Choose Your Life

The other day I mentioned that I was also reading two personal / professional development books. One of them is Choose Your Life by Jim Huling. I’m reading this as part of a book club with WLA – Women’s Leadership Alliance – that is professional leadership development organization at Piedmont.

When this book was announced as the next book club selection, I knew I would sign up. Just the title appeals to me. I am a huge advocate of personal responsibility and that you have and live the life you choose.
Several years ago, I had a girlfriend who was in a moderately abusive relationship. I can remember telling her over and over, “He will only treat you the way you allow him to treat you.” (Man if I had only taken my own advice!) Anyway, it is along this same vein of thought that I believe you do choose the life you live. If you are over-worked, over-stressed, under-appreciated, under paid, it is because you have allowed yourself to be so. If your work life dominates the rest of your life, it is because you have not set boundaries to prohibit it from doing so.
I know this may sound harsh to some, but it is absolutely the truth. If there is some aspect of your life you are unhappy with, I bet that there is some boundary that you should have set that you haven’t kept. Now for me to sound like the preacher, not every aspect of my life reflects this knowledge. However, for those areas, I do accept responsibility and don’t look to outside circumstances to blame.
So anyway, I realize this is sounding like whole lot of me talking & not much about the book, but the book – at least what I’ve read so far – is right in line. Jim was in a job that kept him on the road and away from his family when he had his wake up call. In the first part of this book he has you list all of your “LifeDimensions” – for me Scott’s wife; friend to X,Y & Z; Aunt to 1, 2, 3 & 4; so on & so forth. Then, you rank these in importance to you, grade yourself on how you think you’re doing in those categories and identify each that you haven’t spent at least 5 hours in the last month focusing on. A very enlightening exercise for those with priorities out of whack.

In the chapter that I just finished, Jim poses these two questions:
1. Are you living exactly the life you want to live?
2. Do you have the courage to redefine your life?

It is that second question that is the crux of most folks’ issues. I’ll keep you posted on progress.


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3 Replies to “Choose Your Life

  1. For the sake of debate, I have two comments:
    1) Where, if at all, does practicality play into choosing your life? For example, you don’t love your job, so you try to find a new one. You look for a year to no avail. Yes, you could just walk out without a job, but you also know you have a mortgage, groceries and need medical insurance. How do you live the life you want to live in the face of those realities?
    2) I believe, to a certain extent, that there is a plan for all of us, and that often we are “kept” in certain situations to either teach us a lesson/help us grow or to use us as a way to teach someone else a lesson/help them grow. Again, how does this play into choosing your life?
    Just thoughts for discussion, perhaps over a glass or two of wine! 😉

  2. Bunny- For the sake of debate. . .
    1. You are absolutely right on #1. . . he wrote this book when we were in a different economy & turning in your resignation didn't have the same implications that it does today. I think he would say that you don't make a decision in one area of your life (your job) that would put at risk another, more important area of you life (health of family).
    2. I think there is a difference between enduring something for season to learn a lesson and living in a environment or in a way of life that is harmful to your real goals. For Jim, when he had his wake up call, he was working 100 hours a week & traveling 100% of the time. That was a way of life that he wanted to change. Now he has a new job & is living out another passion – writing and speaking. I'm sure he still has times where he works more than he would like to a week & travels so that he is away from his family. The difference is, "Is it for a season, or a way of life?" But you are right, we all go through / live through times of our life that are not ideal, but in the end, they get us to a higher place.

    Good points – good discussion! Thanks!

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