I was talking to my coach recently, and he asked me what I want to get out of life, out of my work, specifically. He wanted me to use a short phrase that I could repeat easily and quickly when I needed to remind myself of what I was doing. The purpose was to use this phrase when I’m feeling overwhelmed or tired or discouraged. I thought about my goals, and also about my values. I want my life to flow freely between my work and everything else, but I also need my strong boundaries so I can take care of myself and feel like I have the time I need to be refreshed and ready to go again when my clients arrive.

After a bit of thinking, I decided on “Filled and Fulfilling”. I want to have a thriving practice that is full of clients who really connect with me and want to do the hard work of coaching or therapy so they can move forward and accomplish their dreams and goals in life – that’s the “filled” part. And I want to leave every day feeling like I have done good work to the best of my abilities, that I can smile and go home and have no unfinished business. I want to wake up in the morning knowing that I am walking into a great work space with great clients and that I will feel immense gratitude towards what we are all creating together. That’s the “fulfilling” part.

As I started to put this phrase into action in my everyday life, I realized that I don’t just want this to be how I am in my work, it’s also how I want to be in every aspect of my life. I want to feel filled and fulfilled at home, when I exercise, in my relationships with my friends and family, when I’m gardening, even when I go to the grocery store. I want to this to be my way of living. And I’m sure it’s not going to be as simple as it sounds or as easy.

I don’t want to simply fill my time, doing mindless things because they are expected of me. I don’t want my time and energy to be full of the wrong things, that’s not the kind of filled I’m looking for. At the same time, I’m well aware that chores, such as cleaning the toilet, or other things I must do, like navigating through rush hour traffic, are not going to feel fulfilling most of the time. However, some of these necessary things help the rest of my life to go well, and in the end, lead me to being filled and fulfilled.

So I began to ask myself the question: “How is this going to make me feel filled and fulfilled?” And if it isn’t leading me in the right direction or supporting something I want to do that is heading in that direction, I won’t do it.

As with everything, this is a process. I’m learning every day about which things make this new lifestyle choice work for me and which don’t. I’m also learning that I do a lot of things that wouldn’t fall into my new way of living, and I’m slowly letting them go.

I encourage you to find your own phrase that will define your life and how you want to live it. Try it on for a few days and see how it works for you. Try a few different ones if you’re having trouble finding the right one. And ask yourself if each action is leading you towards your ultimate goal.