell your children if you were forced to abandon them unexpectedly? Tell them now (even if you don’t have children).

  22. What makes you come alive? What ignites you? What makes you forget time, and space, and love, and food and water and even why – if taken to extreme?

  23. What are your most painful memories? Are you still replaying them in your mind and using them as an excuse to fuel your fear of getting hurt again? Do you think they might be keeping you from trusting your heart again?

  24. Why do you eat the way you eat and the things you eat? What do you think you should you eat that you’re not eating – and why? What can you put in your body that gives you pleasure and also respects and nourish it?

  25. What ignites your brain? What turns your light bulb on? Can you add more of that to your everyday? Get smarter? Train your brain? Evolve?

  26. What physical exercise makes you sweat it like you mean it and enjoy both, the process and the afterward feeling? If you’re not currently practicing it, can you read more about it, surround yourself with people who practice it, sign up for a class, do whatever will motivate you to practice it?

  27. What does your body need in order to function at its best? Can you make a list of what makes you feel healthiest and function optimally and try to practice it every day?

  28. What feeds your spirit? What gives you goosebumps? What makes you fall down to your knees in awe (and weep)? It has to be higher than a person (than you), and surpass your understanding. There is no awe without mystery.

  29. What are you proud of so far? What have you accomplished? What can you, at this point in your life (your circumstances, your reality), give yourself a hug for?

  30. Fast-forward to your epitaph. What does it say?

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