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.