A life review can be life changing.
AS A BURNOUT COACH,
I work with people who are at risk of – or in – burnout every day. I also work with incredibly talented and passionate people about something they do or want but are frozen in fear to lean into or pursue it due to societal norms. Others are simply looking for that elusive work/life balance while still wanting to have it all (I call bullsh*t – that is a misnomer). I take all my clients through some sort of life review when they begin coaching with me. Why? Because a life review allows one to really dig down deep inside to re-discover what is truly most important.
We leave a lot of ‘us’ on the cutting room floor when life gets busy and filled with responsibilities and commitments. This is where I like to start with new clients; that cutting room floor.
FIRST, WHAT IS A LIFE REVIEW?
I actually consulted the Googleverse on this for the most accurate definition for you and found the Wiley Online Library fits it best: A process that involves the recollection as well as the evaluation of positive and negative memories. Of course, Wikipedia’s interpretation is more to its original intent, albeit a little darker, referring to an end-of-life review, as in your life ‘flashing before your eyes’. I lean towards and utilize the Wiley definition in my coaching every day, even though I never knew it was called this.
WHAT SORT OF QUESTIONS ARE PART OF A LIFE REVIEW?
These are the questions you never thought to seek answers to but are highly impactful. Knowing the answers to these questions can change the course of your life or solidify your current trajectory.
What did you like about yourself back then, and what couldn’t you stand about yourself then? What did you value then and have those values changed for you now? What were you really good at? What was one thing you always did so confidently and effortlessly that others would ask you, “how do you do that so easily?’.
When you start finding answers (inside you) to questions you never considered, you are reviewing your life. A life review.
What did you suck at then that you can laugh about now? What were you doing when you were most happy? Most miserable? And what about your proudest accomplishment? What do you regret most not trying or doing?
While your questions may have been slightly different in a self-directed life review, you came up with answers that you were not expecting. And it created change for you. A re-alignment of you.
I have added Pandemic impact questions too. What is one thing you cannot wait to do again once the world fully opens up? What is one thing you will never do again? What is one thing you will do differently than before? These are always so revealing!
A LITTLE SECRET…
When we were sent home to shelter in place or work from home, we were advised to “take care of ourselves. Rest, catch up on sleep, eat right, exercise. All these things will be good for your physical and mental well-being”.
Here’s the kicker. We should have been doing all that for ourselves all along! It feels a little like Glenda, the Good Witch, telling Dorothy “You always had the power…” ; Dorothy just needed to tap into it. Just as we as humans do. It is a forgotten core requirement to living life to your fullest.
There actually is a word for this, a term. It’s called self-care and it is just as important as eating right, taking care of your mental fitness, and physical exercise. It blows my mind that it took a pandemic for the mass media and medical community to speak openly of this. As a coach – not even a burnout expert, simply as a coach – self-care is vital to everyone’s well-being.
People had a lot of time to take care of themselves when they were in lockdown (if they chose to). They had a lot of time to ask themselves – and their family members – some of these reflective questions. And they made new choices based on what they discovered. Choices that better aligned with who they were yesterday, and who they want to be tomorrow. Choices aligned with their values and their individual need to belong. In the right place.
I LOVE ALL THE SHIFTS I’M SEEING IN 2021
It’s exciting and motivating to watch others take control of their lives in ways they never imagined they could. People marvel at my life all the time. I did my own Life Review at 48 years old and didn’t even know that that was what I was doing. I figured out what kind of life I wanted to lead moving forward, then built a new career around it. The best part of my life now is watching others do the same for themselves.
I do want to acknowledge that for some, current life changes are not a result of a personal life review and that the shift in their life was not anything they saw coming or wanted for themselves – it was pandemic driven, especially for a lot of women. I hope that eventually, everyone will find their way to the best that a life review can bring them, even if it is in a roundabout way.
What is the biggest change in your life you have made as a result of your own life review?