Living Your Life By Design (Part I)

by Kirsten Franklin

This blog is for you, if you can identify with any of the following: ‘over worked’, ‘tired’, ‘stressed out’, ‘at your wits end’, ‘the woman trying to do it all and have it all’, however always feeling as though you are falling short.  Are you looking for a way out of your current work situation but have no idea where to begin?  The primary focus of this blog series is to assist working mothers in creating a life and lifestyle that they can attain and maintain for ultimate satisfaction in their personal lives and careers.  

Imagine, if you could change it all.  What does having it all look like for you?  The perfect family life, real time with the hubby and kids, vacation where you are not forced to put out work related fires all the time.  Not being connected to your electronic device 24/7 and having to react to everything that pops up on email and instant messaging. 

What if I said, you can have it all if you simply stop believing in the half-truths and myths and creating a plan of action.  What half-truths and myths you ask?

  • The lies you may have told yourself in the beginning, you know the one where you were thinking maybe I don’t like being a lawyer or maybe it is just this environment, but hang on it will get better, right? 
  • The story of the, “golden handcuffs”- leaving this job means making less money and you cannot live below your present means.  Leaving your current role for a different position that pays less or has you “starting over” would not work financially and therefore you must stay.
  • The myth of, “work-life balance” - where you believe that you are supposed to be “superwoman” atop of her demanding career, raising her children, maintaining a beautiful home, loving spouse/partner at her side, looking fabulous without breaking a sweat.   

I am sure you can list many more thoughts you had on how you believed like magic, once you reached your career goal, that your career and lifestyle would somehow all change and poof, you would have the dream life.

If you are reading this, you most likely acknowledge and are ready to move past these half-truths and myths.  Now, we can get to work on getting out of the “default mode” we have been living in and begin to live our life by our design.  This blog is based on my live 8-week program, Living Your Life by Design, geared toward those of us who believed the lies, are currently waking up from the dream and trying to lay the foundation to create their new reality.

In 2008, I underwent this transformation in creating my ideal life.  I had practiced as an attorney for five years, knowing the law firm environment was not for me- I struck out on my own in 2005 by opening up a title company.  By January 2008, my title company was closed due to the real estate “bubble” having burst.  

In early 2008, after closing the title company, I was under a great deal of financial pressure and took another legal position.   You know the kind of pressure I am talking about “holy cr@p!  What am I going to do!?  I have bills to pay!”  Adding to that pressure, I learned that I was pregnant with my first child and would be raising this child as a single parent.  I needed to act fast.  I knew I disliked the law firm environment, so I did what most of us have wanted to do, I went in-house.

Going in-house was unsatisfying for me.  After three months of working for the company, I quit that job and opened up my own law firm.  While my former employer served as great source of referrals to my new law firm, my firm’s connection to my former employer trigged unwanted and devastating investigations culminating in a temporary suspension of my license.   I learned my former employer was involved in investigations akin to Countrywide mortgage lawsuits that led to its eventual demise.  All of this activity led to a debilitating depression which forced me to stop working shortly after giving birth to my daughter. 

In retrospect, going through and overcoming the depression made me grateful for the forced vacation from the career I found insufferable.  These series of events caused me to question myself as to how I ended up in such a position and the forced “vacation” allowed me the time I never would have taken if I had been a single mother working as an attorney.  I learned that I was living my life by default, not by design.  I continued to fall back on a job that made me stressed out, numb and depressed.  I became aware that this further culminated into poor decision making.   

While I started the journey somewhat spiritually broken and financially broke, I was able to become very intentional about how I wanted to live my life.  To understand what type of life I wanted for myself and my daughter.  What did I want my life to look like on a daily basis and how could I get there?  I took the time to create the necessary steps and structure to create a life and lifestyle that most working mothers can only dream of.  I understood that I was living my life by default and now, I intended to live my life by design.

There are seven major steps in the Living Your Life by Design program.  They are:

1.         Areas of Life

2.         Superhero Self

3.         Goals

4.         Roadblocks (Conscious and Subconscious)

5.         Habits (Identifying)

6.         Habits (Changing and Formation)

7.         Motivation

 

This blog series we will focus on the first three steps: Areas of Life, Superhero Self and Goals.

Our journey will begin with understanding where we are currently in the Areas of Life.

 

AREAS OF LIFE:

Click on the following form: Areas of Life 

Before you begin, set aside 10-15 minutes of undisturbed time.  Pick a time and place where you will work on the following exercise.  Put this time in your calendar and make sure you turn off your phone and get family and/or your office to make sure you are not disturbed.  If you time block this and make sure you focus, this exercise should only take around 10-15 minutes.  Yes, this means turning off your phone and if you are accessing this document on your computer, do not have any other windows open, no email, etc. only this article and pdf should be up.

First, print or open up the document and review the form.  Note each of the Areas of Life and how we define them.  I want you to rate each Area of Life.  We are taking your current life temperature.  Understanding what your life looks like for you at present. 

On a scale of 1 to 10.  1- Nowhere near where I want it to be; 5- I struggle but I am surviving; and 10- This is exactly where I want that Area of Life to be.  Go down the list quickly, writing a number next to each section.  Don’t over think it.  Your first thought is typically the most accurate.

Now that you have completed the form, step back and take a look at what you have written down.  Areas that are a 5 or below are areas that you should be focusing on.  With intention, goals and an action plan, we will later work on improving these areas. 

Next month, we will begin to build that action plan when we create our Superhero Self.

Thank you for participating in this exercise.  Next month, we will focus on Step Two - defining and understanding your Superhero Self.

 

 

Kirsten Franklin is an Attorney, Legal Recruiter, Executive Coach & Founder of Career Strategists.  Her mission is to help individuals by helping them to recognize their true self-worth.  She and her company help clients understand how to identify and release any self-doubts, fears, anxieties or lack of certainty that is holding them back from achieving their life goals. Kirsten helps her clients to gain the tools necessary to lead intentional, purposeful and productive lives.  To live life by design, not default.  She has a niche in helping attorneys transition to their next big adventure.

Click here to receive a free copy of “The 5 Biggest Mistakes Derailing Your Career Change”

Nneka Norville