A number of years ago a young man was sitting in my counselling office at his parents request. They were concerned about the decisions their son was making and hoped I would be able to help. Meeting a client who was being dragged to my office by his parents didn’t make for a promising outcome. Let’s just say their commitment to the therapeutic process was lacking which made our sessions especially challenging.
After some small talk amid long periods of silence, he slowly began opening up to me. As we talked I learned that he had only one credit to complete to graduate university. But instead of completing his course, graduating and pursuing a job in his chosen profession, he dropped out of school.
After all the hard work, not to mention the expense to get through 4 years of university, he just quit. With no warning or apparent signs that he was about to walk away from all he had worked toward, he just said, “I don’t want this.” His parents were frustrated and confused to say the least.
What would make someone choose to stop…just drop out. So close to the finish line, he just dropped out of the race. Why?
The answer wasn’t obvious to me at first and it took him a few sessions to come clean or better, to come to terms with what he was thinking. His parents (both extremely “successful”) had mapped out his life for him. They essentially made the decisions related to his school and career path. Now that graduation and a new job were on the horizon, he just couldn’t go through with it.
As you can imagine, this revelation to his parents didn’t go well. He never did graduate that program and it was a real struggle to come to terms with what he was going to do. Aside from disappointing his parents, he had no idea what he wanted to do or what he wanted his life to look like. He told me that he spent so much of his life living his parents plan for his life, that he never took the time to come up with his own.
“I spent so much of my life living my parents plan for my life, I never took the the time to come up with my own.”
By the way, it’s well documented that young people aged 15 to 24 are more likely to be diagnosed with a mental illness and/or substance use disorders than any other age group. While there are many factors to consider, one I believe, is the struggle this age group has in finding their autonomy to make decisions.
As a parent, I hope I can be a positive influence and offer guidance to my children; I believe that is part of my responsibility. But at some point they must make decisions for themselves.
Key #2 Live YOUR Best Life Now
Are you living your best life now? I think it’s a relevant question at any age. Are you intentional in the choices you make? In a recent post I mentioned 3 reasons to pursue our dreams. I don’t think it’s ever too late to consider what they are.
Last week we looked at a simple exercise to evaluate the various areas of your life. You can check it out here.
How do you know if you are living your best life now?
The following is a sample of statements that can help you determine if you are living the life you are meant to live.
Which of the following are true of you?
- I understand my 3 greatest strengths and live them regularly.
- I have a clear understanding of what I am uniquely good at.
- I know my life purpose.
- I am striving to achieve 3 goals this year.
- I have a clear plan for achieving my current goals.
- My family is aligned around clear values.
- My spouse and I are best friends.
- I have a plan for my physical health and follow it.
- I don’t compare my life to those around me.
- I am growing spiritually through spiritual activities such as prayer, involvement in a local church and reading the Bible.
- I am living within my financial means.
- I am generous.
- I have healthy friendships where strength, love & encouragement are shared.
- I enjoy a hobby and recreational activities.
- I participate in activities that help me grow personally (ie read, take online classes)
So how did you do? Out of the 15 statements, which ones are true of you today? In what areas would you like to make some changes?
My client was in a difficult place because up to that point he wasn’t living the life he really wanted to live. He had deferred to his parents wishes but finally decided he had to make a change…a drastic one.
Each of us has the opportunity to make decisions and choices to live the life we are meant to live.
Are you living YOUR best life now?
If you have questions and would like to explore life coaching but you’re not sure where to begin, contact me to arrange an initial free 30 minute call. Let’s talk.