To Be or Not To Be
A musician must make music, an artist must paint,
a poet must write if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.
What one can be, one must be. ~Abraham Maslow
Are you a musician, an artist, a poet, a mathematician, an engineer, a doctor, a chemist, a teacher, a baker, a preacher…?
Following Maslow’s argument, you must do what you are capable of doing in order to experience harmony in life. That’s when you actualize to fulfill your purpose. You need to become who you truly are.
What can you be?
The question may be too abstract to answer. Try answering it in more concrete terms. Here you go:
Step 1 – Define Your Dream Life
Pretend you woke up one day and realized you have everything you truly wanted. Money is not an issue. You were mobile and free. You came fully alive.
- What would you be doing?
- How would you be feeling?
- Where would you be?
- How was life different than before?
- What would stay the same?
- Who would be in your life?
If you want to live your dream, do this exercise for yourself. The more specific your answers to the above questions, the clearer the picture of your ideal life. When you’re done dreaming, wake up and do the planning.
Step 2 – Plan Your Dream Life
What resources do you need to create your ideal life?
- Resources can be external or internal.
- External resources can be time, money, education, knowledge, skills, techniques, equipment, tools, materials, books, people, etc.
- Internal resources can be your energy level, mental capacity, physique, spiritual connection, etc.
What actions do you need to take for your ideal life to happen?
- Break down your plan into smaller, manageable chucks. For example, a 12-month plan, 3-year plan, 5-year plan, 10-year plan, 15-year plan, etc.
- Create some milestones for each plan. A milestone is a significant event, e.g. graduation.
- Further breakdown your plan by identifying key activities.
Step 3 – Execute Your Plan
- Plan your work, work your plan.
- Most projects fail at the implementation phase. Actually performing the tasks is the real test. Can you do it? Will you do it? How do you do it right? You get the idea.
Step 4 – Loop back to Step 2 – Refine Your Plan
- Sustainable change requires commitment to continuous improvement. Having the desire is not enough. Merely talking about your goals will not get you there. Consistently working towards where you want to be is the key. If something is lacking, ask why, address the gap, and keep moving.
Allison Takes Risks
My friend, Allison is in the process of reinventing herself. She’s transitioning her role from a school teacher to a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner. So she set aside four years to complete her TCM diploma, which will help her reach her goal. She set these target dates and milestones to guide her planning process:
Allison’s 2nd Career Dream
Jan 2014 Submit application to the TCM diploma program
Sep 2014 Start TCM study
Sep 2017 Travel abroad for a six-month TCM Internship in China
Aug 2018 Complete TCM practitioner diploma
Oct 2018 Pass the Ontario Acupuncturist licensing exam
Nov 2018 Allison’s Acupuncturist Clinic in operation
Journey vs. Destination
To a lot of people, the fun part happens when the results are evident. For instance, completing a number of oil paintings is a tangible outcome for an artist, which is the result of many tasks leading up to it. Every finished painting puts that artist closer to her goal of presenting work in an art show. This may have been her major milestone that took five years to fulfill. As an artist, her life mission is to exemplify the beauty of this world by capturing nature on canvas. She will continue to enjoy her paintings as long as she lives.
Just remember, plans may change. It’s important to make allowances for unexpected events, and you may have to re-align your priorities. Without a plan, it’s like driving to an exotic place without a destination in mind.
However, the journey is as important as the destination. Enjoy the process, reflect often, celebrate each milestone, evaluate, and improve where you need to grow.
“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” ~George Eliot
I invite you to share your re-invention story here.
Who do you want to become?
What is the secret for your success?
What is holding you back?