As we begin another new year with new goals (or recycled ones), people are eager to make those lasting changes once and for all. To find a new career direction, to awaken their passion, to purposefully live their values. What if you had your own personal crystal ball to tell your future? What would you like to see? I often will give my coaching clients a visioning exercise as homework. I ask them to write in present tense about various aspects of their lives when they have reached their goals or their dream life. Here is the exercise if you want to play along: •Describe your relationships •Describe your job or career •Describe your physical surroundings (home, vacation home, office) •Describe your health •Describe your community (faith group, volunteer work, neighborhood, etc.) Remember to write this in present tense, like “I have a rewarding job creating value for clients. I receive numerous referrals because of my excellent work. I cherish my flexible work hours which allows me to participate in my children’s school activities … ” Write whatever is the ideal for you. It’s amazing how descriptive people will get in writing out their best future. I did this exercise many years ago with my first coach and it was incredible how much of it “came true.” I bought the house I described in the visioning exercise and I became a coach at the exact age I said I would. I’m way overdue to tackle this exercise again. As a precursor to the exercise, I have been paying attention to friends and family who are ten or more years older than I am. They provide the ideas for my crystal ball. I watched my friend and fellow coach Sandy get her PhD and think, “Wow, I’d love to take more classes and get another degree.” I watched my friend, Jocelyn, completely reinvent her life at age 64 after financial hardship with the recession and a sad divorce. She is back living in her home country, England, and is tutoring kids, traveling and marveling at the wonderful life she has created. She is happy. And lately my role model has been my aunt Mimi. A graduate of the hospitality school at Michigan State University in the late fifties, she worked and then went on to marry my uncle Jack and raise six kids. After my uncle Jack passed away, my aunt received lots of invitations from the family to come visit. After she made the rounds (including a trip to East Lansing to visit us and see MSU with her college roommate), everyone remarked how fun it was to have her visit. She is positive, active, interesting and people love being around her. Yeah, that’s what I want to be when I grow up. She volunteers at the Salvation Army, at the local library and on the board of her apartment building. She’s a killer bridge player and avid reader. She and my Mom are constantly trading good books. And she travels. In the past year, my aunt Mimi has been to the Grand Canyon, the Carolinas, taken a hot air balloon ride and went to Vegas. This is in addition to visiting her six kids, fourteen grandkids and various nieces and nephews. The pattern I see in these fine women is a desire to continue to learn, an effort to be connected with others and a chance to give back. Good lessons for all of us as we think about what future we want to create. At the start of this new year, make those resolutions for 2015, but also keep in mind what you want to see as you look into your own crystal ball ten years down the road. Start work now on the person you’d like to become. I wish you all a healthy, prosperous and inspiring New Year!
Susan Combs, MBA and Professional Certified Coach, works with coaching clients to create fresh starts, enhance their leadership skills and increase their confidence. She is an authorized licensee of the Fit Leader's Program. Susan provides one-on-one coaching, DiSC team-building training and manages corporate mentor programs. She lives in Lansing with her son, Max, and their golden retriever puppy. Visit SusanCombsCoaching.com or MentorRoadmap.com for more information.