Listen to your life. This provocative phrase, coined by author and theologian Frederick Buechner, simply means to pay attention. If you distill coaching down to its essence, it’s really what we do, isn’t it? We help our clients pay attention to the inner voice of wisdom, using open-ended questions.
Yet, in our commitment and devotion to our clients and to the art and science of coaching, we sometimes neglect ourselves. We fail to listen to our lives.
This past weekend, I unplugged and took time to listen to my life, using a simple self-assessment. What I found challenged me to make some changes — to my health, to my schedule, and to my relationships. This week, I’m identifying ways to bring positive change to each of these areas.
What about you? When was the last time you stopped to listen to your life?
Consider using the assessment below to start listening to your life, and then pass it on to your clients.
Listen for What Is True Right Now
- What is your soul crying out for? Love? Rest? Friendship?
- What is your current state spiritually, physically, mentally, and relationally?
- What have you been resisting? A visit to the doctor? A difficult conversation?
- What are your circumstances? Are you caring for aging parents? Enjoying your children or grandchildren? Struggling with life work balance?
Listen to Your Body
- Are you getting enough sleep? Do you awake rejuvenated, looking forward to what the day might bring?
- Are you exercising regularly? Current health guidelines recommend 30 minutes of exercise daily. Do you engage in cardio and strength-training exercises appropriate for your age and health?
- What is your stress level? Are you taking steps to manage your stress?
- What is your energy level? Do you have sufficient energy to do what is required of you?
Listen to Your Heart
- Are you actively engaged in pursuing your life’s calling?
- What brings you joy? What are you passionate about? How much time do you devote to that which you love?
- How much time do you spend working in your sweet spot?
- Do you resent life’s demands? Do you wish you could escape to a place where you could be alone?
Listen to Others
- What are people around you saying?
- What concerns has your spouse expressed lately? Does he or she think you’re working too much?
- Do your loved ones feel they have sufficient quality time with you?
- Have your pastor, small group leader, or ministry partners expressed concern that you’re doing too much? Ignoring your health? Not practicing a regular Sabbath?
How did you do? What areas are screaming for your attention?
As coaches, it’s critical that we not only help our clients listen to their lives but also stop to listen to our own. If you, like me, have some work to do, talk with a friend, mentor, or coach and create some short- and long-term goals that will take you where you want to go.