I’m in the middle of a deep reset. This is a time in which I’m assessing my current practices, how I spend my time, where I focus, and deciding what habits and practices I want to keep or change. Having just finished my MBA and received tenure at work, it is a natural time to take stock and reassess. We’ll call it a midlife renaissance. This is a helpful practice to do every few years or so. I don’t do it in January, to avoid the cliché of the New Year’s resolutions that are abandoned before Valentine’s Day. Without periods of reflection, it’s easy to find yourself being productive and efficient, running 90 miles an hour, only to find out you’ve been running in the wrong direction.

Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow.

– Robert Kiyosaki

There are three major areas I’m evaluating as part of the deep reset: Work, interpersonal, and wellness.

Let’s think about the work or career realm first. It was a running joke in my MBA class that many of us pursued the degree to help figure out what we wanted to do next. Then, in our flowing graduation robes and stylish mortarboards caps, our relatives and friends gathered to watch us walk across the stage and to ask us all the same question: What are you going to do now? – And many of us felt like we were still no closer to figuring it out. No matter how old you are, I don’t think you have to know what you want to do when you grow up. But it’s helpful to have guiding principles.

In a recent discussion with the deeply thoughtful and talented Dr. Rob Orman on his Stimulus podcast, we talked about his ‘pillars’ or key principles that mattered to him. His guiding principles are to:

  • Spark joy in the lives of others.
  • Be present as much as possible.
  • Be of service.
  • Facilitate awesomeness.

By holding up his decisions and activities to the light of those principles he is able to guide his choices and priorities. For myself, my guiding principles for my work and career are that I want to:

  • Relieve suffering.
  • Solve progressively more challenging and interesting problems.
  • Be able to work with creativity and autonomy.
  • Work with great people that I can learn from.

As long as these principles hold, I would be happy with many different potential jobs or careers. It could be relieving suffering among patients, among students, among faculty, or for clients. It doesn’t matter as much what realm I am solving problems in as long as I am able to use my strengths and abilities in interesting ways to bring creative solutions. This is the first step, to figure out what themes are most important to you. In another post, I’ll tell you more about deciding what results you want.

What are the key requirements or pillars for your work or life?

Build your own dreams, or someone will hire you to build theirs.

– Farrah Gray