The other day I noticed how often people, including me, focus on achieving something or owning things. Goals, more often than not, tend to be about owning a house (or two), a new car, a new computer, a better job, the latest iPhone or whiz bang electronic device and on the list goes. But what if there’s more to life than accomplishments and things.
Yeah sure I think having a nice home and a reliable car are important. As is doing meaningful work. But having the latest, the best, the biggest… well that’s not so important to me, how about you?
So what could be more important? I’ve just finished reading Brene Brown’s book “The gifts of imperfection” (a great read!) and she talks about creating a joy and meaning list.
What is important
Brene and her husband made a list of what makes their family work. To do this they asked themselves “when things are going really well in our family, what does it look like?”. I did a similar thing when I was considering leaving full time employment, except my question was “when I’m feeling most happy about my life, what does it look like?”.
A joy and meaning list
Here are just some of the things Brene and her husband came up with … sleep, working out, healthy food, weekends away, being present with their children, a sense of control over money, and time with family and close friends.
On my list I have some similar things and a few others. Here’s some of them … contributing to the community, healthy food, weekends away, adventures with family and friends, playing, walking along the beach and reading.
Wow, compare that joy and meaning list with a list of accomplishments and things. Quite different aren’t they. I’m a big fan of goals, but we need to understand our motives and what’s driving us to achieve those particular goals. I’m not saying ditch your goals but maybe it’s time to relook at them.
Accomplishments and things, or joy and meaning (or both)
For me, the joy and meaning list is more important and it shapes the goals I work towards. It takes the pressure off - no longer is the focus on working longer and longer hours to pay off debt or to buy the latest toys. Nor is it about sacrificing time with family and friends for things.
Suddenly, as if by magic, priorities are much clearer and that creates a sense of meaning and peace. How? Well what you strive for and who you are is now centred around the life you want to live rather than just achieving or owning things.
I love to work, I like to have a nice home and a reliable car. I’m always looking to grow. But the motivation is not for a title or power. It’s not about being better than the ‘next door neighbour’. It’s about creating the life I want to live.
Take time to create your own joy and meaning list. It’s easy to do. Find a quiet space or a space that you feel most happy in. Put the question you want to answer on a piece of paper and write down everything that comes to mind. No judgement or criticism is required! Just put down what you think and feel.
I’d love to hear how creating the list impacts on your view of what’s important and any changes you make. Your life is what you make of it, what do you choose to give your attention, energy and focus to?
Live your life as only you can! - Tracey x
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