Jun 23

Life/Work Planning – Revisited or How the Pieces of My Life Fit Together to Create An Awesome Career

Puzzle piecesWhen I first trained with Richard Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute, back in 1991, I was introduced to the concept of Life/Work Planning.  

I put the term to rest many years ago.  Now I want to pull it back out of my mind closet, and talk about the piece that has been missing in my conversations about what I really do for a living.

Bolles trained us, unrelentingly, that when you talk about career and love what you do, you are also talking about things like “mindset”, marriage, being single, your kids, where you live, who you hang out with, what you like to learn, what you enjoy doing for fun, even what movies you like to see or books you like to read.  You can only imagine how this list goes on.

There is never one-size-fits-all.  He introduced me to a system of powerfully creating the life we are meant to live that has withstood the harshest test of time.  

For the past 40+ years, others have tried to recreate his system, some with great success and others with the feel of second-hand clothing.  In my own work, because I am so powerfully aligned with his principles, I have rarely strayed, but only expanded my own philosophy of working with clients, particularly with the ADHD community.

Here is the basis of Bolle’s Life/Work Planning model –

“Life/Work Planning is based upon this truth. In seminars, workshops, and individual guidance, Life/Work Planning says to even the most hopeless client: give me the part of you that can be worked on, and can be changed, and working together we will change it.”

Life/Work Planning is what truly helps us shift from victimhood, confusion and chaos in our lives to knowing how truly powerful we are.  Bolles also tells those of us career professionals who claim to use this process, that before we teach it to others, we need to go through it ourselves.  

Although I have done this at least twice, I suggest that we all ponder the following questions and see what is on the other side:

  • “What are the experiences I have had thus far in life, which most turned me on, and which I felt I did well?”
  • “What are the skills that I most enjoyed using, in those experiences?”
  • “If I had to put those skills in an order of preference, which is the skill I most enjoy using? And is it with data, or people, or things?”
  • “What are the fields of interest I most enjoy exploring – in magazines, books, seminars, workshops, and life?”
  • “If I could not do my present job any more, but I received ten million dollars and never had to work again, what would I spend my volunteer time doing?”
  • “If I had to visit different work settings, in order to learn more about them, which ones would I most like to visit?”
  • “How could I plan to have more leisure time, more time with my loved ones and friends, now, in this present time, without waiting for retirement?”
  • “What do I want to achieve before I die?

We have all been asked these questions in one form or another, or at least many of us have.  I propose that we answer them every six months.  Like the Myers-Briggs assessment I’ve taken and give over the years, my “Type” changes twice a year.  Which is why, like Bolles, I have never put much stock in assessments, not for the “findings” to really stick. 

Any significant shift in your answers may be life-changing.

Blessings to you!

The key to a happy and fulfilling future is knowing yourself. This self-knowledge is the most important component of finding the right career.” Richard N. Bolles

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