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Step 9 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Become the Person You Were Meant to Be

Throughout this 9-part series on my blog and podcast, you’ve been learning that any transitional period can create a sense of confusion, anxiety, and dissatisfaction. Sometimes a crisis or loss will trigger feelings of anxiety and even panic. Sometimes there is an underlying discontent that has gone unchecked for a long time, and you ask, “Is this all there is?”

But it is precisely at such times that you have the opportunity to gain a new perspective – develop a new focus.

Today I’ll share an example of two siblings who grew up in the same household, but whose lives took dramatically different directions based on how they framed their circumstances.

Step 8 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Celebrate and Affirm Your Work

garden watering can and trowel

Gardens are never complete. Sometimes new dirt is needed, fertilizer spread, gravel replaced, old plants and bushes removed, trees trimmed, and new plants planted.

But to the gardener, once the initial design is in place, it is a joy to continue to build, refine and maintain their garden. It is an ongoing labor of love.

Your life, too, is constantly evolving. You take a vision, develop a design, and work it out with goals. You may want to alter parts of your design or add more to it. But it all becomes an exciting project because you already know where you want to go.

Today on my blog and podcast, you’ll get a toolbox of 10 essential life skills you can apply anytime, anywhere.

Step 7 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Plan Your Goal

Step 7 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Plan Your Goal

Goals enable us to accomplish what is really important to us. It involves ongoing evaluation and monitoring to correct time frames, remove obstacles, or break into smaller components if necessary. When replacing an established habit, for example, it takes time to put a new one in place.

Goal-setting helps us become aware of all the things we could accomplish that seemed impossible before.

Creating that goal statement and developing a specific plan of action is both exciting and keeps us on course. Goals need to be personal and have value to us.

Today on my blog and podcast, I’ll show you the basic components of any goal and give you an example of my own goal-setting process.

Step 6 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Activate Your Plan

Why You Should Create a Formal Goal Plan | FocusWithMarlene.com

In Step 5 you reviewed the different areas of your life and wrote down the concerns and changes you wanted to make.

Look over your list. Which area will you work on first?

When you choose a goal to work on, ask yourself whether you have all the information you need to activate that goal.

  • Have you defined specifically what you want the outcome to be and why it is important to you?
  • What other goal(s) may be linked to the one you have chosen? For example, if your goal is to dimmish conflict, an associated one might be to build a better relationship. Also involved is learning how to communicate effectively.

Step 5 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Develop a Design

Step 5 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Develop a Design

Today on my podcast and blog, I’ll show you an example of a goal development inventory and will provide you with questions to help you develop a design for each of these areas:

  • Personal growth
  • Family
  • Physical/Health
  • Intellectual or education
  • Social
  • Spiritual
  • Financial/Time Management

Read or listen now…

Step 4 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Develop a Vision

Step 4 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Develop a Vision

Before we put any plan of action or design together, we need to be able to define exactly what we want to accomplish – not just for the short term, but also the long term.

Lots of ideas and dreams never come to fruition because they remain romantic fairy tales or ideals that haven’t been developed into a workable vision.

Today on my blog and podcast, I’ll ask a series of questions that will help you clarify your hopes and dreams.

Step 3 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Become an Architect

Step 3 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Become an Architect

Before designing a building, an architect looks at the status of the soil and determines what things need to be removed and what underground restrictions need to be considered.

Just as an architect analyzes the conditions he or she is working with, we too, need to examine and evaluate what we are working with in our personal life. Our “soil” might be tainted with ongoing anger or bitterness, constant conflict or blaming.

What things need to be removed, acknowledged, or resolved before you can begin building the life you want?

Today on my blog and podcast, I’ll walk you through 8 questions to help you determine who you are so you can decide what changes you might want to make.

Step 2 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Explore Your Gravel Pit

gravel in the mountains

What is in your gravel pit?

Everyone has a gravel pit of some kind in their background, whether it is the scars from childhood or the constant disappointment and despair in the present.

It may be the result of continuous scolding as a kid growing up with little encouragement. Perhaps there were constant comparisons with others or name-calling by other kids. Perhaps you were given a nickname that was hurtful or belittling.

When we take time to examine what is in our gravel pit, we can heal old wounds and replace negative self-talk with affirming statements.

Today on my blog and podcast, I’ll walk you through a five-question exercise that will help you examine the things that keep you from achieving your goals.

Step 1 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Start Where You Are

tree of life

Whether constructing a sunken garden or building a house, we begin by evaluating what we have to work with.

What do I have and what do I need?

I was involved in building three homes. Each required not only construction plans for the house, but also an adequate plot of land, lot preparation and, after construction, landscaping. When it all comes together it forms a unique beauty all its own.

When examining the steps involved in building a new home, there are many commonalities we can apply. It takes a desire and then a vision, an architect to help in the design, a cost analysis in time, money and materials, a plan of action, motivation, and commitment.

A Landscaping Plan for Your Life

Turn Your Gravel Pit into A Beautiful Garden | focuswithmarlene.com

Years ago, working with people in transition, I put together a program called “Turn Your Gravel Pit into a Beautiful Garden.” Many of the people in the class came from difficult backgrounds and felt discouraged. The wounds experienced over a lifetime dug deep into their spirits, leaving long-lasting doubts and fears.

I used the internationally renowned Butchart Gardens as an example of how we can turn tragic events – whether an abusive childhood, broken marriages or relationships or simply struggling to make ends meet – into something beautiful and welcoming. It was an architectural concept that could be applied to the creation of our own plan for life that provided beauty, peace, and purpose.

Here is a short version of that program.