Lemonade Life Planning?
I’m Margaret. I’ve had good jobs and bad. I’ve done some things well, made mistakes, learned lessons and coped with the unreasonable. I’ve started businesses that are still going after 10 years so something’s working. And yes, life is good.
I’m fascinated by the question “How does it work?”. Over the years I’ve applied the question to many different aspects of life… it started my research career, my love affair with learning, my inspiration with people and growth.
My life plan started by accident – following my university studies, learning the basics, moving around from job to job, not so much of a career plan as chasing whatever was just in front of my nose. I then began to think about establishing a career rather than having a succession of jobs. Moving from being a postdoctoral researcher to a university lecturer isn’t such a simple transition to make. I had to consider what further skills I needed to master, what connections needed to be made in order to get a good publication record, to attract grant funding in a highly competitive environment and to become a valued colleague…
And while I focussed on my work, the hours became longer, the weekends shorter. I needed to perfect my time management, prioritisation and planning skills just to keep my head above water.
As I approached my forties – yes, time for that proverbial mid-life crisis – I seemed to gain greater clarity. A number of things happened that put so many other experiences into perspective – my parents became frail and needed more active support even though they lived a significant distance from me. Working during the week then travelling to care for parents at weekends was a breeding ground for overwhelm.
I began to see the building blocks of my career very clearly indeed and at exactly the same time I gained a sense of how those same blocks might be totally rearranged to create something – I wasn’t sure quite what – but I knew it could be a very different career path that would allow me to work, to care and to play.
I realised that by living my best life I could also be a better colleague, more focussed, more creative. As I understood myself and my vision I became more grounded, owned my own authority, trusted my choices.
The very act of daring to create a plan for my life shaped events that also made time for my friends, for my family, for me.
At first my plans were very general, vague, tentative. As I learned to trust myself and more importantly, began to take different actions, amazing things happened. Coincidences, allies appearing, opportunities arriving… Over a period of years I made several shifts that allowed me to learn new skills that were valuable in my workplace – managing staff, supervising students, advising colleagues – and also prepared me to launch new business ventures in delivery of coaching and training programmes.
I finally realised that a successful career is just part of the picture. Planning for a better life gives a more balanced perspective and that balance needs to be dynamic, flexible and responsive to the events that make up real people and their real lives.
How’s your life plan looking right now? I’d be really happy to work with you to create a plan that’s just right for you!
In my blog I share some of my experiences, my reflections, my challenges. Why not have a look to see if this sounds like something you’re interested in. Do sign up for my occasional newsletter and download a copy of the free report “5 Ways to Sweeten Life’s Lemons”.