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- Achieving Balance
Two friends were recently assessing my life progress since leaving the military to become a writer. (Note: I love it when my friends think my life is worthy of discussion, even when I’m not there. It makes me feel very loved.)
One felt I was still wrestling with difficult decisions and labeled me a “lost soul.” The other had exactly the opposite opinion. She thought I’d seen the light and was taking brave steps to make big improvements in my life.
So who was closer to the truth? And how would I know?
Let me tell you, it’s certainly not as if the transition has gone exactly to plan. While I don’t regret leaving the military, there are days I’m plenty frustrated with some of my decisions. What I envisioned at the time and the reality of my day-to-day life are sometimes pretty different. I think this is to be expected–one can’t anticipate all the ramifications of a 90 degree career change (if I’d really just become a writer, I’d give myself a full 180, but I’m clearly not there yet).
On the plus side, I’m much more relaxed (and sleeping better) than I have in years. I also love working from home–it was clearly a huge, missing piece from my happiness puzzle. On the down side, I still haven’t escaped the bureauacracy I despise, but in the short-term, I don’t really see a way around it. I also promised I’d spend more time with my family, and I do, but not to the extent I’d like.
When I really thought about it, I found myself agreeing with both of my friends. So I thought it would be fun to create a quiz, since surely I’m not the only one wrestling with the whole “lost soul” question.
Here are a few of the questions I asked myself. At the end, compute your score and see where you fall on the lost soul spectrum. Don’t forget, it is multiple choice, so don’t take it too seriously!
1) You’re at a party and someone asks what you do for a living. How often do you reply, “I’m a (your occupation), but haven’t figured out what I want to be when I grow up yet”?
A) Never B) Sometimes C) Frequently D) I don’t wait for people to ask
2) How do you define success?
A) Whether I get a promotion B) Based on personal goals C) It is impossible to define D) I’ve never been successful, so I wouldn’t know
3) You decide to take a day off work. How do you feel after you’re done getting ready for the day (breakfast, teeth brushed, shower, etc)?
A) Anxious B) Ready to be productive C) Relaxed D) Lonely
4) How do you describe family vacations?
A) A duty B) Fun but also exhausting C) Best part of the year D) Do I have to go?
5) You’ve had a really tough day and need some cheering up. Who do you primarily turn to for solace?
A) Significant other/family B) Best friend C) Online buddies D) Whoever will listen
6) Congratulations! You’ve won the lottery. Tomorrow you will…
A) Call a lawyer B) Start a charity C) Put in your two weeks notice D) Tomorrow? You have some purchases to make today
7) After accomplishing a major goal, you…
A) Set a new one B) Reflect on how you’ve changed C) Throw a party D) Wonder why it feels so anticlimatic
8) When life comes to a close, the most important thing is…
A) You provided a good inheritance B) You’ve left a legacy C) You’re surrounded by loved ones D) People weep at your funeral
If you primarily answered A, you are an: Eagle Scout. You get turned on by tradition and probably dreamed of being a doctor or lawyer as a kid. Family values were engrained in you at a young age. But it’s also really important you dazzle at the office, so you struggle with work/life balance. You thrive in a competitve environment and derive pleasure from impressing others. Fortunately, the world was designed to play by your rules. For you, life is a collection of merit badges.
If you primarily answered B, you are an: Explorer. You have a pretty good idea what you want out of life, but you’re not always sure how you’re going to get there. You’re comfortable with changing plans as long as your core support remains stable (and you’re willing to define that group in nontraditional ways). Learning is more important to you than achieving, though you are happiest with both. For you, life is about being free enough to enjoy the journey.
If you primarily answered C, you are a: Life Boat. You’re pretty content to go wherever the current takes you, as long as you stay afloat. You do best when you’re surrounded by other driven people, so living somewhere with a strong support structure is important. You get uncomfortable when challenged, perhaps because you often lack confidence. Work is something you do to pay the bills, and you dream about retirement (the sooner, the better). For you, life is about the company you keep, not the one that pays your salary.
If you primarily answered D, you are a: Lost Soul. You are confused, disillusioned and depressed. You often have dreams you’re late for class and can’t remember the combination to your locker (too bad the big homework that’s due is locked inside). No one seems to understand you, probably because you don’t understand yourself. You frequently second-guess your decisions. You just don’t understand why you can’t claim the success that’s due you. For you, life is a maze.
Time to share
Answering my own questions, I scored as an Explorer (or put another way, a reformed Eagle Scout). Either way, pretty far off from Lost Soul. Whew!
How about you–what did you score? Was the description right on the money or woefully inadequate? Hopefully either way you enjoyed the exercise (oh geez, that’s just what an Explorer would say, isn’t it?).
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