Are You Living Your Life by Accident?

accidents of lifeDid you ever ask yourself:  Am I living my life by accident?

Most people haven’t.  Yet, most people do live their lives by accident.

When accidents turn out well, we’re happy and we build a life accordingly.  However, some accidents are not so pleasant and don’t make us happy but we feel we have to “stick it out” for a variety of reasons – our mortgage, our family needs, our car payment, our retirement fund, our job.

Accidents Looking for Success

Many people decided that they would work anywhere which offered a pension and top benefits – that was the first criteria – it didn’t matter whether it were in government or business and it didn’t matter what job they were assigned.

Others wanted only to work for government because it was the “iron rice bowl” of all jobs – you likely would never get fired, you’d have good benefits, not have to do a lot of work, great vacation time and a good pension – all you had to do is do minimum work and keep your head down.

Others decided they wanted to be in a profession a sure thing with social status attached – a doctor, lawyer, dentist, etc – and they went to school, passed the exams and took on the role.

Others couldn’t decide what to do and followed other people’s advice.  They got the training, landed a job and met requirements.

Yet, others, not happy in a particular job and feeling ambitious, bravely undertook career moves which they thought would get them to higher positions.  For some, it materialized; for others, the path was not successful.

And still others followed the path of looking for something which could offer them an outlet for their passion and find a job they loved to do every single day.  Again, some found that happiness while others never were able to locate just the right “thing” that made them rush out of bed in the morning to start another great day.

The Drivers of the “Accidents”

1.  Money

2.  Pleasing others

3.  Ambition

4.  Indecision

5.  Passion

6.  Security

7.  Social Status

Which driver drove your decisions about your career?

Did you think about it when you chose your life’s work?

How about the other parts of your life?

Did you purposely select each part or “did it just happen”?

Did you decide your life’s work say, like this group:

—-   from an early age, they decided what work they wanted to do for the rest of their lives.  They found out what was needed to get where they were going, planned their future as much as possible, interviewed employers to determine whether it was a fit or not, and, when they landed the job they wanted by design, they guided their careers step-by-step through the maze of the workplace.  How often will you find these people?  Not often.  How did they know to work such a plan?  Some say that they found a mentor early on and others were guided by their parents and yet others discovered this planning strategy totally by accident.  It made sense to them, and they followed it – it worked.

Eventually, however, everyone comes to the same conclusion – you really do have to plan where you want to be and how you are going to get there.  The how involves a lot of reading, connecting with people who are already doing what you want to be doing to find out what is required and, hopefully, connecting with a couple of people who are willing and able to either coach or mentor you along the way.  You design and plan; work the plan adjusting as required; continually connect with those willing to help you and you keep track of your progress.  Adjusting the plan is mandatory because situations or the economy or other factors change and the plan needs to adapt to changes.

And so it is with everything in one’s life.  There are choices.

Is it ever too late?

Perhaps.  It may be too late to become an Olympic athlete or a star basketball player with the big leagues.  It may be too late to become the head of a major corporation or it may be too late to become a great race car driver.

Think of Grandma Moses – she became a well-known painter after the age of 80 – her kids were grown and she decided to paint.  Think of Winston Churchill – was he too old to lead England to victory over the Germans?  Or how about Cornelius Vanderbilt – was he too old in his 70’s to become a railroad entrepreneur when all of his life had been devoted to the shipping business?  How about the 50-year old who did commercials for Bowflex in a bikini – was she too old?!

There are a multitude of examples of people going back to school, finishing a degree and doing the work they’ve always longed to do!  How about you?  Where are you in the spectrum?  Are you willing to strike out and plan your new life?  Or will your life simply continue as it has been – a life lived by accident?

The choice is yours.

Is it easy?  No and especially in the economic upheavals we are currently experiencing.  For many people, this is a time of survival – get a job, any job just to put food on the table.  Can they still live the life they want?  Yes.  Though it will take longer and may suffer some setbacks along the way because of situations out of their control but when the sun shines through again, they’ll be ready to glow!

Why is it a good thing? Because it keeps the flame of hope alive!  That is all we have – hope – and when hope no longer exists, it’s difficult to keep going.  However, when you are working your plan, hope is alive and well no matter what else you have to do.

What will your choice be? Do leave me a comment on my blog and let me know how you are doing – what you’ve decided to do with the rest of your life!

And pick up, for free, my version of goal setting – it’s a twist which may very well, for the first time in your life, have you setting and achieving goals.  Just sign up to my blog and you’ll have access immediately – what a great way to get ready for 2011!!!

Lorraine Arams

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