Recently, I watched a rerun of a 2005 Stanford University commencement address by Steve Jobs. This time, though, his story about death was more meaningful. Here are his words that I keep thinking about. “I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.’ Remembering that I will be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”
So many of my clients have become stressed out, burned out, and out of balance. They are not sure just what they want, but they know they are not happy. When they answer this question “If today were the last day of my life would I want to do what I am about to do today,” they are not sure what they want, but they know they are not happy. Most of them are saying ‘no’ over and over again. If this, is you, you need to start to find clarity in what you really want. You must discover what matters most to you and it needs to be clear and specific. You have to take time to think about what you really want and what you are willing to do to achieve it. There needs to be a driving desire to act and move towards your goals.
It is important that you take time to do an audit of what is working well and what is not working well. You need to look at your short-term and long-term goals once you gain clarity on what matters most to you. Review your current situation at work, at home, with your friends, and your lifestyle. Are these areas serving you well enough to achieve what you want? How do you assess your life? Do you see what might be holding you back by keeping you safe and in your comfort zone? What do you need to let go of in order to move forward and make the changes you need? These questions are not easy, but they are essential if you want to change your answer every day from ‘no’ to ‘yes’ and find the work and life you love.
Take this reflection seriously! It is best to do it tech-free so that your thoughts and feelings will be a reality check/audit to provide the clarity to see where you are and where you want to be. When have achieved this clarity, you can then define your plans precisely so that you know exactly what you need to do to achieve your goals. Get in action so you can start saying ‘yes’ to the question every day instead of ‘no’.