Annie rushed through the busy coffee shop, steaming latte in one hand, phone buzzing in the other. She let out a “whoosh” of a sigh as she dropped into her seat. Apologizing for running late, she began a litany of excuses, making it clear she was everyone’s go-to person for getting things done.
She had always been that person, no matter how exhausting, and she did it with a smile. But life changed for Annie. Her parents experienced health issues as they aged. Her kids got older and would soon be leaving home. Since the pandemic, she realized her values changed – she wanted to be more intentional with her time and energy. She felt a new chapter brewing for her – things she wanted to do, passions to explore, purposes to be discovered.
As our conversation flowed that day, Annie suddenly looked at me with wide eyes. “What if I’m still becoming? What if… all the hard and heavy experiences over the last few years have led me to this moment? What if I’m evolving into the person I’m actually meant to be?”
I’ve had countless conversations just like this over the last couple of years. I’ve watched young moms wonder what they will do as their kids become more independent. I’ve watched career women decide the constant climbing isn’t enough anymore; they want their contributions to “mean something.” I’ve chatted with couples who achieved their dreams and are ready for the “next big thing” to work toward together. Every single conversation comes down to: What do you really want? And what’s next?
As a Joy Coach, I get to guide people through getting absolute clarity about what they really want for their life; assessing the challenges standing in their way and providing a safe space to create forward movement, build momentum, and celebrate with joy as they create a life they love. Each person’s journey is unique, but I always start with these 5 steps:
5 Steps to Begin Asking “What’s Next?”
- Take a Break. Running from one thing to the next doesn’t allow us the time to check in with ourselves. Schedule in a small amount of time each day or a couple of hours on the weekend just for you. Use this time to let your Spirit relax and reconnect to your core self.
- Create a Vision. Set aside a couple of hours as a personal retreat. Set up your space to provide comfort and inspiration, relaxation and reflection. Take some deep breaths and let your mind wander. Imagine your future self one year from today – your best self, the person you feel yourself evolving into. As you look around this vision, notice what you really want for your life. Enjoy the feelings that come up and hold them tight! As you hold this vision in your mind, finish this sentence starter: “I Am _____.” This is the word you will be living into. This is “what’s next.”
- Set Intentions. You’ve created a beautiful vision of the person you are evolving into, now it’s time to get practical. In your journal, write your “I Am” statement. Then for each of these 6 life areas (Health, Love, Connection to That Which is Greater, Career, Finances, Rest/Play), write down 1-2 intentions of how you will live into this area as someone who already is your “I Am.”
- Anchor your Vision. Write down what you saw and felt as you imagined your future you. Attach your vision to a physical object (or more than one) that connects to one of your senses. You might create a Vision Board, write a reminder on a post-it to put on your mirror, or find a scent reminding you of the life you’re being called towards. Every time you see, smell, taste, touch, or hear your anchor you will be prompted to check-in with that vision. How are you stepping into that future you? What could you do to lean in more fully?
- Small Changes. As you set intentions and create small steps to move forward, the key is small steps. We don’t evolve overnight. We become over time with life experiences, expanding physically, mentally, and emotionally. By choosing to create small steps towards the life we envision, we give ourselves grace. Too big of changes are a sure-fire way to get frustrated, give up, and feel the awful grip of failure. But small steps? Even 1% change is change in the right direction.
Annie started here and now has a life she loves, blending her passions and her career, living into her “second chapter” purpose. Now it’s your turn… How are you evolving? What’s next for you?
Megan Adams is a certified Health, Life, and Transformational Coach trained in High Performance Habits and the founder of Ignite Joy Life-Coaching. Megan’s passion is empowering women to choose a life they love. No more “going through the motions” or being driven by “shoulds” when there is a world of possibilities waiting to be explored! With curiosity, intention, and a splash of fun, Megan helps you explore what your heart is yearning for – and then helps you get to work honoring that vision by nurturing your body, mind, and spirit.