How I transformed my life from living “the” dream to living my dream.
Who doesn’t want to live the dream? Certainly after a decade of my ambitious 20’s I was expecting to be living the dream when I hit my 30’s. I had lots of the pieces of “the dream” in place. I had gotten my Master’s degree, and was living on the outskirts of Boston working in the high-tech field during the great dot com bubble. I was earning good wages and by all accounts doing well as a career-oriented young professional. But I wasn’t happy.
I was starting the process of looking for a new career, but I had no idea what I wanted to do. I was incredibly fortunate that a job fair that I went to had a group of life coaches who were giving away 15 minute sessions. I didn’t know about life coaching at the time, but I had 15 minutes to spare and felt that I could really use some guidance. Looking back at it now, I realize that was a pivot point in my life. I hired a coach.
Through coaching I assessed not just my strengths (after all, following my strengths led me to an unsatisfying career in software) but my values. I gained an understanding of what I value and what makes me happy. Then, I assessed career choices based on those values. Through a set of exercises I decided what I really wanted to do was to be an ADHD coach. I started training and making the choices that led me to a coaching career. I realized that once I was coaching I didn’t need to live in the Boston area. I didn’t need to live on the cutting edge so I could capitalize on career-improving opportunities. I moved back to Maine. With that move I brought into alignment how important my family is to me, and my dear childhood friends, and my love of nature! I stopped living the weird dual life that had me working in Boston all week and going to Maine every weekend to fuel up on love and nature.
The first steps of living the good life were in place. I was making choices based on my values.
Then next big piece that I put into place was “settling down”. Though I value independence, travel and freedom I was feeling the need to set down some roots and establish a solid relationship. Because I’m not one to leave important things to fate I wrote up the most honest, value-based profile that I could to attract the right guy. After a little bit of trial and error I met my husband online. He too had done some soul searching and posted a profile that was honest and a great depiction of what his values were. Because our values are so incredibly well aligned the next steps were actually easier! We bought and restored a 1788 farmhouse in Maine. We both love animals, so we filled the yard with farm animals. My desire to put down literal roots, not just the figurative ones led me to get my gardens established. We both have some entrepreneurial streaks and have started a business that we run together in addition to coaching.
So, more than a decade after learning to make my choices based on my values I find myself in the position where I can say that I’m no longer living “the” good life, but living my good life.
Note that living the good life doesn’t mean that I don’t get annoyed at how hard it is not to track poo into the house or how frustrated I am when my fencing fails and the pigs get loose. I have weeds in my garden and details that were never finished when restoring my house. I have ADHD. There are certainly aspects of my life that swirl out of control… more often than I’d like to admit. However, when faced with frustration, bad moods, life’s irritants I can take a step back and see how my primary values are still being met. I’m happily married, surrounded by animals, in a house full of history, in a yard surrounded by nature. A few minutes of hand feeding the chickens and assessing how lucky I am can restore my strength so I can better address what life deals me.
And that, friends, is how I transformed my life and started living my dream.
If I can do a 180 degree course correction, you can too.